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I just quit a job after 9 months. Landed another job. Here is why I quit:

  • Job involved a relocation that was not going well at all. I really disliked the new area, and missed the old area. I was nervous about the location before moving because I used to live there and didn't like it, but was pressured into making the move by family.

  • Job presented a hostile work environment. I had a coworker who did many bad things. He grabbed me by the collar and dragged me across the room during stand-up (he wanted me to be able to speak into a microphone so remote people can hear). This caused another coworker to immediately make fun of me for it. This same coworker constantly made inappropriate jokes that made me visibly uncomfortable. He also yelled at me a lot, and called me "weird" for being introverted. I confronted him about the issues and he calmed down/I think he legitimately realized he was being mean and felt bad about it, but I was still very shaken by the whole thing and started sending out my resume at the peak of his abuse. I also recorded all incidents and submitted them to management.

  • Job had poor engineering quality. This is by far the smallest contributor to my reason for quitting, since it wasn't so bad that I couldn't handle it and there were plenty of opportunities for me to advise how to improve engineering quality. I would've ordinarily stayed at least a year before quitting for this reason.

This job was a post acquisition startup, purchased by a prominent Silicon Valley company you have heard of. I was expecting a similar culture to what I was used to and didn't know it was an acquired startup until after I interviewed - Previous to that, I had worked at Microsoft for three years on Azure. Fortunately, my next job is at a company I know is good because a friend of mine works there.

I'm concerned that this stint will hurt me in the future. I moved back to my old area, but may want to move to Europe in two or three years. I honestly don't know what to say in the interview - I feel like everything about the experience reflects poorly on me. I knew this area wasn't a good fit for me, but I moved anyway - how will future employers trust me to relocate again? If I mention the hostile work environment, will people think I'm just a difficult person?

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    Is 9 months a particularly brief stay in your line of work? It sounds like you're a software developer in Silicon Valley where 9 months is a perfectly normal tenure at a company. If someone asks why you left (which seems unlikely), you simply say that you left for a better opportunity elsewhere. – Justin Cave Oct 29 at 21:23
  • 9 months is a bit short - usually its reccomended to stay 1 year at least. I gave up a big bonus by quitting early. Im also concerned about how folks outside of silicon valley will take this - I gather work culture is quite different in Europe due to the different nature of employment (harder to fire people, harder to get hired) – user111356 Oct 29 at 21:25
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    It may be a bit on the short side but it seems unlikely to be so short that it's going to attract a whole lot of attention/ questions. Unless you have a pattern of changing jobs every 9 months, I'd be surprised if anyone batted an eye. – Justin Cave Oct 29 at 21:28
  • Thank you, thats reassuring to here. It is normal in SV to change jobs frequently - if I internalize that and communicate it clearly to someone in a different work culture perhaps folks wont mind. – user111356 Oct 29 at 21:30
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not sure how to talk about it down the line when seeking positions

That implies that you need to know how to handle the interview.

Well, as discussed countless times, you need to be politically correct and NEVER say anything bad about for former employer(s).

Therefore:

Job involved a relocation

Is a perfectly safe and reasonable reason to leave a job. I even had a colleague myself, he traveled daily for about 6 months 2 times 60 km, until he decided it is not really worth the trouble.

Job presented a hostile work environment

This is dangerous information to talk about. Keep it to yourself at any cost.

Job had poor engineering quality

This is dangerous information to talk about, again. Keep it to yourself at any cost.


Just tell the things which are about anything, BUT the people at the previous job, their behaviors, their work results.., and you will be fine.


Please note that the relocation reason:

  • is politically correct;
  • perfectly explains the leaving (in general);
  • perfectly explains the short employment time (9 months).

how will future employers trust me to relocate again?

Do you have a "long" history of leaving jobs after just a few months worked, just because of the relocation issues? Most likely, not. Depending on how many jobs you will have had at the time of the interview, you can show that this 9-month employment tends to be more on the exception-side of things.

Furthermore, you can turn it a bit in your favor, by underlining that even though the relocation was not what you expected, you still made efforts to not disappoint your employer by leaving too early.

Also, it shows that you are a fighter, trying to fix things while there is still a chance to fix them. And you also know when to give up, to avoid further damage, at the mutual advantage of both parties being able to find better-suited "partners".

  • "Job involved a relocation - Is a perfectly safe and reasonable reason to leave a job." Yes, however, OP said that they are looking to move to Europe, it may not be a good idea adding this in an interview when going for another relocation – Bee Oct 30 at 10:46
  • OP knew (and disliked) the previous area before relocating, because he lived there. He has no previous experience / prejudice against Europe - and that is a big difference. – virolino Oct 30 at 10:52
  • Yes which is where @BSMP has a slight upper-hand on yours. I'm just pointing out that if all OP says is that he left because the job involved relocation, that wouldn't look great for a job where he needs to relocate... – Bee Oct 30 at 10:58
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I've never worked in Europe, so maybe there's a cultural difference I'm missing, but I've never had an employer ask why I left a job other than to ask why I'm leaving my current one. No one asked why I left my 1st job when I was interviewing for my 3rd.

You've had a job you spent 3 years at and you now have a job back where you want to live that you expect to be good. Presumably, you'll be there for the two or three years before you move to Europe. Your resume will still show that you stick around more often than not. You'll probably only be asked why you're leaving your current job, not why you left the one before that.

But let's say I'm wrong and it comes up.

I knew this area wasn't a good fit for me, but I moved anyway...

This actually works in your favor. You moved to a city you dislike for a job against your better judgement. But that won't be the case when you move to Europe; you'll be moving because you want to and you'll have time to do research to make sure the area you move to suits you.

The job required relocating to an area that I knew doesn't suit me. I moved anyway against my better judgement and ended up moving back. However, I've done a lot of research and spent some time in [area in Europe] and believe I'll be happy moving here.

You may even add that you've been thinking about moving to Europe for a few years.

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