IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Posted by IT Pilgrim on December 10, 2008

Decisions … decisions ….When is it all too much? When does sticking it out become nothing more than wasting your life away?

As a serial job hopper, I generally go somewhere, work my hardest until I get bored an leave. Before I leave, I generally manage to shake things up, make a sizable dent in workloads and force the other workers to match my own crazy techno music pace, or die trying. There have been casualties along the way I am sad to say, but I am amused to say that a lot of places are required to use two or sometimes three people fill my shoes. I know how big my shoes can be to fill (and maybe my hat as well) but I always have left my mark.

Well, not here. When I got re-assigned away from Big Black Box Computer Company, well, it all went downhill in a massive mudslide.

So when is it all too much. This year I went from the 25% travel I signed up for, to 100% travel in one fell swoop. So my thought is, when is “sticking it out” actually worthwhile. I know the standard reasons, to establish stability, to make significant contributions, to work your way up the food chain. I don’t see that as a possibility here, though I have to concede that I may just be tired and feeling whiny.  At this point, I don’t even meet my own criteria for staying, as follows:

Am I happy?

Do I feel challenged?

Am I at least friendly with my co-workers?

Do I have a good boss who will help me grow?

Do I have room to grow within my role and the company?

Do I have interesting and creative work?

How easy/hard is it to get up to go to work versus to get up to go to the gym or anyplace else?

Am I living each day in a worthwhile pursuit?

Can I see the results of my work?

Am I making enough money to pay for necessities?

So, you take this list, and weigh they number of questions you answered yes to and the number of questions you answered no to. Add those up. That is the most logical way I know. However, that being said, I also know that I am not really a logical person, and those who say it is just that I am a woman, can stow it. You have to understand who you are, so if logic is enough for you, great, if not, you then have to weigh out how important each one is to you. I usually give them a percentage and add them all up on an excel spreadsheet.  I may not be logic driven, but i’m still a nerd at heart.

If you get some extra time, try it out. Does your current job measure up?

Photos by billaday and  by wsdot via Flickr Creative Commons.  

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One Response to “Should I Stay or Should I Go”

  1. Jemimah said

    For the sake of a good argument, I will assert that your goals of financial independence and self-actualization at work are conflicting. I suspect the that vast majority of jobs that are truly good for your soul are not good for your pocketbook. Thus the pursuit of happiness takes one of three forms: either we become mercenaries, selling our time (while our souls wither) for money in hopes of achieving retirement before infirmity, or we resign ourselves to indefinite wage-slavery hoping that if we serve the master diligently enough, we will be rewarded with a higher standard of living – perhaps believing that our materialism is acceptable food for the soul, or we say “carpe diem” seeking our self-actualization in the present, but we can’t afford to pay for it and so we must live off the charity of other people.

    My advice is to go mercenary (assuming you find no brilliant innovative solution to this Kobayashi Maru test). The goal here is not “happiness” at work, but an optimization of the least amount of misery for the most amount of compensation. You’ll need a new list.

    Is the job damaging my mental or physical health or causing burnout?

    Am I doing work that makes my skillset more marketable?

    Can I get a sizable raise by switching jobs?

    Can I get a sizable reduction in hours by switching jobs?

    What’s my exit strategy?

    Since you’re good at shaking things up, automating yourself out of jobs (my specialty), and then getting bored, I really think you should stick with temping and/or consulting. If you do that, you don’t have to call it “serial job hopping.” There are two types of hoppers, those that hop because they suck, and those that hop because they can’t stand suckage. Even if you do find a way out of IT, and into a different corporate field, you’ll probably still dislike it, for all the same reasons. Finding a job that pays well and doesn’t suck is basically lottery; but you can’t win if you don’t play.

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