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ASK HN: What is HN's current overall job satisfaction?
30 points by ZanderEarth32 on July 2, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 38 comments
Are you satisfied with your current employment status or position? Or are you unhappy and looking for a move?



That's a hard question to answer. I am working a $DAYJOB while working on a startup, and - to be quite honest - I really chafe at having a "boss" and having to answer to somebody in the $DAYJOB. My ambition is absolutely to get this startup off the ground and be in a position where I'm calling the shots and not answering to somebody who's "above" me. (And yes, I get that you have a "boss" in an abstract sense when you run a company... investors, customers, etc. But that's OK, I'm talking about there being one discrete person that you have to answer to and do exactly what he/she says). So in that regard, I hate the dayjob.

But, as dayjobs go, the one I have isn't too bad, and it pays the bills while we work on bootstrapping the startup. So it's kind of a mixed bag. Probably the more troubling part is the sense of the "opportunity cost" of every hour I spend playing code monkey for somebody else, and thinking about the value we could be creating in that hour, and what it could mean to the startup. When I think about that, I find myself getting pretty frustrated. But, I like the people I work with and what-not. And the travel is an opportunity to meet some new people, explore new cities, etc. But, again with the opportunity cost... and travel wears on you in a way as well.

I guess that's a lot of words to say "I have mixed feelings about my dayjob, but it suffices while I work on the startup." :-)


Amen. (I'm in this position.)


The same here. I have savings for two years also, but is hard to give up the money you earn in the dayjob and also to burn everything I accumulated during my whole life. While I'm not confortable to do that, I'll keep my dayjob while building my Startup.


Are the 'bills' the only thing keeping you from dedicating all your time to your startup?


Yeah, basically so. And, as chance has it, I made the final payment on my car just last night, which reduces my bill load that much more. That makes a scenario where I can quit and work on the startup fulltime that much closer..


I'd call myself "chronically unfulfilled" with my day job. I simply don't like the rat race lifestyle (trains, traffic, playing dress-up), and the industry I'm in (financial services) is so crippled by regulation and a culture of risk aversion that it's basically impossible to try new ideas and move the needle.

I've given myself 9 more months to replace my salary with consulting and product revenue (hopefully more of the latter). I have dependents, so I have to plot my escape from the cubicle with care.


I'm quite happy with my current position at Mapquest, to the point that I'd say it's the best job I've ever had. I've got my frustrating moments with management, but the work is exciting and, most of all, I feel very much like I am heard when I bring up engineering concerns. We're hiring, but I've not posted on the Who's Hiring thread as I'm currently arguing with HR about interviewing the resumes I got last month (hence the frustrations with management).

The only thing that would entice me to move would be a job abroad: my family and I are planning a move to New Zealand or Australia in the mid-term future and it would be a fantastic stroke of luck to get a job offer now that would let me work from one of those countries.


I am a Kiwi currently living in London(UK). I am more than happy to answer any questions about living/working in New Zealand.


Ayers -

Will do. Thanks for the offer! You'll hear from me this week.


Sounds like you're in a good place. Why New Zealand or Australia? On the surface, both places seem like great places to live and work, but what is your reasoning for choosing these destinations?


First, they're English speaking countries. While my wife and I both speak German, neither of us is fluent. I know Latin quite well, but that's not going to get me very far either. I'm quite hesitant to pick up a fourth language atop all the other things I know I need to do, so for the time being we're limiting ourselves to English.

Second, they're both developed countries. I have a family, and I have a responsibility to ensure that they're in a relatively safe environment with access to the same quality of life they're used to here. I also need to be able to have relatively easy access to a technical job market. I could likely get a job working remotely, but it's much easier to know that I can get an actual job if push comes to shove.

Third, and perhaps most subjectively: they're closer to the parts of the world we find interesting and exciting. My wife is terribly interested in Japan, for instance, which is easier to visit from Oceania than from America (no time zone change). If I moved to Germany, for instance, I'm close to most of Europe. However, I have virtually no interest in travelling around Europe. I'm much more interested in visiting Southeast Asia, for example, or other places that are somewhat off the beaten track. This is entirely subjective, as I noted above, but it's a fact that needs to be kept in mind: we're discussing where bartonfink wants to live, not where every person on earth should live.

When it comes to choosing between Australia and New Zealand, my wife and I keep changing our minds. Australia certainly has a stronger job market and larger cities with all they bring, but New Zealand seems to have a more laid-back culture that suits both of us very well. Further, from what I've heard, life in New Zealand is cheaper than life in Australia, so some of our other dreams (e.g. a beachfront house) would be a little more approachable. That said, I think we need to get the hell down there and actually visit before too long.

As I said above, if Atlassian wrote me an e-mail next week and said "Barton, we dig what you do - can we pay for you to move out to Sydney by Christmas?" I'd be hard-pressed to turn that down. I'd probably need Mapquest to double my salary to push aside an opportunity like that, and it's not because I dislike Mapquest or am underpaid or anything: it's that moving abroad is very important to me because I want to feel like I live in a country because I choose to live there and not because I happened to be born there. The world is a book, and the man who does not travel only reads one page.


There's definitely some awesome companies in NZ open to bringing quality developers from overseas. Check out http://www.xero.com/about/careers/ Note: I'm not associated with them in any way


I'm interested in hearing more about awesome companies in NZ. I've been interested in getting out there for a couple years now.



Sweet, thanks! I've just been watching seek.co.nz, but the listings there are pretty mundane.


The other main site for jobs in NZ is the Jobs section of trademe.co.nz (who themselves are a pretty cool little company to work far, or so I hear). As far as startups in particular I don't know of any particular website or anything that NZ startups accumulate around, although you might find the NZ Startup Digest interesting (I found it on HN at some stage): http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=92be899ef5a892c60b4a6cd9...

I would recommend you also look more specifically into where in New Zealand you want to live, or at least what sort of lifestyle you want. You can easily find a technology job in Auckland or Wellington (startups also tend to gravitate towards these cities), but that comes with higher costs and a certain degree of the rat-race lifestyle. There are small local companies and startups in the provinces, but pay (and costs) will be lower and opportunities are much fewer and far between.

I myself just moved out of the provinces into Wellington, and so far i'm enjoying being in a bigger pool of developers and having more things to see and do in general, but I know people who have made the opposite move as well.

Feel free to contact me if you need more info.

EDIT: Of course if you manage to get a remote job, it won't matter much where you live, provinces or otherwise :-)


I am unsatisfied and would like to make a change.

I work in an odd environment. It is an academic/research institution, but my role is a standard IT position. I am primarily expected to do system administration tasks and small data management assignments. In general, development is frowned upon. There seems to be a ceiling in opportunity here due to both my "lower" credential (MS rather than PhD) and perception of what my role is by outsiders.

From a more general perspective, I made a critical error when entering the job market at the end of the first Internet boom (early 2000s). I did not take a development job, but rather a test role at a large IT company. It took me several years at that big IT company to realize that this colored perception of my skills and limited internal opportunities despite a MS in CS and significant programming work on the side.

I left for another company where my job role was related to db skills I had picked up but was a greenfield project. That was enjoyable and a learning experience, but the project was cancelled and the entire team laid off in the early days of the financial crisis.

I landed on my feet in my current role. The role has turned out to be quite different that originally pitched to me, but I have a senior title and pay level. The job just doesn't provide much in the way of personal growth.

For family and lifestyle reasons, I will not leave for at least a year. I have been developing some interest in statistics, modeling, and machine learning. While I would prefer not to simply seek another credential, my employer would probably allow me to obtain a MS in statistics at their expense. Perhaps this would lead to more interesting and challenging work, but to be completely honest with myself, my current role is where many people with that background windup anyway.

To somewhat worsen matters, I am often much more attracted to niche technologies (APL,KDB+,J,Common Lisp, Clojure, Ruby) than the market in my area seems to offer employment opportunties for. I probably need to consider re-entering the Java enterprise programming world and not be a prima-donna about programming language.


I'm a designer cofounder at a startup in a accelerator program. I feel like everyday I'm contributing to something and choosing which path to take. I work close with my other two cofounders and we all respect each others final decision in their departments. We get to meet with top industry folks and investors that give is tremendous insight into our product and help us shape it to be more and more useful.

We work in a cool office with the other teams and the community is amazing. I absolutely love it. That feeling where you just love coming in and working and spending time with everyone. This helps our product but also improves the quality of life. I do remote work for two other companies to help with living expenses, and the I still like that but it's nothing compared to being a cofounder and getting to do the things that come along with that.

Note: I'm 18, and just one year out of high school so I have some flexibility and can handle a decent bit.


I envy that you are doing all of this at 18. Right around that age I took my eye off the ball. When I snapped out of it I realized I was 34.


Bear in mind that this is a self-selecting group.

A lot of us will be interested and happy in our jobs, but we will also have the yearnings to have a crack at entrepreneurship ourselves.

This definetly gives me a bit of an unsettled feeling, and I need to get it out of my system before I can really accept full time employment with 100% satisfaction.


I am a relatively unhappy consultant. I have reached premium billing status within my industry, but seem to be offered to work on relatively repetitive problems that are anything but challenging. Also, although I've made a fair number of contributions to the ecosystem, the community that contributes back is quite thin and despite some positive press, I don't feel that there is hardly any impetus behind the open source ecosystem (full disclosure: i work in the enterprise).

That said, consulting fits my lifestyle well. I get on a project, complete it, and then am done and can pursue some of my other interests (music, poetry, human languages, travel) with a minimum of interference. As a long term solution I think I would kill myself if I had to keep doing this forever, but as a solution to make money for the last couple years it hasn't been terrible.

The problem is that the transition isn't particularly easy. Most of the skills I've acquired do transfer into other industry sectors, but I haven't stayed on top of the newest stuff in any of them (e.g. Rails magic, Javascript frameworks, etc.). I've thought about jumping ship once there is the crest of a new wave that becomes financially viable (e.g. Meteor) or even transitioning into a completely new line of work (e.g. management consulting/book writing) that kills less brain cells.

As of now, however, I am simply unhappy and seeking the next best thing. Creating my own company or joining a fledging startup has always been of interest, but my lifestyle doesn't allow a 60hr/week commitment as of right now.


" I have reached premium billing status within my industry, but seem to be offered to work on relatively repetitive problems that are anything but challenging"

I sometimes get that feeling and I have almost reached premium billing in my specific niche as well. But then I realize that some of thte things that don't seem challenging anymore is because we have become really good at doing it over the years. Thats why you get the big bucks even though it might seem like an easy task. The real issue for me is repetitive work as a consultant.


I would say this is true in my case. I suppose you could say that I've become "really good" at what I do, but I feel that I am mostly great compared to what Mark Suster would call the "B Team" so this doesn't serve as a great motivating factor.


Used to be pretty happy couple years ago, the work is exciting and interesting.

But early lack of good management and now a chronic lack of resources has turned it into a stressful drag. I'm pretty much angry at everybody all the time now and it's not good on my health or well being.

Looking to move soon, but waiting for company to sell first (imminent). Probably wanting to move to the West Coast -- Seattle or Bay Area next. Probably end of the year is my goal.


+1 on the dwindling resources in the big companies since the financial crisis hit. We used to have the headroom to do things properly and invest for the future, but that is a thing of the past.


Just quit a full-time job of 8 years working for an industry leading company to become a remote freelance web developer with startups on the side.

Couldn't be happier!


Congrats! If you don't mind me asking, how do you come about your projects? Are you doing any self-marketing, or are you getting by with word-of-mouth?


It started with a really non-serious posting of a profile to djangogigs.com which I posted well before I was really ready to go "pro"... which was almost forgotten about. But out of nowhere, an email came, an interview went well, and I got a 6 month gig that payed enough for me to quit my job. Since then, I've learned a ton, and kept the ball rolling, mostly through contacts from my previous career who heard I was doing web stuff now. Also, the original 6 month contract refuses to end...(not my fault!) I have yet to make a resume or a website... I really should. I feel very lucky.


What type of clients are you looking for? Are you looking for more 6-month contracts with agencies, or one-time projects helping entrepreneurs build beta versions of their ideas?

I ask because we're working on matchist.com (launching at the end of the summer) to help freelancers like yourself find quality work.


Having good connections and strong relationships can be much more valuable than having a great website or resume.


Maybe this should be a poll?

Happy at a 9-17 job which involves Linux, network, concurrency and C++ and is close to the metal yet still involves a huge set of features. This combination makes it challenging.


I didn't see an option for making a poll, but I can tabulate the responses once this has run it's course and write up a quick blog post about it with the data laid out so we can get an better idea. I'll have to use some liberty in analyzing answers that are vague though.


To be honest I don't know myself how to mske HN polls. Perhaps it's one of the "if you need to ask, then it's not for you" things :-)


My work is currently uninteresting, which makes me bored/unmotivated. The salary isn't good either.

Looking into moving to a developed nation.


I just changed job, so yes, still very happy right now.


Currently self-employed/consultant: Happy

Industry that I work with: Semi-happy

Billing rate: Happy

Working for large corporate clients doing challenging but repetitive tasks: Not happy

Bottomline is that I have the "bootstrap a company" itch that I am looking to scratch asap.


Do you make more than you did in your last day job?


Yes but with added responsibility of running my own payroll etc using my corporation. However, no more red tape stuff like performance management, raises, bonus etc. Client and I agree on a rate, I get paid and when done, I move on.




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