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Biting the bullet, so I thought I'd ask here (first time). I feel like I'm quite the overthinker.

I still want to get my first job, but I'm currently less than 6 months in on a potential flight to study abroad. "Potential", as it's unsure whether the scheduled flight will happen because of COVID-19. I have also been unemployed for more than a year since I graduated. However, I'm worried about how landing a first job only to leave it soon would look on my resume and career, especially with the long gap.

So before I continue my search, I want to make an informed decision: How will securing a first job, only to leave it in less than 6 months to study abroad, impact my career? Will leaving it early make the job look like an unfortunate stain on my resume?

I'm worried that the possibly short-term first job may leave a negative impression on me and I'm not sure if I should leave it off and risk making the preceding gap look bigger. I'm also worried that by waiting for the results and NOT continuing my search, it'll make my gap bigger AND waste those precious months of searching. I'm glad to hear that some companies would want to know why I would leave a job early, which is relieving, but I'm more concerned that 1 wrong move might mess with my employment chances on a greater scope. The last thing I'd want other than a longer gap is another gap.

I've read in some websites that leaving a job early may result in negative consequences like blacklisting, damage to my rep and/or co-worker resentment, which may be a matter of consequence from the exit. I've also read some tales of people who left a job early and nothing really bad has happened to them and/or they got something good out of the old job. But that just makes me want to hear a general answer more.

Heck, I don't even know how I'd act on an interview knowing that I might leave them early to study abroad lingering on the back of my mind.

Some background: It's been close to a year that I've failed to secure a job (rejection letters and silence). It's taken a toll on my mental health (which has been made bad enough by college). At some point I had an epiphany of what I really wanted to do while I coped by being busy. I decided that I could try taking a sabbatical to study abroad, which has been a dream I re-realized. My extended family is highly supportive and encouraging of me and have the funds to help pay for it. I applied via a consultancy and it has been smooth sailing so far. As that went on I continued to look for a job to support myself and gain experience. Then COVID-19 happened, throwing a wrench into everything.

I took a break from the search, slowed down on the applications and worked on finding ways to deal with my mental health. I also managed to improve my skills in a way I am proud and confident of, made better projects, reworked my resume and portfolio and improved my network. Now I believe I am more than capable to take on entry-level work.

And that brings me to my current situation.

TL;DR: I am not sure if I should continue my job search as I am less than 6 months into a scheduled flight to study abroad, because of several reasons like: whether the flight will happen at all (due to COVID-19), the possibility of the job becoming short-term, worrying about the future because of that, not knowing how to face an interview knowing I might leave the job early and having a year's worth of unemployment behind me. I want to know how bad of an impact it is to leave a first job early so I would know if it's worth a shot to press on.

DISCLAIMER: Not sure about this, but I've considered the option of temp/contract jobs. I realized this just as I was about to post this question. However that gives me another issue to deal with. I have no idea how to approach this route. Like I said, I'm less than 6 months into what could be a flight abroad. I don't know what to look for. I don't know how this would impact my resume either.

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    Is it possible for you to find employment on a 6 month contract? – Gregory Currie Jun 14 at 10:33
  • Normally (when not dealing with global pandemic) there are plenty of entry job that have extreme flexibility, fast food industry for example. When things open up, those are probably your best bet. – Tymoteusz Paul Jun 14 at 10:35
  • You don't say in which field you are studying/searching for a job. This might have an impact on how the short first employment and a gap afterward is viewed. – Luc Jun 17 at 7:33
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Since there is a possibility that you will not travel abroad, there is no reason not to continue the search. At best you find a job, even for a short while, at worst you have lost nothing. I would be upfront with the person hiring, stating that you might be leaving to study. This will probably diminish your chances of landing a job. However, that should not be a deterrent. At the very minimum, you will find potential places of employment in the future. Even if you do not find employment, the experience in looking for a job is valuable. You will learn where and how to look and how different interview processes work. If you are fortunate enough to find a job, great. Even if you do leave, you might have found a place to come back to when you are finished studying abroad.

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Never let the possibility of something get in the way of the here and now.

I've made that mistake plenty of times and it never results in anything good.

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Firstly well done for persevering in job-hunting. You recognised it as having a negative effect on your mental health and you got it sorted. I would look for both temporary/contract and a full-time position. Any working experience is valuable when you start out. Even if it is temporary work, and not exactly in your field. You know that you have a long term plan you are working on. I always ask about gaps in working history. So you would be able to add to your work experience. And if you do get interviews you get to practice for your future job after studying.

All the best!

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