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Changing Jobs in IT

Legoman05Legoman05 Registered User regular
edited January 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I've been working at a small tech/internet marketing company for the last 2 years since college. Since then, I've re-designed most of their infrastructure, and I now author all of the production code that rolls out. Over the last year, my concrete return on investment is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10:1, not counting all of the management/training/being an IT guy with social skills stuff that I bring to the table. I was told flat-out today that I'm mission critical.

That said, my salary is still under market value for my position and area; we had performance reviews recently and even though I got a nice bonus, I politely asked a question about 'increased opportunity' at this company, and was told that basically, when we start up the NEXT company, they'll want to give me more equity shares, stuff like that.

The only problem is that the inner circle of guys who would be moving on have a completely different value system than I do, and the owner in particular doesn't really have a life outside of the business. For him, it's not just dollars and cents thinking - he wants to make it rain money and take over the world. Even though I can see myself playing a role in future ventures, I don't particularly want to tie myself to that.

I have an interview with a BIG company tomorrow - kind of place I could work for 30 years and retire at 55. I'd probably get a substantial raise moving there. I realize that I'm counting my eggs before they hatch here, but at the same time, I really want to have my wits about me for this move forward.

While I have no ethical problems leaving my current job - I also realize that this would be a big blow to the company, and I don't want to burn any bridges if by some chance the new place doesn't work out - especially with the economy still the way it is. They literally don't have anyone on staff to replace me.

What's the proper way to handle a move like this? I'm looking for a kind of flow chart - first get an offer, negotiate in good faith expecting to take the job... ask for a counter-offer from my current employer, and if they don't come up with something reasonable then offer consulting services in the future? Or, failing that, just general advice about moving forward? Taking my curent position was the only real offer I had out of college (I want to stay in town) and this move would be a little bit more murky about what's the 'right' option.

Legoman05 on

Posts

  • DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    1. Go to interview and do well. If they ask about references, tell them not to call your current employer.
    2. If you get an offer, and it looks good, take it and put in your two-weeks' notice.
    3. If you get an offer and it's not good, either decline or make a counteroffer. If they meet your counteroffer, you are obligated to take it.
    4. If you decline or get denied, keep your mouth shut.

    If you start soliciting counteroffers from your current company, and they are smart, they will start to look at replacing you ASAP on their schedule, not yours. After all, your loyalty is spent. I do know a guy who successfully worked the counteroffer strategy once or twice but he was a rock star and still probably burned some bridges. Do you really want to find out whether that crap about "mission critical" is really true?

    DrFrylock on
  • Legoman05Legoman05 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DrFrylock wrote: »
    1. Go to interview and do well. If they ask about references, tell them not to call your current employer.
    2. If you get an offer, and it looks good, take it and put in your two-weeks' notice.
    3. If you get an offer and it's not good, either decline or make a counteroffer. If they meet your counteroffer, you are obligated to take it.
    4. If you decline or get denied, keep your mouth shut.

    If you start soliciting counteroffers from your current company, and they are smart, they will start to look at replacing you ASAP on their schedule, not yours. After all, your loyalty is spent. I do know a guy who successfully worked the counteroffer strategy once or twice but he was a rock star and still probably burned some bridges. Do you really want to find out whether that crap about "mission critical" is really true?

    Trust me, it's true. We literally can't find another $LANGUAGE developer after months of searching, and all of our code now runs through the system I wrote. I have a project queue a year long.

    Good point about not trying to play games though - just treat it like a transaction and have integrity in either making the move or not.

    Legoman05 on
  • DrFrylockDrFrylock Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Designing a system only you can maintain is not something to be proud of. I cannot imagine what $LANGUAGE is impossible to find developers for in an economy with 9-12% unemployment. Is it something like an obscure Balinese variant of SNOBOL or something? Even Balinese SNOBOL isn't that hard to learn if you're hungry for work.

    If you do stick around, realize that you can never be promoted unless you can be replaced.

    DrFrylock on
  • Legoman05Legoman05 Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    DrFrylock wrote: »
    Designing a system only you can maintain is not something to be proud of. I cannot imagine what $LANGUAGE is impossible to find developers for in an economy with 9-12% unemployment. Is it something like an obscure Balinese variant of SNOBOL or something? Even Balinese SNOBOL isn't that hard to learn if you're hungry for work.

    If you do stick around, realize that you can never be promoted unless you can be replaced.

    It's really only a problem because the people that business team liked haven't been able to code their way out of a paper bag. We've passed on a bunch of good technical hires because of mundane personality quirks.

    The system is highly tested, squawks if there's ever anything out of bounds, and basically runs itself. The only real development that's needed is new features, not bugstomping.

    And the language is one of the hot ones for web development right now - the problem is that we have a pretty closed-minded view of telecommuting.

    Legoman05 on
  • Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Legoman05 wrote: »
    DrFrylock wrote: »
    1. Go to interview and do well. If they ask about references, tell them not to call your current employer.
    2. If you get an offer, and it looks good, take it and put in your two-weeks' notice.
    3. If you get an offer and it's not good, either decline or make a counteroffer. If they meet your counteroffer, you are obligated to take it.
    4. If you decline or get denied, keep your mouth shut.

    If you start soliciting counteroffers from your current company, and they are smart, they will start to look at replacing you ASAP on their schedule, not yours. After all, your loyalty is spent. I do know a guy who successfully worked the counteroffer strategy once or twice but he was a rock star and still probably burned some bridges. Do you really want to find out whether that crap about "mission critical" is really true?

    Trust me, it's true. We literally can't find another $LANGUAGE developer after months of searching, and all of our code now runs through the system I wrote. I have a project queue a year long.

    Good point about not trying to play games though - just treat it like a transaction and have integrity in either making the move or not.
    I work for a company that has put themselves in a similar position with me. Companies don't generally get into that spot in the first place by making smart decisions. Don't count on them to start making smart ones when it comes to keeping you after you've angered them in some way.

    Jimmy King on
  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    This is the time of year when IT jobs transition because of the timing of contracts. Definitely pursue things head on right now.

    As to what to do with your company: It is generally considered standard practice for the new company to make you an offer and for you to inform your company of that offer and ask if they can match or beat it. This is assuming you actually want to stay with them. There's nothing strange about doing that at all, it's a courtesty to your employer. Real employers understand that staff flows where the money goes.

    That said, it sounds like this new company is better set-up for you to pursue your career, see more regular raises, become better trained and be promotable. Don't ask your current employer if they want to match or beat the competitor's offer unless you actually want to keep working for your current company.

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
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