I want out.
January 12, 2012 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Leaving my new job after less than a year. Or at least, really want to. How will this look to potential recruiters?

After 6 months of stress to the point where I have become depressed and ill I have had enough with my horrible new job and am plotting out an escape plan over the coming months.

I'm working on a big project and don't want to quit till it's delivered but as soon as that's done then it's all systems go to find a new job.

I am just really worried about how it will look to potential recruiters. I want to look for fundraising roles. I used to be a fundraiser, and love it. I am a fundraiser in this job too, at least according to my job title, but in my 6 months here have hardly raised any funds at all because I've been saddled with so much other work that is not even tangentially related to fundraising that I've barely had the chance to raise any new funds. Zero new income raised plus staying at previous position less than a year? I can't imagine headhunters will be knocking on the door. What is the best way to sell this?

The big project, by the way, is not fundraising-related so i can't even use that to say "look what a great fundraiser I am".

Sorry if this has been asked before. I couldn't figure out the right search terms.

Hope you can help, Hivemind.

Miserable Mefite
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure you need to put it on your resume, necessarily. Six months is not a long time, and in this economy, you could easily get away with "I did a little of this and that to make ends meet while looking for a permanent position in my field."

If you want to put it on there, you say, "I took a position that I thought would play to my strengths as a fundraiser. It turned out that my manager (or whoever) had other plans for the position so I ended up doing a lot of stuff I'm not especially good at. I stayed long enough to deliver a major product and now I'm eager to find a position that is closer to my previous experience."
posted by gauche at 7:38 AM on January 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

I can't speak for every potential employer, of course, but when I participate in hiring I don't much care about short job stints as long as there's only one of them in recent history. Serial job-hoppers are unappealing, but everyone can easily imagine a job where you just don't fit and have to move on. You might get asked "so I noticed you only stayed at XYZ Co. for six months; do you mind if I ask why you left?" but as long as you have an honest answer which doesn't involve bad-mouthing your old employer, you should be fine. "Both XYZ and I thought it would be a great fit and there are great people working there, but it turned out that the job had very different responsibilities than what we both originally thought. So I helped them get a big project out the door and then we parted ways."
posted by introp at 7:39 AM on January 12, 2012 [6 favorites]

product project
posted by gauche at 7:40 AM on January 12, 2012

I don't think it's a big deal, a lot of people take jobs that are bad fits for them once or twice.
posted by empath at 7:44 AM on January 12, 2012

I'm not quite sure exactly the way to say this in an interview, but I'd think it'd be pretty easy to spin the idea that you really wanted to be a fundraiser, you're good at fundraising, and you expected the last job to be a fundraising job, and when it turned out it wasn't, you decided to look for real fundraising opportunities. I think you could spin it as showing passion for your work.
posted by empath at 7:47 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Be honest. Tell them that it just wasn't a good fit for you (because it wasn't). If recruiters/potential employers question further tell them the truth: The enviornment wasn't a good fit for you/challenging enough, your colleagues were not a good personality fit, and/or you couldn't see yourself working there for the long-term, so you are cutting your losses now. This is more common than you think.

Not everyone is the same shoe size - jobs are the same way. Sometimes you have to try on a pair of shoes to know that they just aren't a good fit.
posted by floweredfish at 7:49 AM on January 12, 2012

Explaining that fundraising is what you love to do, but that this job overpromised on the opportunity to do just that and wasn't structured to allow sufficient time for fundraising, is perfectly fine and rational. It shows you know your strengths and you have conviction to realize this job doesn't play to your strengths and you found something else.

It does look better if you can find another job while you're there, but this isn't necessary. Use those fundraising and sales skills to reach out and network for yourself to find a new position.

For what it's worth, your experiences sound a lot like mine. I worked for the MDA and was incredibly frustrated for the same reasons. I now work as a recruiter - go figure.

Hang in there - you'll find something better! Good luck!
posted by glaucon at 8:48 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

my best friend recently quit a job at a major apparel company's headquarters after a little more than six months. this was a job that she left after over 5 years with another apparel company. she was just unhappy with the job and unhappy in the city where she had moved when her other company moved there (altho she did love the city itself). when she moved back into town, she was worried it would take forever for her to find a new job. but she got a number of recruiting calls and still does every once in awhile because she did have a lot of work experience in her industry. after only a couple of weeks, i helped her get a contract job in my department in my company that i felt she'd be great doing. it was for a position in which she'd had no real experience before—and she was very honest with my boss about that—with regard to it's title but did have a lot of skills that translated well for the duties involved. point of my story: as long as you have the skills and work ethic and convey that, i think people are less concerned about a short stint here or there at a former company. you chalk it up to finding that the environment in which you worked just was not a good fit and didn't meet the expectations you had for a company you want to work for.
posted by violetk at 9:56 AM on January 12, 2012

A year is fine for the resume, you have a big project that you will have finished by the time that part is finalized, and orgs love fundraisers who can get money. I don't think you have much to worry about.
posted by rhizome at 11:24 AM on January 12, 2012

We are looking for people for whom ALL or MOST of their jobs are less than a year. One short job isn't a problem, probably wouldn't even be noticed actually. We do understand about crappy jobs.

But yes, put it on your resume. A lot of background check companies can find jobs you don't list. That is a bigger red flag because now we think YOU did something bad and got fired and you're trying to cover it up.

I'll repeat what I've said before. We don't care about stupid shit, we can about lying (even by omission) about stupid shit.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:45 AM on January 12, 2012

If you are miserable, leave. As others have said, as long as it doesn't look like a pattern of flakiness, you'll be much better off if you move on to jobs you are more interested in. If you don't have a dedication to the job your doing, that will become obvious to those around you soon enough. Better to get out on your own terms, before your misery starts showing in your job performance.
posted by murfed13 at 9:12 PM on January 12, 2012

As long as you don't have a pattern of leaving jobs after a short period of time, I don't think it will look too bad. And as long as you've been there at least 6-months, I don't think it'll send up any red flags (again, as long as you don't have a pattern of doing this).

Also: what magnetsphere said.
posted by asnider at 9:42 PM on January 12, 2012

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