IT Careers: Evaluating your job

I came across an interesting article on evaluating your current job. I respect the article for the fact that it is based on the experiences of the author. It isn’t just any joe blo writing about what he thinks the industry should be like. However, I think the tone of the article is tremendously harsh.

The article can be found here [fr.sys-con.com].

From i-Technology Viewpoint: When to Leave Your First IT Job:
“The first layoff is tough. After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward? To summarize how I felt: Disillusioned. Only one thing kept me going — pure ego. You know when the schoolyard bully says something about your mom in front of everyone? But, ignoring the size difference and the fact that he’s already shaving daily at age 14, you step forward and say “Oh yeah?”, with a Brock Sampson-like eye twitch the only warning of the impending ownage? That’s the kind of ego that kept me determined to give software engineering a second shot.”

I do agree with the following points highlighted in the article.

  1. Don’t ever work in cubicles.
  2. An over-bearing management or they think that they know too much.
  3. Management that relies on, but disregards your technical advice
  4. Management that bullies you over your schedules
  5. Jobs that stunt your personal growth
  6. Job commitments that you are not happy doing
  7. Jobs that don’t give you the opportunity for career advancement
  8. Jobs that don’t consider overtime alongwith compensation

I don’t agree that any one of them alone, is reasons enough for quitting your job. Perhaps that wasn’t the author’s point. It is obvious that very few employers will score 10 out of 10 by the standards set down in the article. It is also hard to evaluate each of these requirements against any existing job. For example, schedules can often be tight when trying to meet market demands and when taking advantage of available opportunities. However, it may not be necessary to have to deliver all that is promised on time. A reduced set of commitments can be negotiated upon within the available time constraints. If the management were to then turn down the request to restrict the scope to fit the time – the writing is on the wall. Several start-ups offer stock-options that are worth very little in exchange for loyalty and dedication. It is only a promised compensation, one that may not materialize ever. Is it still a good job subject to the possibility that the employee is willing to risk it?

What is important is to be aware that your ideals have been compromised. Is your job just another job, or is it something that you enjoy doing with a great deal of passion. Do you honestly believe that you had to make that compromise because of your current working conditions? When did it stop being a true challenge and a learning experience? Then again, should having to work in a cubicle be enough grounds for disullisionment? Or is it that I am incorrectly adopting a more conciliatory stance than is necessary?

It is hard to evaluate your employer objectively, what with the growing liability of having to provide ‘diplomatic’ feedback to their employees, feedback that will not have the potential to hurt the company. Be careful when you do so. I wouldn’t be surprised if some companies truly are skimping on the quality of work environment they provide.

Some quotes from the article:
At my last job, I constantly felt dejected. “You’re not growing fast enough! You’re barely in the middle of the pack.” was the kind of feedback I was getting from my supervisor. Much later, I realized they were setting employees up for failure, and then blaming the employee, instead of blaming themselves.

Work is not all bad. A lot of employers say they want their employees to think work is fun. Few employers put their money where their mouth is, and difference is something you not only see – you feel it when you start working for those employers.

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