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How do you know when its time to leave?

By Presidio ·
Is it time for a change?
Just a job change or a career change?

I?ve been programming for over 10 years (several different companies). There was a time when I loved it, now I dread coming to work. For about 6 months now I leave work each day with my jaw clenched; shoulder/neck muscles tight; stomach in a knot and spend my entire drive home trying to relax.

Sometimes I think that it is this particular work environment. My supervisor has changed, company location has changed, and there is major staff turnover. There is also no chance to keep up with new technology. However I live in a small community with very limited new opportunities.

Sometimes I think I need a complete new direction. I still have moments where I really get into the code and enjoy developing, but I wonder if both the IT industry and I have changed too much.

I?ve had personal life changes too and would actually rather work part time. Working more then 8 hours in a day feels like such punishment.

Getting a paycheck is 95% of the reason I show up for work every day. I get paid well but would rather earn less and enjoy my job.

So where does one go from here?

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Build a Bridge

by mal1chi-forum In reply to How do you know when its ...

The way in which you leave a job can be just as valuable as the work you have done on the job. There are good ways to move on.

You say there are times when you still enjoy coding.

Find out what part of your work you enjoy, then *work* at trying to make that happen in your current job situation.

In other words, build a bridge in your current employment that will help you and your employer continue to be successful. Your job is to make your company successful and hopefully learn, have fun and stay challenged while acheiving this.

You will, as another member wrote, also discover what you enjoy doing and will be better prepared to find it.

If you decide to leave after having done all you can to create a successful environment, both you and your employer will benefit in the process of your leaving. They don't need someone hanging around not motivated, and you don't need to be stuck in a job you dislike.

Ask for severance. Ask for them to pay your COBRA. Ask for a good recommendation. Ask them what they need from you. A job is a relationship.

Bridges can be crossed more than once.

Good Luck

Mal1ichi

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Is it time to leave?

by waltjohnson35 In reply to How do you know when its ...

Presidio,

I have read 84 messages at this point ? the good the bad, the dumb, the personal and the religious - and came back to yours to try to help.

First, my credentials:
1957 BS Accounting
1957 City Auditor 4 years, Army 2 years,
1962 City Programmer 4 years.
1967 Systems Engineer / Instructor? Blue Chip manufacturer. 25+ years
1992 Non-Profit Organization
1993 IT Professor at the local community college

I have seen almost all of the problems first hand that have been mentioned. I have been overworked, underpaid, disrespected, and the object of racism. Also suffered life changes - divorced and remarried. Through it all I tried to be rational and realistic ? and to understand what I was doing to cause the current situation. Net result: I quit the City (a good move); at Blue Chip I changed jobs, accepted a demotion (also a good move in that stresses were eliminated) and finally quit with an early retirement when things were getting ugly. I am still working half time and loving it.

Is it time for a change for you?

Why and how did you change through ?several companies? in the last 10 years? What is making you unhappy there? ?Sometimes ?this particular work environment?need a complete new direction?personal life changes? I would rather earn less and enjoy??

You must decide what you really want to do. If you decide that IT is the industry then know there will ALWAYS be change. I have seen and survived 42 years of it.

Obviously you are not living on the edge since you can accept less money. That?s good ? it gives you more options. Teaching might be an option at a public school or college ? and it could give you summers off.
Consider your health. Your current stress could affect it.

Be sure your problems are not of your own doing and follow you. Oz_Media says that almost everyone is happier after being fired and finding new work but I agree with SteveC in Florida that others find themselves even more unhappy with their positions.

If possible have a backup plan [Moloch].

Do some Research - Don?t miss reading jackmail@bellsouth.net He (she?) makes great points. 6/17/04

Also read the four points from mitchlr on 06/17/04

Find a mentor or coach - rgcurry@jcpenney.com Date: 06/17/04

Good luck.
Walter - wjohnson@ccp.edu

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Part Time a possibility?

by EFCbaddog In reply to How do you know when its ...

Have you inquired about converting to part time? I've been in the very same rut. Having to learn new languages over and over again (or rather development platforms and environments these days) gets tiresome just for the sake of keeping up with the latest and greatest with no real benefit to that. Plus, retirement is not a great option financially when you are just an employee for someone else.

At any rate, an opportunity was presented to convert my hobby/passion (flying) to a business 3 months ago. The contract to manage the local airport was recently reopened so a partner and I submitted a bid and won the contract. He left his job with his family business to be there full time. I was able to convert my full time IT job to half time (with half pay) giving me more time to devote to the new business and more able to focus on the IT job totally while there.

Yep I'm working 4 hours a day M-F at the IT job followed by 8 more hours M-F after that and 12 hours each Sat and Sun. However, I'm having a ball!!

I also am enjoying putting my IT skills to practical application getting computers networked, WIFI in place, custom database application, web site, etc at the airport business. I won't be surprised if down the road I have a new specialty application developed and start marketing it.

I did invest a huge chunk of my savings nest egg into the new business. And now we are both HIGHLY motivated to succeed. Fortunately, we both are single and have no kids to support. And my rather large house with pool will probably hit the market later this year (partially to get out from under its obligation and partially because I now have NO time to take care of it and not much to enjoy my pool)

Major life shifting for sure and the most satisfaction I've had in a very long time.

If you are able to convert to a reduced schedule, then you will have more time and energy to pursue education, a hobby, or other part time endeavor.

The other good suggestions I thought were to convert to more tech support or technical sales.

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time to leave?

by cogitor In reply to How do you know when its ...

Self-diagnosis: "moments where I really get into the code and enjoy developing".

Problem: Narrowness
Solution: Broaden.
Paint, climb, sail, write, race, community choir or theater, mentoring, whittle.
NOT overtime.

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This Might Help....

by rschoon In reply to How do you know when its ...

It's amazing how much your story sounds like mine did about two years ago. I'm a mechanical engineering by training but have made a big jump into program management. One thing I did back then was take a course toward an MBA that had the express goal of helping me figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. I was 43 then and really still had no clue. The course required us to use this book (at amazon) and it really, really helped me to figure out where I was at and where I wanted to be.

I've since given it to both my daughters (one in college and one just graduated) and they both got some good out of it. The book is a hands on self-help career advisor that, if you take the time to do the excercises and reall think about them, will really help you out. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0684823993/qid=1087489416/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/104-8965404-1729541

Hope the link makes it through in one piece.

Best of Luck!

Hans

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DO WHAT I DID!! IT'LL BE THE BEST THING YOU EVER DID FOR YOUR CAREER!!

by nex In reply to How do you know when its ...

I can tell you from my own personal experience that going solo and starting my own business is by far THE BEST thing that has happened in my life. I too live in a small town and there were literally no more than 20 high paying IT jobs, and nobody was moving out any time soon. I couldnt find anything that could flex my skills AND make me feel good. So I went into business for myself doing IT consulting for businesses and consumers, now i make 4 times what i did before AND I command how much i want to make and when i want to work, I take vacations when I want (pseudo on call for the bigger clients), and will NEVER go back to clocking in somewhere. Ypu are a programmer so, like me, starup cost will be MINIMAL if not zero. Getting a tax ID is FREE from the irs, and thats all you need to start charging money for your service! The rest is up to you, but i garuntee that you've probably already worked somewhere, or know somebody who could use a good piece of software, or an existing app redesigned. You can easily start by undercutting the S**T out of the competition, make good money, and gain a client base in a relatively short period of time. If you could market software design and maintenence as a service(instead of a product), and charge a monthly rate(basically outsource your business), you wouldnt need a large client base, and you can have plenty of free time to to what you want to do, which is live your life and be satisfied with it.

It is so simple you'll kick yourself for not doing it sooner!!

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By The Way.

by nex In reply to DO WHAT I DID!! IT'LL BE ...

I also have a friend Josh Headlee who is also a software programmer. He co wrote the "Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer", im sure you know what that is(look in the source code for the about page). He too went into business for himself and now his life has also gotten a lot better. He makes a lot of money , and has a lot of free time.

You can even start your business WHILE you have a steady income(actually that first year is great for taxes!).


Why get paid a little bit to help somebody else make a lot?

Start your own business and make all the money yourself!!

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Caution required

by mark.pescatrice In reply to DO WHAT I DID!! IT'LL BE ...

Just starting out on your own is a good option, but there are caveats. Make sure you have the $$$ to hold yourself over until you establish yourself with a regular comfortable client base. Just jumping out into the independent world may seem like a good idea, but it requires planning. You must be prepared to market yourself (my own personal weak spot) and sell yourself constantly.

Not having work when I went independent, by the way, was never as stressful as working with my former employer. My health (mental and physical) has never been better. I have stressful days, but nothing is nearly as stressful as hopelessness (when stuck in a job you despise).

You only have one body and one mind in this lifetime and you can't put a price on the value of it. Stress will ultimately have long range consequences with regards to your health and longevity.

Once you go independent, you will doubtfully ever want to voluntarily go back to work for anyone else. Quit as soon as you have a plan, but make sure you do something. Your body is trying to tell you something.

As a sidebar, yoga is a great stress reliever for us IT people who work these hideous long hours. It also helps eliminate a lot of the everyday aches and pains that desk work tends to bring.

Take care and good luck!

Mark Pescatrice
Matrice Consulting LLC

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Be Ready for a difficult time

by jblackrc In reply to How do you know when its ...

Well, staying at at job that you don't like it is not a good idea, but leaving it, specially when your reason is 95% for the pay check, means that that check is vital for you. So unless you are preper for be able to live for a while with No income at all, you better stay, and try to do your best. If you don't like the supervisor, then work harder to become the supervisor. Please do not missunderstand me. I am not saying that you don't work hard, what I am saying is that only you can decide what would happend next. Now do not believe that there are a lot of IT jobs, becuase there are a lot of job posting, but thousands of people applying for that jobs. Experience is good, but low cost is better.

Anyway Good luck

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Don't Give UP

by sltan In reply to How do you know when its ...

I would like to share my experience. I worked 25 years in the Sales Division of a manufacturing concern from a junior position to a relatively senior position with increased responsibility over the years over various product lines and departmental responsibilities. But I left the company at age 50 and from a Sales/marketing background moving on to an IT Solutions company. I am so enthusiastic over my new work which includes marketing of software solutions, and creating new ones with our programmers. I meet new customers in the process, and work with new people who are becoming a new group of friends to me, and my working lifestyle also changes with the job change and in my opinion for the better and not just pay-wise. I am now so much happier than before - I do not wish to dwell into the negative reasons I left the previous company but the situation I face is rather similar to yours and much more. But I have prepared myself for the change, as I took courses at college to upgrade myself both in knowledge and qualification and I was an active contributor in terms of IT work with our IT Dept. And I would like to add that age is not a factor. In fact in class I am learning with 18 - 20 years old when I was already in my forties but I enjoyed myself despite the hectic schedules between work, travelling on biz trips, family life, rushing to pass up assignment, attending night classes, exams, etc which really boils down to some sacrifice and good time management. I hope my experience will encourage you to look and move forward and dont let the past be a hindrance to whatever you decide to do from so many of the useful advise that readers have given. Know what you want, get yourself prepared and move mentally ahead.All the best!

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