Monday, November 19, 2007

What does it take to stick with a job?

I have been a job hopper most of my career. I admit it. I've always had my eye out for the next best thing. I'm an expert on working the job boards. I've figured out how to get more responses from Dice and Career Builder than I could ever use. I have a list of agencies from all around the world who send me job listings for which I am at least partially qualified. If I wanted to start a new job next year I'm sure I could shake the trees and have something lined up in a few weeks.

I don't think that's bragging. I just think that's the miracle of modern technology at work. Job hunting is easier than ever for a qualified technician. If you have a specialty on some hot piece of software or are a good Java developer you could probably name your price. In my opinion, if you have a good track record and are good at what you do, there's not much to stop you today from moving on in your career if that's what you want to do.

For the most part my strategy of changing jobs every few years has always paid off. Because of my entrepreneurial spirit, I attack a new job with gusto, get the projects lined up, figured out and completed usually within two years. In my current position I finished my project list in less than six months after I came on board (OK, now I'm bragging). My point is that I have enjoyed changing jobs because of the challenge, the salary increases and the new technology. If you need any evidence of my propensity to change jobs just check out my Linked-In profile.

I'm not so interested in changing jobs any more. Why? No, it's not because I'm getting older and it's not because I wouldn't enjoy the challenge. In fact, I was offered a job not more than six months ago right in my home town that included everything I thought I was looking for: a pay increase, no commute, a company that needed my skills and good people with whom to work. So why did I turn it down? I stayed because the CEO told me he needed me and he meant it.

Now some headhunters would tell me I was crazy to believe my boss. "He just told you that to get you to stay while he is looking for your replacement." Nick Corcodilos has often said, "Never, ever accept a counter-offer. The reasons for your dis-satisfaction will still be there six months from now." Well, it's been six months and I couldn't be happier with my choice. Sure, the boss sweetened the deal but something else has changed that is more important.

I don't feel like just a techie any more. There comes a point in your career where trusted relationships are more important than money, working with the latest technology or having a big training budget. Those things are nice, but when you are treated like and feel like a trusted part of the management team, than you've earned my loyalty. I guess what I'm saying is there are just times when you have to look beyond the technology and consider who you are helping.

What do you think? Am I nuts for staying on a job longer than the customary two to three year time frame of most techies today? Have a got a rare thing going here or should I keep those job interviewing skills hot?

1 comment:

InkByte said...

I agree; longevity in this day and age, and especially in the IT field is almost an unknown. I had a different experience. I have not switched jobs as often; I have been with my current employer for 12 years. But when an opportunity came along with better pay and more challenge, I was a sucker and took the bait. After 8 months of fun and challenges, the money ran out and 2/3 of the company was let go. I was out! Luckily, I had kept strong ties with my former employer, coming in part-time and they had never replaced me. So I stepped back in, cleaned up the mess that the corporate team had made and I'm back with people who appreciate my work in a way that may not be the most lucrative, but is still rewarding.