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Prior to me starting, the company that I work at was acquired by a very BIG DEAL of a company, which is what attracted me to it in the first place.

This is my first job out of uni and I have been here for around 10 months.

However, the future of my sector of the business is uncertain, with selling or spinning off and possible redundancies. Furthermore, my sector within that sector isn't exactly being inundated with work.

I have just finished one very good, modern project, but my next project is up in the air and will likely be support of legacy systems. Having already been exposed to one such legacy system, I don't really look forward to the prospect considering the huge debt that was in the one I worked with. While this may sound entitled, I have gotten invested in some modern frameworks over the past year, and I don't want to consign my self to irrelevancy.

It seems like this situation is not going to work out well for me. I am wondering if it is too soon to start looking for a new job and if not, how can I go about that without burning bridges?

I also want to avoid recruiters looking negatively at me because I spent less than a year in my first position.

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  • You should exit window and soon as you smell smoke. If you wait to see the fire it may be too late. – Joel Etherton Sep 9 '15 at 18:39
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I doubt that any company that is worth working for would look down on you for looking for a another job if a layoff seems imminent. You have to protect yourself financially after all.

However, don't quit the job until you find a new one. You are not going to get irrelevant with a couple of months or so of legacy support. In fact, it will help you understand better how to design new software that is not such a pain to support.

  • +1 for don't leave until you find a new job. People sometimes massively underestimate how long it takes to find a new job. I would add that, if you are in the USA, it may be worth sticking around for the extra 2 months so that your insurance resets. For example, if you already used your vision insurance to buy a new pair of glasses, you could wait for the reset, get another pair, then start at a new company with a new insurance plan and get a third. This only applies if your insurance offers full coverage for certain things, rather than a deductible you have to fill first. – Caleb Jay Sep 9 '15 at 20:42
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You'd be surprised how often entry level people switch jobs. I would not be concerned about looking for a new job after 10 months if you feel lay-offs are around the corner, or that the experience you get won't be relevant then start looking for another job.

Its much easier to find a new job if you currently have one. Especially if you believe lay-offs are coming, then you need to start job hunting. Many companies do lay-offs based on seniority (you're at the bottom). You can always say no to a job if your situation changes.

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Recruiters will look down on you for leaving a job before a year - even today, it looks bad to have taken a job just to get trained and then use that knowledge gained at the first company as a way to get a better job. It shows little loyalty, and that is something they don't like the idea of!

However, bad things happen and you may be made redundant before you'd like, if this happens note it down on your CV and it'll mitigate all that negativity.

A mistake a lot of people make is to start looking for new jobs the moment they think the current company is not doing well. Leaving in such circumstances is only a good idea if you're maxed out on debt and need the regular paycheck (but this situation is not a good position to be in anyway, a better solution is to start building up reserves).

The best thing to do is to stick with the company, firstly you might be wrong and the company is just going through a dip. Secondly, even if things turn out bad, many companies do not go bust, instead they restructure, lay off people and some get kept on - if you do get asked to stay, there's usually much more interesting work, or work with much more involvement in the business. This is always more satisfying. If you get laid off, there's a fair chunk of free money they give you. Never underestimate this!

As for maintaining legacy systems, this is the mainstay of all software projects. Even the shiny new project you just worked on will be legacy in a few years (or sooner!), get used to the idea that your roles in work is to provide business benefits with the software, not to work with new toys.

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