When to Quit

Whenever I receive a resume the first thing I look at is tenure.  How long did the candidate stay at each of his or her jobs?  Jumpers, persons who leave after a relatively short period, are usually rejected.  I say “usually” because sometimes in the cover letter or on the resume itself the candidate explains constant departures.

It’s funny.  Some people think “I was recruited out” is a good thing.  It isn’t.  It means you don’t want to keep a job and will leave anytime you get a better offer.  “My spouse relocated” is a much better explanation – but only if you can honestly say that your spouse is contractually obligated to keep  his or her present job for an extended period.

We all make mistakes.  Most people who have worked for an extended period have a few short term employments on their resumes.  I have two.  But I also have a few six year stays.

Based on experience I will predict that anyone who has had one employer for 20 years or more will not last a year with his or her next employer.  They only know how to do things one way and the change is difficult.  They will, however, do quite well with employer number three!

If you have been at a job for an extended period, at least three years, there is nothing wrong with considering a move.  But what happens if you accept a new job and then realize, after a few weeks, that you have made a mistake?

My advice is to seek employment elsewhere.  I do not believe that it will be held against you if you say on an interview, “This was a mistake.  I learned from it.  Even though I did my homework, I just could not have anticipated the culture.  I’m more ‘old-school.’  I know this will not work out for me and I don’t believe in dragging things out.  It’s not fair to the employer, it’s not fair to my family, it’s not fair to me.”

If it happens once, that’s my advice.  If it happens twice, especially one after the other, then you will have a serious problem and it might be better to grin and bear it.

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