I am working in a small firm (3 partners and about 10 professionals) in Oregon. I have been there since 2011, working both audit and tax. Our audit department is just me and my boss; everyone else is tax and consulting.
Shortly after I started, succession planning was brought up, and it has since been stated that when the oldest partner retires in the next few years, I would be pulled up to partner. I really like what I do, and would love to be a partner. HOWEVER. My wife has always wanted to live in a big city. The nearest one is an hour away, and I don't want that kind of commute, even if I own part of the place I'm driving to. With that in mind, my plan has always been to stay until I hit partner, then put out feelers to relocate to a bigger area, using that title on my resume to help land a job in a bigger market. Now I feel kind of bad thinking about it, because I would be putting my potential partners in a pickle. All the administrative stuff that would have to happen to make me a partner, and then I just leave?
So I guess my question is, would it work against me when looking for a new job if they see I was only a partner for a short time? Would that give a firm reason to not hire me? I understand it is common to switch jobs, but I haven't personally heard of someone leaving right after making partner. Should I stick it out until partner, or just cut my ties and leave now? I am compensated well where I am, but like I said, small market and wife wants to be moving on up. Thoughts?