Because I fucking hate the interview process. Video interview, phone screen, take home test, management interview, team interview, dozen technical interviews. It's a full-time job to look for another job. So the slightly annoying job I have is way less annoying than searching for another one.
The last one was 2 quick phone calls the same week. The third call was what laptop I wanted and where should the send it.
I was working in tech in the 90s and interviewing was just a chat on what I'd like to do, what they need done and if it looked like a match, let's do it. And I'll argue that jobs were more technically difficult then (assembly language, C, kernel work, attention to optimization since hardware was slow, etc) compared to the typical job these days of gluing AWS components together for yet another CRUD app functionally identical to every other.
At the end I got 5 offers to choose from out of the 8 companies I was doing interviews with, and I would've probably got all 8 offers if they didn't give a time limit to get back to them.
All of this took me about 2 hours a day of work, but I have to admit that these are all startup/medium level companies, if you're looking to get into FAANG that's another story.
I am getting kind of sick and tired of the pressure though. Partly put on by myself, partly put on by expectation of continued excellence in face of stressful deadlines.
1. Not an immoral business. (My moral standard is extremely high.)
2. Pays more.
3. As much or more PTO as I have now. (I have a lot, relative to the US at least)
4. No more than 40 hours of work a week under any circumstance.
5. Stable business, not some startup that will disappear in two seconds.
6. Needs/wants the skills that I have.
Recruiters contact me off the hook. It's extremely rare that any job posting even passes the morality test.
Although even with that list, it's not that rare that jobs pass the morality test. For me it's more about the fact that virtually every company in existence is just plain boring. They're doing boring payment facilitation or a boring knockoff of another boring product. They're just not contributing anything to society at all, have seemingly no reason to exist, and just feel like something an MBA came up with by filling out the "start a company Mad-libs" book his archaic business school gave him upon graduation.
I doubt they depend on your income as much as they are used to a certain type of life. Do you think your family could get by with less in exchange for a happier family member?
Edit: Saw you deleted your post...
Long ways to go but you're crushing it... I'm not sure your location, income, or potential equity pay-day opportunities, but your monthly overhead is quite low for the family of 5 - congrats that is so huge.
A long time ago, I used to work as a cashier at a grocery store. I did it because I was in college, but for most of my co-workers, it was their permanent 9-5. As ruthless as it sounds, in their world, these minor irrelevant/annoying day-to-day things such as a SKEW/PLU not in the system, running low on bags, or someone being slow for a cash drop became these world-shaking miserable events that could totally make or break their day. I guess what I'm trying to say is people create these boxed realities and define their own problems on what makes the day great or not. I remind myself often to "realign" what matters. The easiest route? Stop caring and take things a little less seriously. Your day will get exponentially better and your day-to-day stresses can become less important. The world is not going to stop spinning.
Obviously there is no good answer on burn out or you wouldn't be here. I personally found having a super passionate hobby helped (you can force something for you to obsess over every single day and week that is not work or even family related). Then find budget to outsource as many other things in your life as possible to make your plate tiny (e.g.: stop looking at bills for a year if your wife can wrangle solo, long-term financial plan go yolo blind with a trusted advisor, annoying chores like cleaning or maintenance pay for, etc...). You can't control it all... so just make your world as small as possible for what you can personally manage. Then of course working out and go cold-turkey on pr0n. Getting on a super strict schedule if you aren't already too can help. It sucks, but no late nights and no missed early mornings.
Change in my experience is always good, even if you are making the wrong choice. Just changing a setting on where you work from in the office or at home can make the world of difference. You could just say F that job and just do something else even if it's the same role somewhere else, and I promise you it will be 100% better. Maybe try that before blowing it all up to a less-paying job or doing a complete industry bail.
Burn out is like an injury of the mind and took me a full year to recover and "realign". The passionate young-buck mojo mindset you probably compare with is never coming back to a full 100% so get used to it and be reasonable about your injury.
Anyway, sorry for the rant. Your words got to me. I promise it will get better and easier. Best of luck and hope you see this and helps just 1%.
I really appreciate the kind words. I was thinking similar things about the people from the grocery store - when I worked menial jobs I would get stressed over silly things. I think that is just my personality type. I think I need to quit taking the job and myself so seriously.
I really need to start working out, I'm sure that would make a huge difference in my mental health. I'm sure going cold-turkey off prOn would also help with some mental health healing as well.
I'm bipolar to boot which makes these decisions harder to make since I can't decide if I am being rational or over-reacting to something. I think trying somewhere new could be beneficial. I've been at this company for nearly 7 years which is a damn long time in the software industry.
Thanks again, cheers!
I'm doing important work, I'm surrounded by smart people, and I have the support of the company to grow my career in the direction(s) I'd like to take it. They'd have to pry me out of this job with a crowbar.
(I checked your profile to see if I could see where you work : )
Edit: I'm feeling childish but in a good way.
I work for amino-dot-com, a healthcare/financial wellness startup. Elevator pitch: big companies contract with us to tell their employees which doctors they should go to and how much it'll cost, and we'll even book the appointment for them.
One of the things developers often get when changing jobs is a pay rise that they wouldn't get otherwise.
If you don't mind me asking: How does the pay rise process work in your company?
Sorry for a money-focused question.
I’ve gotten substantial promotions and raises as I’ve worked my way up the ladder, and I’m pretty sure most/all of my coworkers have, too. The last thing we want is to have someone feel that they’ve hit a cap here. If someone’s awesome and growing in their career, that’s exactly the kind of person you want to stick around.
I can easily get a job 3x my existing salary. But I do the work of someone 8x my salary but nobody is ready to give my that jump because that would disturb the "industry standard" (read HR KRA).
Also, the low pay in my current job gives me a freedom to do what I want how I want it done. Because even they don't want to pay 3x salary to someone else either.
In return I get massive work-life balance. And I get to pursue my hobbies and interests apart from getting to spend quality time with my family.
Current state: overall decent job with fair compensation, good group, semi-interesting set of problems to solve. Ultimately, though, nothing outstanding (Canada-based thus compensation could be more competitive, field itself is not interesting). I'm also not greatly experienced (barely intermediate).
Regardless, I'm ambitious and want a dreamy job so I can focus on learning important stuff (not leetcode solutions) and build cool stuff.
Aside: the interview process, particularly based on the monthly "Who's Hiring" threads, is pretty disparate, so prepping is a broad task! I swear it's more than just code puzzles and a portfolio.
I really love my job. I believe in the product (it's open source), coworkers are great, management and leadership are excellent. Compensation is competitive, and I enjoy the problems I'm solving. I have no plans nor reason to leave.
Also, I'd have to echo some of the other comments about modern tech interviews. I would have run the gauntlet again if I had really needed to, but I strongly preferred to avoid that need. It's worth noting that it gets worse as you get older. Every year, your knowledge base and that of most interviewers will diverge. Sooner or later some poorly-trained interviewer will judge you because you don't know a two-year-old algorithm that they still remember from school, which neither of you ever has used or will use in your day-to-day work, but nobody will ever ask about the ten things that you do know ... even when the lack of that knowledge locally is your value-add and the very reason why the company should hire you. They're the "unknown unknowns" and even if you bring them up yourself their value will be dismissed for lack of experience and context. It's intensely frustrating, but frustration is another thing you don't want to show in an interview. Gotta put on a happy face and stroke the kids' egos. It's no wonder senior people are leaving the industry even faster than natural "aging out" would suggest. I put up with a lot of crap in my last year just because the alternative seemed even worse.
I will leave either late this year or early next year. I will likely need to figure out if I am really going to stay in SV as well. After my last company’s IPO busted (stock lost 75% of value) - I’m feeling super deflated about staying since my hard work basically imploded.
I’m in my 30s now and recently single. I know my chances of getting a partner here are infinitesimal. I just don’t know where I’d go - tbh. As it seems culturally, a racially ambiguous software engineer isn’t exactly a hot item in any dating market. I need to start lying about my job - I swear it’s off putting in itself. Another reason to consider a career change - tbh. I can’t stand the stigma anymore. I get too much prejudice immediately. Everyone assumes I must be autistic if I’m a software engineer before I even say a word. It’s a damn annoying profession.
However the flip side is that pay is relatively terrible. It's good for the UK, but not great (top 15%), and pretty terrible for tech.
Just had a recruiter knock me up for what seems like quite a junior job, fully remote (like my current), but offering a 40% pay rise.
I'm fairly confident I'll be able to stay where I am until I retire - I'm about in mid-career, but expenses are increasing, and there's no way I'll be able to keep even a cost-of-living raise in this industry.
If money wasn't an issue I'd stay where I am, I think there's some interesting challenges coming up in the next few years, but ultimately money is a big issue.
It’s the first time I’m working somewhere that is doing something I don’t mind talking publicly about; and people may see a point to it.
When I first started developing I loved it all on it’s own. Coding was fun, no matter what I coded. That short lived joy was the entirety of my decision making for my first job. I got an offer in a location I liked and I took it. I didn’t really fit with the company, or the industry; even if I liked the folks I interacted with just fine.
Then I changed jobs as a way of just changing jobs hoping I would fit better. Again didn’t work out like that. Enough iterations and I landed somewhere I fit better in.
I like what the company does, and I can fit within this industry. But comp could be better; and I have concrete reasons in real ways that a better comp could improve my life. But I would be terrified of changing jobs again, and risk not fitting and not liking what the next company does.
Interviewing - as others pointed out, going through the interview rounds can be exceedingly and unnecessarily daunting and stressful since, as an employee, there's a massive imbalance in power between yourself and your potential employer.
Inertia - things are good so far, why upset the apple cart? They could be better, but not without initial (or long term) headaches: adjusting to a new culture, new colleagues and management, different rules, re-establishing social boundaries etc.
Remuneration: OK money, better than being a nurse, a teacher and plenty other, more useful and more important jobs than mine. So it's mixture of gratefulness and other, not so positive feelings.
Financial stability: being employed and doing something I know how to do well beats being a freelancer in terms of regular income, especially since I'm not great at finding clients and doing business. They require different skills and it's one of the main reasons many brilliant people (which I most certainly am not) can't start their own thing: being an excellent engineer / scientist / writer / carpenter doesn't make you good or patient enough with people in order to actually do business.
Some degree of freedom: my employer doesn't measure every aspect of my work or transforms social relations into KPIs (a dystopic thing, to say the least), doesn't actively spy on me and, because I work from home on my own machine, I don't need to go through an infantilisation process whereby I have to ask IT Dep to update a piece of software or install something new just because I want to try it. You know, like an adult should be able to. Say what you will about risks, they are all observed from the business' perspective; I find it extremely difficult and infantilising to accept that I am unable to control my own machine and everyday tools because the business can't cope with risks. My needs as a human being should not come after the needs of the business, because the only reason we have businesses is to make life better for human beings.
Changing jobs right now would mean navigating - yet again! - this complex reality where one is forced to research, apply, seduce, negotiate and maintain professional relationships. Which I'll have to do anyway sooner or later.
Since, on a technical level, the network is pretty much 'done', and generally doesn't break randomly if you design it with a modicum of care, I spend my work days attending meetings where I get to explain IP to colleagues across the whole org. Actual workload is maybe four hours a day, and as such, I would need a total comp increase beyond 100% for a job change to even make sense.
Yeah, I took a low level job to spend my last 10 working years to get to do what normal people do. I mean, get a hobby and so on. Been at it for a couple of years now and found nothing that really triggers me. Miss my 60+ hour job and dread the enormous amount of days off.
But I am afraid I can not deliver any more so I stay where I am, attempting finding a hobby that grabs me.
I'm VERY lucky to be where I am. The work, the people, the company, nearly everything is VERY good. I'm not retiring SOON, but soon enough to think I'm not really interested in starting over again unless I must. Hoping I can retire from here!
I might be able to make more someplace else? I'm not even sure. But it would need to be A LOT more to make it worth to even consider moving.
Top in terms of pay/culture/getting recognized/opportunities for growth/benefits.
There are maybe 5 other companies that can compete on everything, except maybe culture. I'm very happy where I am, and risking moving to a new place for basically the same thing seems pointless.
So unless I move overseas, I'm staying.
I suck at interviews. No one wants to hire me for the roles I want. I don’t have the skills yet to influence how I want people to perceive me so that I can get a job in another role. I don’t like my current role, so wouldn’t want to change jobs just to stay in the same role.
(Several of the other reasons also apply, but being a full-time open source contributor is really rewarding.)
* the work I'm doing isn't at odds with my org structure
2. Love that username.