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When to move on

You’re enjoying your current job, but in tech, we’re fortunate enough to be constantly approached with new jobs 💼. When should you consider moving on?

This is a highly subjective post. What worked for me, might not work for you. This post is just like a mental massage 💆‍♂️. Might not do anything, might help you a bit, but hopefully, you should feel more at ease 🧘‍♂️ afterward.

The Problem 🤔

In tech, you have to keep yourself always up to date. Always hone your skills to stay sharp, and make sure you’re constantly challenged. Otherwise, you don’t grow, and I think it’s too easy for us to become irrelevant.

At the same time, most tech jobs can become cushy quite fast. This is why (I think) tech has such a high turnover rate (I read somewhere about it being 1.7 years). People feel the need or want to move on fast, to make sure they keep the learning pace up. Of course, there are other factors, but this is one of them.

Now, you’re faced with a decision. Two years or so into your new job, you think to yourself:

Now that I learned most of the stuff here, should I move on? Or keep at it? I mean, the job is good, the people are friendly, the benefits are nice. Why would I consider risking everything for the potential of something better?

The Solution 💡

Well, there’s no solution to this. Everyone is different. Everyone has different needs, different expectations, different hopes and different dreams.

My average at a job (so far) has been around 4 years. I do think that’s a bit too much, but here’s my thinking process 👇

Potential 📈

It was Wayne Gretzky that said

You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don't take.

This couldn’t be more true. For me, it was always difficult to imagine what might be. How would a new job differ from the current one? I was always finding myself thinking of all the possible ways things could go wrong. All the possible ways it could be worse than what I’m currently doing.

This is also because there was a saying in Romania 🇷🇴 (the country that I'm from) when I grew up that said:

Don’t give up the crow in your hand for the sparrow in the tree.

It doesn’t really translate, but it basically says not to give something that you have right now, for the possibility of something better. For a maybe...

I do think this is wrong. But again, I’m fortunate enough to afford to take risks.

This is my way of discovering new things. By immersing myself in something new. Something entirely new.

Which leads me to my second point 👇

Something new and exciting ✨

Another reason why it takes me a lot to leave a job is the fact that every new job, for me, is thoroughly different.

First, I was working on an internal tool built in C++ , then, I was working as a back-end developer in C#. Subsequently, I was doing full stack in .NET, Perl and Python. Thereafter, I was doing full time front-end in Angular… you get the point.

Every time I got a new job, I wanted to make sure that it’s something entirely new. Something that I can fully immerse myself into. Something that would challenge me a lot, but when conquered, the sense of accomplishment would be stupendous 🤩.

The same thing can be said about the company 🏢 as well, not only the technology. With every job change, I went from small to large companies, from tech to non-tech companies. There are so many fields out there.

The people 👥

But what about the people you work with? Occasionally, you end up making friends at work. People end up relying on you. You end up loving ❤️ the product.

This tends to happen if you’re very passionate, and work with very passionate people, on a product that you all believe in.

Well, this is a tough one. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it makes leaving a job that much harder. I keep looking for excuses not to leave. And don’t get me wrong, maybe staying is not the worst decision. But there’s a feeling that I get. A feeling that I’m not being the best I can be. A feeling that there’s so much more I can do.

A good barometer 🌡️ for me is this 👇

I tend to spend time in my evenings and weekends learning 🎓 new stuff. I love learning. With a new job, I spend very little time doing this. Because my brain 🧠 absorbs so much at the end of the day, I feel like I’m done learning by the time I get home. However, the more comfortable I become, the more time I end up spending on my own, learning. At some point, this gets out of balance ⚖️, where I feel the need to spend most of my spare time learning because I’m not satisfied by what I’m getting from my day-to-day. This is not great, since it has many implications in my personal life as well 👎.

To me, this is a red flag ⛳ that something has to change. But again, I know I’m repeating myself, this is just me. It’s probably different for you (assuming you got so far reading 📖).

The people who end up being important to you, will carry over to the new job. The job is what brought you together, not what keeps you together.

What if this doesn’t work out 😟

Again, I’m fortunate enough that I’ve never had to face this situation. I did have wonderful jobs, and jobs that were…well, not great. But there was always something to learn. Looking back, this is usually my mindset. Even from the not-so-great experiences: what did I learn? There’s definitely something that I got out of it.

On, to the future 🚀

Coming on the other side, I want to say, I’m almost always thrilled with the new job. Excited from day zero. Curious about all the things that I can learn 🎓, all the people that I can help 🚑, and all the tools that I can build 🏗️. This, to me, is deeply humbling and the engine that keeps the fire 🔥 going.

About this text 🧠

This comes as a result of many sleepless nights 😴, meditation sessions 🧘‍♂️, personal discovery exercises that I did during my last job change. It was not a fun mindset to be in, and I hope by writing this down, someone might find it even a bit useful. I’m writing ✍️ down things I wish someone told me.

Congrats 🎉

You made it yet through another article. Thanks for spending the time reading this, and hope it provided some sort of value, since time is a limited resource. Use it wisely. 🙏

Want more?

If you want to know more about this, or something doesn't make any sense, please let me know.

Also, if you have questions, you know where to find me… On the internet!

Be kind to each other! 🧡

Over and out

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Catalin Ciubotaru 🚀

Is it time to move on 🤔? This is a bit of a sensitive topic 🫣, and here is what went thought my head 🧠 during my last switch: 🤗 #Career #Developer

Oct 16, 2023
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