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I got a new job a few months ago, after a long period of being self-employed / unemployed. I don't have a strong portfolio or resume so I felt lucky I finally got something after a long search. However I now feel I have joined a sinking ship. In a few days we hit an important deadline but we are nowhere near even halfway done. A few months from now we are also supposed to go live. Even if we all start to put in massive overtime, as we have been urged to do, I just don't see it happen. Worst is the clients have already been informed of the release date so there is no going back or delay as far as our CEO is concerned.

I am wondering what best to do at this point. I could contact the recruiter who put me here and see if he has new opportunities, but that means explaining during interviews why I've only been here a few months, and that after such a poor work history. Or I could stay and see, but I'm worried as we've already seen one colleague replaced for underperformance this month. We have been told that if we don't make deadlines more heads will roll. I know the best time to find a job is when employed, so that makes me think I should just try instead of waiting patiently. It's also not very motivating to stay here with the daily bitching that goes on while the team lead or CEO aren't around.

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  • Are you their full-time employee or the recruiter's contract employee? – user8365 Jun 23 '17 at 12:09
  • Full-time employee – Anonymous Jun 23 '17 at 13:25
  • deadlines mean little in software. I don't think one has ever been met! if your company has "a lot of screaming", that sucks, but, be aware that many software companies have "a lot of screaming". Just suck it up, life is tough. Should you be trying to get a better job? In software, if you are breathing, you should be trying to get a better job. :) So yes - of course, naturally. Maybe don't go back to the same recruiter - start sending out CVs elsewhere. Good luck! – Fattie Jun 23 '17 at 13:40
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Is this deadline really a make-or-break one for the company as a whole? If not then you probably don't have to worry too much right now, many companies can survive one or two big blows even if it means things will be unpleasant for a while. If it is that crucial then it may not necessarily mean that company will shutter it's doors the very next day.

I'd keep your head down and crack on with your work as best as you can - you mention this deadline as being in a "few months" so the longer you can stretch this one out the better it will look on your resume. Plus (and obviously opinions will differ) I think that leaving a job after say 6-9 months because the company went under is easier to explain in future job hunts then leaving after three because it "looked" like it might go under, especially if at the time of the interview the "sinking ship" is still floating! The first outcome shows you as a committed employee who moved on through circumstances outside of your control, the latter looks more like someone who runs away at the first sign of trouble.

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    +1 Yep, and the OP will be likely doing some amazing things during this time. Bad environments are often good for resumes, because you have to be resourceful. – Old_Lamplighter Jun 23 '17 at 12:22
  • Good points, thanks. What could I say though if I'm fired but the company remains afloat? As the newest team member I'm still taking a longer time than others to implement features or solve bugs. – Anonymous Jun 23 '17 at 13:28
  • This post makes total sense from top to bottom! – Fattie Jun 23 '17 at 13:40
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    +1 From the perspective of future employers, it doesn't matter that you bet on a losing horse that wound up going under shortly. What matters is the quality of work and Professional attitude you displayed while it lasted. – Steve-O Jun 23 '17 at 13:44
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    @Anonymous depending on the local employment laws there can be quite a difference between "fired" and "made redundant" - if the company is struggling financially and you are let go under a Last In First Out type arrangement then that's not a big deal and most companies would understand that as a valid reason for having "lost" the job. Being fired for poor performance is a different situation and you'd have to handle that the same as you would if it happened anywhere else really. To be honest "prevention is better than cure" so just work hard, do your best and give yourself the best chance. – motosubatsu Jun 23 '17 at 13:53

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