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I'm considering quitting my current job. I've worked there for 10 months.

My question is whether or not it looks better to quit after a 'round' amount of time (IE - One Year' than a seemingly random amount of time (IE - 14 months, two weeks). Or does it simply not matter?

I keep flip-flopping on the topic. On the one hand, if I quit after 'one year' it seems more likely to be a conscious choice and something I would have given consideration and planning before doing. On the other hand, it seems like companies often have probationary periods of 3, 6 or 12 months and I'm afraid it might give the impression that I was fired or performed poorly.

It probably doesn't matter - but all things being equally - what would you prefer to see in a job applicant? Exactly one year at the last job or 13-14 months?

EDIT: To clarify - I'm likely to not be looking for a new job for some months after this one...so the question of whether I left or was forced out seems relevant.

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    You're going to have to explain the gap in your employment much more than the amount of time at the previous job. – user8365 Oct 12 '12 at 12:34
  • what would you prefer to see in a job applicant? Exactly one year at the last job or 13-14 months? Well, obviously I'd prefer "1 year" because it's fewer keystrokes to enter than "14 months", and that matters sooo much when entering data into the HR system. And definitely no one with "13 months" because that's just plain unlucky! :P ;) – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Oct 12 '12 at 14:03
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    If you work 13 months, you get to say "More than year", if you work 11 months, someone can say "Under a year". That's pretty much all the difference. – MrFox Oct 12 '12 at 14:19
  • @user3497 - The solution is to find a job before you leave. This way the amount of time at your current company is not a factor some other company will even consider. – Donald Oct 15 '12 at 11:17
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    what would you prefer to see in a job applicant? I prefer to see continuity of employment. I would rather have someone that jumps around every year than someone who seems to randomly quit because they want a few months off of work. It is probably a harsh judgment but sadly see that far to often to give people the benefit of the doubt when it is your money on the line. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 31 '12 at 18:20
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No one is likely to care whether you were at a job for a round number of months.

The far more concerning thing would be the frequency of your job moves. As bethlakshmi points out, what constitutes a reasonable length of time to stay at any one position will be very different in different fields, in different geographic areas, and at different times. You say that you work in an industry that commonly has probationary periods of between 3 and 12 months. That would generally imply that the industry you are in expects good employees to stick around for a few years. If that is the case, leaving after either 11 months or 13 months would be a negative.

If you had a history of leaving permanent (rather than contract) positions after roughly a year, I would tend to expect that you'd leave a new position after a year and seriously question whether you would be productive enough to justify whatever training is necessary at the new job plus the cost of finding a replacement in a year. I would tend to expect that you weren't getting as much experience as someone that had been working the same amount of time at one job-- I would expect that you probably got 1 year of experience 3 times rather than 3 years of experience. And I would tend to suspect that something about your job performance makes the relationship sour after a year. If this is just an abberation in a track record of longer stays at prior companies, I would be much less concerned. If you had a history of short stays, though, it would raise a number of red flags that I would want to explore in an interview where I would expect you to have a good reason for the short stays. Either way, a difference of a month or two in either direction is unlikely to matter.

  • As a follow up; would you consider a candidate who had worked four jobs with three of them lasting one year or less? – user3497 Oct 12 '12 at 17:41
  • @user3497 - To bethlakshmi's point below, it depends on the industry (i.e. food service workers tend to have shorter tenures than software developers who tend to have shorter tenures than teachers). If you are working in an industry where companies have multi-month probationary periods, however, it would certainly raise a lot of red flags for me. I would definitely want to understand the reason for that sort of turnover and I would be looking for such a candidate to reassure me that they're not going to leave a new job after a year. – Justin Cave Oct 12 '12 at 19:58
  • +1 on this - perfect answer. The recruiters and HR people I've worked with all say this as well. Commitment matters. – bitops Oct 20 '12 at 8:37
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Figure that in almost any time based situation, people round off. For example, if the time frame is in months, the two weeks won't matter. If the time frame is in years, the months won't matter (1.5 years may be discrete, but 2 years/8 months becomes "almost 3 years").

More relevant is likely the nature of your position. In jobs where the process for doing the work is extremely clear, the turn around time on any given task is fast, or the job is largely interchangeable from company to company - the learning curve is a very small factor. For knowledge working jobs - where typically each company has a unique process, team bonding is important, company culture is relevant and it requires some degree of business domain knowledge to complete the job - then it is expected that a learning curve can be anywhere from 3 months to a year. As a result, companies typically invest in a semi-productive employee's inefficiency and training needs (it can slow the entire team down) for up to a year before expecting that the new employee is 100% as useful as the pre-existing employees.

So... the larger question is - what kind of job is yours? I know plenty of folks, for example, who work in kitchens or retail, where many jobs in a year is no big deal. They quit if a shop closer to home opens up, if they get moved across shifts or anything else.

In the computer industry, quitting in a year isn't such a great option, and it isn't a big difference whether you quit in 10 month or 1 year. If I am interviewing someone and they leave in a year or less, they better have a great story on why. Typical cases of good "whys" include promotions, going to school for a career boost/change, radical career shifts, demise of the company, downsizing of the group, or family/health calamity. What the interviewer has to decide is "will this guy stick around with us long enough to pay us back for his inefficiency".

The length of time of an average term of service in a given field can be wildly variable. You probably want to hunt around in your particular field and location and see if there's a norm. My suspision is, in most knowledge working domains, 10 months vs. 1 year won't matter - the key will be why you left.

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    Congrats on getting to 10K. You will be the top user for the board soon. – HLGEM Oct 12 '12 at 14:00
  • @HLGEM - you manage to stay elusively ahead of me. Thanks, I guess we're the "10K club". :) – bethlakshmi Oct 15 '12 at 13:15
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I'm afraid you're not asking the right question.

If you know you want to quit your job - do it, obviously you've made up your mind.

It really shouldn't matter when do you quit your job, because most employers look up person's background before they hire him (some even call previous places you've worked in so you might NOT want to do that) , if your'e worried you'll have a hard time finding a new job - try to find one while you are still working in your current place.

As for the question, i believe 3 years is concidered the best interval for staying in one job.

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I've done contracting in the past, and I will say staying for a solid year instead of 6 to 8 months tends to bring up less questions. The same goes for full time work.

Time really does matter to some HR, and managers, because if they see you jumping after a year from one place to another they will ask why. If it's for pay, then they may not hire you in fear of you jumping ship the next time something better financially comes around.

Companies like Toyota use to hire people and would question if you didn’t stay at a place if it was under 5 years. It really does depend on the environment you are moving to and from.

What you need to ask yourself is if what you are doing is a pattern?

Do you jump ship for a better paying job a lot? Do you stay two years between jobs and leave elsewhere when you get bored? Or is this a legitimate jump in where you are getting a better paying job and a better position?

It is better to stay and leave as close as you can at yearly intervals in my opinion. It may not be the local favorite view, but if you want to go for a job that looks for longevity, then it’s better to leave at yearly intervals instead of cutting it short.

Hope this helps, but really it is up to you… you need to decide is it good for your resume to show 1 year 6 months or 2 years…

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