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'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.
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).
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.
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.
> 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 they cant manage that, that is a great red flag when you need to explain your quit.
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".
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.
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.
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.
I describe each company on my resume, and on the "not a decision" to leave ones describe the reason.
* "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.