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What price / reasons to switch jobs?

I started at a new company only 7 months ago.  A new opportunity has come up and without thinking deeply I looked into it.  Now it's come to the point that they are likely to offer me 20% to 30% more than my current job.

I would feel really bad to leave my current job and disappoint the people that gave me a chance to work there.  At the same time, if the offer becomes real and I turn it down, everytime I'm frustrated at my current job I'll be thinking "damn!, I could have been making $XXXX more a month, why the heck and I'm putting up with this crap"

My impressions it that the majority of people don't look for new jobs until they lose their current one, need to move (family/health) or are in really really bad conditions and just can't take it anymore.  That's pretty much been my way.  This time is different though.

What are your criteria for switching jobs?

Gunma Ken
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Mental stimulus

More $$

Growth prospects

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

I'm doing the same thing and my stats are nearly identical to yours, so here goes:

Firstly, despite frantic handwaving indicating that we are supposed to love our jobs and love to work 16 hours a day, if you are not thrilled about your current situation, you should be actively looking and interviewing.  It's a lot easier - emotionally and from a negotiation standpoint.

Next, really hone in on where you want to be.  Dev work?  manager? Senior / Junior ? Hands on? Hands off? Decide now, because $$ will only complicate it.  Rate the following:

* Job Quality (is this what I want to do?)
* Long - term propects (can I stay at this job?  Can I move up?)
* Compensation (how much is enough?)

I personally put compensation at the bottom of the  list. Last week I interviewed for a job which had the following stats:

* Job Quality : same, perhaps even less technical than current
* Long- term prospects : good growth, but maybe not in the direction I'd like it to be
* Compensation: 20%++

I wracked my brains about this and finally decided to pass on the job.  Overall it was a good position, but something I would have enjoyed a lot more 1-2 years ago.  Lord knows I could use the cash, but 20% after tax ain't as big as it seems.

The best feeling was returning to work knowing that I can take it or leave it. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Funny.  I'm in the same situation.  I've been back at my old company (jumped ship/skipped town for a few months) for only 6 months and I'm being offered a 33% increase at another company - I wasn't looking for a job, an acquaintance/developer referred me (no interview, etc) and I'm just waiting for the final background checks, etc to go through before I make my decision.  A 33% increase is tough to say 'no' to.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

You spend a large percentage of your waking time at your job.  How happy are you there?  Will you be happier at the new job?

Money is good stuff - it pays for the toys you use when you are away from work.  It pays for the nice vacations, the cool cars, the school for your kids.  Don't discount money completely, especially if other people are depending on you.

However, having said that...if the new place totally rocks, you might consider working there and even taking a pay cut if your current job is a living nightmare.  Personally, I like where I am.  It pays the bills, I get to do cool stuff, the people are great.  It'd take a serious pay hike to lure me away.  On the other hand, my last real job was painful from day one - I could literally feel misery seeping into my pores the very first time I walked toward my desk amid the sea of cubicles.  I would have gladly taken a pay cut to jump ship.

Aaron F Stanton
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Remember, the new (or prospective) boss's job is to make the job sound appealing.

So, verify everything the new boss tells you.

Bosses try to make the job sound appealing in the same way that job applicants try to make THEMSELVES sound good.

Mr. Analogy
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

"I would feel really bad to leave my current job and disappoint the people that gave me a chance to work there."

No one should ever feel this way!!!!!

Don't feel bad - Do not have any loyalty for a company, they will have no loyalty to you. The company will lay YOU off whenever they choose. Even though local managem,ent may like you, to upper management, you are an employee # and nothing more.

You have to view your career that you work for your family not for a particular company.


1) Do you like your pay?
2) Do you like your benefits?
3) Do you like your local team & management?
4) Are they doing things 'right'? (Joel Test)
4) Do you like the technology you are using?
5) Do you like the type of projects you are working on?
6) What is the career growth?
7) Training?

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

I put raises into two categories. "Lifestyle changing and non-lifestyle changing."

Let's say you take home $5000 a month, and you get a 20% raise and are now taking home $6000 a month.

What does that extra $1000 a month do for you? That's $250 a week or $12,000 a year

Will you blow it all on a plasma TV, put it all in savings for an early retirement, eat out 1 or 2 more times a week, go drinking with your buddies?

What is the bottom line impact on your lifestyle this raise will give you? How does this compare to the working environment? Remembering that you work 8 or 9 hours or more a day, are these extras worth the anxiety, and the risk involved in changing jobs? What risks do you have staying at your current job - i.e. what is the opportunity cost.
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

One piece of advice:

An offer too good to refuse, in my experience, should always be refused...

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

That is, pertaining to money.  Happiness, in terms of liking what you are doing and feeling like you are accomplishing something,are much more important.  Because, eventually, the money won't be motivation enough.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Definately. one old manager of mine offered $100 to the person who fixed the most bugs. It was one of those times I had to try really hard to supress a laugh. Then again, to the Indian developers working for $40 a day, that might have seemed like a lot of money.
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Offering monetary rewards in exchange for superior performance (finding bugs) is an extrinsic reward that, at best, will merely distract you from the  task.

At worst, it'll cause you EXPECT such rewards in the future, modify your behavior so you work less on things that do NOT get you a reward, and might cause you to wonder "does this suck so much that they need to PAY me to get me to do it? Gee, my job sucks even worse than I thought")

Mr. Analogy
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

You know what your current job is like and you like it. You know the people and get along with them. There are interesting challenges and your boss respects you. You are better off than 80% of youir peers.

The new place may be even better and teh offer may be 20% more. Or there may be a last minute problem and he relaly pulled through but only was able to get you 3% and a 2k signing bonus. The people may be all  nice or there may be a couple nut jobs and backstabbers there. Your boss may take credit for the work you do.

Switching is a big risk to go to the unknown. Statistically, given that you like where you are, your chances are that the new place will be worse.

The incentive to get you to switch needs to be much bigger. Either you need to hate your current job, or the new company need to be SAS or MS where you know for a fact its a great place to work, or you need a ownership slice of the new company or some sort of humungous raise - like twice what you are getting now.

I'd keep talking to them and then let them know the compensation they are offering is not enough to get you to switch since where you are now is a great place. At the same time, I would mention to your boss that you had gotten an offer for 30% more than you are making now and its a great place but your loyalty is to them and so you are going to turn it down but you'd like the boss to do what he can to get your salary more in line with industry standards so they don't lose their best people.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

All you folks that have jobs and are eyeing other job opportunities really need to talk to Eyeballin' so he can tell you that the growth of job opportunities is a myth and that if he can't get a job, nobody can.

Or something like that.

[grin] good to hear things are looking up for you guys - congratulations on having options!

[caveat - the author works for Microsoft and his views regarding options do not reflect the views of his employer]*


* :-P

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Return what you receive. Don't pretend. And remember, everyone ought to want everyone else to grow and prosper. I once gave an employee off every T/T so he could take classes on becoming a plumbre's assistant or something. When he finished he'd leave me. He was a darn good worker. You gotta think of the big picture.

I worked at a place where they had given me a 50% raise. Yup. But I also despised my project manager. I told them to fire the pm and they would not. I quit. They hired someone smarter than me (better, I don't know but definitely smarter) but they were worried about losing me because only time would show how smart my new replacement was (I already knew as  helped hire him).  Couple of months later they fired the pm.

Later on I spoke with a guy who started out there. It was his first production job and I gave him a big, big project which he worked on for 2 years. Awhile after I left they let some people go and they laid him off after he had been there and shown great loyalty for 3 years.  He only knew he wasn't getting called back because he saw the job ad for his old job. He blamed me saying that they were going to hire someone smarter like they had done with me. Sure they liked me, but then they liked the new guy even better and so he reckoned it was the same with him. They liked him but who knows, they might even like the replacement even better.

In my 40+ years I think I trust about 2 people. Too few people ever get tested.  They rarely get a chance to show their primary colors.  Don't pretend that you owe anyone something unless you really do, then determine what it is and pay it back.  And certainly don't lie to yourself about why you are doing what you are doing.

Good people will want you to have a better career and make more money. Bad people will want you to save their ass for nothing, they will want you to work long hours for low pay, they will want you to feel as if you owe them. Heck, that reminds me of a farmer in the Golan Heights I once worked for. I'd only been there for 2 weeks when I decied I had to leave. I was running from a broken heart. He needed me, no doubt about it. I told him not to pay me anything (this was a moshav, not a kibbutz) as I had not stayed a full month. He paid me anyway. He wished me the best. That was a good man (and I was a bad man at the time). So people can sometimes be good and bad in different times and in different contexts but everone should want the best for everyone else.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

> Definately. one old manager of mine offered $100 to the person who fixed the most bugs.

OT but I have a funny story about that. The vice president told me that there was a President's Challenge that had not been ever beat. The challenge was any engineer who prototyped a hardware board's first revision that came back from etching and did not have a single functional error would win a shiney new quarter fom the president of the company himself. I asked the president about it and he confirmed the challenge and said that no one in 65 years of the company had delivered a flawless first revision.

Well, I took that challenge and designed a pretty complex mixed signal board with a couple large chips on them including an ASIC I designed and a FPGA I did not. The board worked perfectly the first time it was powered up and so I went to claim my shiney new quarter. At first he denied that the board was working properly so it went off  to a couple other engineers and quality control for extensive testing. The VP got involved in trying to find even a single flaw with the board but could not. In the end, the President said "I was just kidding about the quarter." They refused to pay me the quarter!

So I deleted all the design files and quit.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

>So I deleted all the design files and quit.

You didn't really?

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Oh I forget the best part -- the vice-president had said:

"It's not possible that your board has no errors on the first revision because there IS no such thing as a board that has no errors on the first revision - it's never happened and it's never going to happen. Never."

As I left I told them, "I thought about it and you guys are absolutely right - there is no such thing as a board that has no errors on the first revision."

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Dennis, I understand the challenge, but why didn't you just burn a board with a switch, battery mount, and an LED?

BTW, this reminds me of the Dilbert where the PHB offered $100 for every bug fixed. Wally walked out saying "I'm going to go write me a Winnebago!"


Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Um I guess it was generally understood that the challenge was in regard to product prototypes. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

In answer to your original question - it depends on the situation.

Ask yourself the following questions (and be honest with your answers):

* Do I actually like my current job?
* Do I enjoy working with my peers?
* If I stay here, where will I be in 2 years time?
* Could I be earning more elsewhere?
* What are the intangible benefits of working here?
* Is the technology I am one that I want to align myself with in the future?
* etc.

To cut to the chase - don't move for financial reasons alone unless you're going to earn significantly (i.e. 30%) more. As for feeling bad about leaving - don't get in a lather about it because loyalty no longer exists...

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Yes, do leave for money alone if it's better than, say, 5-10%.

First, when you can make such a jump, it's usually because you are being underpaid and suckered where you are.

Second, you will hardly ever get such a bump where you are without threats.  Threats harm you in many ways.

Third, even if your current employer gave you another 10% next year, which they likely will not, that's a whole year of that additional income lost, and, to some extent, puts you behind for the remainder of your life. (Future raises, future salary offers, interest on that year's money, etc.)

Fourth, no matter what anyone above or elsewhere has told you, money *does* buy happiness.  Here's how: forget the plasma televisions and pointless consumerist crap, money handled well buys you *freedom*.  When you accumulate a substantial buffer between yourself and abject poverty, and stop living a paycheck or two at a time, your life changes.  You gain the freedom to walk away from any job for any reason at all.  You gain the freedom to pursue other avenues, like a personal project, your own business, a career change, or a life-altering educational experience.  That kind of freedom, my friend, is a superb source of happiness and tranquility, and only money can grant it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

until you have kids.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

All the more reason.

Kids make everything more complicated.  If you have that buffer, you're less terrified losing the capacity to feed them.  You have the freedom to make choices that are better for you *and* for them, without so much fear of making a critical mistake.  When you're barely above water, like most parents, often all you can do is tread frantically during your 18 or so years of major duty.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Truth, are you Amway member?

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

You may want to take a more quantitative approach.  My Dad taught me long ago to make a "Ben Franklin" that rated criteria 1-10.  And you could weight each item, give you a total that would help you make the decision.

Here's an example:

--- Factor (1-10) ---    X    Y  Wght    X      Y
Salary + benefits        8  10    8    64    80
Stock + other            2  10    7    14    70
Enjoyment of job          9  10    9    81    90
Long-term stability      10    3    10    100    30
Loyalty factor          10    1    10    100    10
Commute                  10    3    6    60    18
Travel requirements      6    9    7    42    63
Prestige                  6  10    7    42    70
Networking ability        3  10    6    18    60
Stuck in one role        3  10    4    12    40
Hours                    10    5    9    90    45
Weighted Totals                          623    578

This may come out formatted terribly, but you can see that the highest paying job didn't total out the highest.

In fact, my Dad also said... throw away all but the top five weighted items and add THOSE up.  Those are your key criteria...

Don't know, but HTH.
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

What's Amway?

Truth -- well said.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Yep, I'd side with Truth, though you need the right kind of relationship to money to begin with, otherwise the extra income goes to waste.

I don't know about going in to weighted variables, most of these decision are emotional & don't worry to much about consequence. If you make the wrong decision this time, hopefully you'll make the right one next time. (hint: there are no right & wrong decisions, it's just your feeling towards the matter that counts.)
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

How to calculate the mininum buffer?

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Life got so much more difficult since they got rid of that child-labour stuff.

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

1 year's living expenses is a good start. At what point do you think it would start to affect your behaviour at work? At what point would you start making decisions based on what was right & not on fear?
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

Read the JoSFAQ
  * 4.3    Should I change my job
  * 7.12  The value of money
  * 11.8  My job is crap, what can I do

Ignore my ignorance
Wednesday, July 7, 2004

You asked what Amway is:

First thing, It’s NOT an pyramid scheme… ;->

Gary van der Merwe
Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Ignore my ignorance: Where on earth do you find the JoS FAQ?

Gary van der Merwe
Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Thats answered in the FAQ :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

If you think it's better than your current job don't feel guilty -- take it; they'll understand.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

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