Let's say I am training to be a phlebotomist. The training is relatively quick (a few weeks) and is on the job so I would be hired as I train.

The thing is I would not want to do this type of job forever and would feel extremely guilty of taking the job for 1 year and then leaving.

What would an ideal time frame to "safely" leave a job like this without hurting the company I would be working for? Or should I even bother to apply if this was my mentality?

As an aside, I volunteered for the hospital over the summer and the director of volunteer services enjoyed my presence (as well as free labor I guess).

  • I took around a one month, it depends on the project, skills and expertise it required. Some expert developers are getting adopted to the environment very quickly. – sandun dhammika Jan 7 '16 at 8:07
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    I think you're essentially asking "how long can I stay at a job before I can (ethically) move on?" – Brandin Jan 7 '16 at 8:32
  • Depends on the cost of the training, value generated, cost to hire and replace, cost of being without a hire, etc. Closed as too broad. A typical standard is that companies hiring permanent positions expect you to stay for at least 2 years. Long training periods can impact that to some extent but managers also know that things don't always work out. – Lilienthal Jan 7 '16 at 11:43
  • Ditto @JoeStrazzere If I hired someone to mow lawns, I'd expect him to be productive within a few hours, basically once he'd finished the paperwork and administrative trivia of getting hired and we showed him where the lawn mower was. If I hired a software developer, I'd expect it to be months before he'd learned our systems and procedures well enough to earn his pay. – Jay Jan 7 '16 at 21:02
  • @JoeStrazzere. I can't afford to find a job I want. I guess I made the wrong choices. I flunked out of computer science, switched to biology, and am almost out of financial aid. Being a medical tech. would be cool, but in N.Y state you need a degree of either B.S of medical tech. or find a masters program just to be eligible for the exam, which is also pricey. I hope to save up some money while working there and maybe be eligble for enough private loans to push myself through a masters program. I was also told graduate schools look favorably upon real world experience in related fields – Ro Siv Jan 9 '16 at 23:25

The answer will depend greatly on

  • the kind of job;
  • the experience of the employee;
  • education of the employee;
  • motivation of the employee;
  • character of the employee.

An example might be:

  • The first 3 months, your contribution is negative: you need supervision, training. You’re essentially taking time of your other collegues. Time is spent teaching you, and cleaning up your mistakes.

  • The next 3 months, you start evening out: you contribute and are productive, but still need to ask your collegues once in a while. You get a feel of things and make less mistakes.

  • After that, you reach 60-80% productivity: you are getting comfortable in your role, learning how to organisation does things.

  • After about a year, you’re at cruise speed for the biggest part of your tasks: you are 80% efficient at 80% of your job. You’re not yet fully trained at the other 20% of your job (less frequent tasks), and you haven’t seen a lot of stuff happen that your coworkers have – when a rare situation occurs, it’s new for you.

The actual timespans greatly differ. A blue collar worker at a manufactoring line might be 60% productive at 60% of his job real fast, since the scope of the job might be smaller – there is less to learn, and it’s more monotone. They get into a routine fast.

Don't be afraid to ask your manager this! They will have an idea in mind of what to expect from you. "At which point in time do you think I will be fully trained, be able to work independantly and start adding value to the company?"

You leaving the company will always "hurt". They invested in you and (as with any investment) are hoping for good returns on that investment. If you want to minimise that, there are other things you can do when you leave: document your job well, give a long notice period, train your remplacement.


It's highly dependant on the market, and I have no clue about your specific job. Though I know an example.

In the late 90s, France was lacking a lot of Cobol programmers. Mainly for the Y2K and Euro projects in the banks. So many people were recruited, trained, and sent to various customers by consulting firms. Usually, they were trained(and paid) around 8 weeks, and had in their contract a refund to pay if they'd leave before 2 years.

Note : even if those people were not immediately productive for their customer, they were immediately making money for their employer. That's what counts here : when are you making money?

So, the rule of a thumb I can give you, from another context, is that You are expected to stay one year by month you didn't make money for your employer. If "After a few weeks", you are productive enough to make money for your employer(i.e. taking care of paying patients, in the medical area), then something like a year or little more seems acceptable to me. Caution is needed, of course, the era, the context, and the field are different.

  • What do you mean by "you are expected to stay one year by month you didn't make money for your employer"? For example, if I stay 3 months at a job without making any money for my employer in that period, does this rule mean I must therefore stay there 3 years? – Brandin Jan 7 '16 at 8:34
  • I don't rule anything. I just say that in my example, people paid for 2 months of training were expected to stay at least 2 productive years. What is a productive year is entirely domain-dependant. And the ration may change depending on the industry - in french old-tech IT consulting, the ratio is that one. I don't say more. – gazzz0x2z Jan 7 '16 at 10:32

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