Got a new job offer. Can someone help me out deciding?
November 15, 2019 10:59 PM   Subscribe

So I got a new job offer, it's a very good opportunity and it really came out of the blue. I'm well connected and a friend of mine contacted me and came with this offer. I wasn't actually looking for a job. I'm a software developer, in this new job I'd be working with a lot of tech I would like. It would also give me a lot of time to focus on the things I want to do in my free time, plus the pay is way better.

There is a catch however. My current job is not the best, I feel stagnant, I'm not learning new things, every day is miserable, the job brings out the worst in me. I'm exhausted all the time and overall its just a mess all the time. But I just got this job in February after having quit another job after nine months because it was as stressful or the same as this one. I don't feel very good about just leaving like that without even having worked an year in there, and this is also the second time I'd be leaving like this. I don't want to do that. Additionally, my boss is a good friend and I feel like I'm abandoning him by leaving.

There's also another problem. It's very likely that I'll be going off to college to get my masters degree in September of next year. Even if I take this new job I won't be staying for long. I told this to my potential new employer, he didn't mind and said that we'd cross that bridge when we came to it, that at best he'd like it if I stayed part time, at worst we'd just close the deal and leave things there.

I feel like I am stuck in a rock and hard place. This is a huge advancement opportunity for me, it showed up unexpectedly, and even if it is for a few months there's a lot to learn. It could even prove beneficial for my master's degree. But if I leave, what am I going to say later? I mean three jobs in two years? I'd like to work for Google after I graduate from grad school, they will ask about this, or possibly doubt that I can hold a steady job, I'm also sick of running from jobs all the time, yeah sometimes it isn't ideal, but life isn't fair and I just can't quit things every time it gets hard or something better comes up. Finally, I don't want to leave my boss alone, he has to deal with a lot already, thanks to the rotten company we work for. He's my friend too, and he's had a rough time in there.

On the other hand I want to own my own business eventually, it's part of my plan after grad school, taking this new job would help, it would provide me with important knowledge as well as open up new valuable connections.

I'm not sure what to do, I guess I should be glad that I'm sought after but this is a tough choice. I would like people's opinions, I need an objective view of this situation.
posted by Tarsonis10 to Work & Money (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
But if I leave, what am I going to say later? I mean three jobs in two years? I'd like to work for Google after I graduate from grad school, they will ask about this, or possibly doubt that I can hold a steady job, I'm also sick of running from jobs all the time, yeah sometimes it isn't ideal, but life isn't fair and I just can't quit things every time it gets hard or something better comes up.

There are countless software engineers in Silicon Valley who take pride in jumping between jobs that quickly. They don't see it as a sign of their unreliability, but as proof of their desirability. If so many different companies want to hire them, their skills must be in high demand, right? You don't have to worry about looking flaky at all.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 11:21 PM on November 15, 2019 [12 favorites]

Take a piece of paper and split it down the middle. On one side, write PROS. On the other, CONS. You've already listed many of them here - and to me, it seems like the Pros win. You may beg to differ... but honestly, you don't owe your present boss anything, even if you feel for him - and it sounds like the new job offer is well aware that you may leave next year, and is fine with that! If it's going to improve your mental state, pay you much better, and give you more free time, the answer seems clear: go for it! The only person to look out for you is YOU! Think about it, and remember that guilt is not commodity, and neither is misery.
posted by itsflyable at 11:36 PM on November 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

The new job sounds way better. You're not bailing after two or three months. When you finish your degree that will be a big marker. Bank that extra pay--you'll need it for grad school.
posted by Gotanda at 11:53 PM on November 15, 2019 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Grad school will serve as a big "before" and "after" marker in a potential employer's eyes. If you were flaky, how did you finish your multi-year degree program? How did you (maybe even) continue working part-time for the same company while you did it? I would do what's best for you. I'd handle the conversation with your friend very carefully, but this sounds like a good move. I'm sure it's not quite as perfect as it appears, but your current job sounds pretty lousy.
posted by salvia at 12:39 AM on November 16, 2019 [12 favorites]

In you job hunt after grad school say (without being defensive) you thought the benefits of the Masters degree would be best realized if built on a relevant and varied base of job experience. Say that proved to be true, and be prepared with examples.
posted by Homer42 at 1:31 AM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Take the job. I don't even understand why this is a question. I mostly disagree with the posters that say that the master's degree will cause employers to consider your resume in a different light* -- but regardless, the positives here greatly outweigh the negatives. The job market for engineers is both hot enough and many of the jobs themselves unstable enough that it requires a pretty egregious resume to be flagged as a job hopper. What you describe doing might result in some raised eyebrows but as long as you have a legitimate explanation for your job changes -- and the explanations you provide in this post sound very legitimate, especially if you focus on the positives of the new job rather than how much the old one sucked -- it's very unlikely to be an issue for most companies. [Source: I am a hiring manager at a reasonably well known tech company]

*This is assuming you're in the US, from your posting history it sounds like you might be in Canada and degrees might be considered differently there.
posted by phoenixy at 2:26 AM on November 16, 2019 [9 favorites]

(For what the context is worth, I'm a hiring manager at a big tech company people want to work at.)

Take the better opportunity. I've interviewed people with similar sequential less-than-a-year stints on their resume. I asked them about it and they described a similar experience to your own (couple bad workplaces in a row then an unexpected better opportunity). Just explain exactly that and it should be fine.

If you had a very lengthy series of <1 year gigs that weren't freelance, I might be suspicious, but your situation as you describe it sounds reasonable for the mobility.
posted by DyRE at 2:26 AM on November 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Future employers worth working for will think more of you for choosing a path that demonstrates a desire to learn and advance, vs. a path that seems to indicate a degree of fear and uncertainty. Grabbing and leveraging great opportunities that come out of nowhere is how great careers are made. GO FOR IT
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:45 AM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

You're applying an old-school employment standard to a new-school industry and job market. Three in 2 is fine.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:11 AM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Rather than focus on your perceived interpretation of the 8-9 months that you've spent at the last place, can you tell us the awesome stuff you've put together in that time? Has it just been clock watching to get to that magical 2 year mark, or have you built some cool features?

I can tell you 9 months ago I didn't have as much stuff on my resume as I do today. What does it matter that it is a place that I've been at a while?
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:51 AM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Take the new better more desirable job. If your boss is a good friend he'll want what's best for you personally. Good luck.
posted by chasles at 4:52 AM on November 16, 2019

Best answer: I hire plenty of engineers and yes job hopping is something we will pay attention to but if you actually go back to school full time it's often a career reset where employers don't look much at the before grad school time anyway. I think you should definitely take the new gig. But try to learn something from these two mistakes so you know what to look for in the future.
posted by ch1x0r at 5:44 AM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Take the job. I interview + hire a ton of software engineers for my org - both for my team and or teams run by my peers. At most I may ask you about 3 jobs in 2 years, but assuming you dont have some red-flag reason (3 x "my boss was an idiot" for example) it really doesn't matter. There are so many legit reasons why this happens, and "a better opportunity came along that I couldn't turn down" is definitely one of them.

When it comes to your employment, the person who cares the most about you is you. In a lot of cases with a lot of businesses, you're the only one who cares about you. Take the job, leave the toxic workplace behind. It sucks you're leaving your boss/friend but he should be looking for a new job as well - help him with that if you want to feel less guilty yourself.

Seriously, take the job. Life's way too short to be miserable at work if you dont have to be.
posted by cgg at 6:33 AM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I see. Everyone I've asked, both friends and strangers keep telling me the same.

Thank you all for your opinions, I will take the job. I'm sure it will have its downsides, but at the moment the Pros of staying are very little, the cons very large. This was coming anyway, and my boss knew that sooner or later someone else would start snatching up the good engineers in our office. They've lost plenty of people already.
posted by Tarsonis10 at 6:39 AM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Objectively speaking (since that's what you're asking for) it seems to be no contest. Take the new gig.
  • You're removing yourself from a toxic environment.
  • You'll be getting paid more.
  • The new job will be more creatively satisfying
  • You've done the right thing and told your new potential employer about your grad school plans and they are fine with it.
As far as your friend goes, you might feel bad, but it's a business. You're both getting paychecks for the work you do and he will be fine. Hanging in an unhealthy environment for the sake of someone else is not a good formula for success.

As far as any perceived career stigma? The perception that jumping from one job to another is a bad look is largely a relic of the past, especially in the tech field. It may have made more sense in a world where lifetime jobs were a thing, but again, that is not the world we live in anymore.

Anyone looking to hire you in the future will only care whether you can solve problems for them. The narrative you've outlined for your future is based on authenticity, not deception, any employer worth working for is going to realize that.

Go for it.
posted by jeremias at 6:47 AM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

also -- should you ever be questioned about the tenure at the job you're leaving, which I doubt will happen -- do make sure to mention you were recruited to the new role by someone who knew your work, and it was an opportunity that let you work on stuff you were wanting to develop. That paints a different picture than "I just decided to leave because I didn't like my boss."
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:13 AM on November 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

if I leave, what am I going to say later? I mean three jobs in two years?

Your biggest hassle here, is whatever job you're looking for immediately after graduation. It's even possible that New Fun Job will be waiting for you to return. If not, then you can say as mentioned: had a couple of poor starts followed by a job that clicked well, that you could've stayed at for several years, but that didn't mesh with your school schedule.

If the job immediately after grad school lasts more than 3 years, you can drop the two short-term ones you didn't like from your resume. If that makes a gap, you can explain if asked about it, but unless you had achievements or learned amazing skills that you want to put on your resume, you can just never mention them specifically.

Also: never put up with a job that's making you miserable just because it might look better on your resume later. Not if you have the chance to work somewhere you enjoy. Being miserable at a job is a lot more damaging to your long-term satisfaction and career opportunities than a patchy resume.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:49 AM on November 16, 2019

I’d just like to point out that except for the resume concern (which others have addressed above), your Pros for leaving are all benefits for you and the Pros for staying all benefit other people.

You’re allowed to choose the thing that’s best for you. It’s your life after all.
posted by scrute at 9:59 AM on November 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

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