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Consulting Filter: How do I justify leaving my first project significantly earlier then completion?
March 4, 2012 5:25 PM   Subscribe

Consulting Filter: How do I justify leaving my first project significantly earlier then completion?

I'm the same person that asked this question.

Well, I took the position and am about 6 months in, and things could be better. The project is a mess, I was originally told it was going to be a year contract, within 3 months, it was extended out to 3 years, now it's looking like 5 years minimum. There is a significant disconnect between the executive management of the client to our project managers, and there are competing consulting firms on the project (one firm that failed the project, the software firm, and my consulting company). Additionally, there has been significant turnover including consulting project managers, and the stress on myself is high (working 6 days a week minimum, including travel).

I've tried to cut down on my travel which would help, but due to the high turnover and communication mess of the project, I have not had much success. For the record, I'm pretty much a specialized UI and SQL programmer, so 99% of what I can do can be accomplished remotely. There has been a very similar position open up in my home city through my recruiting company, which I emailed my recruiter about but am waiting to hear back from her. There are also 75% travel positions open that would cut my travel time down to less then a quarter of what I'm traveling now. So pretty much, the work week can be cut down significantly.

I hate the area, hate the politics of this gig, but can manage to suck it up for a couple of months; but I cannot see this project to completion due to the unknown timeframe and stress. I'm technically a W2 sub contractor for a consulting company who in turn is employed by the client. So how can I justify to both her, and future employers, why I bounced from my first consulting gig before project completion?
posted by lpcxa0 to Work & Money (8 answers total)
 
I was originally told it was going to be a year contract, within 3 months, it was extended out to 3 years, now it's looking like 5 years minimum.

That's pretty objective right there, I think.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 5:32 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


if you're unhappy leave. Your skills are relatively portable, so another gig should not be hard to find. it's not as if you're indentured.
posted by mattoxic at 6:00 PM on March 4, 2012


If you leave early because you're going to another job, nobody will say nothing. Maybe the people you're leaving, but it sounds like they have much bigger problems than your impending exit.
posted by rhizome at 6:49 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I'm unable to commit to a 3-5 year project. It's in the best interest of the project that I be replaced sooner rather than later because it will take less time for my replacement to get up to speed. I will be unavailable to work on the project after [30 days from today]."
posted by Ookseer at 8:29 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry to be threadsitting, but the problem isn't with my mentality of leaving the job - that needs to be done/ My problem is, how do I address it when it comes up in future (my next) interview that "Oh, you left only after 6-7 months, why?". And I just saw ookseer's comment which was exactly what I was looking forward. Pending a flat out "No, I will not reassign you" from my recrutier, I would still like this job while looking for employment elsewhere (rewards points are rewards points). But I'm looking for the best possible interview question for why I'm bouncing before it reaches a critical stage and I'm actually really needed.

As a 25 year old, who has held jobs on average 8 months since graduation; how do I explain being at the top of my career, and needing to bounce from a project that has a change to succeed if all the bullshit is cleared away? I'm limiting the bad mouthing, so I could rant but that's pretty much the crux of it.

Situation = Corporate Bullshit and LIKE(%Consulting Bullshit%) and LIKE (%Project Bullshit%) != My Happiness/Enjoyment in Job
posted by lpcxa0 at 9:00 PM on March 4, 2012


My problem is, how do I address it when it comes up in future (my next) interview that "Oh, you left only after 6-7 months, why?".

Your answer doesn't have to be complete, just true. Seriously. You're not required to fully contextualize your bad experience with past employers. Choose the one aspect of your current job that is most explanatory for why you're leaving and raises the fewest red flags for the company you're interviewing at. If you won't be working in the consulting industry or anywhere with high travel requirements, that's an easy one: you wanted to try it out, but you realized that although you learned a lot, the lifestyle wasn't for you. Done, end of answer, next question. Don't even think of providing an entire stable of reasons why the job sucked. One simple reason, that has nothing in common with your future work environment, is what you're looking for.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:16 PM on March 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just find a new contract and quit the current one. I think it's pretty standard that contractors like you can end the relationship, but read your current contract and know whether there are any contractual obligations on your part. But if you go into an interview and explain that you are/were looking for a contract that was a "better fit for [my] skills," that's usually enough. Moreover, if you explain that you were looking to reduce travel and found an opportunity to do so, most people understand that.

So how can I justify to both her, and future employers, why I bounced from my first consulting gig before project completion?

You're a contractor. Unless you have promised in your contract / employment agreement that you are in it until project completion, you don't owe them this - you just owe them whatever work you're getting paid for. The consulting company is the one with a contract that stipulates that they'll complete the project. Frankly, I don't seen how "project completion" is your problem, unless you signed a paper somewhere saying you would finish the project. I mean, if your skill were no longer needed to complete the project they would cut you loose prior to project completion.

Now, if you leave many, many jobs without finishing anything significant, then that would be fishy. But you should document all of the sub-projects that you've completed in your time (coded XYZ module, debugged AB and C) and list those as project accomplishments.
posted by Tehhund at 7:44 AM on March 5, 2012


"My problem is, how do I address it when it comes up in future (my next) interview that "Oh, you left only after 6-7 months, why?"."
Ah, I see.

Well, I've been exclusively a contractor for more than 15 years. Not once have I ever been asked why I left my last contract.

You're a contractor. It's part of the definition that you go from job to job. No one is going to find it suspicious. If anyone did ask I would mention the scope of the project changing by an order of magnitude and leave it at that.

So again, don't worry about it. I've been in your situation before. Project going straight to hell in every possible way straight from the start. I've walked off that project (again, sooner rather than later. Better for all.) and after all that the company called me back a few months later to work on another project. Even they accepted my reasons for walking out in the middle of a contract.
posted by Ookseer at 7:47 AM on March 10, 2012


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