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When Should You Quit Your Job? 1245

Moe Taxes asks: "I want to hear from Slashdot readers who have quit jobs or turned down offered jobs because it was not what they wanted to do. Why did you do it? Was it ethics, ambition, pride, or disgust? And how did it turn out? Did you get to do what you wanted to do, are you still looking, or did you come back begging for another chance? I have always written software for windows, but never with Microsoft tools. I don't feel like I have enough control over the product when I use Microsoft programming environments. My company was bought recently, and is in the process of becoming a C# VisualStudio shop. I said thanks, but no thanks and left. Am I a fool for giving up steady work and good pay?"
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When Should You Quit Your Job?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:52PM (#11826964)
    Am I a fool for giving up steady work and good pay


    Don't ever quite (read it twice) unless you have something else in line.
    • by DoktorMel ( 35110 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:57PM (#11827077)
      Maybe not a fool, but definitely foolhardy. I think a lot in this situation depends on whether or not you have anyone else to support. Would I do the same? Absolutely not, but I've got a wife with MS and a need for continuous health coverage.

      All that aside, the choice of programming tools strikes me as a very silly reason to leave a perfectly good job when you could have sat there getting paid to look for another one.
      • by aspx ( 808539 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:01PM (#11827169)
        I have a hard time believing that was his only reason to leave. I think it may be the only reason he can verbalize. If everything inside you is screaming "leave this job," then you should probably do it.
        • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:17PM (#11827483) Journal
          "If everything inside you is screaming "leave this job," then you should probably do it"

          I didn't follow my gut's advice for over a year and was miserable. I finally told my boss I was leaving and if he was nice about it I would remain available for a period of time after my departure. If he was a dick about it or if I was classified as non-rehirable I was gone for good. I've never been happier or felt more liberated than my last week there when people tried adding new tasks to my stack and failed.

          • by WinterSolstice ( 223271 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:00PM (#11828103)
            That last sentence nearly cost me my keyboard... I immedietly saw it as:

            if( push( networkBoy, newcrap ) ){


          • Pleasant Side Effect (Score:5, Interesting)

            by MooseByte ( 751829 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:20PM (#11828366)

            "I finally told my boss I was leaving and if he was nice about it I would remain available for a period of time after my departure."

            A pleasant side effect of "going big" is actually changing the situation you're in vs. switching employers.

            I was utterly miserable at a particular job. Absolutely destroying-my-soul miserable. A friend of mine heard my stories and was equally horrified, but then made a point of asking me what I had done to change the environment. I muttered the usual, all ineffective.

            He pointed out that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by charging the proverbial windmills with all my might, right to the top. If it was truly as bad as I described it, it certainly couldn't get any worse.

            Turns out the Grand Poobahs had been equally frustrated but in a different direction. They too wanted change. They were miserable. It's just that nobody was really stepping forward with what needed to be said and how maybe to fix things. I ended up being the person who broke the ice, then many others finally felt able to talk as well.

            One year later and I'm happy, doing the same job and getting better pay in the bargain. Pleasant working atmosphere, everyone feeling more like we're all in the same boat vs. "who's liver is next on the dinner plate?" It's still hard work, but after 20 years I know the difference between tough deadlines vs. death march. I feel good.

            But I was fully prepared to be fired for my windmill charge. That was a definite possibility. When the situation is intolerable however, what's left to lose? And you've everything to gain.

            • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @07:04PM (#11828804) Journal
              "When the situation is intolerable however, what's left to lose?"

              In my case, my life.
              I was working in the same department as a manager who was an ex cop for apartheid South Aferica. He was a complete sadist and had gone so far as to pull a knife on me once. When I complained things only got worse, so I left. I can only hope that he burns in hell for the things he has bragged about doing.
            • by Grab ( 126025 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @06:21AM (#11832248) Homepage
              Absolutely right, man. You're *part* of the environment - if you just carry on like a good German then you're complicit in it.

              And laying it on the line like that is about the best test of whether a company's worth sticking with. If it doesn't work out, it will give you a massive incentive to get the hell out. And if it does work out, you've just made massive kudos from being the person who turned it around. If the place is really that bad then chances are you're preparing to go anyway, so it doesn't make a big difference.

      • by ocbwilg ( 259828 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:36PM (#11828545)
        Absolutely. You can always learn new programming tools and add another bullet point to your resume. You can't always find a new job just because you want one. Even if you do find a new job you have no guarantee that it won't be worse than the job that you just left. Who knows, you might end up unemployed for 6 months and end up having to take a job using C# just to pay the bills while making only 75% of what you were making at your previous employer and with a new boss who treats you like crap. Leaving a decent job simply because you didn't like the programming tools (if that was truly your reason) is a pretty messed up thing to do.

        I have only once in my life quit a job without having another one lined up. In that case I was completely burned out on an industry that I had worked in for years, I wanted to get into a completely different line of work, I wanted to live in a different city, and I had several months of salary in the bank. The first three months were great because I had no responsibility and plenty of money to pay the bills. The next three months were awful because I was broke and had to live with my relatives.
    • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:59PM (#11827119) Journal
      Don't ever quite (read it twice) unless you have something else in line.

      the spell checking nazis will have fun with that

      That said, I actually quit one job because the boss was a roller coaster alchoholic, smooth and polite one day, mean and vindictive and nasty the next. I left for mental health reasons, not wanting to become a news item in the local news paper. It is never a good thing when you start contemplating evil things to do to your boss.

      In this case, it was a wise move on my part

      • by DoktorMel ( 35110 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:27PM (#11827641)
        You've got a valid point. And it's entirely possible the dear questioner has such a situation. I've quit a job before myself and spent a bad several months looking. THere are valid reasons.

        But if the only reason the poster can be bothered to include is that they're moving to C# and visual studio...well, that's just unconvincing to me. I work for a Linux shop. We use Red Hat. Personally, I don't like Red Hat, I distinctly prefer Gentoo. Do I make a big deal of that at work? No. Would I make a big deal of it if we moved to doing more Windows work? Or even 100% Windows?


        It's just an operating system.

        Would I start looking for a new job?


        And that, really, is what this guy should have done, unless there's a lot he isn't telling us.

        Quitting a good job because of a dislike of the software platform choices that are made above your level isn't good management of your CAREER. Management of your career is a big portion of what separates the long-term successes from the long-term failures, IMHO.
      • by Thangodin ( 177516 ) <elentarNO@SPAMsympatico.ca> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:29PM (#11827678) Homepage
        I have to agree with this: if the job is driving you crazy, you pretty much have to quit. I worked at one company that was so disfunctional that a lot of people came out of it damaged--paranoid, burnt out, with bad work habits, and with egos either so over-inflated or badly broken that they were useless to any employer for a couple years afterwards. Some of the people who worked there crashed and burned spectacularly in their next job and ended up unemployed for a while.

        I've seen this in other places since, people in jobs that are no-win situations, which literally drive them to drink. The boss or the environment just has some toxic psychological effect, and the worst part is that it's hard for the person to tell if its them or the job until some time afterwards. This usually happens when someone higher up doesn't actually want the job to be done (and ensures that it can't be, while the person trying to do it takes the blame,) or when the employee's immediate supervisor is scapegoating the person to make themselves look better. In both cases, the real problem is hidden, because the manager creating the problem always does so covertly. This is a helluva lot more common in large organisations (private or public) than you might think.

        But this is a whole different ballgame than just personal tool preferences--these kinds of situations can trash your career or sanity.
        • Quick Poll (Score:4, Funny)

          by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @10:01PM (#11830310) Homepage Journal
          I worked at one company that was so disfunctional that a lot of people came out of it damaged--paranoid, burnt out, with bad work habits, and with egos either so over-inflated or badly broken that they were useless to any employer for a couple years afterwards.

          OK, how many other people checked his web site to see if they knew him from a previous job?

      • by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:11PM (#11828246)
        I had a nightmare manager who drove me into the ground so hard with that sort of Jekyl and Hyde crap that I ended up in a psychologist's office. It was everything from the trivial to the insane--grinding me for $15 on a $8500 expense report one minute then, literally the next minute, expensing my _personal_ $500 cellphone, and thrashing into my office on my 15th hour on one day to find me winding down doing something unproductive and screaming that I should be "doing my job" (hello, I just finished two-days' worth of my job TODAY!) or on the most asinine level writing me up for taking a morning off because the previous fire someone else started that I had to put out had me working from 9am Tuesday until 6:30am Wednesday and I wasn't pert and perky at my desk by 9am again. AAAAGH!

        So, under those circumstances, I had a chat with the Human Resources Director (and the company ombudsman) and basically said, look, I'm ready to quit and have my letter of resignation written--is there anything I should know? She gave a few coded hints, so I backed off and ended up with a severance package and a no-fault dismissal as opposed to storming out the door with bupkes or worse, being fired for some cooked-up theatrical bullshit. Bottom line, I was either going to leave or be asked to leave and couldn't care less about being gone. Better to be gone with a briefcase of cash than with merely the satisfaction of making a scene or "being right." Even if you're going to absolutely explode, it's still better to take a step back and strategize your exit. In my case it meant that what was going on was documented and, more importantly, understood so I wasn't just that back-stabbing jerk who left us high and dry.

        Now, leaving because you don't like the programming language--and one that you don't really know? Well, that's just silly. You can't know too many languages, computer or otherwise. Pick up the knowledge first, then find another job, then leave. Storming out is, frankly, pretty childish and I'd start coming up with a better story than that for your next interview. No matter how trivial or horrific the situation, your next employer is primarily interested in how you handled it. Were you a professional adult or a spoiled child? Needless to say, they aren't hiring the latter...
        • by BlueUnderwear ( 73957 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:34PM (#11828522)
          Now, leaving because you don't like the programming language--and one that you don't really know? Well, that's just silly. ... . No matter how trivial or horrific the situation, your next employer is primarily interested in how you handled it. Were you a professional adult or a spoiled child? Needless to say, they aren't hiring the latter...

          Of course the tidbit about Microsoft, that's not what are going to tell your next boss. That's for your friends at the the pub, or for Slashdot. With your next boss, use more "professional" sounding reasons: lack of perspective, lack of autonomy, job below your capacities and all that vague bull.

          A couple of years ago, I was in a similar kind of situation, and I made sure not to even mention the word "Linux" in the hiring interview of my new job. It was only when my new boss started on that subject that we exchanged a few words about it. Of course, once on the new job, I exercised less restraint about it (but in hindsight: I probably should have...)

    • by Charles Dexter Ward ( 554934 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:59PM (#11827132)
      (posted it somewhere else but the formatting was awful)

      Two and a half years ago I was switching jobs and an Ask Slashdot on the topic gave me a few hints on how to do it well and it's been great since then. Now I have a new offer and am in the middle of a very hard decision:

      I'm a programmer. I think I'll be a programmer all my life. When I do tasks in the real world I envision solutions almost as code. I was born to write code, and have done so for over 10 years now. But being a university drop-out my future has always worried me: I know people don't hire older programmers, and being 27 this is something that's hainting me.

      So my current employer made me an offer to manage a new office in a town where it would be fairly easy for me to continue my university studies where I left them; but, as fate has it, I was given another offer to stay in the city I'm in with a higher pay (more than double of what I make now, almost three times) and a really high rank (Executive Manager of a really big company). When we got to the point of my lack of university degree, they downplayed it and said they could help me continue my studies, but as I see it is not a priority. Now, in the middle of this dilemma is the whole relocation problem.

      My question would be this: How would you play it? I'd love to make a lot of money, but if I take the Executive Manager position I'll most probably never write code again, and may still not have a diploma; but if I take the lower, manager position with my current employer I'll be really comfortable in an environment that I like, but may never have a chance to climb up that higher in the positions ladder.

      I tend to think that once I've gotten to the higher positions the university diploma will not matter much, but I'm not certain on how true this really is.
      • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:08PM (#11827313)
        Take the higher paying job. Less to have to deal moving.

        If you really and truely want a degree, you can take night courses at a local school, or even online.

        As a manager with programing experience, don't forget the people you manage where once just like you.

        design your own programs on the side, to fufill your programing desires. or 'help' out the Testing and patching sections during quiet times of the year.

        Now if the more expensive job required relocation that's a different story. The headache of moving, and a new job may or may not be worth the higher salary.
      • by nate nice ( 672391 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:09PM (#11827327) Journal
        I don't have the experiance to tell you if it will matter or not but I would take the 3X pay and higher title. I mean, check everything out first and make sure it's a stable job and not some fly by night crap and go for it. Let your current employer know you really appreciate their offer and if things do not work out you would like to come back perhaps. If you're as good as you say, they will make a space for you. Really, really good programmers are hard to find.

        But, you have an opportunity to make some really good scratch right now and hell, take night classes and slowly finish your degree if it's important to you.

        Keep inmind though, if your current employer is going to pay for your school, that could be the same as a huge pay raise. Follow your heart but money talks and if you're going to be making that much more, the money is screaming at you.

        You can still program on OSS projects, etc. Now your programming becomes a hobby and you can afford a really nice chair to sit in at home.

        I'd take the money, considering it seems like a stable position.
        • by sunwukong ( 412560 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:28PM (#11827659)
          In addition to all of the advice above keep in mind this: people who become professional managers are just as much geeks as those who program.

          By that I mean people who become executives and mid- and upper level managers are people who should love the political/people stuff as much as a programmer loves technology.

          Think about mid to senior management as the equivalent of mid to senior level developers -- how much time and energy have they spent working on the skills that matter in a political, people-everything environment? Just as much as the developers did in their coding and technical stuff, if not more. And they're just as motivated as well.

          Be sure that you're comfortable in making a jump to that kind of peer group!
      • by donbrock ( 705779 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:14PM (#11827427)
        I know people don't hire older programmers, and being 27 this is something that's hainting me.

        This is news to me since I'm a programmer in my 50's and considered a youngster on my project.

        • by EvilNight ( 11001 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:05PM (#11828169)
          I can second this. I'm 28, and at least five years younger than anyone else working at my company. Fully two thirds of our employees are over 40, and we have several greybeards here who are in the late 50's, even late 60's. Believe me, programming skill does *not* lessen with age; it can sharpen to the point where, like the parent says... coding is simply instinct. We also have the kind of management that laughs uproariously when someone mentions overseas projects, and has taken up projects that are being brought back from overseas in shambles.

          It's a really smooth, calm, sane work environment. It would literally take someone offering me more than double my current salary to get me to leave, because I'm reasonably sure this will be the best job I ever have, in terms of working environment.

          I think that idea of 'only young people make good programmers' has passed its time. The field has become too mature for an illusion like that to continue any longer. Good programmers are good programmers, and that's all there is to it. If you're good, you're all set.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:24PM (#11828402)
          This is news to me since I'm a programmer in my 50's and considered a youngster on my project.

          So as an insider, when is Duke Nukem Forever going to ship?

      • by SnapShot ( 171582 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:16PM (#11827470)
        Option 3: if you'd really be making 2-3 times more than you're making now. You could sell out for three or four years and then retire for a few years on the savings (assuming you had the discipline to maintain your current spending habits) to start a consulting company or something. Take the time you're working to finish your degree (in Comp. Sci) which will also help you keep your programming skills up.
      • by Mark_Uplanguage ( 444809 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:28PM (#11827658)
        There are many different types of people in the world. I don't know which one you are, but not everyone can manage well, nor wants to. You sound like you've found what you're happy with. The money you get with a managerial role and no formal training may be offset by increased stress, and frustration at a job that's not necessarily as easy for you nor makes you as happy.

        Case in point, as a manager with people under you, you'll have to rate them, listen to them, and be responsible to make them play nicely together. Are you stong with social interaction? Do you listen well? Do people respect you and see you as a leader?

        The "Peter Principle" says good people get promoted to their "level of incompetence". Make sure that never applies to you, because you'll be miserable and that will affect the people you manage as well as your new set of co-workers.

        Money isn't everything. One serious illness caused by stress can wipe it all out faster than the IRS.

        Good luck in whatever you decide!
      • by kevlar ( 13509 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:28PM (#11827665)
        Whats your current salary? 3x $20k isn't as significant as 3x $60k...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Let me give you my own experience on this.

      I quit my job as a ASP/MSSQL-developer because I found it boring, non-developing and generally fucked up (had a hourly charge-rate against customer @ ~130h & got paid ~16h - nothing exceptional for a junior consultant in sweden really).

      Soo I went to university, studied a bit, worked a bit. Played around with code, ideas and concepts. This month I _almost_ pulled my old salary in adsense-ad-revenue. I guess I'm doing something right because I have alot of free
    • by Jakhel ( 808204 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:00PM (#11827143)
      Don't ever quite (read it twice) unless you have something else in line.

      The same rule applies to relationships..don't ever break up with a girl unless you have someone else in line. :)
    • by alnjmshntr ( 625401 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:02PM (#11827173)
      It's probably a very personal thing and depends a lot on your personality. I myself have left 4 jobs without another lined up (only once out of disgust, the rest was when I decided to travel).

      I have always found good employement again (though the last time I had to spend a few months looking and I admit this has made me hesitant about doing it again). In retrospect all of those decisions were good for me, some of them amazingly so.
      • by Wylfing ( 144940 ) <brian@w y l f i n g . net> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:18PM (#11827505) Homepage Journal
        It's probably a very personal thing and depends a lot on your personality. I myself have left 4 jobs without another lined up (only once out of disgust, the rest was when I decided to travel).

        I have always found good employement again (though the last time I had to spend a few months looking and I admit this has made me hesitant about doing it again). In retrospect all of those decisions were good for me, some of them amazingly so.

        It's amazing that this is not modded higher. If you are single, and especially if you are single and young you should immediately quit a job that sucks. If you can muster a pleasant personality and view life's obstacles as challenges that you can and will overcome, you will always land on your feet. Do anything that feels right. Follow your bliss. This is the time in your life when these things are possible.

    • Never Quit! (Score:5, Funny)

      by PopeAlien ( 164869 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:02PM (#11827194) Homepage Journal
      No! dont do that. spend every single weekday sitting in an environment you loathe doing something you hate with people that you dont like. do it for the economy.

      wont somebody please think of the economy!?!
      • Re:Never Quit! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thirteenVA ( 759860 )
        Actually, I'd like to know if you've sat down in front of VS.net recently... It's quite robust and very mature. You can have as much or as little control as you want. Other than the ungodly HTML it renders for ASP.NET apps its really not that bad, hardly worth quitting your job over.
    • by Greslin ( 842361 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:04PM (#11827248) Homepage
      Don't ever quite (read it twice) unless you have something else in line.

      If we're going to read it twice, then at least spell the word right.

      "Don't ever quit without another job lined up." Yeah, I've heard this one over the years many times myself, even though I've ignored it just as many times. Last time was from a friend who'd spent years working a job that wasn't any good for him, that was screwing up his personal life, but was more "stable" than going out and taking risks on what he really wanted to do.

      About six months after he told me that line, regarding my headfirst plunge into self-employment a few years back, my friend died of cancer related to his job. He was 29 years old and it was a very nasty, ugly, painful death.

      So give it a rest. Life's a lot shorter than people think, and sometimes rushing where angels fear to tread can be the best thing for a guy. In fact, sometimes it can save a life.

    • by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {srevart.sirhc}> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:05PM (#11827259) Homepage Journal
      I used to work at Microsoft (go ahead and laugh) and it was a stable and secure job aside from the fact my department was being globalized and sent to India (I could have probably found another job at Microsoft if it had come down to it).

      I quit due to a number of reasons. First, it became clear to me that family obligations (unusually intensive for the time) were not going to be met if I continued to work there. But additionally (why I have not reapplied) I realized that I would be continuously underemployed because I didn't play the political games the way others expected me to.

      So when I returned to the US after helping my wife get her visa, I went into business for myself.

      My experience:

      Don't kid yourself-- it is very (!) difficult to quit to start your own business unless you have a lot of external support (I was lucky in that regard, and it is still hard).

      That being said, there is no price you can pay for the feeling of satisfaction you get from having a fulfilling job or business.

      So it is your choice.
    • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:07PM (#11827287) Homepage Journal
      Am I a fool for giving up steady work and good pay


      Keep a Fuck You fund just for this reason, so you can walk away from the job. Depending on what you do and skill level, you can quit a job at a moments notice and work for someone else, (Or yourself).

      If you are smart, you are networked, have other jobs waiting, working multiple jobs, stay in demand, you shouldnt fear switching jobs.

      Unless you have your life invested in a company, loyalty stops at the paycheck, they have no problems outsourcing you if it can save them money. Treat your work with as an investment, if you are not getting your moneys worth, invest somewhere else. Your time and work is an investment.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:09PM (#11827336)
      Hopefully this can get modded up as a bit of a warning.

      I had a great job at the end of 2003, but ended up getting fired because I had an attitude that signaled I wanted a better company to work for. I didn't like the directions they were taking, etc. I had publicly talked about quitting and finding a better job, and after a heated argument with an incompetent boss, I was terminated.

      I initially felt relief and freedom. It was great to be able to take the time to find that perfect company that did things the way I wanted them to be done! Until 2 weeks of unemployment turned to 2 months. Then 3. Then 4. Then a short contract out of desperation for little money. Next thing you know, I'm behind on the house and the car. Child support gets missed. A year later I ended up filing for bankruptcy in order to attempt to keep a roof over my head, and even then I'm barely able to keep up with the increased payments that come with reaffirming my loans.

      Now, almost a year and a half later, I have a great job with a company less than 10 minutes from my house. They don't do things any better than the last company, but I've had to learn to be more political in the last several months.

      The point is this : you won't know if it was a stupid move for 6 months. If you find some kick ass company to work for, then it was a smart move. If you're borrowing money from family and friends to pay for a bankruptcy attorney, then you were a fool.

      And, not to start a flame war, what's so bad about C#? I will make the assumption that you are either a VB or Windows C++ programmer, which means that C# is just another tool in your toolkit, another skill on your resume. I still prefer C++ to C# because I feel like I haven't even scratched the surface of the full power of C++, but I use C# to pay the bills. And if you really love programming, you should love learning new languages, like I do.

      Post back in 6 months and then we'll know for sure if you were a fool.
      • by Indras ( 515472 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @09:19PM (#11830011)
        I have a similar story. I won't even post it Anonymously, though my move was probably far more stupid.

        I had a fantastic full-time job at a computer warehouse. I started as a temp for $8.50, and was hired when I proved to be a very fast learner. In less than a year, I was making $11 an hour. I was dating at the time, and had a great roommate (a high school buddy), so my bills were cut in half. Trust me, $11 an hour was a king's salary as far as I was concerned. I got to know and like everyone I worked with, even the CEO. We were only about 50 people, and I knew them all by name, their spouse, how many kids, etc. We had hotdog and hamburger grill-outs every friday (paid by the company) during the summer, and grinders and/or pizza for every mandatory meeting. Bagels and donuts were always free every day in the break room. This is just the kind of company it was.

        Then, I got stupid. I started staying up all nights on Saturday night hanging out with friends, or cramming for finals. Sunday night I would crash so hard that I'd sleep through my alarm clock Monday morning. This happened three times, once I was even two and a half hours late to work. I was confronted and got real defensive. People didn't forget it.

        About a month later, profits came crashing down after the boom from all of our customers replacing their computer systems from Y2K. There were three rounds of layoffs to try to keep the company afloat, 5-10 people each time. I was shocked and angered when I was part of the third group.

        In retrospect, had I been my boss, I would've made sure that I was in the first group, not the last. I was undependable, a slackoff (making sure to use every sick day available to me each year, even if I had to fake it), and generally not a very hard worker.

        In my pigheaded pride, I was determined to find a better, higher-paying job in the same field with my Associate's Degree in hand. This was about the time that everything was starting to be outsourced to India, too. After two months, my savings ran dry, and unemployment checks could barely cover rent. I moved in with a college friend in another city, who said he could get me a job where he worked, programming cash registers. It never happened.

        After nine months of unemployment, I had to move back home. My parents wouldn't take me, so I stayed on my grandparents' couch (literally) while I waited for a call from a local factory. I'd been hired, but they didn't have a place for me yet. It took them a month. By then, my unemployment extension had run out. They gave me a second-shift job running a paint line, hanging plastic parts on racks, for $8.00 an hour. I was making more on unemployment.

        You know what? After ten months on my ass, I was so grateful for $8.00 an hour I nearly cried. I came really close to giving up my car, or worse, losing my girlfriend (fiance now, we're getting married next month). I worked harder than I thought I could. It took two weeks before I didn't come home in agony with muscles tied in knots. After two months, I took an internal job posting as die setter, then six months later (after fantastic reviews), took a job as preventative maintenance technician. I can't disclose my current wage, but it's definitely much higher than I've ever made before, anywhere.

        Am I happy? Definitely. Learning makes me happy, and my company is gladly sending me to college to get my Journeyman's Certificate. Do I enjoy my job? Sometimes. Frankly, I don't think that matters, because every day I come home, to a house with a garage, both of which I own, to a wonderful woman, whom I will marry.

        A job is a job is a job. And career is spelled: "W-O-R-K." Don't let your job be everything, but definitely don't neglect it. People don't become CEO's by complaining about their workload, or trying to find loopholes in the company handbook for extra sick days.
  • Now (Score:5, Funny)

    by obrienb ( 579428 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:52PM (#11826969)
    About the time you start asking Slashdot if it is time to quit:-)
  • by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) <bittercode@gmail> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:53PM (#11826979) Homepage Journal
    who can know. It's like asking-- "I got Rocky Road at Baskin Robins with my Yahoo coupon, did I get the wrong flavor?"
  • yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SparafucileMan ( 544171 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:53PM (#11826981)
    Yes. I mean, ok, so it's your call. But does it really matter what OS/environment you work with? I always thought real programmers could care less... It's not like you're doing it for fun--you ARE getting paid, after all. Besides, you should have waited till you found a new job before you quit your old one.
    • Re:yes (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tenareth ( 17013 )
      While I think it's silly to quit before actually trying out their tools, I have to say... the MS tools are annoying to deal with. I dealt with them for years, and always prefered a good Programmers Editor linked to the tools instead.

      Real programmers don't care which LANGUAGE they program in, you will find they are generally extremely picky about which TOOLS they use. Just look at the vi/emacs wars.

    • Re:yes (Score:5, Funny)

      by tetrode ( 32267 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:27PM (#11827645) Homepage
      Sure. Real 'real' programmers don't give a rats' ass in what OS/environment they work. Take for for instance. I used to work in the webservices department; running all these apache servers, java servlets on linux on these big iron S390 was kinda nice.

      But hey, they needed someone do an update of the telephony taxation programme in brainf*ck on a SCO openserver. It is quite old, I must say, I had to set the date back 10 years, so I don't run into Y2K problems.

      Anyway, I don't care what environment I work in. And I start to like Brainf*ck.

      >>++++++++ ++[-]>+.

      I think I do my next assignment in Ook. Preferably in Ook.NET - I already made my first programme, look:

      Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook? Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook! Ook! Ook? Ook! Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook.
  • When? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Snap E Tom ( 128447 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:53PM (#11826989)
    Simple. When I get 100% vesting in the 401(k). Meanwhile, I just suck up the BS and deal.
  • by toygeek ( 473120 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:53PM (#11826990) Homepage Journal
    It was a job as a network/systems admin at a manufacturing and development plant. After doing some side work for them, and many long discussions with the owner, I realized the guy was full of himself and wanted somebody who was just as full of it as he was. I'm not that guy, so I bowed out. It turned out to be the best career decision I've made!
  • by stankulp ( 69949 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:54PM (#11826994) Homepage

    ...before quitting any job with a paycheck.

    Unless you have no use for money.

  • When You get Bored (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moofdaddy ( 570503 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:54PM (#11827006) Homepage
    Life is very short, if you don't believe in god then this is truley the only go at things you'll have. Every day should be fun and everything you do you should enjoy, you should be interested in, it should intrigue you. Because of this you shouldn't spend time doing something you dislike, that bores you, etc. A smart person can find a good job, one that they like, one that they love, if they look hard enough.

    A great indication of when you should quit your job is when you wake up every morning and dread going into work. Its okay to wish you were doing something else, but if you wake up and always hate the idea of going into the office then it is probably a good time to find a new line of work.
    • by TonyZahn ( 534930 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:00PM (#11827142) Homepage
      "A great indication of when you should quit your job is when you wake up every morning and dread going into work." I've always told people I base it off the quality of my Sunday afternoons. If you get a sick feely in the pit of your stomach Sunday afternoon knowing that you have to go back tomorrow, it's time to leave.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:07PM (#11827296)
      Life is very short ...and reputations too long to erase by career ethical issues.

      I live in a top 50 US market and was offered a job writing PR for a major election systems company. The pay offered was attractive and they were totally thrilled with my writing (I was referred by their PR firm who had come into contact with me at another company). I'm a half-breed tech/business type and have been fortunate enough to be able to take a technical topic and explain it for normal people to understand.

      This company gave me a pile of product manuals, corporate documentation, etc. to read through as I wanted to assess what I'd be jumping into. I don't like promising anyone to solve their problems unless I really can have a realistic chance of doing so. Upon reading through the materials, I was horrified. They lacked any process maturity and relied upon a crew of hostile, overworked programmer fossils that were combative to any development. Project management was a myth. Sales would routinely ignore the obsolete programming staff and make outlandish commitments ("touch screen with custom layouts? No problem!") just to book the sale. They'd learned long ago to just toss the orders over the wall instead of dealing with the antisocial technical crew. Both groups were at war with each other.

      And management wanted me to put frosting on it all as they clearly viewed their problems as public relations. "We just aren't communicating our product vision effectively" they said.

      I turned it down. Every time I get on a commercial aircraft, I pray they don't make planes the way they make election systems. Best of all, I'm not associated with that company. Several of the programmers have been trying to get hired at companies I know and my horror stories have kept some of my peers from bringing on the dead weight. People have no idea how small a big city can be when it comes to hiring and networking.

    • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:10PM (#11827357) Journal
      Not saying that it's "bad advice" - but perhaps it's just over-simplistic?

      I agree that life is too short, and there's ultimately no real point to spending most of it doing work you loathe.

      But there's a flip-side to this. Job searches and the uncertainty of when you'll be able to get the bills paid can be more stressful than a job you don't particularly like.

      Furthermore, it's quite possible to discover something you truly enjoy doing on your own terms and conditions, which doesn't ever seem to really translate into a "job you enjoy" when working for someone else. For example, I've always had an interest and enjoyment of music - and used to be told I had a "pleasant reading voice" and the like. Therefore, I had an idea that I'd enjoy becoming a radio DJ. Know what? After going to college and taking a few courses towards this goal - I realized there was no way I'd ever like it! The problem? Practically nobody in the commercial radio business is willing to turn over control to a DJ. The DJ is basically a "robot", playing the music pre-designated in set lists, and required to only speak for X number of seconds or minutes each hour, at pre-designated time slots in the program. That's not at all what I envisioned would make being a DJ fun!

      All of that being said, I think there's nothing at all to be ashamed of to say "Look, I'm not comfortable writing your software using *this* set of tools (or for *this* platform)." Only you can really make that judgement call. To me, it's rather like being a carpenter, and suddenly being told "We're taking away your entire toolbox, because our business partnered up with Black & Decker. You can only use Black & Decker saws, drills, hand tools, etc. from here on out. Here's your new set of tools, and if you need ones they don't make - you just have to do without! Enjoy!" Some people might get by fine under those conditions, but it surely wouldn't do for every carpenter out there.
  • When? (Score:4, Funny)

    by MarkGriz ( 520778 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:54PM (#11827019)
    Just before your boss catches you reading "When Should You Quit Your Job" on slashdot, when you're supposed to be working.
  • What is steady? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:55PM (#11827022)
    I think "steady work" in this case is a bit of a misnomer. If you hate your job, don't like the work, or desperately want to leave, then you are not going to be productive, you will have a lot of stress, you will probably be irritable most of the time, and in general you will not fit very well with the position. I don't think I would characterize that as a "steady" employment situation. It would likely be very tumultuous.
  • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:55PM (#11827024)
    Dear Mr. Johnson,

    Our IT department has been monitoring your web activity these past few months, and we're sorry to say your continued employment is no longer necessary.

    Mr. Szleswinsczky
  • by KiltedKnight ( 171132 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:55PM (#11827025) Homepage Journal
    Yes. You should've held on, but been actively looking. For whatever reason, business logic is, "We'll wait 2-3 weeks for the person who has a job instead of hiring the person who's available immediately because they're out of work."

  • Not a Smart Move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EastCoastSurfer ( 310758 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:55PM (#11827028)
    Unless you were being forced to do something illegal it doesn't make a lot sense to quit a job before having another one lined up. It sucks to be forced into an unfun job situation but there is a reason why work is called work. Sometimes you have to do things that suck. Good luck on finding another job.
  • In this case, you probably made a mistake. Microsoft tools are excellent for Windows development. C# is easier to use than C++. If a job makes you unhappy, you shuld probably look for a new one but I don't see that there's any reason to believe that using the latest Microsoft tools for windows development will make you unhappy. Sorry.
  • by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:56PM (#11827044) Homepage
    No thanks...

    Punchcard and a hole puncher were all I needed.

    Trendy keyboards... damn hippies.

    Like to see how many kiddies out there can code a if/then/else in under 5 minutes. /me is 21 years old.
  • by farnz ( 625056 ) <slashdot.farnz@org@uk> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:57PM (#11827070) Homepage Journal
    Where you're in a job which is making you unhappy (whatever the reason), it's inadvisable to leave before you've found something else to pay you.

    If you've left, and don't find other work that you enjoy doing soon, you're at risk of ending up stuck doing stuff that you feel is a waste of your skills - something like flipping burgers, answering phones, whatever. You also have an issue getting back into your field later - saying that you quit because you didn't like the tools your employer was using is a potential red flag to a future employer, and may make it impossible to return to a field you enjoy.

    Good luck finding a new job!

  • by wolf- ( 54587 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:57PM (#11827074) Homepage
    I got a burr up my rear when my company changed hands. I'm an arogant bit of a programmer, and thus left my well paying job.

    Now I'm regretting it, and want this forum to bless my rather hasty and immature decision to leave my employee.

    Well, I'm not really regretting it, but Mom says it was a fool thing to do, and I'll have to move out of the basement if I dont find work soon.

    Thank you.
  • Similar Situation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by The_Real_Nire ( 786847 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:57PM (#11827080)
    Right now I am the lone PHP programmer where I work, and I have total control over what operating systems and applications I want ot use on my workstation and servers. However, I recently was offered a job about 3 hours away, where I would have to code in C#, and use Visual Studio, but the pay is 2x what I make now, so I'm going to try at least.

    I think its difficult enough for programmers in the US to even get jobs right now, so for me to have the option of doubling my pay in exchange for swallowing my pride, it seems like a smart move. Plus I can always go home and cleanse myself with Linux after work :)
  • Yay Sabatoge (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moofdaddy ( 570503 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:58PM (#11827091) Homepage
    I always knew that it was a good idea to quit working when I started to sabatoge the company I was working for. Honestly, it would always be a reliable sign. I started working as a telemarketer for MBNA for a while I enjoyed annoying people it was kinda fun to see how bad I could get them to yell at me. Then it became a little less fun and i started to fool around. Eventually I got to the point where I would try and waste as much time as possible, I would sneak away to the bathroom when no one was looking and I would turn off every single toliet and urnal (there is a little valve you can twist with a flat headed screw driver). I decided it was time to quit.

    I started with Walmart and my first day I started trying to sabatoge them. i decided I should probalby quit the next day. I use my destructive habbits as an indication of when I should probably look for a new place to work.
  • Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bored ( 40072 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:58PM (#11827110)
    Am I a fool for giving up steady work and good pay

    Yes, especially if it was just because you hate M$. If you had stayed there long enough to learn C# and then decided it wasn't in your best long term interest that might have been something different. As it is you just lost a perfect opportunity to learn something new and expand your skill set.

  • Leaving MS for FOSS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:59PM (#11827129)
    I myself am leaving a Microsoft vendor and heading to FOSS as a result of our compnaies inflexible rules. Here is an example:

    - Everyone at the company wears the exact same uniform (supplied by the company)

    - I'm not allowed to decorate my office, bring in furniture other than their supplied furniture and can only have one picture in my office.

    - I'm not allowed to have facial hair, wierd haircuts (dreads count as wierd), tattoos, peircings, etc.

    - I am micromanaged to death

    This is hell but now that the market has rebounded, I'm finding I can mae easily 1.5 times as much as I make here and I don't have to deal with this bullshit anymore.
  • by mo26101 ( 518770 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @04:59PM (#11827130)
    In deciding to leave a job or not, you are looking at the wrong data. IMHO, the important thing in a job is not the OS or programming tools. The main factor is do you like working with your co-workers. If you like your fellow workers, then you are a fool to leave over the programming tools.

    At the end of the day code is code no matter where you wrote it. What gets us interested in getting up and going to work each day is do we like the working environment, not the coding environment.
  • Stupid (Score:5, Funny)

    by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:00PM (#11827151)
    You're an idiot.

    You do realize that you're going to be remembered as "that guy who quit because he didn't want to use Visual Studio"?

    They're going to laugh every time someone tells that story. Of course, they'll be laughing on company time, and getting payed for it.

  • Dont ask Us (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ethzer0 ( 603146 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:02PM (#11827174)

    Everybody's been saying the same goddamned thing.

    "Yes you were foolish for quitting your job."

    What do you want from these people? Reassurance that you've done the right thing? They don't know you. They don't know what you're capable of, and they dont know what you want to do. Only YOU know that. Would you seriously read 100 replies and go "Shit... I KNEW I shouldn't have done that." ?

    Listen man. You live ONCE. You've made your choice now move on. Go try and find something that makes you happy, and preferably pays you rather well. You know what you're capable - or not capable - of, so don't sell yourself short by asking for Career advice on Slashdot. ;)

  • Well, it depends (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:03PM (#11827220)
    I'd say your reason for quitting is a bad one, unless you have another job lined up. If your only complaint is that the Microsoft tools don't give you enough control, well that's a pretyt minor one. I mean it's work, not play, who cares if you don't get your ideal dev environment? You also ought to know that you can ignore their IDEs and just use their compilers, in which case there's really no way that they limit you.

    Now it's different if you've got another job you could walk in to that you'd like more. Even if it pays less, if you enjoy the work more that's often worth it. Never let money get in the way of quality of life. Happiness isn't how much you have in the bank. I'd take a $40,000/yr job that I lvoe any day over a $80,000/yr one I hate.

    However it sounds to me like a minor complaint, and also your tone would infer you have nothing lined up. In that case, quitting is a bad idea. You can be looking for other jobs, but just running away with nothing plannedbecause you don't like the VS IDEs is silly.

    Also, this sounds like a chance to push your boundries and grow. A whole lot of people use VisualStudio, including some very well respected programmers. So, maybe there is something to it. Look at this as an oppurtunity to learn a new method of development. See how the whole RAD model works and see what oyu think. Maybe you discover it blows and you don't want to do it, maybe you discover it's a valuable new tool in additon to how you already know how to code. Who knows?

    Now if you've already quit, well then I dunno what to tell you excpet find another job as soon as you can and hope you like it. I wouldn't go begging back to them, they aren't all that likely to hire you.

    In the future don't leave your job unless you have a very good reason. These could be (but are not limited to):

    1) A significantly better monetary offer.
    2) A job that you feel you will enjoy more.
    3) A severe ethicial conflict.
    4) A work environment that streeses you to the point you'd rather work minimum wage if it came to that.
    5) You win the lottery.

    However do not quit for silly reasons like "My boss makes us go to too many staff meetings" or "I don't like the dev tools we use" and so on. IF you find the work at least tolerable and you've got nothing better lined up, keep the job.
  • by kwerle ( 39371 ) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:06PM (#11827272) Homepage Journal
    Back in about 2000 I decided I'd leave my steady, fair job and look for a doctom here in the valley. Figured what the hell - ya only live once. I ended up NOT at a dotcom, but at SUN. It was a "hot job coding Java" for small systems.

    I didn't much believe in the product.
    I didn't much believe in the manager.
    I didn't much believe in the tech lead.
    I didn't much believe in the product design.

    I figured "what the hell, maybe I can make a difference!"

    After 9 months of pure agony I left. I have tried to chalk it up as a learning experience, but it was a very very expensive lesson in terms of time and sanity. Not that I'm bitter, but the only thing that I can really smile about is the hope that my manager and his head lackey held onto all their stock until it was well underwater.

    Don't stick with your crappy job.

    I did find a dotcom, and I did make a difference, and I did have fun for a couple of years.
  • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:08PM (#11827309) Homepage Journal
    You should quit when you have your next job lined up.

    That is, when you have the offer of employment from your new employer, and a starting date set.

    I had a friend who did the "take this job and shove it" trick with what was truely a bad situation. However, it was several months before he had another job lined up, and he very nearly had to file for bankrupcy. It *did* screw his credit up for a long time, due to the amount of debt he racked up during that time.

    All jobs suck - but some more than others.

    So you should ask yourself, "Realistically, does this job suck worse than any new job I might get?"

    Assuming the answer is "HELL YES!", then start looking for a new job - BUT DON'T LET YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYER KNOW. Make sure you tell any headhunters you work with that you don't want your current employer contacted.

    Look long and well - do everything you can do to insure that your new job will suck less than your current job.

    Then, when they offer you a position, set your start date no earlier than two and a half weeks into the future, get the formal (and legally binding) letter of offer and your letter of acceptance.

    THEN, and ONLY then, do you go to your current boss and tender your resignation. And no matter how strong the temptation, no matter what you feel your justification is, no matter how badly you'd like to tell them off, resign in a calm, professional manner. This world is too damn small to say "First of all, you ain't no good, never been no good, you smell like old wet cheese, you pay shit ...." - those words WILL come back to haunt you (like, the *next* time you go to look for a new job, and prospective employers are calling this guy!) Make sure you give them your two weeks (they may offer to let you go immediately or ask that you continue to work - be ready either way).

    Also, when changing jobs, you are shaking your world up - so do your best to save up some emergency money before hand, and even if your new job pays 4x what you were making - act as though you were making your old salary and save the difference - at least for a year. Remember, last in, first out.

    You may want to quit today - you may go home every night grinding your teeth, but USE that anger to drive your job search - remember, while your current job may suck, imagine how much MORE it will suck if you have to go crawling back in order to keep a roof over your head!
  • by FidelCatsro ( 861135 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [orstacledif]> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:09PM (#11827332) Journal
    You are never a fool if you stand up for something you belive in .
  • my experience (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rapett0 ( 92674 ) <liquidgod@NOSpAM.hotmail.com> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:09PM (#11827346) Homepage Journal
    Unless you have something lined up, don't just quit unless some legal boundry (or moral) has been crossed. The current (modern?) economy is not setup to easily just move around in general. In my own experience, I was working for a great small company the past almost three years. I got all the benefits, good pay, awesome vacation (which allowed me to see much of the world), etc. However, I felt in the end I was starting to stagnate and didn't have anywhere to move up. So this became the impetus to look elsewhere. The reasoning being the obvious, more money, and the less obvious, networking, relearning old skills, learning new skills, learning about different companies/industries, etc. I been at my new job for two weeks now and while I was very timid initially for fear I made a big mistake, turns out each day is better then the previous and I am really liking it here. So always keep your eyes open, but don't just jump ship without some careful consideration and planning.
  • Life is too short to work at a job that you hate.

    Look at people who you consider successful. How many of them chose to remain at a boring job for a long time?

    Now, look at your current workplace. Can you see yourself being there in 3-5 years?

    What do you want to do when you are 40? What are your long term goals? Will your current job help you to reach your goals?

    However, staying in your current job will buy you time, if you can put up with the boredom for a short time. If you stay employyed, you can be more relaxed in your job search, and not be forced to take a new job that you will hate. Obviously, it will be harder to find time to look for a job if you stay employeed, but you can try to make time.

    Plus, many potential employeers will take you more seriously when you already have a job.

    If you ARE stuck at a job, then just make sure you have a good life outside of work. If you hate your job, and you hate your non-work life; it is time to reevaluate your situation.
  • by lcde ( 575627 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:10PM (#11827367) Homepage
    I just landed a great job at a C# VisualStudio shop. :D
  • I did this. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rhizome ( 115711 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:15PM (#11827438) Homepage Journal
    Last year, after quite a few months of crabbing about my job I decided the company was not going in a direction I wanted to participate in. This involved a change in ownership from the founder to the VP Sales and the company culture changed from having a touchy-feely opendoor management style to having an authoritarian absentee CEO who hired management consultants and the whole Office Space rigamarole. I had saved up a chunk of money and I live in a rent-controlled apartment, so I quit. I had always thought that if a company I worked for was either sold or started hiring management consultants that I would quit immediately, but I liked my coworkers and there still remained some vestiges of the old way, so I waited a few months. I've taken the time off (since last May) to relax, do some traveling, and basically not think about having a job for awhile. I'm just now starting to get bored and am in the job market, but I feel this was just fine even though my family and some of my friends are of the "jobs are like women: don't quit one before you have another" mindset. You know your situation best and can plan for the future, though. If you're not hurting, I recommend taking at least a few weeks to figure out what was wrong with what you left so you can look for jobs that are more than "anything besides this" desperation.
  • by museumpeace ( 735109 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:18PM (#11827510) Journal
    and been re-hired 3 times, though each was a unique circumstance. But NEVER ask to go back...it almost never works out and you mostly never get to find out honest answers about why they don't want you back.
    The happiest outcomes seem to stem from leaving a large, stale, hide-bound bureaucratic corporation [defense contractor in my case] for a raw startup with maybe 1st round funding...the new situation should be fluid and even if it is risky, it can be absolutely engaging and require all the energy and smarts you possess. Unless you are a weak performer, you will usually not wait too long between jobs and in the end, the jobs you will be fondest off will be the ones that needed you the most and let you be the best programmer you were capable of being. This is, of course, MHO: your personality and comfort level in uncertain circumstances is a huge part of the decision.
    I should temper this idealism a bit. A startup either grows up and each programmer's role shrinks, or it fails and you go looking again. That optimum state of programmerly grace is fleeting yet you don't want to be a start-up junky. A good rule of thumb [I've heard it from others who have worked in the same ways at the same companies as I] is about 3 years at a start up. You are either rich by then or have settled into some role with depleted novelty and challenges...or you are suddenly cleaning the pizza boxes and coke cans out of your cube and using the pink slip to book mark where you left off in your latest programming manual. It is no shame and in some quarters a sign of your value that you went down with the ship. YMMV but JUMP anyway 'cause life is short.
  • by crovira ( 10242 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:22PM (#11827585) Homepage
    I was a victin of the following economic crash but not of the airframes that would have slammed into my floor (the 83rd) just about where my cubicle was.

    Was I foolish to quit? You tell me.

    I left because they didn't know what a state machine was (which had a SEVERE impact on the system's design,) my immediate boss expected to follow her around and commit everything to memory because she never wrote anything down, and I was expected to do miracles, like being prescient.

    Was I foolish to quit? No way. I couldn't take working there one more day.

    It may have cost me (I've recouped it all since,) but it was worth it.

    I'm still here. 2 of my co-workers weren't so lucky.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @05:31PM (#11827716) Homepage Journal
    I once interviewed with some idiot tool at Price Waterhouse who took a phone book sized questionnaire out and began reading, head down, eyes down, one absurdly arcane technical question after another. After about 30 of these I asked him if a) he could answer any of these and b) most of them you could just look up. So I got up, called him a idiot tool and walked out.

    I interviewed once at a boutique consultancy long since sold out, for an entire day. 12 people, 12 half hour interviews. Each and every one of them had only one thing to say. That anyone hired would be expected to work at LEAST 100 hrs a week 6.5 days a week. The final interview was with the managing partner who had one question: do you think you can work this hard. My answer was "sure I can but I'd have to be retarded to do it for you." and walked out.

    I interviewed with the 'director of applications of a retail chain owned by Trump. The fellow was an insane basket case who said flat out "I want to go to meetings and basically do nothing. You would have to be here 80-90 hrs week banging out CICS programs and screaming at the monkeys who work here to do the same. Are you interested?" I suggested that he should either get off or on drugs, right now and seek help.

    I was once lectured for 15 minutes at TIAA-CREF over a misplaced comma on a resume by a guy who made me wait an hour to speak to him. WTF kind of OCD poster child did he want to be?

    I interviewed at Gartner by a guy who was on his very last day at the company and told me to me face he didn't care who they hired or why.

    In short you really have to retain a sense of humor for the people you interview and ultimately work for. Because nearly all of them are shitheads.
    • by Idarubicin ( 579475 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @07:47PM (#11829216) Journal
      In short you really have to retain a sense of humor for the people you interview and ultimately work for. Because nearly all of them are shitheads.

      Who else here is familiar with the seasonal joy and merriment associated with putting lights on the Christmas tree? Chains of lights used to be almost exclusively wired in series, so if one bulb was bad the whole chain would go out. To find the bad bulb, you take another bulb and works down the entire chain, swapping the new bulb for each old one and hoping that the chain lights.

      On occasion, you will go down the entire chain, testing the bulb for a good fit and light in each and every socket, and each time get a negative result. You discover that the problem isn't just the chain of lights--sometimes the test bulb is defective, too.

      If nearly everyone you've ever interviewed and worked for is a shithead, one explanation is that you're extremely unlucky....

  • If your company sues IBM you should quit your job. :)
  • by bw5353 ( 775333 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:52PM (#11828710) Homepage
    Only a coward would suggest that one has to stay in a job that isn't fulfilling. You have only one life, and wasting it with a so-so job would be completely idiotic and probably the one thing you regret in 50 years' time.

    If you quit your job, some things in your life will inevitably change, some for the better and some for the worse. If you don't quit, you will know for 100% sure that it won't get any better.

    That said, it is of course up to each one to judge when a job is bad enough to quit, and how good or bad the prospects are for something different.

    I know a geek who got tired of a well paid job at IBM and became a carpenter. Never regretted it for a minute. Personally, I would not like that at all, but as said, we are all different.

  • by thasmudyan ( 460603 ) <thasmudyan@NoSPam.openfu.com> on Wednesday March 02, 2005 @06:58PM (#11828758)
    My company was bought recently, and is in the process of becoming a C# VisualStudio shop. I said thanks, but no thanks and left. Am I a fool for giving up steady work and good pay?

    The short answer is: yes, you are.

    Given the crappy state of the industry as it is right now, quitting a high paying job over a (minor?) technology direction change is probably not a very bright idea. It sounds even worse if you factor in your apparent lack of experience with the new environment - you don't even stick around long enough to give it a try, right?

    That being said, I can understand your choice. I don't particularly like the MS tools style, always have been more of a Borland type. But it goes deeper than this:

    There are really two types of developers, namely the mercenaries and the artists. Most people are mercenaries. They just come to work, and as long as things are not absolutely terrible, they just do exactly what was specified. Then, after 8 hours, they pack up and leave their workplace to do whatever their real interests are. If you're a mercenary, it's totally stupid for you to quit over a tools issue like this.

    The Artists, on the other hand, are people who shape the projects they implement. They are the ones with the vision, the ones who invest their soul into the product. If you're an artist, commands from management, like a change in technology or tools, can have a huge impact. Such a change can make your environment hostile, especially if the new direction conflicts with your ideals. Frankly, you don't sound like an artist, but if you are one, you have to quit over this and start over somewhere new where management shares your values and ideals.

    Most companies really frown on the artist thing. They'd rather hire 5 mercenaries than 1 artist. Artists are difficult to manage traditionally, and they impose a constant danger of doing things that run contrary to the pointy-haired-boss school of business.
  • A timely topic... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Naum ( 166466 ) on Thursday March 03, 2005 @12:43AM (#11831237) Homepage Journal
    ...considering I turned in my two weeks notice resignation letter to my boss on Monday. Yes, I'm leaving a software engineer position without anything lined up, but I do freelance web programming and have income for at least the next month or two. I am actively seeking positions but I'm bumping up against that age discrimination deal plus I really want to work on Unix based systems, though mainframe work would be OK too, but most of that work is now done in India or by imported NIV (non-immigrant visa) workers.

    Despite the fact that I like the folks on my team and my immediate management have treated me OK, I just dread the act of going into work and really don't like the role I was assigned. While it's no sweatshop, we're dreadfully undermanned (due to mergers and consolidation, and general cluelessness on the part of management).

    Why am I departing? Well, there are a bunch of reasons and they weigh heavier than the impetus to stay, including the big fat paycheck that I could just go through the motions and keep ringing the bell every 2 weeks.

    1. Work environment is atrocious - Yes, it's the age of the factory IT worker now, and cubicles are a thing of the past and we're crammed into office space where the noise is unbearable, the incessant ringing of cellphones, lack of conference rooms, people holding conferences behind your back, many desks seating 3-4 people instead of the cramped confines that even one occupant endures. Before I converted to full time employee status, I served a stint as a contractor and one day when I arrived at work, I had no chair and no chair could be found anywhere on the entire floor. I went home and worked from home for a couple of months until our group was relocated. Other amenity busters include 4 total bathrooms over thousands of staff, making the lavratory trip a most unpleasant experience. Parking is in short supply also and if you don't come in early or leave for offsite meeting during core hours, you will have to ride a shuttle. Even walking between the buildings on campus may take 15 minutes as construction forces a giant perimeter walk around (which isn't so bad, it's just the totality of all the suckage).
    2. Inferior work tools - My title is "software engineer" and I administer MVS & UNIX boxes including installing Apache & Tomcat & other vendor software but I am not worthy of adminstrative rights to my own issued laptop. And that wouldn't be that big of a deal if I had the proper software. Instead I had to DL stuff that didn't require admin rights to do my job (i.e., Vim for Win, PuTTy, QWS3270, etc....) -- even more irksome was that we went through a lengthy checklist compilation process that preceded a "tech refresh" where all the officially sanctioned software was spreadsheeted and were told that the boxes would be set back to the way they were. Instead, they were stripped, and entire days were lost to reconstructing your software configuration and network settings. And Gates forbid if you needed Oracle and/or Informix or other third party software that required admin rights to install. The trouble ticket system is HP service desk, and I find it very painful to use, and it makes the old IBM InfoMan deal look like precision engineering. Maybe it's because we have to run it via Citrix, and the response time can exceed >10 seconds. And searches on text you can verify are actually are in a ticket will return no matches. I've spent entirely too much time just trying to find something I was looking at earlier in the day or week, and have had to resort to a paper index of ticket numbers.
    3. Dearth of hands on coding - I don't mind support work, I enjoy the challenge of figuring out what went wrong and undertaking tasks that prevent trouble tickets or problem conditions from ever occuring. However, our group cannot touch the code at all and must turn changes over to another engineering group. It's become plainly obvious that my manager has a strict "help desk" view that measures success on h

Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this-- no dog exchanges bones with another. -- Adam Smith