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To change or not to change. That is the question.

A small IT company has offered me a job as a team leader for their Java projects. I currently work in a large IT company as a sw developer and my changes of being promoted are close to null, since this is a hierarchy system that works almost as a monarchy.

If I choose to go for the small company, I'll probably get:
1. Almost absolute control over the development environment and process.
2. Bad (or at least not so good) programming teams.
3. Good salary.
4. Bad working environment (they actually smoke inside the open-space).
5. Great chance of becoming essential in the company.
6. Lot's of work (maybe 3 times as much what I currently do).

If I stay on the large company, I'll get:
1. Almost no control over the development environment and process.
2. Good programming co-workers.
3. Bad salary. Poor perspectives of becoming better.
4. Good working environment.
5. No perspective of becoming essential in the company.
6. Not that much work (a solid 6 hours/day of average, and I get time to investigate other technologies).

In the large company I work despite of the money. In the small company I would work because of the money.
What do you think? Am I missing to evaluate something?

The Undecided
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"Bad working environment (they actually smoke inside the open-space)."

This, for me, would be a deal breaker. Not only is open-space (which is bad enough), but they smoke in it!

There will be other opportunities.

Mr Jack
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

It sounds like there are ways in which you could benefit from a job change, but if you're not sure about this job then maybe it's not the right one. Have you looked at many other opportunities?

Beth
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

if there is smoke at work, then you will die from it eventually.  I would stay clear of job options where the chance of slow, painful, cancerous death from on-the-job factors nears 100%.

sir_flexalot
Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Nah, the smoking thing and a bad team doesn't make it worth it.

You'll spend more time hacking bad code and bad air than actually coding.

KC
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

could you sue them for smoking at work?

Michael Moser
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

"Better to rule in hell than serve in Heaven."

Bill Rushmore
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Better to be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion.

Throwaway
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

If I choose to go for the small company, I'll probably get:
1. Almost absolute control over the development environment and process.

-- You hope. Are you sure the President won't walk in one day and say "I've heard [x] is the new hot thing. Start using it."

2. Bad (or at least not so good) programming teams.

-- Do you know this? Or are you guessing based on their size?

3. Good salary.

-- You forgot Lack of stability

4. Bad working environment (they actually smoke inside the open-space).

-- If it's enough for you to comment on, this is a deal-breaker.

5. Great chance of becoming essential in the company.

-- Not as great as you'd think. Far too many companies fill in top ranks as they grow from outside. For those that do have their employees rise with the tide, remember that a properly-run company takes DECADES to grow.

6. Lot's of work (maybe 3 times as much what I currently do).

-- At least.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I know that much of the small company because I used to work in part-time there... The guy that would eventually be my boss is a hell of a guy, and understands a lot about sw development, he is not one of those management buzzword type.

The Undecided
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

I empathize with the OP b/c I'm a similar situation myself.

I think the most important questions which need to be answered are:

(1) Where is this new company going to be x years from now? 

If the answer is: still small, with a mediocre programming team in an open plan smoker's haven, the the answer is don't go.

If, though, the answer is: they have the potential to be the next [enter your favorite software company success story here], do it, since it'll be worth the risk.

(2) Ask the same question of the current company.

It sounds like the OP is secure that nothing will change there.  The last few years taught us that's a dangerous assumption to make.

anonymous financial IT guy
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Small company will probably stay small with not so good team.

Current company will probably loose the most valuable team members, while they change to more rewarding jobs, and will hire not so good developers because they pay even worse to the newcomers. This is the kind of politics that's being pursued in the last year.

The Undecided
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

if you'll be team lead, why can't you get rid of the deadwood and bring some of your good co-workers with you?

Jason
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Because I don't control the salaries that the company can afford. I have several persons in mine, but doubt that anyone will agree with the conditions I stated earlier (with not so good salary).

The Undecided
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Ignoring the vile smoking issue.

There's no reason that the original poster would have to stay at the small company.

That is, it might be useful to determine how the move (or not) would serve as a stepping stone to something better.

njkayaker
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Undecided, if I understand your reply, it seems that:

(1) The small company will likely stay that way, i.e. it really isn't poised to become something great

and

(2) The current company is just going to get worse as the best people leave or are driven out

Do I understand that correctly?

If that's so, then what you really should be doing is looking for a third option.

anonymous financial IT guy
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

anonymous financial IT guy,

you got it right... and that's my line of thought too

The Undecided
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Uhm, how come no one's asked wether or not you *believe* in the company?  If I thought the company had a lot of potential, and I thought I could make myself essential to the company, THAT would be the dealmaker.  If I thought this was just going to be one more small fish in a big pond of ISVs, i'd have to weigh my options more carefully. 

vince
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The main problem with being a true believer is that it is way too easy to talk yourself into believing that anything is a great idea.

Daniel Howard
Tuesday, August 03, 2004

there is a spanish/latin american proverb that can be translated to:
It's better bad known than good unknown.

Throwaway
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Apart from the smoking thing

I would rather say join the small company. The potential for growth is enormous. Being in a small company you will have to do everything. You will be forced to learn management jargon  and can be in a position where in you can make  a difference.

Maybe I am a little bit prejudiced for a small company, since I own one.. Hey definitely you are not joining mine since smoking is strictly forbidden and my team is supposed to be  the best -:)

Mr OwnComp
Saturday, August 07, 2004

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