Choosing a company to work for SHOULD be a decision that you think through carefully; however, some of us wind up in situations where we NEED money and have to take the plunge. Working for a less than desirable company leads to increased stress, resentment and even feeling and actually being ill! I can understand why someone has to deal with circumstances like that; however, I feel that a lot of younger adults like myself tend to make hasty decisions and wind up in jobs they hate where there is little to no opportunity to advance and the results are always leaving the job as soon as the next one becomes available and so on and so forth. This leads to a chain reaction that will show employment history that is unstable and while you may know the last employer sucked and was difficult to work for that may not be the case with a prospective employer…
It is never a great idea to bash your former employer to a prospective employer; however, there are times when you must get your point across with great professionalism and tact. For instance, my track record shows that I stay around for about a year or so and then move on. A quick glance at the dates doesn’t reveal anything beyond basic time that seems rather short. Also, they don’t take into consideration the area where you lived either so explanation is always necessary.
For instance, my first job, I let them know the reason I left was because they were sued by the FTC and I had to testify against them in court…so yeah, I don’t have to explain much further. The next company was sold to a competitor for simply the assets and customers, not us. Then I moved to North Carolina and worked there for about a year and once I got the experience I needed there the guy I worked for did an about face and wanted to do something entirely different so I had to leave. The list goes on and on but the point I am trying to make is that you need to justify your reasons as to why you left a place.
No prospective employer can fault you because a company was shut down by the federal government or another company sold out from underneath you and left you high and dry, these are not aspects that are within the employees control. I had a job where I worked there for 3-4 months and I left, the reason was that I was offered a job for $15K more per year and they couldn’t match it. They also could not match the title and experience I would be getting from it so I left; thus, smart move if you ask me. Then I was in Virginia for a year and worked for another small company but soon realized I didn’t like Virginia and I also realized I was stuck working on small networks that only have only have one switch and 10 computers with a handful of large multi-location companies. So explaining that to someone is easy as well, I got my experience and realized that if I wanted to move forward in my career I needed to move onto bigger and better things (so I thought). Thus, I went with a new employer who offered me a larger enterprise network working with Juniper equipment so it was a double goal for me because I got to learn Juniper!
Now the tricky part is always explaining to someone why you left a perfectly good job, or so it seems. This boiled down to cultural differences within the organization. The way this was explained was that there was no professional dialogue among employees; thus, if someone wanted to say F*** You or I don’t give a F***, they could do this without fear of reprisal. Also, lack of professional dress code was a major issue since I prefer to dress for the job I want not the job I have. At iContact you can come to work dressed in pajamas for the most part and that is acceptable. The last thing that struck me as very odd was their double standard in wanting to do a background check but not a drug test. I believe this is a double standard as most drug users are very careful not to get caught and some honest people make a mistake and have to suffer for it.
Also, they had an ‘agile’ team approach to all their teams. This works great for developers; however, for systems engineers and network engineers this isn’t effective and a waste of time. Being transparent with developers about your redesigning a specific Multiple Vlan Registration Protocol is useless and then explaining that an issue is NOT saturated inter-switch links (and have the graphs and data to prove it) to people who don’t have an intimate knowledge of the network and choose to fight with you despite that fact is time consuming and frustrating. This would be the same as if a developer was explaining to me why they wanted to upgrade a specific library because they gained this functionality…I don’t care and it doesn’t effect the network or my job and having me listen to an hour of that in a meeting is a waste of my productive time. Therefore, when explaining this you can be almost as honest as you want but you must remain professional.