Changing job usually is not something that most people enjoy. You need to find a better job, apply to it, prepare for an interview, do a couple of interview rounds, sometimes solve a task and then talk about a salary. This can be a tiresome, time-consuming, and frustrating experience. Some people are content with the status quo and are afraid of a change even if that change might improve their situation. I am not one of those people, I changed my job several times over the past couple of years.
Decide what is important for you
This is probably the most important thing – decide what your job means to you and how much of your life you want to spend on it. We are all different and we all have different life goals.
I know some people are ok with working in an entry-level job for more than a couple of years without any big promotion. People like that are happy with the salary they have because they can afford what they need, they are happy that it is eight hours office job. Many people would say that it is unambitious. But if they can pay their bills and afford what they want then it is great. For them, the job is just a way to get money to do some other stuff that interests them.
On the other hand, I also met people who work more than eight hours a day, and most of the time they only talk about the job. It seems like that job is their whole identity. Those people are promoted very often, have great status in the company they work for, they are kind of ‘famous’ and recognizable in some circles that are related to the job, and I would say it boosts their self-esteem. I respect that kind of person because I doubt I could do that for a long time.
From the start of my career up to around three years later, I had three things that were important to me. When I was looking for a job in that period I was looking for those three things at every company that I applied for.
That three things are: I wanted to work with modern and relevant technologies. Since I am a web developer I mostly wanted to work with Java and Spring Boot. I was ok with working with Python but Java was my main priority.
Second thing is that I wanted to be a part of some kind of product team that develops new features. That way I knew I would learn something new and get a lot of experience. I did not want to maintain some old systems which contained legacy code. The knowledge that I would get maintaining legacy code would not really be useful in most of the other jobs so I would have a hard time getting a new job.
And the third thing is of course money. If two companies could guarantee me the first two things then I would usually go to a company that offers more money.
Those three things were equally important to me and I was looking for a company that can provide all those things.
However, it is not easy to find a company that can offer you all three things. Then you need to be ready to compromise. Usually, if one thing is missing then I would need the other two things to fill that gap.
Now when I gained some experience and I can do my job without any help, I changed things that are important to me. You will probably do the same after some time and that is normal. Life changes the older you are. When you start to work, you are young, inexperienced, you can stay up longer, etc. When you get older, you will have experience, you will probably have kids, you will have more money, you will probably be sick of corporate bullshit and because of all that, your priorities will change.
Right now things that I am looking for are work-life balance, a great team atmosphere, and money.
I like my free time and it is important to me not to spend that time on a job. That is why I want to work remotely most of the time. Working remotely will save some that I would lose on a commute and getting ready for a job.
Working for a few different companies made me realize that having good colleagues is a very important thing. It is easier to work with people that have good technical knowledge or want to learn new things. Also, if you are working in the office then it means that you need to spend eight hours per day with that people. They are almost like your roommates or second family and it is important that you are getting along with most of them.
Regarding money, it feels good being paid in the same range that other companies are paying their developers for the same or similar position. It might sound weird, but if you are earning less than everybody else with the same skill set you would not feel good at all.
Reasons to change your job
There are many reasons you can have to change your job but all of them have one thing in common – you are going to improve your life or career (or both) that way.
I am going to list some reasons and give some thoughts about it
Poor management, toxic environment, and horrible bosses
I have to say that I experienced all three things in different jobs. I think poor management is something that is very frequent in the IT world and it can frustrate a lot of software engineers. Sometimes the managers would promise something to the clients on some unrealistic deadline. Then people would have to either work overtime or the quality of their work would be bad. When that happens a couple of times then people get frustrated and leave the company.
The toxic environment is related to the office atmosphere. Like I already said – you spend eight hours a day with your colleagues. If they are not good people or if they are hostile to each other then you know you are going to have a hard time doing your job the best you can. You shouldn’t feel bad or sick coming to the office or having to talk with your colleagues.
Also, pay attention to the “We work hard and play hard” culture or “We are one big family” culture. Companies like that will usually require longer working hours and some scheduled social activities. They will try to use guilt or empathy on you to accept all those “values”. It is very important to set clear boundaries between your working hours and private time.
Getting a raise or promotion
The easiest way to get a big raise or promotion is to change a job. A lot of companies pay more to new hires than they pay their current employees. It happens because companies don’t raise the salaries of current employees very often but they want to attract new people. To attract new people the company has to offer a salary that fits the current job market. When that happens you should ask for a raise or simply change your job.
Outgrowing your position
If you are working on the same thing for a couple of years without having any new responsibilities or working on some other projects you might feel bored at your job. If that happens, you might lose motivation to work at all. Talk to your managers about that and see if they can do anything about that. If not, then I would suggest you look for new challenges at some other company. When you change the job, you will probably need to learn and adapt to new things at that company, meet new people, work on different kinds of projects and maybe work in a different industry. All that might be interesting and fun.
Starting your own business
If you want to start your own business I congratulate you. If you researched the market, you know how much money you are going to need when you start, and also studied what laws you need to follow then I would say you are ready. It might not be easy at the start but that should not make you feel bad. You should always believe in yourself.
The worst thing that can happen is that your business fails. But it is not that bad because you can always find a job. You still have all the skills you had before.
You are not married to your company
This is the phrase I use very often when people are complaining about some bad situation at their job.
If you want to change your job but you are hesitant or just want to postpone it for some time in the future because some manager told you that they count on you, please don’t do that to yourself.
It is ok that you want to be a good person but there is a time and place for that. Stay professional and try not to include your feelings in that decision. Because the sad reality is that if a company needs to lay off workers to save money, they would do it in a heartbeat. At the end of the day, you are working for that company because you need money, and that company employed you because your skills and effort will earn them money.
Look what happened to Messi. For those that don’t know – Messi is one of the best soccer players of all time. He played for FC Barcelona for 17 years, won everything he could win multiple times, and broke so many records as a player there. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2021, he needed to leave FC Barcelona because the club’s board spent so much money on other players’ salaries so they could not give him a new contract that he wanted to sign. That is why he moved to Paris. You might think it is not a big deal, but he lived in Barcelona since he was 13 years old and he had to leave because of the poor club management.
The point is – leave when you feel you are ready and don’t look back. The company will survive without you. You don’t owe anything to the company and the company does not owe you anything that is not inside a contract you signed.
I hope this post inspired you to rethink about your situation at work and is it really worth staying.
The most important thing would be to decide what is important for you and can company provide all those values that are important to you.
If you notice any red flags or you think something is bad for you at your current working place try to talk with your managers about it and see if that can be improved or fixed. If not, then start looking for a new job and don’t look back. Everybody deserves respect and to be paid fairly. Be professional and try not to burn bridges.
The best time to look for a new job is when you already have a job. That way you don’t need to accept the first thing you find.