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I'm a software developer for a small start up company.

Over the last 5 months I've been more and more active in looking for a new role that is based locally to where I live. In the last 2 months I've interviewed 3 times with great companies of various sizes, and although the interviews went very well, I didn't get any of the jobs (though this is a whole different problem that I won't go into so that this thread is easier to digest\answer). In order to attend these interviews, I've had to request leaving a couple of hours early. Which after the third time in recent time, is looking suspicious.

Nearly every day I get really tempted to resign, but I remember what my girlfriend and a good friend told me which can be summed up as "leaving your job is career suicide, no good companies will hire you if you're unemployed". I keep telling myself, "hey, if you resign, you can easily attend interviews and answer recruiter calls. And you can start\finish some .NET\Sql projects so that you don't keep getting rejected because of lack of evidence with being able to work in a .net\sql environment" (currently I work with non .net stuff, all the cool companies I've wanted to work for so far are all c#\sql).

So what do you think? Any advice?

  • would suggest also looking for stuff related to whatever you are doing now. is there a reason why you want a switch to just .NET? sql is pretty general so it shouldn't be an issue unless you had zero prior experience with databases – user7230 Apr 21 '16 at 12:12
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    My younger brother who earns 60 times what I do said that the best way to get a good job is to have a good job. – Autistic Apr 21 '16 at 12:26
  • "In order to attend these interviews, I've had to request leaving a couple of hours early" - Do you just leave early, or do you compensate for this e.g. by coming in earlier the next day? Leaving early every once in a while should be fine as long as you don't give the impression that you're slacking off. – Brandin Apr 21 '16 at 12:27
  • "is there a reason why you want a switch to just .NET?" All the companies I've wanted to work for so far are tied to this stack, and what I currently do is very niche. I've not seen a job posting in my area that uses the same stack. Plus I enjoyed working in the .net stack when I did it in an internship. "Do you just leave early, or do you compensate for this e.g. by coming in earlier the next day?" I stay an extra hour after work for each hour I miss. Which is fine, but very suspicious seeing as I've not done this in the years I've been here. – User24061990 Apr 21 '16 at 13:44
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    Not true that no company will hire you if you're unemployed. Granted that it's probably easier if you are, I've found several tech jobs while unemployed. – jamesqf Apr 21 '16 at 18:01
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There is no one right way to have a career, and there is no one job that is perfect. It is not career suicide to leave a job, but you need to be willing to deal with any consequences of not having a job (no paycheck, no known time when a paycheck will resume). Most people suggest that as an employed person you have more value than someone who is not employed, because you are already of value to one employer. This is not always the case, because sometimes employers need to fill a position immediately, and a willing and qualified candidate is what they need, without the worry of two weeks' notice, etc.

I have gotten great jobs while I was unemployed, and I have gotten good jobs while I had another one to leave. The point here is that you need to understand the consequences of your actions.

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    +1 I have twice left a job with no other job to go to, and I am still in a career. However, aside from the potential personal problems of money etc., the biggest impact problem will be how to answer the interview question "why did you leave with no job to go to"... You need to be prepped for that with a good answer that doesn't make you sound like a quitter or a moaner. – Marv Mills Apr 21 '16 at 12:38
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    The longer you are unemployed the riskier it is. Many companies throw out resumes from people who have been unemployed for over 6 months. That doesn't mean you can't ever get a job, just that the pool of jobs you will be considered for is smaller. – HLGEM Apr 21 '16 at 14:52
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Nearly every day I get really tempted to resign, but I remember what my girlfriend and a good friend told me which can be summed up as "leaving your job is career suicide, no good companies will hire you if you're unemployed". I keep telling myself, "hey, if you resign, you can easily attend interviews and answer recruiter calls. And you can start\finish some .NET\Sql projects so that you don't keep getting rejected because of lack of evidence with being able to work in a .net\sql environment" (currently I work with non .net stuff, all the cool companies I've wanted to work for so far are all c#\sql).

So what do you think? Any advice?

While I don't think it's career suicide, I think your girlfriend has a better sense of this than you do. You should listen to her.

While quitting a job without already having a new one is easier for you, it comes with some important disadvantages.

Some employers are reluctant to hire folks who are unemployed - and that is particularly true of those who became unemployed voluntarily. Some employers view this as you sending a signal that working isn't important to you. And they might wonder if working at their job would be important.

Being unemployed often means that pressure to find the next job increases steadily - leading to poor job choices. A job search often takes longer than expected. When you are facing bills that could be difficult to pay you might be tempted to settle for a less than ideal job. And that might lead to yet another job situation that you would need to leave.

Finding a job is expected to be hard work. Quitting so that you can spend more time looking for a job is viewed by some as trying to take "shortcuts". If you really feel that finishing .NET/Sql projects would be key to your success, you could demonstrate to potential employers that you have a stronger work ethic by finishing these at night or on weekends like most job seekers do.

In general, I think you are far better served by working harder to find your next job while you are still on a payroll. You have had 3 great interviews in the past 2 months. That tells me that you don't need to become unemployed and take the "easy" route to find a great job - just stick with it.

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    Outside of career advice, I think quitting a job and being unemployed might send mixed signals to your girlfriend as well. She might see you as someone who might not gain income and as such it might make it that much harder on the relationship. – Dan Apr 21 '16 at 15:15
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    @Dan "She might see you as someone who might not gain income and as such it might make it that much harder on the relationship" if so, she's not a girlfriend you want to be with, in the first place. Let's be reasonable in the comments too, come on. – gented Apr 22 '16 at 10:40
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Every time I see a question like this I think back to a person I interviewed. It was for a sales position and they had been out of work for around 9 months.

During the interview I asked him why he hadn't been working. He said, "I didn't really like my last position and decided to take some time off." So I asked what he had been doing in the mean time. His answer was "Mostly gardening."

The problem with his answers is that I got the feeling that if the job got tough (which sales jobs can be) that he would simply leave instead of buckling down to make things happen. I don't like replacing people so he wasn't called back for a second interview.

The moral here is that if you choose to leave now you better have a rock solid answer for those questions that don't paint you in a bad light.

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A second problem I see is that you've been interviewing for 5 months. That is a really long time to not find a job in the tech field. Are you prepared to be without a job for that amount of time? Not everyone can afford this. Further, some people fall into really bad habits (exa: sleeping in later and later) when they don't have a work place to go to. This could actually harm your ability to locate new employment.

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A possible solution is to schedule interviews for after your normal work hours. Most managers I've met will stay late to interview a candidate because they know exactly how things work.

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Look at it logically: If you quit, you have no income, you have plenty of time to apply to jobs and go to interviews, and having no job is a negative in any interview. If you don't quit, you have income, you have plenty of time to apply to jobs and go to interviews if you don't mind that your employer gets suspicious (but what's the worst that can happen? Worst case they fire you, which is in most places better than leaving yourself), and in an interview you tell them that you are employed which is a major plus.

Staying at the job is in any possible case the better choice (unless the job is so bad that you'd rather have no money at all than going to work).

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It's not suicide, but it's a serious wound. Get something else set up first before leaving. In the future, "I left for a better opportunity" with no gap in your resume sounds a good deal better than "I resigned then found another job". This is a major red flag to a company.

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    I would suggest it is not the resignation under those circumstances that is the red flag, it is the underlying reason for taking this risk with your personal wellbeing and career that is the red flag. You need to have a reason that doesn't raise that flag... – Marv Mills Apr 21 '16 at 12:40
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Leaving your current job to look for another job sends a message. If I was on your hiring panel, the message I would hear is, "I'm young and lack impulse control. I have quit before when I felt the impulse to do so, and may do so again at this job. I'm not at a stage in my life where I am ready to be pinned down and commit to permanent work, and may quit if I feel like working on personal projects, or searching for a different job." Whether ir not this is true, that is the message I would hear.

So, if leaving your current job is the course you choose, you would have to convince me that that you would be dependable. Training a new developer takes time and effort, and hiring and training your replacement is an aggravation I don't need.

Say things like, "I'm looking to put down roots at a new company. Consequently I wanted to take a few months personal sabbatical to strengthen my skills and put my best foot forward in a role I'm excited to begin." Even then it's iffy. Depends on how tolerant they are of turnover.

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Finding another position can take upwards to a couple years depending on where you are. As such it is never wise to leave a job purely due to disliking it.

I don't think it would be career suicide but I would think a hiring manage might ask why you left and if your best answer is, "I just didn't like it" then yes you're going to find it much harder because it sends a lot of mixed signals mostly that you're not to be trusted to hold the position.

My advice is to first secure an offer then put in your two weeks notice. It makes no sense to quit a job unless there are factors you cannot control. You might also find after leaving that it wasn't so bad and that another place is just as bad as the last job.

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Suicide? Hardly. You'll live!!!

I'd like to give a nod to the East Indian developers I've met in the last few years. Most were male. The guys I'm describing (so this is not an "all" statement) come here, work on contract wherever they can get a foot in the door, make their money, and go back home and invest it in India. They're not so caught up on longevity and becoming a "company boy". The focus is very particular.

I'll have to disagree with anybody who says the interests of some business you work for have to come first. The environment today wants to leave a lot of power in the employer's hands, and little to the employees -- for example, how with at-will employment employees can be terminated at a moment's notice, but it's frowned upon if an employee who wants out of the deal doesn't give two weeks notice. There are far more examples.

If the situation isn't working for you, and the growth you feel you need for yourself isn't there, BOUNCE. And sometimes you're so suffocated by a job you're already on that you actually NEED to get away from it so you can breathe and regroup. There's no right or wrong. I make it a custom of keeping a wad of money in the bank in case I need to make a break, because I've learned in 20 years of development that companies throw stupid initiatives out there that really show that they don't consider employees as people who think rationally and who actually have power to refuse silly corporate games. We don't think the same when we're living paycheck to paycheck, and as long as we are, the "boss" has power over us.

Polish up that resume, invest time in some tutorials, and make sure you can at least speak credibly on the latest dev tools of real value. Sometimes, it's just time. Work doesn't love you back, so you have to love yourself.

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