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How to tell when "it's over"

So, here's a question:
How can you tell when it's time to just move on.

Let me fill you in a bit:
I've been at the same place now for a few years. It's seen some dramatic turns from a small startup, to a rather bulky organization that has layers upon layers of management now. I am not a grunt in the organization, and I have SOME influcence on the development process there, in fact, we score rather well on the "Joel test" for our processes using bug tracking, nightly builds, etc.

Our problem lies in strategic direction. Upper management has the "hop on the bandwagon" fever for the latest trendy technology (3-6 months too late), and has lost its core focus of who it's customers are and what they need. I've spent the last 6 months trying to bring some of that focus back to my group, but, alas, it has pretty much failed. Every time we build momentum, management strikes down the direction we've headed in, and hit's the reset button, and sends us down a different path.

At least my current project hasn't been cancelled. Alot of other projects have been recently killed.

So, the question: I am extremely loyal to the company. The job market isnt what it used to be. Management is scitzophrenic, and lacks direction and a mindset of it's customer.

Is it time to jump ship? My personal fustration level is pretty high right now.

John
Thursday, December 27, 2001

Is simply ignoring management a possibility?  If they're doing that bad a job, and you run your own group, perhaps simply running it as its own business inside the big organization is the way to go.

I've only worked for small companies to date, but I'm convinced from talking to people who work successfully at big companies that this is the way things get done.  Big companies are just a collection of many small companies sharing administrative things where possible (and often not doing too good a job of that, either).

So, if you can't convince your boss, ignore your boss.

You also state that you're loyal to the company.  A company is just collection of people.  Loyalty to your group I can understand.  Loyalty to a group of managers who are causing you such grief seems misplaced, however.  If your loyalty is to what the company once was, then you're loyal to an ideal, not this company.  Decide what you want to save, and what you want to change, then "just do it".   

James Montebello
Thursday, December 27, 2001

only you know, but remember that the job market is a lagging indicator.  it's going to be weak for 3-6 months after the "end" of the recession.  since the "recession" began in march (at least officially), it should feb/march according to the 11 month cycle.  i think that the 11 month cycle might not apply here, so we're either getting out now (as some say according to leading indicators) or there are serious structural problems and we might be in for a long one (perhaps do it's uniqueness in that business spending dropped first).

razib kahn
Thursday, December 27, 2001

Good point .. I guess im loyal to the idea of what we once were. Going underground, and "just doing it", isnt really an option.. I could get away with it for awhile, but in the end, it doesnt help when you dont have support from marketing/sales/etc., for a product.

John
Thursday, December 27, 2001

I have been in a similiar situation and I found that:

a) a 4 week holiday helped me to last another 8 months

and

b) that I left anyway.

Hope this helps

Regards,

Tony
Thursday, December 27, 2001

Been there also, fun company and great colleagues. However management didn't know where to go. I decided to leave.

Now a year has past, the company is about to go bankrupt and i'm enjoying my new job. Not so much as the previous one, but my previous job would be lost anyway...

There are definitely a couple of great jobs out there, however it is very hard to find them. So what i did was to take the time to find a new one and enjoyed the current job as much as I could. (which was very easy, since i knew i was leaving anyway). My motto: why settle for a job that doesn't give you satisfaction, if there are jobs that will?

Finally, leaving will give a signal to management that things have to change. Maybe leaving will do some good.

Stephan
Friday, December 28, 2001

If you're asking whether it's time to move on, then it's time to move on. Most people don't ask that question until they've already made the decision (whether they know it or not) and just want some external validation.

On the other hand, you may be REALLY asking the question "I want to leave, but I can't afford not to leave in this job market, what do I do?" in which case I suggest spending as little time as possible at work, getting more of a real life, and waiting for the job market to open up. Coast and collect a paycheck while you do.

Mike Gunderloy
Friday, December 28, 2001

"I suggest spending as little time as possible at work, getting more of a real life, and waiting for the job market to open up. Coast and collect a paycheck while you do. "

is it that easy mike?:-)

Prakash S
Friday, December 28, 2001

Heh... Wish I could just sit around and coast. Trust me, I have plenty of a real life... I just need the satisfaction of building something useful and contributing.

Stephan probably has it right.. i've pretty much made up my mind to leave, just looking for external validation :)

Anyways, on to new challenges.

John
Friday, December 28, 2001

If you think that your customers aren't being offered what they want, and you think that offering them what they want is a worthwhile business proposition, might it be time to branch out on your own and start your own business?  There might be issues with non-compete clauses & such like, but if you're in a market segment that your current employers have left behind then they can't really comlpain too much (and for the non-compete clause to take effect, they need a judge to enforce it (at least in my end of the woods) who is likely to be lenient if you show that you're not actually in competition with your old company).  I don't know about your contract, but mine says that the non-compete clause doesn't count if I get laid off (as opposed to fired or leave of my own accord). 

Jamie Anstice
Friday, December 28, 2001

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