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I think for software development, it takes about a year to get fully up to speed on a company's development practices and processes. So after a year, most people will ask themselves, "is this the company I want to stay with for a while?" and leave or stay for a few more years.

Under 1 year, I have to think that something out of the ordinary happened and I would be inclined to ask about what happened. Did the company go under? Were there some crazy red flags that forced you to leave? And internally, I'd ask myself, is this person really picky? Do they have some red flag that keeps getting them let go? Etc.

I don't have an upper limit, but definitely a lower limit; 2 years. 1 year to get up to speed, 1 year to give the company a chance. I recognize that all companies have problems and I want to see progress being made on solving those problems. If, after 2 years, we're still talking about the same issues we faced when I started, then I'm going to start looking.

Curious why someone would place an upper limit on time served? If the work is good and the company is good, why leave?




> I think for software development, it takes about a year to get fully up to speed on a company's development practices and processes.

I'm not sure what size company this perspective comes from, but in early to mid stage startups, I don't think anyone would give you a year, more like 2–4 weeks. More than a month or two without might suggest poor culture fit.


> Curious why someone would place an upper limit on time served?

If the person has the same title at a company after 4+ years (unless they are already in a lead/senior role), it's a bad sign. If this is in the first 10 years of someone's career, it tells me they might only be doing enough to get by. Whether it's because they a) are not ambitious enough, b) aren't talented enough, or c) the company they work for is terrible at recognition/promotion is something that I would have to find out during an interview (if everything else on paper looked ok).


Some companies have very horizontal structure, there isn't much of a corporate ladder to climb. E.g., in trading firms a Quant is often just a Quant even after 10 years in the company. This doesn't mean at all, though, that the pay scale and level of responsibilities don't change drastically within a role over time.


That's a good point. I would hope to see evidence of the increased responsibilities on the person's resume then - whether it is through project leadership or personnel management, depending on what they are applying for.


In the case of a quant, they probably just have a much higher desired salary to move over to your company.


> If the person has the same title at a company after 4+ years (unless they are already in a lead/senior role), it's a bad sign.

It really depends. My company just has the role Developer. No junior, senior, lead, principal, etc.

There is a $300k+ difference in salary between the min and max pay so we have plenty of developers here who haven't moved up in title for 10+ years.


What company is that?


The same title wouldn't worry me but I would want to see a variety of projects and technologies (says someone who has worked on the same software for fifteen years).


>If the person has the same title at a company after 4+ years (unless they are already in a lead/senior role), it's a bad sign.

Not necessarily. I have a good friend in a consultancy firm who declines year by year a senior management position even though he has been with the company close to 8 years now. Why? He hates spreadsheets, reporting, meetings and just wants to get shit done. So he remains a senior developer in title. What he gets is constant yearly raises, praises and a lot of responsibility within the project. If/when he leaves, the company will be in big trouble replacing him.


This is addressed two sentences after the line you quote (emphasis mine):

> Whether it's because they a) are not ambitious enough, b) aren't talented enough, or c) the company they work for is terrible at recognition/promotion

Ambition presupposes that you want more responsibility/power/authority/money/something. Praise is great but you will never have the responsibility or authority of management if you don't have the title.

And this is fine, but if you're hiring and looking specifically for ambition, someone who has been "Senior Developer" for 8 years is probably not going to fit the bill.


What if the reason why that person left had nothing to do with the work environment?

Right now I'm a bit worried about leaving my current job (10 months in) because I have the opportunity to go backpacking through South America with a friend, which I honestly believe is not something that comes up very often.

Anyways I was just wondering how a manager might react to my situation once I come back and start looking for a job again. Could it impact my professional profile in a negative way?


I think that's one of the problems with traditional resumes/CVs. They focus on work experiences, and not the entirety of your experiences - work/social/etc.

Because here is what leaving a job to go backpacking tells me: You are willing to take risks when the opportunities present themselves. The unknown (will I find a job later) doesn't scare you. You value learning about other places/cultures, which will give you perspectives other people might not get (let's be real, 2 weeks in a resort hotel on vacation does not teach you about another country's culture).

If you can honestly translate your backpacking experience into qualities that a company would look for, you'll have no problem. In fact, you should probably explain that in your cover letter to potential employers anyway.


> Because here is what leaving a job to go backpacking tells me: You are willing to take risks when the opportunities present themselves. The unknown (will I find a job later) doesn't scare you. You value learning about other places/cultures, which will give you perspectives other people might not get (let's be real, 2 weeks in a resort hotel on vacation does not teach you about another country's culture).

That's certainly a valid way to look at it, but another employer might look at it as, "I don't want to hire this guy and then 3-6 months from now he decides he wants to chase butterflies in Mexico and is going to leave me high and dry mid-project."

It goes both ways. Now I wouldn't personally look at it that way, but I can see where someone might.


Thanks! those are very encouraging words.

Well honestly I am a bit scared about the job situation when I come back but I do think that I have more to gain by going on a backpacking experience at this time of my life than staying another 6 months / 1 year at my current job as a developer..

Web dev moves really fast though! hopefully it won't be crazy different when I get back.


Remember that hardly anyone's last words on their death bed are "I wish I had spent more time at work." You're young and early in your career. You have many professional opportunities ahead of you no matter what you choose here.

On the other hand, personal opportunities like this don't come along very often. I've known a few friends and family do something big like this in their 20s, and without exception they have had amazing experiences and no serious regrets in the long term, even if settling back in when they first came home wasn't entirely easy.

Only you can weigh up the pros and cons in your personal situation, but as long as you're being financially sensible and you're not damaging your current employer unreasonably by leaving so soon, I think it is extremely unlikely that you'll do any serious or permanent damage to your career if you decide to go.

By the way, web dev doesn't really move very fast. If you stick with it as a career then some time over the next 10-20 years you'll come to realise that the fundamentals actually evolve very slowly. The illusion of rapid change is mostly perpetuated by blogs and online forums and conferences that always want the next big thing to talk about, but they're mostly just talking about superficial things like which tool or framework to use. If you decide to go then nothing that really matters in web dev is going to have shifted so far in a few months that you can't catch up very quickly when you get back.


It gets much, much harder the later in life you get (and even after retire, you just can't travel/live the way you did when you were young). Some get lucky and can swing remote work while living in another country for a bit, but that's an exception to the rule and isn't always steady.

Also, if a future company didn't understand why you went on this trip, it's likely that they wouldn't fit well with your personality at some other point anyway. So you might be better off not getting sucked into that kind of place anyway.

So go on the trip and mostly worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Just make sure you have enough money saved that when you get back you'll be able to afford the 1-3 months a job search and potential relocation can take/cost.


Probably not, if you wrap up your current obligations in a professional manner and can demonstrate that you haven't lost your skills while on your trip. You don't want to appear irresponsible, so just be responsible about it. I hope that you have fun!


Probably not, if you wrap up your current obligations in a professional manner and can demonstrate that you haven't lost your skills while on your trip.

I strongly agree with this. We're talking about hiring human beings, not machines, and someone with the character traits that would make you go adventuring for an extended period probably has a lot to offer, other things being equal. The challenge is demonstrating that other things have not suffered as a result of that choice.

For example, a good reference from the last employer confirming that everything was professionally handed over before leaving might go a long way to mitigating concerns about only working there for a few months. I'm not generally a big believer in relying on references when hiring, but in a case like this, that sort of specific detail could be an important asset. Given the relatively short professional career so far, I would also be tempted to work a brief mention of this point into the covering letter or, if it's a resume-only application next time, into the resume itself.


Thanks! it was a tough decision to make but now that I've made up my mind I'm very happy about it.


Caveat: don't make major life decisions based solely on advice from random strangers. All I'm saying is that I would be fine if I saw "backpacked South America" filling a gap on a resume.


As others have pointed out, everything depends on context. Did you have several under-1-year stints prior to the current job? That might indicate a trend. One-offs generally will be asked about, but not counted against you.


This is my second "serious" job after I graduated Uni. I lasted 2 years on the first one and I'm currently at 10 months on my actual job. Hopefully it looks stable enough.


I wouldn't worry about it.


a) as a hiring manager I consider job hopping having 2 or more jobs of under ~8 months.

b) if I interviewed you and you explained the backpacking thing I would wonder and ask why you didn't take a leave of absence or some such, but I wouldn't hold it against you.


If you like the company you are at and do good work, perhaps you can negotiated some unpaid time off.


what about an unpaid leave?

if they cant manage that, that is a great red flag when you need to explain your quit.


Can you ask for an unpaid leave?


Maybe I could, but on a trip like this there isn't an exact return date and I'd like to not have one in mind, weather it lasts 4 months or 6 or more.


> If the work is good and the company is good, why leave?

Possible reasons, off the top of my head:

1. Being approached by a recruiter or hiring manager and end up being given an offer you can't refuse (eg much more money, dream job, etc).

2. Your spouse or significant other has to move to another city for their job, you don't want to leave them, and your current employer won't let you work remotely.

2a. Ditto with needing to move to care for an older and/or ill family member.

3. A shift of passion into a new career.

4. Health problems that cause such an extended leave of absence that you may as well leave.

5. I've encountered some managers who are leery of people who have spent "too long" at one place, wondering, eg "Why did s/he stay there for ten years? Did this person just find a spot to coast and collect a paycheck? Why hasn't s/he moved on to bigger and better things?" I think this line of thinking is just as knee-jerk as being leery of "job hoppers".


re 5: Or they live in the SF/Bay Area and that one job pays them enough that they can afford to pay their mortgage (if they are lucky enough to have one), children's school/college, car, etc. and still have money left over for date night. Once all those expenses pile on, there are very few companies that will pay you enough. You aren't going to hop to a risky startup @100k/year when you have those kinds of expenses.

But then, if you finally got that job at Google, you can probably move on to wherever you want afterward no matter how long you were there.


I keep hearing this a lot. But is it really true that a tenure at Google makes you super attractive for other companies? How does Facebook compare?


On the engineering/product side of things, a lot of it boils down to the technical challenge of their interview process. Essentially, getting a job offer from those companies (and others of their ilk) show that you have very high capabilities. Their interview bar is so much higher than most other places, that you are proving yourself capable of the technical side of things.

That doesn't mean you have the soft skills or personality to succeed somewhere else, or even that your technical skills will matter to the new company's product, but it's attractive to the recruiters/hiring managers trying to fill roles.


re: 5. That's just wrong-headed logic. Nothing wrong with being at a company that long. In fact I would love to see more companies able to keep devs for their entire career.


Can anyone name a company that, in 2016, is known for keeping a significant number of their employees for their entire career?


It's also really easy to get silo'd in. My company is fairly niche and I love working here, but a decent chunk of what I'm learning isn't transferable.


Really? They are in a market that's so unique that nobody else has similar business problems?


Depends on how broadly you define similar. Of course some patterns are repeatable across industries, but a lot of the work I do is specific to only this industry.


> Curious why someone would place an upper limit on time served? If the work is good and the company is good, why leave?

I guess in terms of professional development the person might think it's important to expose themselves to new companies and challenges. They don't want to just get comfortable somewhere and let their skills slowly deteriorate. I agree that it's not a 100% fool proof plan but I get it as a rule of thumb.


Plus I hear it can be the only way to get real raises.


As a counter point, I'm not able to get a raise by leaving my job and I've been trying for ~1 year. I'm still going to leave, but I'm probably going to eat an effective 10-15% pay cut.


It's the easiest way for sure if you work in a competitive industry.


> Did the company go under? Were there some crazy red flags that forced you to leave? And internally, I'd ask myself, is this person really picky? Do they have some red flag that keeps getting them let go?

I describe each company on my resume, and on the "not a decision" to leave ones describe the reason.

Examples:

* "Division / [City] Office Closed

* "An early stage startup..."

And in person, I typically make it clear that the company was unable to make salaries or was still looking for product market fit.


While I disagree with the sentiment, I've heard people who argue that folks who stay in one job for a long time are more likely to have not kept up with best practices, aren't enough of a go-getter, and stuff like that.


It really depends, IMO, if a person has a company they were with for many years, then a hop, then another at-least-two-year stint, than I probably won't care about that hop at all.




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