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Last year I left my first post-university job at which I did 2.5 years, to join a big 4 where I did 4 enjoyable months, then left as I was headhunted for a startup job with a 40% pay rise. As it turned out the manager didn't really understand what the role required, they didn't have the necessary data, so I left after 3 months, I then took an 11 month contract job, my current role, at another 50% pay rise.

I'm now in a position where I don't get on with my manager, and don't feel I'll have the room to complain given I'm contracting. I'm 4 months into this job and I'm anticipating leaving, am I right in thinking the above reasons will put me at a huge disadvantage when interviewing ?

Are there any ways I can put a more positive light on this past year's experiences from a HR perspective? I work in analytics.

marked as duplicate by gnat, Dukeling, paparazzo, Draken, scaaahu Aug 23 '17 at 10:49

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  • 3
    If you say you're contracting, is it not assumed you'll only be at one company for a fixed (potentially short) time? Fixed-term contract work could be as short as 3 months. – user34587 Aug 23 '17 at 8:58
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    This is... tough. I'm not sure there is a way to dress this up to soften the huge black mark that three short stays will be on your record, especially if it includes walking away from a contract gig. This is the kind of situation where your best best is to do everything you can to make your current job work or at least survive it until the damage is repaired. Walking away a third time in a year is perhaps not outright career suicdie but it's certainly a career limiting move. – Lilienthal Aug 23 '17 at 9:16
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    I'd say you're skirting the edge of "chronic job-hopping". Right now, you have a 2.5 year job on your resume, one carer move to a big, respectable firm. One move to an exciting, fast-paced startup. And one move back to something more stable once you realised the startup life wasn't for you (that's how you should spin it anyway). As a person relatively new to the workforce, these can just about be overlooked. But, if you quit your current job without serving out your contract, then you would probably go off the edge into "This person can't be trusted to stay around" territory. Don't do it. – Kaz Aug 23 '17 at 10:07
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    I have periods where I appear as a job-hopper and I explain it that I look at finding work like dating. The only way to truly get to know an employer is to "date" them, which is what contracting (or C-to-P) basically is. I then ask, would you marry someone based solely on a couple of conversations and who they've dated in the past? While that doesn't get rid of the concerns, it does get them thinking differently. And that's also something that I wholeheartedly believe. I'd love to get "married/permanent" but I haven't "met" the right company. – Chris E Aug 23 '17 at 16:49
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    @ChaosisaLadder it certainly is. It's amazing how many candidates forget that it's a two-way street. I hate direct hire positions because there literally is no way of knowing after a couple interviews whether we're going to be a good match long term. I always want to contract first. I haven't been lucky enough to have a good permanent job in the last 16 years. My last good perm position was 17 years ago. My 2 best jobs have both been year+ contracts with a certain former communications monopoly. – Chris E Aug 23 '17 at 17:03

As @Kaz says in the comments all the previous moves are understandable and justifiable, sure that many moves close together isn't an ideal "look" but they aren't horrible by any means. Based on what you told us leaving your current contract now would be hard to justify to another organisation and would definitely look bad.

And even worse is that to someone who doesn't know you the other moves being acceptable relies on a certain amount of "benefit of the doubt" being applied - leaving a fixed term contract half way through as you propose could well remove that benefit of the doubt and actually paint the previous moves in a negative light as well exacerbating the problem, so my advice would be to tough it out in the current role and fulfill the contract term. Then you will have a completely reasonable set of circumstances to explain it ending.

  • Yes, it all depends on how the OP can spin it. There are three things in his favor: 1 one of the three jobs was at a start-up (intrinscially unstable and people understand that) 2. Over the three jobs the OP got a massive pay hike, suggesting he had been underpaid. 3 It is still relatively early in his career, if one is going to skirt with job hopping, early is the time to do it, young candidates often don't fit into their first couple jobs. All in all, the job record is a minor obstacle for this person as long as he doesn't continue this streak. – teego1967 Aug 23 '17 at 10:43
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    I will further point out that it is critical to learn to get along with your boss. Use the rest of the time here to learn that skill before moving on. – HLGEM Aug 23 '17 at 13:41
  • @HLGEM That is a great point. Your next boss may be worse than your current of previous ones. – Mister Positive Aug 23 '17 at 16:53

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