How can I leave now and not later?
October 21, 2012 10:21 AM   Subscribe

I have a very promising general management internship opportunity lined up in the summer. I am currently employed in a secure full-time position however I would like to leave my current job and take a short-term contract position in order to boost my salary and leave a toxic environment ? Would this make sense? If so, how do I go about it?

I am currently a full-time employee as a business analyst/project manager in a big financial services firm. I recently came about an opportunity to start a general management/leadership program in a company I am very interested in working in, but it doesn't start till June. The internship will pay double my current salary and will allow me to do a career change from IT to a front office role. My current job is in an extremely toxic environment with very low office morale. Instead of waiting 8 more months to get out of here I was wondering if it makes sense to find a short-term contract position until May of next year. I live in NYC and wonder about the following:

1) What is the best way to find a contract opportunity?
2) What should be my "excuse" for leaving a full-time secure job and taking a contract job in this environment? (the one recruiter that I talked to found it odd).

The way I see it, a short-term contract opportunity will give me the opportunity to learn new skills, earn more money on the short term and leave a horrible office environment...however I would like to strategize a bit in order to maximize my chances of making this happen! Looking forward to hearing some of your thoughts.
posted by The1andonly to Work & Money (3 answers total)
If you don't find such a contract, don't completely discount the idea of just quitting your toxic job a few months early and enjoying the time off, or volunteering at a deserving local charity or the like. I did this a few years back, knowing that I had a job lined up at the other end, and it was marvelous.
posted by Etrigan at 10:48 AM on October 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

What should be my "excuse" for leaving a full-time secure job and taking a contract job in this environment?

The answer to this is always "I want to expand my skill set" or "expand my knowledge base." Come up with a few things you'd like to do in a contract job that you don't do much of today and say you hope to do more of those things in a new role. Or maybe you can just say that you feel you've learned all you can in your current company and want to learn how other companies do things to expand your knowledge base.

Regardless of the economic climate, recruiters and hiring managers always ask "why would you leave?" It's a way to detect red flags - if a candidate speaks really poorly and dismissively of their coworkers, the candidate might have difficulty getting along with others. Or if the candidate's only reason is "I want more money," that's a potential problem because ideal candidates are motivated because they think the work is interesting and because they want to do a good job, not just because they want a paycheck.

So if you tell them you want a new job to expand what you know, that's a home run. You're identifying yourself as someone who finds your industry and job so interesting, you want to know more. It also says you're someone who isn't satisfied doing an average job or doing the same job forever, you're someone who likes to improve yourself and grow into new responsibilities. Hopefully that's true of you, but regardless it's a great answer.

Just noticed: a short-term contract opportunity will give me the opportunity to learn new skills. This is your answer.
posted by Tehhund at 11:26 AM on October 21, 2012

I left the good pay and benefits and security of a FT job over a year ago. I liked my coworkers and my clients, but the work was stressful and the industry didn't appeal to me and everyone was mad jittery due to all the changes from a massive acquisition. People thought it was a crazy move, but it worked out. So no, it's not odd to follow your heart -- it's odd NOT to.

1. For short-term contracts in IT, look for a technical temping agency like TEKsystems or Aerotek.
2. You don't need an excuse, but you listed some good reasons in your post. Learn new skills, explore other parts of IT, maybe get more into front office. Enthusiasm and pragmatism go far.
posted by mochapickle at 11:28 AM on October 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

« Older First hand accounts of revenge?   |   An old, slow cyclist is baffled by today's MTB... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.