Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When is it time to move on?

No one stays with a company forever anymore. Especially in technology, it's normal to keep a job for a couple years and then move on to the next opportunity. Alex's article on IT turnover is the only answer I've seen to this question, but it's a good one.

Alex, though, addresses the question from management's perspective. What about the developer? All we know (again, from Alex) is that we eventually get the feeling that the job is just no longer for us. That's not real specific though, and probably leaves a lot of room for false positives. This frustration could have another source and a different way of dealing with it.

Personal Conflict

The actions of people working around you can be frustrating to the point of wanting to just walk out. Obviously, this is not the same thing as knowing that your time is up, and by walking out early you could miss out on big opportunities.

Solution: Identify the people that frustrate you the most. How are they impeding your contributions and your ability to learn? What can you do to ease the tensions or, failing that, side-step them?


If you're bored, you're probably not learning, and you're not producing at your best.

Solution: Is there anything there that does interest you? Maybe a lateral move inside the company is in order. If not, it's time to go.

Don't get it

Maybe there's a problem with the system. Maybe it really is advanced and necessarily complex. Either way this leads to daily frustration.

Solution: If the system is broken, are your co-workers willing to help fix it, or would they rather simply live with it? If it's necessarily complex, this is a great opportunity. Find someone who can teach you the fundamentals of how and why it works. If no one can teach you, research it yourself. This will do more than just pad your resume, you'll be smarter for it.

Don't fit in

Sometimes your just meant for a different culture. The corporate man's probably not cut out for the startup life and vice versa.

Solution: If you can't or don't want to adapt, go find someplace that's a better fit.


No matter how hard you work, or how persuasive your arguments, management and your co-workers just aren't receptive.

Solution: You need to find out why, so that if there really is a problem with your work, you can fix it. Otherwise, a new job won't fix anything. On the other hand, if you can't get a good answer out of them, there's nothing you can do to fix it.


It's true that eventually we'll need to move on and find another job. Just make sure it's for the right reasons. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you consider all of the points above (and come up with some of your own) and you still can't make the job work, then it's probably time to update the old resume.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Good post, interesting thoughts. You made me laugh because I went to your main site and checked your resume. According to that you still work with me ;-) Keep writing!