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Should I stay or should I go?

I've spent the last 8 months working for a small public ISV which has seen some hard times.  Although they seem to be slowly crawling out of their dot-bomb hole, it's obviously gonna be a long, slow slog. 

Overall,  the work itself isn't bad, and by all accounts I'm doing a great job, but I don't feel like I'm a good fit for this place. (no team, skeleton crew, hellish politics,headcount obesession,management contempt for rank & file)

After seeing my pittance of stock equity get obliterated in a week, and having to battle like a Viking for a 3% raise, I'm realizing it may be  time to move on.

My question is thus:  How long do I need to stay to avoid beng considered a 'Job Hopper'? 1 year? 2?

JoS community opinions are always apreciated!

Greg Sabaras
Monday, May 24, 2004

I stayed 12 years in one place, 4 months in the next. Does that make me a job-hopper? I'd tell an interviewer that my record shows that I'm willing to stay, iff the place is right.

Christopher Wells
Monday, May 24, 2004

Tought question. If you stay will there be trouble? And If you go will it be double?

Dave
Monday, May 24, 2004

heheh, Dave, you silly

Greg Sabaras
Monday, May 24, 2004

Find yourself another position and then give a notice to your current employer. If during the the search for better work place you find companies that think you are a job hopper - just hop over them and go to the next company. Since you are not in rush to change jobs you can (and should be) selective.

I have been in the SW biz for about 11 years and during this time have had relationship with 9 companies. Some companies may think about me as 'Job Hopper' - these are the ones that I don't care about. The rest of the companies are the honest ones - they know they need workers to get the work done and then move on. They call people like me contractors.

Job Hopper (aka SW Contractor)
Monday, May 24, 2004

"So You Gotta Let Me Know OHHHHHHHHHH......."

Gen'xer
Monday, May 24, 2004

Usually the companies that talk of terms like job-hopping are also the ones who will not hesitate for a minute to reduce staff when it suits their purposes. They use those terms as tools of intimidation, propaganda and control.

Another one is loyalty. Any company that truly deserves your loyalty will never mention the word, but those who least deserve it will constantly harp on it and above all never return it.

old_timer
Monday, May 24, 2004

I've been worried about that in the past, but always more than I should I have been. For example, I had a couple of multi-year jobs, got laid off, then took a new one that was just god-awful. I interviewed for something else about six weeks later, and I was concerned about how to explain it. But it never even came up (and I got the job).

Not that it never will come up, but there are worse things to be called than "job hopper". I came to the conclusion that it made no sense to stay where I'm unhappy and forgo a potential job for the sake of finding a job at some undetermined point in the future.

Good luck.

Ty
Monday, May 24, 2004

In my experience, I haven't gotten a negative reaction to any job lasting longer than a year... mind you, that *longer* than a year - exactly a year has raised an eyebrow or 3.

This indecisions bugging me...
Monday, May 24, 2004

I've left 2 jobs with less than 1 year at each.  Never an issue.  When its time to go - then leave.  It will take a month or 2 to find your best  offer anyway.  Use a cell phone to take calls and exit your employer's building when taking them.

hoser
Monday, May 24, 2004

It mattered once upon a time. When I started working in the 60s you entered a company with all intentions of staying for life. There were often multi-generational connections going to work where your dad and grandad worked all their lives as well. The companies too hired people with the belief that it would be a lifelong relationship.

Of course, it was forgivable if a young man spent a couple years at his first job and it didn't work out. That was part of the maturing process. Two, maybe three jobs before the age of 30 was acceptable, but 5? That was a mark of immaturity or worse, perhaps deep personal problems. Trying to move between jobs after 35 was the kiss of death unless you were starting your own business. That was a whole nuther matter.

It all changed in the 1980's and the primary architect was Jack "if you got paid on Friday the company owes you nothing" Welch.

old_timer
Monday, May 24, 2004

old_timer,

Big companies shouldn't care about job hoppers, but smaller companies and teams have valid concerns.

If I'm trying to build a company/product I don't want the entire staff to have a history of switching jobs every year.

But anyway... I am a jop-hopper myself. One thing that annoys me are the companies with lengthy vesting periods for stock options and 401K matching. Those have seemed like the worst places to work. I think it's because they provide a disincentive for people to leave if they don't like their job.

NathanJ
Monday, May 24, 2004

The employment history shouldn’t be an issue if they like you and you have a solid skill set.  If you get negged b/c of it then they didn’t want you to begin with.  I have heard that 2 years is the base norm to stay at one place.  I’m not sure that that rule still applies after the bust.

AnonX
Monday, May 24, 2004

"One thing that annoys me are the companies with lengthy vesting periods for stock options and 401K matching"

I want to stay a year to cash out some vested options (1/4 vest after first year,1/48th per month thereafter), but after last week, it's looking like I might be cashing a check for $150 bucks.

Greg Sabaras
Monday, May 24, 2004

Anytime things have gotten bad enough that you're asking complete strangers on a message board about your career choices (and using your real name), then I would say it's time to move on.

In my 15 years in multiple industries, I've never seen an unhappy employee turn into a happy one without a significant change in management.

yet another anon
Monday, May 24, 2004

thanks for the advice - BTW, it's not my real name, dude ;-)

Greg Sabaras
Monday, May 24, 2004

Also, asking here is not really like asking "complete strangers" - there are probably more years of professional SW dev experience here than in any peer group one may have.

I guess it's can be hard to judge the gap between 'unhappy' and 'intolerable'.

Greg Sabaras
Monday, May 24, 2004

I just told my fiery tempered boss my co-worker, also happens to be named Greg Sabaras, was on his way out. Ohhh boy. The shits really going to hit the fan now...

Anon-y-mous Cow-ard
Monday, May 24, 2004

Funny!  Sabara (pronounced SAB-A-RAH) is a word my younger brother made up about ten years ago.  Always prefixed with an utterly generic name, i.e:

Tim Sabara
Bill Sabara
Randy Sabara
Greg Sabara

We just found out there is an actor named "Darryl Sabara" (he was in Spy Kids, I believe), and have gone around calling each other 'DS' for a few weeks now

Greg Sabaras
Monday, May 24, 2004

Well said old_timer


Monday, May 24, 2004

I started this thinking when I was in middle-school, there were the jocks, the cool kids, and then my-group.  There was always the feeling that I am not right in this situation, these guys suck, that kind of rhetoric.  After some growth, I have learned it will make me a much stronger person to work with people who I may not see eye-to-eye with initially.  It may be a testament to you as a person if you can change the attitude of management, you may be able(in small increments at first) to change the culture if you speak up and pinpoint flaws in your organization.  Once you leave your job, you may end up in a similar environment, except now you have to start all over again, building relationships and such.

Berlin Brown
Monday, May 24, 2004

Berlin, it's interesting you bring this up- because while I'm having similar thoughts - the fact remains that this corp has had nearly 100% management turnover in it's short history - and the "culture" reflects it

Greg Sabaras
Monday, May 24, 2004

Greg, I think these days any period longer than 3 months counts as lengthy, anything less is project or short term. They're not negatives.

In IT type areas, having lots of different positions means you've been exposed to many different technologies and ways of doing things, and means you can adapt to new situations.


Monday, May 24, 2004

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