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OK, so I have been in the tech industry in the Silicon Valley in the US for over 6 years. I want to move into a different kind of roles which requires some skills and knowledge that I currently do not have/use in my current job. My current job is fairly demanding and I get exhausted when I come back home after working for 10+ hrs. In short I do not get time to prepare myself for the kind of roles I am looking for.

I did interviewed couple of times for the roles I am looking and the feedback from the prospective employer has been on the lines of "that the other candidate had more knowledge from technical standpoint". This has led me to believe that I need to spend some time (like 6-8 weeks or so) in order to bring myself up to speed (The knowledge that I am trying to acquire is well within my reach, it's just that I have not used it in a while).

I have been considering to quit my current job (I am not happy in my current job anyways) so that I lock myself in a room and prepare for the future interviews.

My question(s): I always read/hear that finding a new job is much easier when you have are employed. I would like to understand how would a prospective employer look at this move? Most often recruiters on initial contact will ask what is your work situation. I don't want to look like a somebody who looks suspicious (because he/she is out of work) and with a looser attitude. Will this decision harm more than the benefits that it will bring?

Edit: I can sustain myself financially for over 1 year as I have saved enough.

  • @JoeStrazzere - That was certainly not the intention. I said recruiters because usually they are the first point of contact and you can only get a chance to talk to Hiring manager once the recruiter thinks you are a potential candidate. I have updated my posted. Feel free to comment. – modest Apr 29 '13 at 16:59
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    This sounds like more of a personal life choice than people can help you with here. You are in a much better bargaining position when you have a job and finding the right job is never easy. It would be a large risk to quit your job and do training but it is your choice. – Quinma Apr 29 '13 at 17:22
  • Does your current employer have any provisions for extended time off (sabbaticals etc)? How much leave do you have saved up? – Monica Cellio Apr 29 '13 at 18:08
  • Will your employer pay for classes? you can get class experience which is valuable on a resume AND your employer would have to let you off work to go to the class they are paying for. – Quinma Apr 29 '13 at 19:14
  • Very related question - here – enderland Apr 29 '13 at 21:28
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In my experience, recruiters and hiring managers alike would see a red flag raised with any break in your work history. It's not always logical, but the thought is "Why wasn't this person working? Is there something wrong here?"

This can happen after a layoff. We all know of people who are laid off and immediately launch into a full-scale attack on the job market, working intensely to find their next position, and shorten their time off as much as possible. And we all know of people who use a layoff as an excuse to take it easy for a while, as they collect unemployment checks. Recruiters and hiring managers often welcome the first group, and discount the second group.

If you take yourself out of the job market in order to beef up you skills for a career change, you risk being lumped in with the "taking time off people" - fairly or unfairly.

You also raise the possibility in the hiring manager's mind that you may be the kind of person who will never be happy for long. That, basically you'll do to them what you are thinking about doing to your current employer. Again, this may be fair or unfair, but it's a real reaction for some hiring managers.

And you also risk raising the question about your ability to learn new things. In many jobs, learning is an ongoing process. If you can't learn what you need for your career change while working at your current job, perhaps you can't learn within your next job (or, so the thinking goes).

And even if you can sustain yourself for a year without income, there will come a time (sooner or later) when you start to feel stressed. That might not happen for a year, or it might happen in a month, everyone reacts differently. (I know that at many points in my career I would have been stressed with any amount of time at all when I wasn't on a payroll).

Either way, you won't raise any flags at all by taking the time to learn what you need for your next career while still working at your current position. If you quit your current job first, you may not raise any red flags, but then again you may.

Tough choices, but that's the real world (at least as I see it).

Good luck!

13

As someone who has done this, let me offer a bit of caution:

Spending 6-8 weeks isn't enough time to get up to speed technically at anything. Worse yet, it's not experience that can go on a resume, and isn't experience that (nearly all) hiring managers respect. Doing exercises at home is good, but tend to be more shallow and not 'business-like'.

I personally ended up spending 15 months looking high and low for a place to give me a chance, and once there I had less than no leverage to negotiate salary. Sure, I did very well once there and have built a successful career from it. But for the first 2-4 years after spending multiple months unemployed, you're going to be making a fraction of what you should be (or perhaps expect).

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Bad plan. Spending the time learning the skills in more depth is great but you will still be rated lower tha people who are using them in their jobs every day. So you gain virtually nothing by doing this.

Further, many people who try this find out that they end up frittering their time away and don't actually spend concentrated time on the skills.

You talk about the long hours you currently work and how that makes it difficult for you to learn new skills. Now here is something you can do something about. First take a minimum of a one week vacation and do not do anything technology realted. You sound (And probably are) exhausted and need to recharge.

When you come back, scale back your hours to no more than 40 a week. Now you do have the time and the energy to learn, you are still employed and thus will be more attractive to hire than if you were unemployed.

  • Those last couple paragraphs sounds are good advice if possible. However, the OP may not have the vacation time to use. Even worse, some employers will not let employees scale back their hours to 40/week. (Which I know raises other issues, but that's getting off topic for this question.) – GreenMatt Apr 29 '13 at 19:05
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    @GreenMatt, many people work those hours assuming they have to than actually have to. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. And it is harmful of productivity to work those types of hours as exhausted people work slower and make more mistakes. We have known that scientifically for over a 100 years. It is worth a try to cut back as he doesn;t intend to stay there anyway. – HLGEM Apr 29 '13 at 19:44
  • *typo: leraning. not enough rep to care to submit to edit queue. – Kermit Apr 29 '13 at 20:18
  • @HLGEM: I don't disagree with the exhaustion point. However, I once knew someone who was required to work 14 hour days x 7 days per week and whose employer told them that if they didn't like it they could quit (and they did quit eventually). – GreenMatt Apr 29 '13 at 20:32
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    @greenMAtt, I had one of those jobs too, only job I ever had that I spent less than a year at. Only an idiot for a boss would expect that, unfortunately some bosses are idiots. This person is thinking of quitting anyway, so it's not so risky to try to cut down the hours. – HLGEM Apr 29 '13 at 20:51

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