Tech & Work

Honor your commitments before moving on

While the lure of better pay and more challenging work may be good reasons for you to leave your current job, it's probably not a good idea if you've only been in your position for a month. Here's why.


Tim Heard is a technical recruiter for JC Malone, a career placement service. Tim shares his career advice by answering questions from TechRepublic members.

Question
My spouse joined a startup biotech company in the spring of 2000. In the summer of 2001, the investors pulled out and the company closed. He was fortunate enough to find another good position within a couple of months, but it meant we had to relocate.

I was working as a consultant and had a fairly secure position supporting desktops and system operations for a call center with about 80 call takers. I left my job to join my spouse, knowing that finding an IT job in our new Midwest location might be challenging: There were not a lot of jobs available in the area.

I worked with several recruiting companies and basically accepted the first position that came along. It is not my ideal job, but it is convenient and the pay is reasonable. I want to keep looking for my "ideal job" but also feel that I have an obligation to commit to my current job. I have only been in my current position for about a month. I am on a six-month, right-to-hire contract. I have been well received and suspect that they may offer me a permanent position at the end of the contract, or at least extend the contract.

Recently, there have been several job openings that I was really interested in, but I have not submitted my resume, partly out of a sense of obligation to my current position, and partly because I fear employers will be turned off by someone looking for a job who just started one. Any recommendations?

—Gina

Answer
This is a great question, because I'm sure many of our readers will find themselves in similar circumstances at some point in their careers. Let me begin by stating that I know my answer is probably not going to be popular among our members: You should stay in your current position for at least 12 months, because it's the right thing to do. Period.

Unfortunately, I don't think my editor will pay me for submitting such a short article, so I'll elaborate. When you interviewed for your job, your manager had a decision to make: hire you or hire someone else. He or she probably had to weigh the odds of you leaving after a short time but took a chance on you, offering you a convenient job at reasonable pay at a time when you really needed it. Implicit, I assume, when you interviewed for the job, was your willingness to accept a permanent job after six months, or the manager would have probably selected someone else.

So the question becomes, "How much is your integrity worth?" If you can make $5,000 more annually, is that worth it? You have to make that call.

Regarding how it will look on your resume, I will say that it will make a difference to some managers, but it won’t to others. Some managers are simply looking for a skill set and need someone who can complete a task on their behalf. Others want to know how you're going to fit into the structure of the team and how long you'll stay with the company.

In my opinion, leaving a job after just a couple of months suggests that money is what you're ultimately loyal to. To a person, the better managers that I have worked with would consider that a negative. On the other hand, if your company has to downsize in the near future, you’ll undoubtedly be among the first to go. Also, a lot of people who have done what you're considering are doing quite well in their careers, so I don't want to overstate my case. In the end, you’ll have to weigh your opinion of what's right and wrong and what you think is best for you and your family.

Question
I’m a consultant currently working in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I’m the general coordinator for all data communications matters within the company. I administer—and when necessary, implement—servers across the six-office company (around 130 users). I am also coresponsible for our NT 4.0 network and am planning to migrate to Win2K.

The work is fun and challenging, but I have had enough of living in Brazil. I've been here for 11 years and am a British citizen. I’m looking to relocate to the UK within the next few months. I understand the IT pro marketplace is okay there; my major doubt and concern is that, despite my experience, I have no certifications. How much negative influence do you think this could have on my job prospects?

—Tim

Answer
I had my doubts about your assessment of the job market in the UK, so I threw your question out to a couple of recruiter discussion groups to which I belong. I received the following response from Jeff Underwood, the director of Purple Squirrel, a career management firm located in the UK. While Jeff now focuses on leasing and asset finance positions, he has an extensive background in IT recruiting and has stayed pretty well abreast of what is taking place in the market. Here’s what he said.

“As a UK recruiter and having spent the last six years in the IT arena, I would cast some doubt on the suggestion that there's a strong market for IT skills at present. The market is soft, and in such circumstances, I believe hiring managers becomes highly risk averse. For them, the possession of formal qualifications reduces their concerns. I'm afraid there are very many IT people here with some experience and little by way of formal accreditation. It won't be easy slotting back in. However, with demonstrable skills in language and knowledge of the Latin business culture, isn't that a strength your contact should develop?”

My opinion is that you need to make your decision whether or not to move back to the UK based on the worst-case scenario assumption that you will not be able to locate a position in your field. It's possible that you might locate something in a related field, such as technical sales but, then again, you may find yourself serving people tea and crumpets at a local coffee shop.

Also, I think it's fairly safe to say that you won't land any jobs in the UK until you have landed back on British soil. It's just not worth a hiring manager's time to deal with you while you're in Brazil when there’s an ample supply of local candidates to hire. That means that if you decide to make the move, you should probably plan on living off of your savings for at least a month or two, or perhaps much longer, while you get settled in.

Good luck. I hope that you make it home and find the job of your dreams.

Reader feedback
From time to time, I’ll include reader feedback that may be helpful to other TechRepublic members. Today's feedback comes from Jennifer Lisser.

“I read the article and your mention of the ‘typo’ in a resume. I thought I might share a couple of my tips with you and you could share them with others if you felt they were worth it. One of the tricks I was taught is to read a document backwards, word by word, to check for typos. That way, you are broken from reading the ‘expected.’

Another tip was to read the document out loud. Any time you find yourself stumbling over the words, go back and tweak that section. After you've gone through this, it's a good idea to have someone else proofread. However, don't rely on a third party to catch everything.”

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