Good idea, bad idea: Leaving first job before a year's up
June 22, 2013 9:48 AM   Subscribe

I last asked a question about moving or J-school. Most answers encouraged the former. I do want to move now, but should I relocate if doing so at the optimal time would mean I'd be at my first job less than a year?

I have a friend who's interested in moving to where some of our friends just relocated (Pittsburgh), and I've been thinking about moving there, too--thanks to you guys. This friend will be returning from teaching abroad in August, and he's interested in moving in September, so we have been talking about getting a place together.

However, my job as a web content writer is holding me back. It is my first real-world job out of college. I didn't know a fig about negotiation before I started working, so I make 24k at a marketing start-up. No benefits (some employees have benefits and salaried wages, the ones who aren't are typically fresh out of college). I've been here about 6 months--9 months if you include the time I was interning. It would be nice to make more, but at least I have a job, right?

I realize I could stick it out for a year, but the only problem is that I may not have a person I know to move in with by then, if my friend is itching to move sooner than later. That, and our friends are thinking of applying to grad school, so I may move up there, only to spend a few months with them before they take off to pursue Masters degrees. Even my woud-be roommate may only be in the city for a year; he doesn't have concrete plans for school, but he certainly hasn't dismissed the idea altogether. I wouldn't live and die on their being my only social contact, of course, but it is something that's weighing on my mind, in terms of moving sooner vs. later.

TL;DR version: The time seems ripe go, considering I have a ready-made roommate situation and friends already in the city. But I wonder if I should stick it out where I am for a year. After all, I don't hate my job, so I wouldn't have a good response to the question "Why did you leave your last job?" except "I wanted to experience a new city." Is that an acceptable answer?
posted by dean_deen to Work & Money (9 answers total)
I don't know how marketing works as a job field, but I would be wary of moving without a job, regardless of the roommate/friend situation.

In general, I don't think it's a huge problem to leave one job after 9 months, as long as it doesn't become a habitual thing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:56 AM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Don't move without a job. A job search can take up to a year, especially in a city where you don't have any history/contacts.
posted by radioamy at 10:04 AM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Too many short-term jobs and moving frequently was, I believe, what kept me from the career I wanted. It was a government-related field and they did background checks when I applied. They never could tell me specifically since it's all confidential but there isn't anything else significant in my background - I've never been fired, never been arrested, always paid my taxes, etc.

I don't think quitting and changing once or twice - especially in between long, stable periods - would have been a big deal. Just be aware of trends in your work history and how that might be viewed by potential employers.
posted by Beti at 10:18 AM on June 22, 2013

Don't move without a job. Don't assume that because you found your last job easily that you will find your next as easily. "Fresh graduate" is an easy narrative to sell. "Up and quit last job and moved to Pittsburgh" for no reason is not such an easy narrative and will probably work against you when you look for work because it doesn't reflect the best judgment.

Once you find another job, it's not a big deal that you quit the last one, as long as you don't make it a habit. But moving without a job when you don't have to isn't a safe move.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:56 AM on June 22, 2013

I think those who are telling you not to move without a job are being overly conservative. You're young, and as long as you have enough savings to last you for a bit, it's worth it to move and explore the world. I wouldn't consider a 9-month stint at a job a big deal at your age. Especially since the chances of finding a job in Pittsburgh remotely are essentially nil.

Is it possible to freelance for your current employers when you move?
posted by snickerdoodle at 11:12 AM on June 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Relocation is a common and legit reason to leave a job. "I wanted to experience a new city" isn't. Move on your schedule/line up your own ducks/manage your own career. That's what your friend is doing for himself. Do the same for yourself.
posted by headnsouth at 11:16 AM on June 22, 2013

This strikes me as a Bad Idea.

I moved in with a friend in a very similar situation, figuring I'd find a job after I had the place. I didn't for 18 months, and not only was it really stressful(like, almost psychotic break stressful. I trashed my room with a bat while drunk at one point.) but this weird resentment built up between me and my friend because my daily routine was basically "write cover letters, reply to job postings, crack beer, play videogames" while he actually had to deal with shit.

Then I ran out of money because real life costs more than you estimate pretty much always. I was begging money out of my parents and borrowing money from people. Behind on the rent, no money for anything else most of the time. Anything I spent money on was instantly under attack by my friend, etc.

After a while I started to become convinced, which was later proven to be a thing that no one will hire someone whose been unemployed for that long. Not even safeway or Burger King. Yea, this was right in the middle of the recession but its not like we're totally un-recessed now or that anyone stopped discriminating that way. It's like a clock counting up from the moment you quit your job.(or are made redundant, in my case)

Eventually I found a job and suddenly it was fine, but that was a shitty situation I wouldn't willing put myself in again.

If you want to do this, start applying for jobs there now. Do some Skype interviews and stuff. Do not move there without a job.
posted by emptythought at 11:35 AM on June 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Unemployment between Nashville and Pittsburg is about the same, although it depends on which part you're moving to. And they're about the same as the U.S average. Ideally you'd be moving to a state with lower unemployment, and have some contacts in the area. I.e. when I was considering moving to Oregon, I started looking for social groups to replace the ones I would be leaving. Primarily Linux User Groups, but Metafilter itself was a valuable substitute for in-state family and friends.

Similarly, you might also ask the pittsburgh subreddit their opinion of moving to the area with no job in hand. They should be able to point out a few employers / job titles you hadn't considered.
posted by pwnguin at 1:50 PM on June 23, 2013

I ended up staying, although Pittsburgh may still be in the cards for the future. Thank you for your input, everyone!
posted by dean_deen at 4:55 PM on July 28, 2013

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