IT Employment

General discussion


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?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -


by kristijan.spirov In reply to How do you know when its ...

Here's one "interesting" statistics I found from

1 in 7
IT workers who describe themselves as 'very happy' in their work, compared to one in three happy hairdressers, plumbers and chefs.


Collapse -

It is simple. Are you happy?

by cathysb2 In reply to How do you know when its ...

There is only one answer to this question. Are you happy? If not, it's time to leave. Life is too short to be somewhere you don't want to be. You only get one chance to be happy everyday of your life. Don't waste it! You can't go back and change those days you've been unhappy in life, but fortunately you can spend the rest of your days making sure your happy where ever you spending your time while your alive. As the song says, "BE HAPPY"!!!

Collapse -

Change Agent

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

My suggestion is that you take the Myers Briggs and several other test to see your areas of skills or occupations never explored or hardly explored. Once you get an idea of some area possibly volunteer for a while to see what really goes on and or take a short term contract or W2 assignment with the firm or company in that specific role. Small town may have alot of opportunities, you may find that the roles you have researched my have extreme value to the folks in your corner of the country. Please don't be afraid to explore telecommuting jobs which provide more flexible travel schedules sometimes.
Best Wishes for a successful change.

Collapse -

Locating Telecommuting Jobs

by Presidio In reply to Change Agent

Telecommuting would have great benefits!
I have been able to work at home from time to time (different company)
I am very disciplined and enjoy that environment quite a bit.
BUT I've searched for telecommuting jobs and come up dry -- where are they?

Collapse -

It's worth leaving

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

Speaking only for myself, and I am probably in the minority, but I was so stuck in the comfort zone of my previous job (note I said previous) that I made it an Olympic sport. I had so many excuses for staying there: I had let my IT skills (what few I had) go to pot, the company didn't pay for new training (especially if the class had nothing to do with our current systems etc), I had no money to pay for my own, I was so completely unsure of myself and my abilities that I couldn't move, and I convinced myself that I was just still a "good fit" with the place. They needed me, for the most part, but I was doing silly stuff that never seemed to have any hopes to get better in the future. But I was comfortable. The stress I had was minimal, but started to build because I was becoming increasingly miserable in the job. There wasn't much left for me to do, not much hope for advancement of any kind (I was a 1-person IT dpt), the company always tottered on the edge of bankruptcy, I feared being laid off even though I was probably one of the safest emp's in there.
Then an opportunity through a friend fell in my lap. It was a lateral move, but I'd be busy every day. There would always be users to support and projects to do. It had the security of a union/public job (well, more security than the private sector and the place I was working at anyway.) It was also a $100 a week pay cut from a job that didn't pay much in the 1st place. I jumped on it, and prayed I'd get the job. I knew it was the end of my road, and I have not regretted my decision one bit. With contractual raises, I'm within $20 of what I was making 14 months ago already. (Again still not much, but I am not likely to be laid off any time soon either. I had not had a raise in 4 years.)
I can't say I jump outta bed every morning greeting the day... I'm still not much of a morning person... But I don't get a knot in my stomach thinking about facing another day. The new job had good points (contract raises, security, more to do, a 1.5 mile commute..) and bad ones (pay cut), but I am so much happier here. It was hard to leave my other place after 14years, I miss some of the people. But I've made new friends and really enjoy my job most days!
It is time to leave if are asking yourself that question nearly every day.
Good luck in whatever you decide!

Collapse -

I ask myself the same questions

by sumiko508 In reply to How do you know when its ...

I've read all 111 posts in this thread and am deeply grateful to all who have responded to Presidio's dilemma, because I feel that I am in a similar situation. In my case, I began a second career by taking a job in IT a little over 8 years ago (I'm a DBA) and now I'm wondering if I made a mistake. Fortunately, I only have to worry about myself rather than an extended family, but there are always financial considerations (I am an older worker, and would like to be able to retire and not be dependent on others etc.). I also live in a rural community where there aren't many IT openings, and I do not have the personality traits that are needed to be successful at self-employment. But who cares -- this is not about me. I would just like to say that I have taken to heart all of the comments and suggestions from this community, and will be thinking long and hard about how work affects my outlook on life, and how I want to spend 8 hours (or more) of each day in the work week -- do I dread coming to work because of the nature of the tasks themselves, or is it the constant pressure we all face in IT, or the industry I'm in, or my boss/co-workers, or is it lack of outside interests (or time to pursue them), etc. etc. I realize that for each individual there are different answers and I have to find my own way along this path called life! Thanks to all who carry the torches that help dispel the darkness.

Collapse -

You have to be happy with the work that you do.

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

Your condition strikes all of us sooner or later.
Determine if your unrest is from the environment, the work, the people, or yourself.
If the problem is the environment or the people, decide what changes are required to move and do it! As you've discovered, the money doesn't make a bad job good.
If the problem is the work, you may have to go back to school.
If the problem is within yourself, you will not be happy anywere! Satisfied people come from all environments and all conditions. Attitude is the one element which enables the ability to find something worth the effort.

Happiness is something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to. Make all three a part of your life.

Collapse -


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

Most people stay with their current job due to convenience and not wanting to give something up to maybe get something better. Risk is something that we all face and sometimes take. 10 years at a job is a quite a long time. If you are at all interested in growing professionally, it is best to gain experience elsewhere and if you like in a new position. But for goodness sake take the risk and find a new job. Who knows you might love developing elsewhere.

You will always be able to find a job somewhere. That's the great thing about this country. You may have to settle for less sometimes, but you can always take care of yourself. Take the risk, I mean opportunity!

Collapse -

Been there, Done that

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

After 30 years as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist, I was feeling much the same as you. Hated going to work, no fun anymore. Knew that computers were the up and coming thing, so after quitting my job (without really thinking of what I'd do without one), I signed up for computer classes in a vocational school. Again, my timing was perfect, as by the time I finished, the bottom fell out of the IT job market.

Found a job paying $11/hr in a small (15 employees) manufacturing company because I didn't really have any experience. It was hard making much less money than I had, but I got 2 years of experience as the "Network Administrator" in the one year I worked there.

Kept my eyes open for positions, but none were to be had. Those very few positions that came open were immediately filled by the hundreds of experienced IT professionals who had lost their jobs. One day a position appeared in the paper for an IBM AS400 operator, no experience necessary, willing to train, open interviews. Needless to say, I was there the next day, resume in hand. I had to talk myself into the job, as my training had, of course, been in Microsoft.

I've been on the job for 2 yrs. now. The company's alright, but my coworkers more than make up for the atmosphere.

When your attitude constantly needs adjusting, sometimes it's time to pack up and move on. Sometimes making a career move or change is better done without too much thinking about it; thinking about it only gives us more time to find reasons why we can't. Sometimes just doing it forces us to leave our safety net and actually taking a chance on doing something different because now we have to survive.

Collapse -

Soul Searching

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

I've read most of the posts since I've been wrangling with this for about 1.5 yrs now. When I started my programming job 7 years ago, I was on fire - I couldn't wait to get to work and the day flew by. Now I fight to stay focused and dread Mondays. This has happened before. I think I stay at jobs/careers too long, but then change is difficult for me.

I am slowly beginning to learn there are 2 options to this career thing:

1) Discover what you were "designed" to do then set about doing it. Others have mentioned many good tools to start with (Meyers Briggs, What Color is Your Parachute, etc.) The theory is if you're properly leveraging your true talents, you'll be happy and successful.

2) Shift your point of view. A friend of mine worked for the post office and hated his job. After much analysis he decided the bottom line was that it allowed him to do the things he really loved and so now he puts in his time and goes home.

Personally I'm too much of an idealist for the latter although I am understanding the necessary mentality a bit better than I used to. However in starting the process in #1 myself, I've begun some activities outside of work that I really love doing. It really gives me something to look forward to, but I still have to go to work every day, i.e. my outside activities do not completely compensate for the 8 hr dues I pay each day. This tells me I will eventually need to move on.

Maybe an assessment will point you to a different aspect of IT or maybe outside of it altogether. Whatever you decide, start taking action right away. That alone will help eliminate some stress and give you something to look forward to.

Best of luck

Related Discussions

Related Forums