Monday, November 5, 2012

One of two jobs

It's no secret in the CS industry that we switch jobs a lot.  That's not an issue.

At any point in time, we're working one of two jobs:
  • The job we have now
  • The job we'll have after this one

Working your current job is, well, working your current job.  Working your next job is when you're still technically employed by your current employer but your mind and heart are already trying to land your next job.

Currently, I'm working my next job.  Why?
Poor management: To me, it seems that management cares about product instead of people.  They'd rather have a crummy product now (and never fix it) instead of creating a process and framework to create a much better product down the line.
Sales issues: We have an incredible sales team.  They can sell products that haven't even been invented yet.  The problem is, it's now Programming's responsibility to build said product, no matter how difficult or ridiculous it is.
Wrong career direction: What I'm learning in my current job is not where I want to go.  I want to learn how to build great products in PHP, instead of how to hack together a project as fast as possible.

How about you?  Are you working the wrong job?

There are three main questions to ask yourself.

Is money important to you?  If so, can you make more at another job?

In one of it's brief moments of clarity between long stretches of hilarious insanity, the DailyWTF discusses salary.  The main point to be taken is not that we should strive to make as much money as possible, but rather are entitled to a fair salary and should demand it.  If you can't get a fair or living wage, switch jobs.

Is your current job holding your career back?

Java programmers have higher salaries.  The reason for this is that Java doesn't teach you anything new.  In order to entice programmers, Java shops need to pay more.
In order to make sure your career keeps pace in a fast-moving industry, you'll need to make sure you can learn on the job.  Programmers.SE has an excellent article on this.

Could your work environment use some improvement?

Are meetings held only when needed or when the boss wants to feel important?  Is project scheduling done with proper foresight or with deadlines set to the next big conference?  Work environment can be more important than either salary or learning.

Obviously these three things aren't everything but they represent a lot of what you should be looking for in a job.

EDIT: some tips on online job hunting

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