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Could you tell me which one is correct: in my previous job or at my previous job? For example:

At my previous job, I taught adults and children.

In my previous job, I taught adults and children.

I was reading a book in which the author, native speaker of English, used at my previous job. I have never seen at my previous job being used. So I asked a friend of mine, who is also a native speaker of English. She told me that at my previous job sounds wrong to her. That made me wonder which one is standard English. If both are fine, is there a nuance of meaning between them?

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  • If the main clause is about your duties, at may be more common but in is more specific. For any other work-related subject, such as the physical or social environment or the structure of the organization, say at. Oct 23, 2020 at 16:54

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My answer is based on the research I did online, like the OP and perhaps many a native speaker, I feel that "in" sounds more natural. However, websites, newsmagazines and Google Ngrams clearly demonstrate that both versions are used by competent native speakers and are therefore grammatical.

at my [old job]

  • At my previous job I was able to form strong relationships with my colleagues. By working together we benefited the company and our customers.”

  • My job history demonstrates that I have ample experience writing, editing, and submitting press releases. I have written press releases as part of my duties at my two previous jobs, and I am glad to provide you with writing samples.

  • I have a special interest in inflammatory bowel disease, nutrition and endoscopy. I was clinical lead for IBD and nutrition at my previous employment. I also have an interest in medical education and during my postgraduate training undertook a clinical teaching fellow post at University Hospital Coventry and Warwick.

  • I have an employee who has worked for us two years now. She is constantly starting a ton of sentences with the words “at my last job…” This is becoming a huge annoyance to many people.

  • After four years of college, I make $1,000 less than I did at my old job. ... I am much worse off now.

  • I’ve been at my new job for a month now. I was at my previous job for 2 and a half years.

in my [old job]

  • Politicians, she said, are expected to "repeat the same things pretty often. In my previous job as a physicist, that was a mortal sin. In science, the task is never to tell the same thing twice” because it would indicate “that you haven't done anything all day.”

  • In my previous position as a Regional Sales Manager, I had an intensive international travel schedule of about 60% of my job.

  • In my previous employment at Aldi, it was my job to replace all of the previous stock by restacking the shelves. This was stock which had reached its best-before-date and so was going to be thrown out by the supermarket.”

  • In my old job I brought clients who did a certain amount of business down here, and I'd give them a free hunt. I decided that was more fun than selling surveying equipment.”

  • One of my key strengths is my ability to deal with customers in a professional and sensitive manner. This is something I demonstrated in my last job where I was able to process customer returns efficiently and quickly and this was commented on by my supervisor in my annual appraisal.

  • In my last job before I quit work to trade, I was the project leader on this team that was responsible for making sure that our 500 worldwide servers were able to function,” Hamilton says.

Ngram: "in my old job" (blue line) vs "at my old job" (red line)

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"in my last job" (in blue) vs "at my last job" (in red)

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“in my previous job” (blue) vs “at my previous job” (red)

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These are the results from Google Ngram comparing the aforementioned phrases in the same chart

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In the American English Ngram chart below, the phrases "at my old job" and "at my last job" have a much higher number of incidences (0.000000450%) compared to the versions with in (between 0.000000300% and 0.000000350%). However, since 2015 the margin of difference between at and in has decreased sharply when they precede the more formal phrase “my previous job”.

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In the following examples, the prepositions at and in are interchangeable and there is no significant change in meaning.

  1. That's why Jonathan Israel, who has been on his new job as a research manager at Ipsos for three months, checks on his company's Web site for employees' pictures, names and titles. At his previous job, he even printed out a cheat sheet and kept it in a drawer.

  2. Ariel Seidman, Gigwalk's CEO and co-founder, said his new company grew out of frustration. At his previous job at Yahoo, he said everyone told him it would be impossible to collect useful amounts of local data.

  3. She still travels up to three months a year, though that's better than the six months a year spent on the road at her previous job. Overall, Krostoski says she's relieved. "There aren't many jobs in Oregon," she says, noting the state's 11.3 percent unemployment rate. "I [know] folks who have been looking for a job for a year or more."

  4. I do have sales experience when you consider that in my previous job I was a de facto sales representative for the restaurant.

  5. What drove him to this change was the need to develop his human capital. In my previous job I had opportunities to do new things and was involved to some extent with the organizational development of the company

  6. I am highly flattered that I have been selected for such a prestige job which gives me such great scope. I get 50 percent more salary than I had in my previous job.

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It depends if you are talking about the role or the place of work. Idiomatically, we do sometimes the word "job" to mean both. You are in a role, but at a place of work.

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