Today at work I was talking with a couple of friends about leaving the company and the reasons why we would. In addition to this, I was contacted earlier in the morning by a recruiter and then again later in the afternoon by another. So my mind spent a fair amount of time today pondering the idea of leaving my current employer in search of greener pastures. I think these are some of the things that would push me from dreaming to action.
Learning. This is the big one. I’m currently a Lead Programmer Analyst – this is the top of the tree for our programmers. Usually titles at my company are merely the result of time in service or luck rather than a declaration of skill. However, many of my peers believe that I’m not only at the top of the title pool, but that I’m one of the top talents as well. This sounds great and comfortable and all, but I don’t quite buy it. I feel like I have so much to learn and so much growing to do as a developer. I would love it if I were given the opportunity to join a team where instead of being the mentor, I had mentors that could teach me great OOP, TDD, DDD, Agile, etc. I read tons of blogs and try to pull in a good tech book as often as time allows, but I’m only making so much progress learning these things on my own. I would leave in a heartbeat to work with a team where these things are valued or even mandated by all.
Community. I love the local .net user group. We also have an internal user group called DEVLOOP (Developing Excellence Via Leveraging Object Oriented Principles) that I co-started a couple of years ago. Both of these make for great mingling with others who seem to truly enjoy what they do for a living. In general though, I feel like I’m surrounded by people who merely have a job that happens to be in IS. You know, people who you go to lunch with and the last thing in the world they want to talk about is work. How cool would it be to be surrounded by people who shared your passion?!
Freedom of Time/Dress/Location. Maybe I shouldn’t have read The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris, but it’s too late now and I can’t stop thinking about it! The 8-5 40 hours a week in dress casual mantra sucks. Even if I couldn’t trim my work week down to only four hours, a little license would be nice. I’ve pushed for the 9/80 work week* several times with my current employer, and it is always shut down. And that’s not even cutting down on the total work time! So anything that would allow me to dress as I please, work an alternate schedule, and maybe even work from home would completely rock. As long as I could still pay the bills, I would also take a significant pay cut for something that allowed me to take more frequent and longer vacations. You know, kind of like part time except that you work in full time spurts rather than only a few hours every day all year long. I almost counted this one as “the big one”!
Appreciation. It would be very cool to work for a company where the developers were considered assets rather than merely expenses that are necessary evils required to get the job done in today’s environment. It would also be cool to work in an environment where developers were enabled in their job rather than mired in the bureaucracy that so many companies use to police their people. Trusting the experts to be great at what they do and appreciating them for it – now that would rock.
Now there are many specific things that I could cite about where I work that one might count as reasons for leaving, but I don’t give them much weight in the grand scheme of things. It seems to me that no matter where you work, there will be things you don’t like, people you don’t like, or company practices and policies that you just think could be so much better. These things simply don’t matter in the end. I say chase the things that make me happy and ignore the rest. If I run from the things that make me unhappy, I’ll be running forever and will never be truly happy. Unless it’s simply the running that you enjoy :)
* 9/80 work week: allows the worker to accumulate 80 hours over a two week period in only 9 days instead of the standard 10 giving the worker a three day weekend every other week.