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IT careers: Should you leave?

Paul Glen | June 8, 2017
Ask yourself a couple of key questions before quitting the job you have.

If this is part of a pattern in your life, how well has it served you, and how likely is it to serve you in the future? Learning to cope with and push through tough times is an important skill to learn. How would your career and personal relationships benefit if you were better able to negotiate to change the things in your job that bother you and to accept the things that you cannot?

This may be your opportunity to learn to navigate adversity rather than avoid it. Don’t underestimate what an important skill this is for both your career and your personal life.

How will leaving affect my career?

In the short term, think about how this will look on your résumé. Not so long ago, people with lots of different jobs with different employers were known as job-hoppers. They were dismissed as too erratic, disloyal or incompetent to consider for a position. As changing jobs has become common, much of that stigma has faded, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely gone. If you have a string of jobs lasting less than a couple of years, recruiters and hiring managers will assume that, at best, you are unlikely to stay long and become a regular contributor to their organization. The more damaging assumption is that you may have been forced to leave your past positions due to your inadequacies. They may think that you are not technically competent. Or they may wonder if you have trouble working with other people or a history of disrupting projects and dragging others’ productivity down with unnecessary drama.

In the long term, you’ll likely get fewer opportunities for growth. If you are interested in learning new technology or trying out management roles, you’ll have a tougher time getting the chance to do these things. Hiring managers rarely bring in new people to do things that they haven’t already done. They prefer to hire people with demonstrated skills for the initial role they are expected to play. Managers offer the chance to learn new things to people they know and trust. And even if they know you, they are not likely to invest in you if they expect you to leave soon.

Of course, there are times when leaving is the right thing to do regardless of the consequences. But most of the time, it pays to take a step back and reflect before you act on the impulse to quit. Doing so may cost you more in future opportunities than you realize.


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