From 3 hours to 3 months: 11 women on the story of the shortest time they've stayed in a job.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, a job just doesn’t work out.

Maybe it’s the fault of an overbearing manager, the kind of work you’re doing or a particularly unfortunate incident that makes it clear you need to leave. Stat.

In that moment, when you’re a few days, weeks, months or even hours into your role, you need to make a decision. Do you stick it out for a little while longer or jump ship immediately?

These 11 women chose the latter option. And have no regrets about their decision.

Team Mamamia confess: What I wish I’d never said. Post continues below.

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“I think they could see I was a broken human,” Molly.

I went from being a personal trainer to external recruitment. I held in there for four months.

I went into recruitment as I was looking to work with people and help them get jobs…haha! The place I worked at had KPIs (key performance indicators) of two hours talking time on the phone a day and 100 outbound calls a day. All your calls were monitored.

It was an extreme, high-pressure sales environment which was just not me AT ALL. I was sick the entire four months I was there. I nearly ended up in hospital as I got a staph infection in my nose that wouldn’t go away as I was so stressed.

When I was better, I worked for a couple of weeks and then met up with a friend who did the ‘life is too short to be stuck in a sh*t job speech’. I went back on the Monday with the most pep in my step I’ve ever had, as I knew it was the last time I would have to go in. I left that afternoon by sneakily packing up my cup and notebook and never went back.

To be fair they were really good about it and said I didn’t have to work my remaining weeks. I think they could see I was a broken human.

“That place had not one ounce of kindness in it,” Renny.

I just turned 18 and packed my life up and moved to Sydney for uni. I needed a job to survive and the next day I walked around the city handing out resumes to so many cafes. A retail job would have been the dream but I had been working in hospitality since 14 so all my experience was in food.


The first place I handed my resume into offered for me to come back for a trial within two hours, which I was stoked about. I thought it was okay and just super busy but I soon realised I was not into it at all. The chefs were so mean (this can be a stereotype, yes, but these ones were more so in particular) and the other staff were just too cool and detached. That place had not one ounce of kindness in it.

So I left which was such a big thing for me because at that point, work meant money. I had already organised another job to go to but when I resigned I cried. I still don’t know why.

“It was obviously beneath me,” Nat.

When I was 14 I got a job at McDonald’s and after a few months, I decided I hated it. So I applied at the supermarket down the road from my house. I did one three-hour shift but I got SO frustrated with their ‘old’ technology that I couldn’t take it. Maccas had a hi-tech touch screen POS (point of sale) system and computers EVERYWHERE and this supermarket made you push ACTUAL BUTTONS and manually put in barcode numbers if they didn’t scan.

Unthinkable. It was obviously beneath me. I called and quit later that day. I actually ended up staying at Maccas for a total of seven years (but working other jobs on the side on-and-off towards the end). My family still gives me sh*t about being a weirdly snobby 14-year-old but I maintain that it would have been a step back to stay there!

Also, I kept the shirt and my dad still wears it around the house when he’s doing handiwork.

“They wouldn’t let me take a day off that I had requested,” Hannah.

I quit working at a cereal cafe in London because my boss wouldn’t let me take a day off (THAT I REQUESTED A MONTH EARLIER) to go to a Lady Gaga concert. I was like f**k it and told him I wasn’t coming in. He then said: “If you don’t show up, you don’t work here anymore.” So I quit and didn’t go in the next day. I then got an email that the Lady Gaga concert was cancelled.

I had worked there for a few weeks and it was fine. Then I took a month-long holiday and when I came back all the management had changed. It was awful and I probably only stayed a month after that.

“I sent an email that night advising that I wouldn’t be returning,” Olivia.

I spent one day at an internship and sent an email that night advising that I wouldn’t be returning

I’d done quite a few internships previously but this one had 14 interns and four permanent staff. Many of the interns had been there for six months or so. They didn’t actually introduce me to anyone or tell me about their business or clients, they just put me in a room and asked me to track coverage for one of their clients all day.

They also forgot I was coming, so I waited for 45 minutes for the person who hired me to come back into the office. I decided it wasn’t worth it, I was a fifth-year student at that point and I knew I wasn’t going to learn anything.

I know internships are about getting your foot in the door but I could tell there was zero point in returning. They also never responded to me when I wrote a polite email explaining I didn’t think the environment was the right fit for me at the time.

should I quit my job
"I spent one day at an internship and sent an email that night advising that I wouldn't be returning." Image: Getty.

"I asked to go to the toilet and never looked back," Amelia.

I took a telemarketing job when I was fresh out of school at aged 17 to earn some money before I started study the following year. I got through half an hour of the training session before I realised there was no way I could cold call someone.

I asked to go to the toilet - I had to take a toilet roll with me because I guess they had issues with people misplacing the toilet roll - and walked straight out of there with the toilet roll under my arm and never looked back!

"If only I'd known it at the time, I would've quit earlier," Michelle.

I left a job within two months as the job was different in reality to what was described. Also, the boss was asking everyone to work every hour of the day and weekend. He even went as far as to set up and control our home WiFi so there was no excuse for us not being available. He also arranged all our desks so he could watch all our screens in the office.

It was my first job out of uni so I spent the first month dealing with the overwhelming feeling it was because I couldn't back a job 'in the real world' and would never be able to do a full-time role. It wasn't until I left the job that I realised that working 14 hours a day and being constantly available during the night wasn't a normal job at all.

If only I'd known it at the time, I would've quit earlier.

"I worked just one shift and quit on the spot," Deme.

I worked a retail job for just one shift. I was studying at uni at the time and I had previously worked for the company in my home town. It was a small regional town but then I got a transfer to a city store. The manager yelled at me that I didn't know the stock (I didn't know we had limited brands at the smaller store) and I was "terrible" at folding fast. I quit on the spot and said that the store wasn't for me.


I cried on the way home. I remember being annoyed as I thought I was pretty good at folding.

"I stayed in an office job for one day," Amanda.

I stayed in an office job for one day. It was through an agency, and I got the job, came in, and it was the single most boring thing I've ever had to do. It was solely answering the phone (which rang maybe once an hour) and then rearranging rooms after meetings (which was maybe once every two hours). The eight-hour shift was the slowest day of my life and the next day, I decided I would just ghost and never show up again and they'd never know because I was moving back home in a few months anyway. They definitely tried to call me a few times and I ignored it, but then they changed their number to private and got on to me! I had to scramble and say that I found out I wasn't allowed to do the job because of my visa and I was very worried about speaking to them in case I got kicked out of the country.

"I started a new job on Monday and resigned on Friday," Sarah.

I started a new job last Monday and resigned on Friday. The office culture was terrible and I was treated awfully and looked down on. I was told to do nearly impossible tasks like bulk memorising information they could literally lookup on a computer. It just wasn't necessary. They were also making me do a lot of overtime work with no pay and I just realised this wasn't what I thought I was getting myself into.

"I eventually took a job that changed our lives and my career," Jane.

I left a secure job with an international company to go and work for owner-operators for more money and supposedly less stress. After three days I pointed out to them all the issues they had with the underpayment of staff - it was the hospitality industry, so no surprises there. I started to work on several scenarios to rectify the problems, which all involved the risk of back pay claims. On day six I was ‘released’ with a five-figure-sum on the promise that I’d never tell anyone what I’d found out! It was devastating as I was the sole income earner for the household and we had a one-year-old and a two-year-old.

I eventually took a job that changed our lives and my career but it felt pretty bleak when I was stood in a car dealership in tears selling our car for cash so we could keep up mortgage repayments. I ended up being a Lady StartUp and owing businesses that turned over nearly $10m. As the quote goes, "Sometimes the worst thing that can happen turns out to be the best thing that can happen."

What was your shortest time you've ever spent at a job? Tell us in a comment below.

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Feature image: Getty