Permission to quit, ma'am?
July 21, 2021 10:32 AM   Subscribe

I had a streak of bad luck with jobs, and then suddenly maybe a ray of hope? Looking to rid some guilt with quitting and some reassurance that it will hopefully be ok?

This is mostly a question about quitting but also...job hopping? Ask A Manager has beat the fear of Job Hop into me and I'm afraid leaving this job will continue to make me look like a flake. A quick job history:

1st job out of school/interships: 1.8 years, almost 2, but quit to move across the country
2nd job: 1.5 years, was a complete hellmouth and I only made it through by the grace of therapy.
3rd and current job: my escape! but from the frying pan into the fire. been here 1 year and 4 months. Started taking prozac to help with the stress of the job. Got promoted. Stress has died down but I find myself very indifferent, although staying here would probably lead me to another promotion.

The situation now: I was not even job searching because I wanted to stay grateful for what I had during COVID, but someone approached me based off a talk I gave to a volunteer group and wanted to hire me for some consulting work. I decided to do some contract work very part time for them, and then...it turns out I really enjoy it? They offered a full time position. I'm ecstatic. It's like a combination of interesting job and I think I actually have a strength for this type of job, whereas before I felt like I struggled to feel competent for my other jobs.

I feel incredibly guilty quitting though. I'm also afraid, at 29, I've job hopped so much that if I don't stay at my present, prozac-inducing job, I will not be seen as a viable candidate. As much as I want to try this next job full time, I know leaving my team high and dry (we've had 2 people quit already this year on our small team) is not going to be good. My boss is so kind and also relatively new. But...I want to work this other job so bad.

How much should I fear being a job hopper and should that keep me here for another year? That does mean I'd have to let go of the full time offer. I cannot work part time and full time any longer though, it's too stressful, so I would likely let the part time work go too. The pay for the new job is better than my current job too, but the title is not as "impressive" (meh) than my current job. I'm feeling conflicted and would appreciate any insight.

(anon because coworkers are on here and no one knows about my thoughts of leaving yet.)
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (28 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Life is short, drop the bad job and take the new amazing job and don't look back. Work hard at loving your new job and stay there for 3+ years, and you'll break the job hopping curse.
posted by Diddly at 10:37 AM on July 21 [33 favorites]


You've been offered a new job, which hopefully you know enough about that you think you'll stick it out for a couple years, so the job hopping is less of a concern. I also think that job hopping being an issue is pretty dependent on location/field. But I don't see any reason you shouldn't take an offer that would get you out of a job you dislike.

And if people keep quitting that's the companies fault and not something you should feel bad for at all. You have to look out for your own health and career.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 10:40 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


The average time people stay in jobs these days is about 1.5-2 years. Your tenure lengths are normal for most fields unless it's super specialized. As a hiring manager myself, I wouldn't bat an eye at those numbers. I really only get concerned if I see a long history of just a few months at multiple jobs over and over.

Also, this is a great time to leave a job or take an absence, if for no other reason than tons of people are hopping due to Covid, either because of layoffs or poaching. It's a complete game changer in terms of "the rules." No one is looking at gaps or moves right now as indicative of anything personal because it's commonplace at this point.

Permission granted ENTHUSIASTICALLY. Literally nothing worrying here except staying at a job you hate that drove you to depression so severe you needed meds. Dear god, please take this job you are excited about immediately!!
posted by amycup at 10:40 AM on July 21 [19 favorites]


Go to the new job, please.

Our general society would fair better if we had doctors who actually enjoyed being doctors or people happy or at least content to work (I understand this is a more complex argument).

" I decided to do some contract work very part time for them, and then...it turns out I really enjoy it? They offered a full time position. I'm ecstatic. It's like a combination of interesting job and I think I actually have a strength for this type of job, whereas before I felt like I struggled to feel competent for my other jobs." Some people aren't born with mentors or social nets to beeline into careers, many people need to create these channels and connections themselves. Additionally, people are incredibly resilient or adaptive, but when presented with a choice, don't need every skill. There's a balance between multitasking and complete specialization.

Being a "jobhopper" doesn't mean you're a flake, burnout, unreliable, whatever negative connotation. It might mean you are intelligent enough to take calculated risks and will gravitate towards what works for you, or secure what you enjoy. That's very important.

Be generous when you quit, offer to do what you can, then bail.

Agree with above. Permission encouraged. There is a huge tide of people trending toward occupations they enjoy now. As well as strikes for better pay (yes!). You can come too.
posted by firstdaffodils at 10:40 AM on July 21 [5 favorites]


Is the full-time position doing the exact same work which you've already done for this company as "very part-time contract work" and which you really enjoyed? If so, TAKE THIS JOB WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR YOU ALREADY KNOW YOU LIKE IT.
posted by jabes at 10:41 AM on July 21 [6 favorites]


Go go go go go. Having a good job that you enjoy, for more money, with people you like? It's going to do so much for your psyche that you'll have the bandwidth to deal with the perception of being a job-hopper *if* you need to in the future. And you might not ever need to!
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:41 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


First of all, don't feel bad about leaving. Cost of doing business, etc. The "job hopper" label varies wildly depending on your industry, but regardless 2 years doesn't make you look like that much less of a job hopper than 1.5 years does.

Here's my concern for you, though: it might be time for you to get more deliberate about your career.

You weren't actively job-searching when you found this new opportunity, and you're only comparing it to your current job. On the one hand, it does sound pretty good, what with it being work you're currently doing and enjoying, and better pay than your current job. But have you really done your due diligence about this place? There are plenty of places that are great to work as a contractor/part timer but very different for full-timers.

And have you done *any* research at all into what else is out there for you? Is it possible there's something even better that you don't know about yet because you *haven't* been job-searching?

Since you're not in a hellmouth that you're desperate to escape right now, it might be wise to take some time to think about what you really, really want from your career going forward.
posted by mskyle at 10:41 AM on July 21 [7 favorites]


Addendum: Agree with mskyle. Maybe this is your opportunity to find a situation/career you take more seriously.
posted by firstdaffodils at 10:43 AM on July 21


I'm also afraid, at 29, I've job hopped so much that if I don't stay at my present, prozac-inducing job, I will not be seen as a viable candidate.

Your brain is lying to you. You are such a viable candidate that you literally have an offer on the table.
posted by phunniemee at 10:44 AM on July 21 [21 favorites]


"Job hopping" is a bogeyman created by employers to scare employees into staying at jobs they don't like. Even at my job-hoppingest, when I was interviewing for my fifth job in four years, no hiring manager ever mentioned job hopping to me. Part of the reason is because I have actual skills. The other part is because it was obvious why I was taking these jobs: either they were in different states (like you), or they were self-evidently, objectively better jobs where literally anyone would have taken the new job (which also sounds like you). As long as you have a narrative, you'll be fine, and you've got a pretty compelling narrative: You were doing some volunteering, which led to a company asking you to consult, and eventually offering you full-time work. That's a much different narrative than "job hopping", where you were too fickle to stay employed for any period of time. And the thing is, if a hiring manager *does* view it as a negative that you volunteer outside of work and are competent, well, that's a red flag that you shouldn't work there anyway.
posted by kevinbelt at 11:15 AM on July 21 [14 favorites]


Easiest take the job of my life. You're afraid of something that someone may think... you have no idea if they would and I promise you it wouldn't matter if they did. So many congratulations.

I just quit my job and was done last week, final interview in about 30 mins for what seems like a possible dream job. I'm so glad I took the plunge either way. You do not want to be in a crappy job, and just think about looking back in 2 years? Bleh!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:24 AM on July 21


1st job - just shy of 2 years
2nd job - two and a bit years
3rd job - 1 year 1 month (laid off)
4th job - nearly six years
5th job - just over two years
6th job - 1 year (contracting, lost it due to Covid)
7th job - 1 year (so far, it’s pretty good, suspecting I’ll be here 3-4 years at least if the company continues to do well).

Moral of the story? My length of tenure tells nobody anything about the value (or lack thereof) of any job. I learned more in 3 combined years at jobs 5 and 6 than I did in six years at job 4. Any hiring manager who gets twitchy about a few short tenures in the 21st century is not someone you want to work for. If companies want people with 4-6 years in every role, they should actually invest in, train and properly reward their staff.

And don’t worry about leaving anybody in the lurch, they’ll survive. Go! Take the job! Do well at it! Trust your gut and move towards the slightly scary option, instead of the safe, soul-deadening one. I promise you, you’ll look back at this question in a year and ask yourself why it was even something you agonised over.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:28 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Take the new job immediately! I wouldn't worry at all about being a job hopper, especially in this economy. And you just got a job offer so clearly employers are not worried about you being a job hopper! Congratulations on your new role.
posted by pumpkinlatte at 11:34 AM on July 21


Oh puh-leeze, I had a coworker who "gets bored" and leaves every job after 2 years. She still somehow keeps getting hired. Go for the job.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:48 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


if I don't stay at my present, prozac-inducing job, I will not be seen as a viable candidate

...for what? You've got the job offer in hand!

Note that I think tech is generally more open to frequent moves than some other careers, so the advice you get here might skew a little liberal (e.g., lawyers will still generally try to stick it out the two years), but in a situation where you've already got your next move made, you're overblowing this worry. (Even in my more conservative field, if someone approached me with a great actual job offer, I'd take it even at less than a year in.) Even if it is a concern, just stay there for three years or whatever. At that point, it's unlikely people will look back past that.
posted by praemunire at 11:57 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


On the one hand, I want to push back a little on some of the answers here in saying that if I were interviewing you for a professional position and you stayed less than 2 years at your last three positions, I'd want to hear a convincing reason why you wouldn't just quit on me the moment something went wrong or a better offer came along.

On the other hand, the reason not to job-hop is because it might make it hard to find your next position, and you've already found a next position, so this is a future problem, not a now problem. And if you end up staying for 3 or 4 years at this new job then it basically stops being a problem.

So I'd say you should do your due diligence, make sure that the new place is a place you'd like to stay a while and that the work is going to be substantially similar to the contract work that you enjoyed so much, and then go ahead and take the new job. There's some amount of risk here if the new job goes bad, but life is too short to spend years at a job you don't like just because some hypothetical hiring manager in the future might look askance at the dates on your resume.
posted by firechicago at 12:29 PM on July 21 [4 favorites]


As someone who has completely given up on ever feeling competent at work I enjoy, DO IT DO IT DO IT. You're lucky!
posted by kingdead at 12:30 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Before I finished your question, I would have said that you should consider sticking with it for a bit longer while casually looking for something else if the problem is really just that the work is unfulfilling and not actively bad.

However, when I got to the part about having an offer for work you actually like, it became very clear that you should take it.
posted by wierdo at 12:34 PM on July 21


I've been involved in a number of hiring decisions recently and this work history would not have fazed me even a little.
posted by babelfish at 12:40 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Are you me? I'm leaving a job I've been in for 1.8 years, which is the fire that I jumped into after my last frying pan job lasted 1 year. I work in a close-knit industry, so I am self-conscious about getting a reputation as a flakey job hopper DESPITE the fact that my new boss said it was a "coup" to get me. So I get it.

But seriously: go. You already know you like the work at the new job, which is an advantage most people don't get before taking the plunge.

I have also been a hiring manager, and have had applicants with records like yours. Stacked against the qualities of an otherwise excellent candidate, it has never mattered.
posted by missrachael at 12:51 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


The concern about job hopping is that you'll look bad to potential employers. You clearly look great as you have been offered a job! A job that pays better and would mean you could quit a job that's not working for you! The best part is that you've already started doing some of this work, so you know you like it. This seems like a dream scenario for getting a new job.

I hear your concern, but I don't think having a fourth job at age 29 or 30, especially with a move, is a red flag.

As for your guilt about leaving your current job: it sounds like you have concern and compassion for your colleagues, which speaks well to your professionalism and work ethic. However, this job also has you taking medication for stress--that's not a job to stay in.

Go into this new job planning to stay for a bit. It sounds like a great opportunity, and I wish you the best.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:02 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Current job is affecting your mental health to the point you need medication and you have an offer you think won't? Leave, leave, leave and don't look back.

As much as I want to try this next job full time, I know leaving my team high and dry (we've had 2 people quit already this year on our small team) is not going to be good.

Having been on both sides of this try not to feel guilty about this. No one is going to blame you for quiting. They all know why you are leaving. If they blame anyone it'll be management.
posted by Mitheral at 1:09 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


I didn't read all the comments to see if this was addressed, but you can totally tell the new people that you'll take the job if you can agree on a better title. Go to bat for yourself and tell them the title you want.

I think 3 jobs in 5+ years is fine, especially your first three jobs out of school, because you have good stories to tell why you left the first two and you're getting cherry-picked for this one, which is also a good story to be able to tell.

Other than that, they want you, they pay better, and you like the work. You seem to have a therapist, so you can go into it with their help, in my mind mostly to see if there's anything you might be doing to sabotage your job situation that shortened your time at past jobs. But other than that completely imaginary concern, all signs point to yes!

I know leaving my team high and dry (we've had 2 people quit already this year on our small team)

Lastly, this is not you leaving them high and dry, it's your boss. Two people quitting a team where 3 leaving is a big problem points to maybe other people having to Prozac their way through the day as well, right? This is the company's doing, not the people. No reason to feel guilty for shitty management. Frankly if I was going to have a fantasy exit interview I'd use it to tell boss to get their shit together because they're obviously fucking up, and your option to leave details and examples out would be being nice about it.
posted by rhizome at 1:38 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


"I'd want to hear a convincing reason why you wouldn't just quit on me the moment ... a better offer came along"

Is not a better offer coming along, and with it the chance to materially improve one's life, a convincing enough reason on its own?
posted by kevinbelt at 1:51 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


The only time that I've considered tenure in previous roles while making a hiring decision is more in the context of other red-flags, and in my view staying too long in the wrong job is not actually better than shorter stints.

(Also, personally I don't think AskAManager is that great but I doubt even Alison and her commentariat would advocate you should stay in a job that requires taking Prozac.)
posted by sm1tten at 2:41 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


I have bipolar disorder. I will be on meds for the rest of my life. I'm here to tell you that you cannot medicate external toxicity. You can medicate yourself as a kind of shield, but it will only last so long. How do I know? I increased my anti-depressant AND my mood stabilizer 3 times in 8 years. Then I rage quit my job. I was almost immediately able to decrease my meds back to their original dosage.

I wish someone had said to me 5 or 6 years earlier what bludaisy says above: "As for your guilt about leaving your current job: it sounds like you have concern and compassion for your colleagues, which speaks well to your professionalism and work ethic. However, this job also has you taking medication for stress--that's not a job to stay in."
posted by MuChao at 3:03 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I am you minus having a new job that I know I like lined up. Please do it and don't look back, if only so that I can live vicariously through you.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 3:07 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I decided to do some contract work very part time for them, and then...it turns out I really enjoy it? They offered a full time position.

Be forewarned - those may be two different jobs, either from their perspective, or yours.

Career contractor/consultant here. I'm now retired and do for hobby what I used to do for pay - I enjoy it that much. I was an employee at my first two jobs. I learned a lot at both of them. But one thing I learned was that the promotion path for a good engineer was ... out of engineering(!?) and into management, and I saw, and was at the affect of, what kind of managers reportedly good engineers made. I was a mis-fit there and got booted out (by one of those of whom it was said, "He used to be a good engineer..."), ultimately to my benefit. I began working as a contractor/consultant and never looked back. Same kind of work, much better boss! :)

Which is to say, ask yourself what made contract work feel so suitable? Was it the work? Or was it being in charge of how and when it gets done?

For myself, I was SO much happier as a contractor; learned far more facing new challenges and technologies than I could by writing version after version of the same old thing; being both the manager and the creator/worker; was able to give my clients better work; and felt better about delivering it to someone who actually cared about it - enough to pay for it. (Your boss thinks you work for free, (except at review time); your client knows you don't - every month - and could end it anytime. If they haven't, you know they like what they're getting).

Best of luck, whatever choice you make.
posted by TruncatedTiller at 3:42 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


« Older How to automate downloading photos from daycare...   |   Quick Basil Question Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments