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June 18, 2014

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Sounds like you're doing well at the company and could also do well elsewhere. I know this may sound hokey for a go-getter like this guy, but wouldn't you just stay if you enjoy the job/people (b/c the next job may not be that way) and leave if not?

28 is still in the "gritting your teeth" stage of your career to best set yourself up for decades of work. But I don't see a choice here important enough to override one's job satisfaction.

Sounds like either way you could be making an upward move (both responsibility and pay) very soon, I don't see a reason not to see how that works out first at the current job and then re-visit this after that. It would just be a shame to get a better salary at a place you don't enjoy that you could have at your current place by a short wait.

First, and this isn't to be flippant, learn to write in complete sentences. I had a difficult time understanding what was written here.

He talks about becoming a manager as a stepping stone without mentioning the most important part of managing... the people. If you want to be a successful manager, it isn't about your career, it's about your team. If your team performs, you will do well. If your team does not perform, it's on you, and you must figure out how to lead them into performance.

You should not always be looking for the next best opportunity with the highest salary. Hands down don't do it. You'll be doing it for the rest of your life as there is always a job that pays better.

Have you had situations where you 'waited' to get promoted?

- I had a job where I liked what I was doing, really like the people I worked around and with, and was promised a promotion. The promotion didn't happen on the first go round, okay. Didn't happen on the second with lots of excuses. I liked the position enough and was doing well enough that I didn't mind and was willing to give them a final shot. Didn't happen, and I stopped paying attention to the dangling carrot. I looked around and eventually found another interesting position (I wasn't in a rush).


Tenure at company (does it matter - I still think it does somewhat)

- In that job mentioned above, they had me working two critical functions at a lower level. When they went to recruit after I left they ended up hiring two individuals, one for each independent function, and had to hire at the promotion level they could have given me. So, sometimes tenure can work against you because they've got you doing the job, why pay you more if they don't have to?

- Sometimes it is good to be on the inside with the same company, but maybe not the same department. I've been offered potential promotions via work I've done with others on associated projects, within the umbrella of the same group or an associated group.

Good comments above. I think it is also difficult to specifically advise re: leave or stay unless you describe your long term plans. Are you trying to make as much money as possible as soon as possible to facilitate an early retirement? Is there a time frame on fully vesting in your 401K match? For example, I have a 4 year vest, and leaving after 2 years would have me walking away from a sizable amount of match.

With regard to jumping around, I think if you are demonstrating career growth, multiple positions in a short time frame is not a major red flag. In my industry, it has become more the norm lately. But, as you allude, there are some negatives, especially if the tenures are <2 or so years. Hiring managers might be cautious as they'd be afraid you may not stay for a reasonable amount of time.

My first career move came in 1958 when the aerospace company I worked for in Canada had their one and only contract, an interceptor aircraft, cancelled by the government who decided they could save money by buying a Boeing anti-aircraft missile instead. Fortunately the rumors were already flying around so I handed in my notice the day before the axe fell. US recruiters were waiting and I immediately collected my severance pay and got a job in Denver.

I stayed in Denver for 2 years but realized if I wanted a great career I needed a MS degree in engineering. I tnen sent resumes to Lockheed in Sunnyvale, Lockheed in Burbank, and Boeing in Seattle. All three had programs to help employees get an advanced degree at their expense, with part time day release, and made offers to me. I accepted the offer from Lockheed, Sunnyvale because it had a wonderful climate and was in a beautiful part of California. I got my MS degree, stayed there for 32 years, had many promotions and annual raises before retiring in 1992 with a nice pension.

As Jason mentioned, there are a couple of missing pieces of information here.
1) What is your long term goal? Is it to make as much money as possible to retire earlier? Is it to make as much money as possible to feel better about yourself (some people keep score that way)? Do you want to be a CIO or some other title?

2) The tenure and manager title matter based on what your "tech" company is. If you're doing technology consulting for one of the big 4, then getting that title absolutely increases your marketability and compensation when you leave. If you're at a Silicon Valley (or other) software development house, then it's going to matter a lot less.

3) If you are doing software / hardware development, then moving around frequently is often beneficial as your skills stay very sharp and you get exposed to a lot of different projects. If you're doing some other type of work, it can be red flag. If I get a resume with 3-4 one to two year stints on it, it's probably going to see the trash since I don't think that person is going to stick for the long term - this would be just another hop.

I'm not the biggest careerist, but I tend to agree with @tom. If you're going to be communicating with directors and c-level people then you need to make sure your communication skills are solid.

Think about the managers you’ve worked for and identify characteristics in them that you admire. Focus on the managers who are successful and get things done, not just the nice guys or sycophants. See if one of them will mentor you.

I’m pretty sure that you don’t want to hear this, but you’re still very young and have plenty of years left to make money. (Actually, you’re making quite a lot of money right now.) I remember being very restless in my career at your age too, but I just tried to focus on those parts of my career that I was good at and enjoyed. Also think about this strategically and holistically. Work/life balance is high on my priority list, so I definitely wouldn’t trade a lot more in compensation for a lot more work hours. Think of FMF’s other pillars of wisdom: increase your spread between income and expenses, invest wisely, and do these over a long period of time. Quite honestly, if your salary just kept up with inflation then I’d confidently predict that you’ll be able to retire in your early 50s.

I'm confused by this question.

You like your team. You expect a promotion in 3 months with a 50% pay bump (I doubt you'll get 50%, but I don't know your circumstances...). Why are you considering leaving?

In my opinion tenure at a company does matter, but a lot of people differ on this. You say you're in a tech compahy? Leaving for a different company usually means leaving unvested options on the table, and potentially unvested retirement contributions, etc...

I've only managed small teams as a secondary part of my largely individual contributor role. In that context, as others mentioned, your job is to focus on others' career. Your own will develop if they succeed. A manager who is looking out for himself is a lousy manager.

I have had many situations where I waited to get promoted. I've also had situations where I didn't. And several of my promotions happened in years when I wasn't expecting it. A few years back, after an absolutely stellar year (and promises from my manager that a promotion was forthcoming), I was not promoted. My manager had all kinds of excuses, but at the end of the day I did not have sufficient visibility to higher level management, and they kibosh'ed my promotion. In that particular job, and with that manager, I did not see a path to the specific issue being resolved, so I left.

I think you need to reset your expectations a little bit though. Life isn't about going from promotion to promotion and pay raise to pay raise. Sure, those things are important, but they're a distant second to job and life satisfaction. I'd happily take a pay cut (and in fact have) to increase job satisfaction.

I would disagree with some of the comments.

Yes you are young, but so what. Part of the allure of being successful when you are young is because you are young. If you slam it when you are young, and go harder than most, by the time you are 35-40, you can be done. It's the rarity of it that makes it appealing. Like I have said before, having money and success when you are 70, or even 50 is not uncommon. Having it when you are 28 is rare. And that is what is impressive. It eliminates the luxury of time, compounding and passivity and requires labor and/or risk.

I hit it hard when I was in my 20's. I never paid attention to anyone that said you are young, I already knew I was young. I turned 40 last month, and I hit every goal I set years ago.

My goal was never to retire early, or to have a certain amount of money. It was to succeed as fast a possible on as many fronts as possible and then spend the remaining part of my life enjoying and building on those successes.

If your focus is on you (and it should be) then do what is best for you and your family. Negotiate a higher salary or better position now. Grab what you can as fast as you can, no matter your age, or the specific company, or the team or whatever. All those things can and will change. Your priority to yourself won't.

Oh...if you really want to take a promotion or job transfer, create one. Make your own job, with your own company, and transfer to it. Then you won't have to wait or ask for a promotion or more money. You can just go earn it...alot more efficient.

@Troy

I don't disagree, but I'm definitely not the "slam it" kind of guy; I'm more of a sedan than a dragster. :^) I guess that the poster needs to figure out what's important to him and decide from there. I just urge him to step back and take a few deep breaths before stomping on the accelerator.

There is value in getting a promotion from a company. The OP notes that he got "a high score" which indicates his company values him and his work; all that goes away if he leaves. The track record of performance and recognition, especially at this early stage in worklife, will be a solid foundation for future moves.

Problems and headaches exist in every job, and fwiw at every move I had a brand new bunch of people "kicking the tires" and looking at me as their competition, and a learning curve of indeterminate duration.

In some circumstances it can make sense to wait to get promoted. I think you really have to have pretty darn good odds before waiting around can be justified. Although I think looking for the best opportunity is always positive, I would be careful how you define "best." It is not always true that higher salary guarantees best situation. You need to consider things like how much you enjoy the work and benefits attached to the job.

I'd say, do both! Look for another opportunity and try to get a growth opportunity within your company. Then you will have to make a choice among the options and that's a good problem to have.

-#6

One should be leery of oversimplicfication, but I have learned through 4 job hops through the public and private sector: 3 years seems to be the minimum time to let the "job wine" age before moving on in wineries.
Wait another 1.5 years, then evaluate and judge the position.
JMHO, GT

I would not worry about tenure now. You can build tenure at the next job (that assumes you like it enough). If you are forced to leave the next job early then it starts become more of a concern. I also would not wait for a promotion. You should manage your career. That means you continue to perform in your current role but you also pursue other opportunities if you want. They should be mutually exclusive. There is no guarantee of either a promotion in your current role or getting a new job but pursuing both improves your chances of one of them happening. You will need to consider that you will have more unknowns going to a new job (people, culture, workload, etc) and you need to compare all the benefits. All that said, you have only been in the role for 1.5 years. Money aside, I'm fairly confident you have more growth opportunities in that role still. I would say that switching jobs every 2-3 years is a great way to grow and build a broad base of experience.

I think your evaluating your career move almost solely off how it will impact you financially and that is an unwise decision. Any large scale changes that you make in life impact you in a multitude of ways. If by moving to another company do you also relocate away from your current area, causing you to leave behind a large support network of friends and family? If upon getting that promotion would you be moving to a level that is outside your current skill set while a position with another company may pay you more just to become an expert in your current field. My advice to you would be to not look at every job decision purely on how it affects your career and financial well being, but also consider the other effects it would have on your life as well.

@GuyinWI
When I was 22 and had just been married a few months my wife and I made a change that had a huge impact upon our lives - we emigrated from England to Canada and left all of our friends and all of our relatives behind.

That turned out to be the second best decision I ever made. The absolute best was marrying my wife of 58 years.

I think if you interviewed a lot of immigrant couples you would find that the great majority feel the same way.

@Old Limey,

I don't doubt it. My wife and I moved half way across the country from West Virginia to Wisconsin at the ripe old age of 23 to pursue an opportunity after we had only been married for one month! It has been a fantastic choice for us and we are thrilled that we did.

I am not at all against such moves, but I do think when we considering them their are a lot of factors in play, and to only consider the financial impact without the physical, emotional, and spiritual impact is foolish. To be successful in life you have to balance those things and just having a successful career leads some to become rich, bitter, and lonely old people. I think making such a wise best decision enabled you to make a bold second best decision in your case Limey. :)

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