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I've recently become engaged (like a week ago). My fiancee lives in a different state than I do, and I have an easier career path in her city than she does in my city. She also just started a new job (coming up on month 5). It looks like I'm going to have to move.

My company has branches in both cities so this may not be a problem career-wise. But in case I'm unable to transfer, I would consider seeking employment elsewhere.

I have just hit my 1-year anniversary at my current job. My dad in particular has told me that for a young professional (I'm 25 with a Master's degree), it's "career suicide" to leave any job before the 5-year mark. This obviously doesn't work out for our engagement/marriage, since we don't want to marry until we're located in the same city.

I am worried that with only a year's experience (I do plan on sticking out 2013, so maybe make that 16 months) before attempting to change jobs, hiring managers will see my resume and think "serial job jumper". How can I minimize the impact of changing jobs after a year to be near my fiancee? (I figure "I left my last job because I moved to be with my wife" sounds better for the hiring manager than "I was fired" or other career-related reasons for leaving.)

  • @JoeStrazzere I'm in aerospace engineering. This is my first job out of school. (Note that this includes graduate school; I have an MS in aerospace and only entered the workforce in August 2012.) – Dang Khoa Sep 2 '13 at 23:58
  • Please explain the downvote? – Dang Khoa Sep 3 '13 at 0:34
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    @DangKhoa I brushed it up a bit, I think it may not solve all the issues, but I tried to focus it a bit. Thanks for participating in the process -- because The Workplace is a subjective site, it can be a delicate balancing act for many questions. I hope this solves the major issues, but if not I'm sure other members of the community may step in and help out. – jmac Sep 3 '13 at 1:24
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    I would take the advice of an aerospace engineering insider instead of anyone trying to generalize the job current hopping trend. – user8365 Sep 3 '13 at 13:54
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    Why are there close votes on this question? It seems clear, on-topic, and answerable to me. – Monica Cellio Sep 3 '13 at 15:09
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Executive Summary

Each hiring manager has their quirks, but I think you would be hard-pressed to find a hiring manager who deposits your resume in the bin because you moved after a one-year stint to be with your wife.

Ask for a Transfer

If you want to stay for the company, sit down with your manager and explain the situation:

Hey boss, I recently got engaged to someone in city X, and we are planning to live together in the future. Since I really like working for this company, and we have a branch there, that would be the ideal situation. Would you be willing to help me get transferred? I know this will leave you short-handed, so I am happy to work at this office until the end of the year to help the transition if needed.

Two things can happen:

  1. He will say yes
  2. He will say no

If he says yes, you're golden, but otherwise...

You Have a Great, "Why did you leave your last position?" Interview Answer

So you asked your boss for a transfer, and were willing to stay for well beyond your notice period to help out the transition. And he still said no. So you were forced to choose between your fiance or your job. This is a very reasonable explanation for why you left a position -- you can just saying something like:

I got engaged to someone who lived in this area, and was looking for a transfer within my company to be closer. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, and I had to decide between waiting another year away from my fiance, or moving closer. I think I'd be a good fit to work here because...

Note: If you feel uncomfortable pointing out that you are getting married, you can always say, "I had family obligations in the area" or something equally ambiguous. The point you're trying to make is that you left your company because you had to, not because you wanted a change of pace or scenery

Don't Burn Any Bridges

Even if your boss says no, and you start applying for other jobs, don't tell your boss that you will do that. He can probably read between the lines, but if you do like your current company, you want to keep a good relationship as something may open up in the future, and it never hurts to get a good recommendation.

  • perfect answer, i was just about to write this – Rhys Sep 2 '13 at 23:39
  • No one will admit to being concerned about picking your significant other over your job, but that doesn't mean they like it. This limits the employer's ability to do what it takes to keep an employee because there is another force outside of their control. Don't be shocked if it is seen as a red flag. – user8365 Sep 3 '13 at 13:58
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    Over my career I've seen quite a few applicants (and coworkers) who had to move because of a two-body problem. I've never seen that be a deterrent for employment. "Moved for spouse's job" is a way better reason for leaving a job than many others I've heard. – Monica Cellio Sep 3 '13 at 15:08

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