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> Job advice please!
post Jan 24 2012, 09:08 PM
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Hi. I suck at making decisions and want some advice.

*edit* Whoops, this is a personal concern isn't it? Can a mod move it?

I've been in my current job (software development) for 2 years and don't know what to do next.

I mostly like my job, but I work with really awful code using really awful tools and the way products are managed within the company is terrible. There is one application in particular I'm responsible for that is a maintenance nightmare, and it's basically impossible to guarantee the kind of quality customers expect, due to how it's been developed in the past, and how the company continues to operate. This makes me sad.

Today I was told that if I was interested in becoming a technical lead, there may be room for me to take over managing this software. I basically said no, but that I would think about it. I said that the responsibilities of the role weren't very well defined, and my impression from what the current guy does is not good (lots of external pressure to get things done on unreasonable time scales, then dealing with the fallout when things inevitably break). The idea of leading a team doesn't bother me so much as all the BS from other teams/customers I'd have to deal with. So I don't really want to do it, but I can't tell if I'm really blowing things out of proportion because people stuff scares me. I feel like I'm just not assertive or patient enough to deal with that kind of thing and it would all go horribly wrong.

I've also been thinking about jumping ship entirely and finding something that's more interesting technically and has a more reasonable working environment. I want to work uninterrupted on a single project at a time, instead of juggling lots of little things. I like being involved in design decisions as well as programming, and I really like reviewing stuff and collaborating on things. What is my ideal job? Am I being too unrealistic?

How do I even look for a job that is worth applying to? I've looked at some job sites a bit but all the ads by agencies convey so little useful information about what the job involves. The whole idea of job hunting is so unpleasant that I've just been putting it off for ages. I'm comfortable in my current role but I don't see much opportunity to learn new things there. It's complicated by the fact that my current job doesn't offer much marketable technical experience, due to us using a stupid scripting language that nobody else uses, so if I went for some generic Java job I would fail all the stupid checklist items they ask for.

Kung fu fighting from 25th April 2010
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post Jan 24 2012, 09:24 PM
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I'm no expert at any of this so certainly don't take my word for it, but here's my 2 cents:

First of all, I'd decide on my options. Don't (just) check job sites but contact companies that you're interested in working for, check out their websites and see what they offer and require. A lot of companies don't have anything on job sites because they're not actively looking for employees or because they simply don't need them. It also shows that you put in effort and aren't just clicking around on websites seeing if something sounds good. If you have a few offers, you can start to compare.

You're not being unrealistic about your needs, but that would depend on your employer. The role you're describing is something you'd find in smaller companies, or companies so big it's not hard to become a teamleader or the sorts.

Then your current position. People often say that you can have a job you love, or a job that pays well. Is your job one of the two? If not, you could consider getting that promotion, but I'd be really careful. A friend of mine was in a similar position but he managed to get the job on his terms, and more importantly, got everything written down in case of (like you said) "inevitable failure", so his ass wasn't on the line and his employers knew what to expect from him. If you're clear on what you will and will not do and set boundaries, it could work out.

Hope this helps. Good luck dude!
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