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I wonder if you can advise me about job-hopping: whether and how to do it.

I've never left an employer voluntarily. Recently I was at one employer for 10 years, where the work and pay were good and I never had an incentive to look elsewhere. I left only when the company closed down, and I've now been unemployed for a few months.

One company has just asked me for a 2nd interview. During the 1st interview I deduced that their business model is to spend VC money on an infeasable project, which should die in about 1 year when the VC money runs out. I would like to avoid it and wait for a better company, but given what people say about the current job market ...

1) If I take the job, one condition is that I must keep "core hours" - I'm guessing that part of the reason for that, or a side-effect of that, is to make it difficult for their employees to go to interviews with other employers? How do you cope with this phenomenon, as an employer or as an employee? One "work-around" I've heard of is to pretend to have a "doctor's appointment" as an excuse to be away from work, when you're going for an interview elsewhere, but obviously that would be lying.

2) Something else I'm hesitant about is accepting a lower-level job (i.e. one where where I wouldn't have been 'lead programmer') at a company that appears to be a losing proposition, given that I'm proud of the previous company and my position there and see this one as relatively a step down. I might also end up with worse references from this new company than I would get from my ex-bosses at my previous employer ... so in that way, accepting this job could hurt my chances of getting another. On the other hand, my previous employers hired me for my ability and not for my references.

I've heard it's usual and preferable to go to a new job from an old one: better to look for a new job when you're already currently employed than when you're not. How do you actually do that? Lie about why you're away from the office when you do to another interview? Expect potential employers to give you an interview outside of office hours? Expect your current employer to give you time off so that you can go for an interview?

My other question is, how can I possibly assess the likelihood of getting another offer elsewhere if I turn this opportunity down? I am still finding job advertisements, and applying for them ...

I realise that ultimately it's me who must decide, and that I inevitably have more information about my situation than I can put in writing ... I thought I might ask you for your input though, given that I've never had the experience of looking for a non-entry-level job, of looking for another job while already employed, and of looking for a job in what's said to be a bad market for employees.

I'm even nervous about what to say in the 2nd interview. I could tell them that their product seems infeasable to me and what am I missing, or are they really just in it for short-term employment ... or I could present a "can-do" attitude. At my last job, I was able to tell my bosses what could and what could not be done ... but the advice I'm getting about interviewing is to "NEVER express doubt about your ability".

it's a big world out there
Tuesday, July 15, 2003

You're unemployed, what do you have to lose?  Take the job.  Even if it only lasts for 1 year - you can start looking for another job when you feel the company is a month or two from flopping. 

As far as core hours, you have sick days, vacation time, etc.  They can't take that from you ;-)

And yeah, everybody has a doctor's/dentist appointment a couple of days/weeks before giving what?

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Take control of your career. You sound like a scared employee always on the verge of getting the axe. Be honest, confident, and do not incriminate yourself. Job titles are meaningless so look at what you can gain from the job not what you can offer the employer. For example, if you can get a .NET C# job without knowing those technologies I say take it at a reduced salary and then quit in 6 months.

Tom Vu 
Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Ummm, what was it Jack Welch used to say?
Control your own destiny, or someone else will.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Core hours are nothing special, and its not really designed to keep you from interviewing - at least in normal companies.  Many company or IS department that relies on communication and client meetings will require some sort of core hours (we're 9-3).  That still gives some flexibility to the employees but makes sure that if you need to get ahold of someone you can.

As for the job, go for it.  If it lasts at least a year that's something.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I wonder what Jack is saying now?  Seems like he didn't exactly follow his own advice ...

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Tuesday, July 15, 2003

The current economy proves one thing - companies will fsck you to further their own ends (More Profit!!!!1!). Naturally rhey expect loyalty in return. Say waddafu'? IOW, don't be afraid to do to them what they would to you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

You know, I've never been particularly reticent about admitting going to job interviews. I think companies should really consider that decent people will continually interview. They should consider it part of their motivation to have a staff retention policy.

I book half a day off and turn up for the other half in a suit, where the hell do they think I'm going?

It's not that I'm thinking of leaving any more than normal... I just consider it worthwhile keeping myself on the job market.

Plus I sometimes just turn up in a suit, because I want to look smart. Usually coincides with some meeting where I want to take some control...

Katie Lucas
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Er, you take halfdays off work to go to interviews. If asked you mumble something about getting a TV delivered. They'll guess, but so what?

Mr Jack
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I guess I never considered core hours that unusual, as most of the places I've worked had them.  I never thought they were for the purpose of preventing folks from attending an interview.

My belief about them... is that they help team work activities, when a team is more than just a herd slapped with a label.  Pretty hard to have teamwork when bits of the team drift in and out.

Kind of like professional sports... hard to have a scheduled game if the players decide when and if they show up for it or not.  Part of doing business.

Just take time off for the interview.  It's your business and concerns no one else, and that would be what I would tell them "personal business".

Joe AA
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

"The current economy proves one thing - companies will fsck you to further their own ends (More Profit!!!!1!). Naturally rhey expect loyalty in return. Say waddafu'? IOW, don't be afraid to do to them what they would to you."

the investment you put into a company is always more than the investment the company puts in you.  When you lose a job, who hurts more?  You or the company?

constructive comment
Wednesday, July 16, 2003

In my experience, "core hours" actually means the company is on flex-time.


Often, companies that are on flex-time still need to be able to schedule meetings, conference calls, and so on - sometimes on the spur of the moment.  To accomplish this, while still given people the benefits of flex-time, they typically declare that their core business hours are something like 10AM to 3PM or some such and that you're expected to be in the office between these hours.

So essentially you can work 10AM-6PM, or 7AM-3PM, or 9AM-5PM, or any combination you're comfortable with, and you can still count on being able to schedule face time reliably.

Chris Hanson
Friday, July 18, 2003

Core-hours are necessary. Period. Punto. Full stop.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, July 20, 2003

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