Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board




Would you move?

I'm a 24 y/o sw developer.
I worked 3 years before the new economy colapsed.
After 6 months of unemployment, I found a job at an ultra stable company that holds the monopoly of it's business here in my country. The company is rock solid and extremely wealthy.
The only problem is, I was hired as a programmer and for the past 12 months I havent done much. They have a lot of money, they thought they needed a developer and so they hired me.
As you might imagine, I'm bored to death and completelly demotivated.

Now suddenly comes another job. An old friend of mine, and arguably the best boss I ever had invited me to work in his company. We'll be doing web and SMS development. This is obviously an much smaller company and the work will be much riskier.


What would you do? Stay in the stable and gray company or go to a lightweight, ultrafast company, but much more unstable?
I know the ultimate decision is up to me, but any anwer would be welcome.

RP
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Can you afford it? Personally, I don't place money as the highest priority. If I have the money to to it, if i'm not desperate, I'd take the move.

Do you really think you won't hate you job next week, too?

My previous job was easy, flexible, stress-free, and paid well. And I couldn't wait to be done with it. I left, and haven't looked back.

On the other hand, I don't have to worry about a family, or car payments, and such. If I had kids to raise, I'd make damned sure they'd be fine first.

Decide and clearly state your priorities. Then enforce them.

Mike Swieton
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

No car, no house, no wife, no kids, no nothing. Still living with the parents.

RP
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I can't attribute it but; 'You've already decided so get on with it and don't look back.'

B#
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Then go. be sure to save your pennies for a rainy day rather than buy every PS2 game in existance though.

www.MarkTAW.com
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Move.

mackinac
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Switch.

I used to be in the same situation.  If I could go back in time, I know now I would have jumped ship instead of continuing on at that resume stain of a company.

At first I thought it was a pretty stable company too.  Numbers were up and to the right every quarter.  But the company lost its primary customer and things turned in around in a hurry -- I realised then that there was absolutely NOTHING innovative being developed in the company, nothing anyone in their right minds would buy, and the company had no future.

Really the only good reason I had for staying was the "better the devil you know than the devil you don't" principle.  But you don't have that problem.  You've worked for this guy before.  You have respect for him -- as he does for you ... and, bottom line, you'll be working on something new and interesting.

Go for it.

Alyosha`
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

>>> Stay in the stable and gray company or go to a lightweight, ultrafast company, but much more unstable? <<<

This would not be a significant criterion for my choice.  I'd look for capable management and a good work environment.  Working for Stable and Gray sounds unpleasant; I would get out of their soon, in any case.  But there is still the question of whether Light and Fast is the right company to go to.  If it were a start up founded by a guy with a big idea for getting rich quick and funded by VC, I'd avoid it and stay at S&G while looking for something else.

It sounds like you have already decided that you would prefer to work for F&L.  It is a risk, but unless there is an obvious disaster in their future, why not take it?

mackinac
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

The stability and comfort of the easy, regular job are more important than might they might seem. However if you stay there, the difficulty in moving later, when you do actually have to move, will be that much greater. You might even turn into someone who can't get a job.

So move now.


Wednesday, June 11, 2003

You have already made your decision.  Now you only need to figure out why.

Joe Blandy
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Consensus is move. At 24 you have your life ahead of you.  If this new opportunity fails you still have decades to make your mark. 

Just a word of advice: Almost every successful person I have spoken with or read about says the same thing.  It is not success that defines us, but how we deal with failure.  If your new opportunity does fail, don't let it define you. 

Good luck!

Mike Gamerland
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

take the new job as a telecommuter and work from your current workplace. you get 2 incomes and are in the clear.

Hedge Hog
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

This is a tough call. Obviously, if good jobs were falling off the trees in your area, you wouldn't feel that you have to look for a concensus from an online forum. So I gather that if you don't take this job, you may have a long wait in order to find a comparably desirable situation elsewhere.


Here's how I see it. Unless you can map out and pursue a beneficial career path in your present company that will advance your career and in which you will learn and grow, you will stagnate, given only what you've already stated. When or if the axe DOES fall, it will probably be very hard for you to find a new job. It will be very hard to present trivial duties and makework in a positive light when you're interviewed in the future. Whereas, if you stay "lightfooted" and move sensibly in order to secure a more challenging and "growthful" environment, then you're building your own skills and securing yourself.


Of course, there's more to job changes than just technical career path vs. risk. You also need to assess whether you always want to be a developer and whether there is a path to get you out of development in your present company.  That is, IF you want to leave development eventually. Likely, a very lean and mean (small) employer isn't going to have much room to advance in terms of promotions - unless they hit the lottery and grow like crazy.  A larger company generally has better chances of lateral moves into different career areas.  IE, development at a large company may be one of the few less desirable jobs there, and other roles may offer better work. Or not.

Bored Bystander
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Job stability is a thing of the past, unless you're something like a doctor or a professor (with tenure).  The only choice left is between unstable and really unstable.

T. Norman
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I have had almost 10 jobs in 10 years.  Never once have I regretted moving on. 

Go.

Jason Watts
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

You're 24. Do it. Worst case, the company goes belly up and Mom and Dad feed you until something else comes along.

"It's better to regret something you HAVE done, than to regret something you HAVEN'T done."
  -- Someone

:-)

Tim Sullivan
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I would say since the OP is 24, definitely go if you're bored.  At 24 you most likely haven't learned enough to get a good career going.  If you take it easy at a cushy job, you could find yourself without any relevant skills when you get out.

That said, I work at a fast-paced company now, and I would give anything to work at a boring job.  I would just do my duties and for the rest of the day work on my own stuff.

Andy
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Move. Yes. Do it.

punter
Thursday, June 12, 2003

Yes, GO FOR IT. It's easier to take risk now than later. So you won't regret it.

R Chevallier
Thursday, June 12, 2003

Yes, move.  It's too early to sell out for stability.  You dont need money at this age, you need challenges and self-actualization.  In fact, if you sell out for money, you will have resentment for that saved money once you have some chick bleed you dry of it (marriage).  enjoy your career while you can, when you can take risks and fuck around a little. 

Bella
Thursday, June 12, 2003

"the work will be much riskier"

What do they expect you to do? Hunt terrorists? AIDS worker in Africa?


Thursday, June 12, 2003

Move.

The risk of changing jobs is that the company might fold, forcing you to look for a new job and forcing you to rely on your parents a bit until you find one.

The risk of staying in your present job is that your skills will atrophy and you'll have a résumé that could be written on the back of a bus ticket, once you take all the exaggeration out. This will happen whether or not you lose that job, but if you do lose it, you are going to be in major trouble.

At least if you lose the flashier job, you'll have some good skills and worthwhile business experience to sell.

Move with all possible speed.

Fernanda Stickpot
Thursday, June 12, 2003

Well the concensus is move, but think for just a minute.  There is a huge opportunity you're missing at your current location.  They need a developer (everybody needs a developer), they just don't know why they need a developer.

Instead of twiddling your thumbs, go find those areas at your current employer that could use a little automation.  The biggest, slowest moving target is usually information sharing in the back office, but get up from your desk and start seeing how the secretaries are spending their time.

If you sit down and watch the secretaries for a week, things that you could improve with a little coding work will literally jump out at you.

Once you've done that a few times, you'll be very busy, because once people begin to understand that they have the talent in house to fix those annoying manual processes they'll start to find them for you.

Once that happens, you will not be bored.

BTW, has anybody else had the experience that it is the secretaries that actually run most businesses?

Steve Barbour
Thursday, June 12, 2003

My advice?  It depends on your own personality.

Personally, having worked for both large and small companies, I prefer to work for big companies.  I like the security, the long-term contracts, the fact that requirements don't change at managers' whims, etc.

Do you like working for large companies?  Do you know which one you prefer?

If you prefer a large organization, you might want to stay.  Small companies have their own headaches ("By the way, we have two bathrooms to share among 45 people").

If you prefer small companies, or just don't know, I recommend moving.  To quote that Fight Club song, "I say: Evolve, and let the chips fall where they may."

(Yep, secretaries run all major companies.  But then, they always have.)

Brent P. Newhall
Thursday, June 12, 2003

Steve Barbour: EXCELLENT point.

Bored Bystander
Thursday, June 12, 2003

To Bored Bystander and Steve Barbour:

I've been there over a year and haven't done much. I mean, nothing. I haven't done one thing that's usefull to the company.
I don't think my position will become important in the near future.

RP
Friday, June 13, 2003

Ok, the you should probably move. If you're that turned off by the place you're at now, the situation probably isn't salvagable.


But one bit of advice. Don't allow people on any BBS to vote on your career. It's one thing to wait to hear from people you respect, it's another to be indecisive and to need affirmation from others. Ultimately, it's only your skin in the game.


But given what you've said, I'd move if I were in that situation.

Bored Bystander
Friday, June 13, 2003

Actually, I wasn't saying that you should stay.  I'm not there, and usually there are other factors involved in the decision to move, like culture.

Just remember to keep your eyes open for ways that you can excel.  If you look for places that you can help your employer save/make money and then follow through, you'll (generally) be recognized by your employer.  Plus you'll probably feel better about yourself knowing that you made a real contribution.

You can use that in any job.  It's the way that mail clerks end up at important positions.  Of course, if you want to be CEO, it doen't hurt to cheat a little (so long as you don't get caught).

Steve Barbour
Friday, June 13, 2003

Paraphrasing, because I don't have the book in front of me:

Peter Keating to Howard Roarke: "How can you always decide for yourself?"

HR to PK: "How can you ever let others decide for you?"

The Fountainhead
Ayn Rand

Biotech coder
Saturday, June 14, 2003

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home