How Bad Is It To Leave Your Job After One Year?

econ's picture
Rank: Neanderthal | 2,667

Hypothetically, let's say that someone quit their first real job out of college after one year? Would potential (second) employers look down on this? Does the reason matter? If I did something like this, it would be strictly for location reasons. The city I'm currently living in, I'm not a huge fan of. It's in the Midwest, and ideally I'd get back to the West Coast within a few years. The longer you stay in a place, the easier it is to get stuck there, so if I want to move back it's probably easier to do it sooner as opposed to later. But, I don't want to hurt myself career wise.

Is Quitting Your Job After a Year Bad?

When beginning to build your professional resume - the question of how long to stay in your first job after college can be an important one to consider as opportunities arise.

There are mixed opinions among posters about the original poster's question about leaving your job after one year. You can read them below.

User @YourWorstEnemy, a hedge fund partner, explained that leaving after a year is not a problem.

YourWorstEnemy - Hedge Fund Partner:

Just explain you had to seize opportunities in your best interest. Explain how you genuinely weren't satisfied at you previous position and whatever cirumstances led you to your choice.

User @IlliniProgrammer, a hedge fund quant, however, shared a different detailed perspective. They believe that leaving before 18 months can disadvantage you in the job search.

IlliniProgrammer - Hedge Fund Quant:

You do owe your first employer 18 months if things are going well. That's how long it typically takes for them just to make their money back after training you. Maybe not all generation Y doesn't take karma into account in their hiring decisions, but the baby boomers sure do.

Finally, of course, if I'm helping with a hiring decision, twelve months means I can't really take that work experience into account. It doesn't really tell me that you're not a screwup. 18 months gives me more info; 24 months is really what it takes. So if I'm looking at one candidate with 12 months of experience at Goldman prop trading and another with 24 months as a broker at Scottrade, the kid from Scottrade is actually going to be the winner at least on experience, all other things being equal. Not because he has more prestige, but because I at least know that a manager at Scottrade is OK with this guy's work. I also know he's not going to leave after 12 months.

Getting an amazing job offer may be a good excuse for a third employer. It might not. What I can say is that your second employer won't really be able to take your first job into consideration for your second job and that puts you at a serious disadvantage. It also looks bad to some hiring managers on the team player and loyalty fronts.

User @CompBanker, a private equity vice president, shared a similar advice:

CompBanker - Private Equity Vice President:

I agree with IlliniProgrammer, one year does look bad, especially if its your first year out of school. Even if you come up with a good excuse, people will still question if you're telling the truth. If you don't have an immediate need to leave (family issues, health issues, etc.), then I highly recommend sticking it out an extra six months.

I know someone that left his Back Office tech job for another Back Office tech job after one year out of school. His boss was quite upset and said that he should never bother looking for a reference. The world is extremely small and you should never burn any bridges if you can avoid it.

User @PIE shared that if the position is an obvious step up from your previous job - there is no disadvantage to leaving but otherwise it could look like you were fired:

PIE:

If its purely location I would try to stick it out (obviously easier said than done), if it was for a better position (MM-->BB) there's no reason you shouldn't take it. It will be obvious on your resume that you didn't get fired from the MM.

Leave for Private Equity / Hedge Fund after a Year

BankonBanking:

It's definitely not rare for analysts to leave after 6 months - not to sure another opp, but just to get the hell out. The next wave is usually after year 1 bonuses to pursue an opportunity with a small shop elsewhere. This is usually a decent size group, but the biggest group departs after year 2 bonuses - usually the analyst begins to really mentally check out after the 1.5-year mark (doesn't mean they work less, just know what is on the horizon), once the next opportunity is locked up - generally a P/E or other buyside/corp gig, and then leaves after 2nd year bonuses. Regarding specific figures, that definitely varies from bank to bank, and, honestly, group to group. Suffice it to say that the number leave after year 1 is definitely less than the number of analysts leaving after year 2, but is definitely not a rare occurrence either.

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Comments (44)

May 29, 2011

No, just explain you had to seize opportunities in your best interest. Explain how you genuinely weren't satisfied at you previous position and whatever cirumstances led you to your choice

May 29, 2011

I'm kinda sorta pondering the same situation - I would not leave unless I had an offer elsewhere. And better hope you stay at job #2 until at least one increase in title.

Still not sure if I want to spend the next 30+ years grinding away in corporate finance and the WSO dream chase or look to have enough passive income to live simply and work minimally.

May 29, 2011

It looks bad.

Stick it out 18 months; ideally for two years. Otherwise, it looks like you got fired.

May 30, 2011
IlliniProgrammer:

It looks bad.

Stick it out 18 months; ideally for two years. Otherwise, it looks like you got fired.

Depends on if you can adequately explain the circumstances and also make an upward career move. I found in my own search that many employers are understanding of this, especially if you accepted a position during the recession. Having said that, where ever you find yourself next, you need to be able to commit for 18 months - 2 years or at least a promotion.

    • 1
May 30, 2011
Valens:

Depends on if you can adequately explain the circumstances and also make an upward career move. I found in my own search that many employers are understanding of this, especially if you accepted a position during the recession. Having said that, where ever you find yourself next, you need to be able to commit for 18 months - 2 years or at least a promotion.

Still disagree. I know that loyalty is dead in the current economy, but you do owe your first employer 18 months if things are going well. That's how long it typically takes for them just to make their money back after training you. Maybe not all generation Y doesn't take karma into account in their hiring decisions, but the baby boomers sure do.

Finally, of course, if I'm helping with a hiring decision, twelve months means I can't really take that work experience into account. It doesn't really tell me that you're not a screwup. 18 months gives me more info; 24 months is really what it takes. So if I'm looking at one candidate with 12 months of experience at Goldman prop trading and another with 24 months as a broker at Scottrade, the kid from Scottrade is actually going to be the winner at least on experience, all other things being equal. Not because he has more prestige, but because I at least know that a manager at Scottrade is OK with this guy's work. I also know he's not going to leave after 12 months.

Getting an amazing job offer may be a good excuse for a third employer. It might not. What I can say is that your second employer won't really be able to take your first job into consideration for your second job and that puts you at a serious disadvantage. It also looks bad to some hiring managers on the team player and loyalty fronts.

    • 1
Best Response
May 30, 2011

I agree with IlliniProgrammer, one year does look bad, especially if its your first year out of school. Even if you come up with a good excuse, people will still question if you're telling the truth. If you don't have an immediate need to leave (family issues, health issues, etc.), then I highly recommend sticking it out an extra six months.

I know someone that left his BO tech job for another BO tech job after one year out of school. His boss was quite upset and said that he should never bother looking for a reference. The world is extremely small and you should never burn any bridges if you can avoid it.

    • 2
May 30, 2011

I left my first FT job after a few months because I got a 40% salary bump from my new company that poached me out. People on WSO unanimously told me to take it and not worry about the short tenure at my first firm.

May 30, 2011

If its purely location I would try to stick it out (obviously easier said than done), if it was for a better position (MM-->BB) there's no reason you shouldn't take it. It will be obvious on your resume that you didn't get fired from the MM.

May 30, 2011

I'm in the process right now. I graduated in August 2010 after all the BB analyst classes have already started, so I had to wait until the next recruiting class to apply. So I accepted a position in corporate strategy for a fairly big retail bank knowing damn well if i got into a wall street bank I would be leaving.

Well I did get an offer and accepted in January, but i didn't tell them I was resigning until last week. I worked for 2 diff managers (2 diff groups) during my time there. My 1st mgr who hired me was GREAT, she thought I was a god send, fresh new college grad with new ideas and new skill set. She and her boss (senior vp) would do anything to make sure I would succeed there. Half way through they asked me if I wanted to accept a position in another group for some time so I can become knowledgable in diff areas of the bank. My new mgr was a dick! He was stupid, had no power, and thought since I was a new grad i wasn't smart enough to do certain thing.

Well to make a long story short, It was very hard to break it to the managers I loved. I actually kinda lied and said I was moving to NYC because i hate driving and miss my family. So they understood and said it would be a great opportunity for me, and that after I learn the skills from my new job i was welcome back anytime! To the manager I hated I just told him i'm leaving, and he's trying his best to make my last 2 weeks miserable. I'm literally printing and sorting thousand of paper. I was there a little less than a year.

You give me a gift? BAM Thank you note! You invite me somewhere? POW RSVP! You do me a favor? WHAM Favor returned! Do not test my politeness.

May 30, 2011

I did ops for about 5 months before quitting. As long as you have another offer it doesn't matter. Just be honest when you interview. I always ask a lot of questions to make sure the company is a right fit for me. No sense taking a job that doesn't work with your expectations or personality.

As far as a boss being a dick to you because your leaving. Well my ops boss tried that and my 3 week notice to him became 1 week and a trip to Florida. You gave notice and were professional. Zero reason for him to be an asshole about things.

May 30, 2011

The only reason I have just said F this and quit is because I have too much respect for my previous manager. I don't want to look bad to her.

You give me a gift? BAM Thank you note! You invite me somewhere? POW RSVP! You do me a favor? WHAM Favor returned! Do not test my politeness.

Mar 1, 2015

Let me put it this way: I know a guy who within a year of finishing grad school is now on his 3rd job. I don't know exactly what happened, but it seems to me that he made a conscious decision to leave each one. Obviously this looks bad, but not bad enough that he didn't get hired at the last place.

So: it's definitely not best practice, but it seems entirely possible to do without it *really* hurting you.

Mar 1, 2015

It's definitely not rare for analysts to leave after 6 months - not to sure another opp, but just to get the hell out. The next wave is usually after year 1 bonuses to pursue an opportunity with a small shop elsewhere. This is usually a decent size group, but the biggest group departs after year 2 bonuses - usually the analyst begins to really mentally check out after the 1.5-year mark (doesn't mean they work less, just know what is on the horizon), once the next opportunity is locked up - generally a P/E or other buyside/corp gig, and then leaves after 2nd year bonuses. Regarding specific figures, that definitely varies from bank to bank, and, honestly, group to group. Suffice it to say that the number leave after year 1 is definitely less than the number of analysts leaving after year 2, but is definitely not a rare occurrence either.

Mar 1, 2015

Thanks for the info - yea I figure it's more group related. My firm is significantly smaller, so the numbers don't really help.

Thanks

Mar 1, 2015

bump

Mar 1, 2015

Bump--follow up question--

How hard is it to get into PE after only one year?

Mar 1, 2015

why did you make this thread?

are you real life?

Man cannot remake himself without suffering, for he is both the marble and the sculptor. -Dr. Alexis Carrel

Mar 1, 2015

leaving during 2nd year

Mar 1, 2015

You don't want to burn any bridges

Mar 1, 2015

2nd or 3rd year. you want to have at least a reference/recommendation from your MM PE gig

Mar 1, 2015

sure why not. if you signed the contract and talked with the pe

Mar 1, 2015

Yes, there are sometimes people who go to HFs or whatever after only 1 year. I don't know if it's recommended, though...

Mar 1, 2015

One of the better 1st year analysts left after a year to join a prop desk at a diff BB

Mar 1, 2015

What sort of prop desk?

Mar 1, 2015

Ever read Monkey Business?

You talking about the analyst of the associate level?

Mar 1, 2015

im thinking analyst.

Mar 1, 2015

I know three who did it. They went to top PE firms. It is possible and is a good out in this market. More money with a better life style.

**they were first yearish analysts. One got the job pre bonus payout, left after bonus and the other two got it around last October (about 2 or 3 months into the second year).

Mar 1, 2015

it was a statistical arbitrage prop trading desk

Mar 1, 2015

Was he in IBD, not S/T, before he jumped to that desk?

Mar 1, 2015

I guess this kid realized he did not like IBD and wanted something a little more quantitative.

Mar 1, 2015

i know ppl who left to do entirerly different things...like going to grad school, other careers...

Mar 1, 2015

do resignations count because they don't like the job?

Mar 1, 2015

I know quite a few that went to PE shops, and some that went to other BB's. Cream of the crop though, that's for sure.

Mar 1, 2015
Mar 1, 2015

Definitely not in any position to be questioning your rationale, as I'm still an up and coming banker myself (incoming FT for this summer). However, I think that at the end of the day it really depends on if you think that the transition is worth burning a few bridges. Heck, if you are bosses are cool, they might be a little upset, but im sure they would be alright with you furthering in your career. Im sure that things will work out for you.

Mar 1, 2015

Firms you mentioned are all top brands but quite different to one another. Easy to get fired at Millennium for instance; tend to be brutal with very tight limits. Not sure if you will be working as a PM there (won't be surprised if they offered you a position like that). Know from a couple of people who worked at Brevan and Miln. But they always cite an example of this 'one guy' (out of God knows how many) who has been around for 10 years and done so well.

Just so you know, there are quite a few people with offers from the firms you mentioned (esp. Millennium, can't comment much on others) but they keep long term career in mind and avoid. I'm definitely not the best judge here but ask around.

In terms of leaving current firm, if your boss is cool have an word with him and explain your situation instead of handing in your resignation straight. He might have options for you.

Mar 1, 2015

Grain of salt, given I was in a slightly different position, but I left a pretty solid associate role in PE financing/CB after one month for a role I wanted in M&A - they didn't take it particularly well, but, tbh they understood and I don't think bridges were burned. It was just business.

Mar 1, 2015
Comment
Mar 1, 2015