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When to Leave That First Tech Job

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the no-escaping-the-phb dept.

Editorial 689

An anonymous reader writes "Chris Wilson has an interesting piece about a scenario all CompSci/Engineering students dread, getting a job out of college and having it quickly turn sour. He writes: 'The first layoff is tough. After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward? To summarize how I felt: Disillusioned.' He discusses warning signs you should look for in your own work environment that point toward "Getting out". An interesting read, especially for aspiring engineers or engineers out on their first job."

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689 comments

Service unavailable (1)

meldroc (21783) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719917)

That didn't take long... Anyone have a mirror?

Slashdotted? (0, Redundant)

Kickersny.com (913902) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719918)

Has the article already been slashdotted? Wow, that's impressive...

Re:Slashdotted? (4, Funny)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720085)

Has the article already been slashdotted?

No, no. That's the article.

When you're the IT guy for a company and you visit the page and see...

Service Unavailable

...and about 50,000 references to 'slashdot.org' in your log files.

That's when you quit. Let some other schmuck take care of that mess of melted aluminum and plastic on the floor.

already tapped out (1)

nidarion (654639) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719922)

This happened to me this very year, not to mention they tried their hardest to forget to pay me severance, my vaction pay, any way they could cheap out.

When to leave the industry.. (4, Funny)

kevcol (3467) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719923)

...when your web server dies even before a Slashdot 'First Post'

Re:When to leave the industry.. (3, Funny)

doxology (636469) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720024)

What? You mean there are some people that actually READ the article before posting?

FIST SPORT! (5, Funny)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719925)

When you're leaving your job, stay late on the last day.

Then, when everyone else has gone, start a fire.

Re:FIST SPORT! (4, Funny)

nocomment (239368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719994)

Make sure you grab the red stapler first.

Re:FIST SPORT! (5, Funny)

Joe Jordan (453607) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720043)

They already fired you, you just don't know it yet.

Bob Slydell: Milton Waddams.
Bill Lumbergh: Who's he?
Bob Porter: You know, squirrely looking guy, mumbles a lot.
Bill Lumbergh: Oh, yeah.
Bob Slydell: Yeah, we can't actually find a record of him being a current employee here.
Bob Porter: I looked into it more deeply and I found that apparently what happened is that he was laid off five years ago and no one ever told him, but through some kind of glitch in the payroll department, he still gets a paycheck.
Bob Slydell: So we just went a ahead and fixed the glitch.
Bill Lumbergh: Great.
Dom Portwood: So um, Milton has been let go?
Bob Slydell: Well just a second there, professor. We uh, we fixed the *glitch*. So he won't be receiving a paycheck anymore, so it will just work itself out naturally.
Bob Porter: We always like to avoid confrontation, whenever possible. Problem solved from your end.

Re:FIST SPORT! (5, Funny)

ggvaidya (747058) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720049)

Got fired from work?

  1. Write an article on your situation
  2. Get the link posted to Slashdot
  3. Watch as the server sets itself on fire!
  4. ...
  5. Loss!

article text (4, Informative)

Zorikin (49410) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719926)

When to leave your (first, second, third or nth) tech job

When to leave your first job in the technology field
Editorial by Christopher Wilson

It was early May of 2004, and I was almost at the finish line for my degree. Between me and graduation: Just two summer classes. I was in the process of finishing what could only be described as the most intense spring semester of my college career. As the semester's end finally hit, I realized something. I was going to need a job, and I hadn't even started looking.

Then, almost on cue, the phone rang. The president of a small and local software company was looking for computer engineers with .NET experience. They searched my university's resume database for candidates, and I came up. Would I like an interview? Hell yes.

I was to be part of a team of highly skilled, versatile, .NET Ninjas. We were going to produce top-notch software for the nuclear power industry. Combining management's knowledge of the nuclear field and our kung fu grip on .NET , we hoped to dominate our market niche. As developers we would be on the ground floor of a booming company. There was greater room for advancement compared to a traditional office environment. We all hoped to have company cars, top-notch health care, company cell phones, and tons of other wonderful perks; all just slightly out of reach.

It did not go as planned.

One stressful year later, while I was staying late with a few other developers to finish up on some work, I was asked to report to the president's office. My manager was already there, sitting on the same side of the desk as the president. They explained to me, in a level and professional tone, that due to financial factors, I was going to be let go, with only an hour's severance pay. Thanks for all the hard work, and best of luck.

The first layoff is tough. After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward? To summarize how I felt: Disillusioned. Only one thing kept me going -- pure ego. You know when the schoolyard bully says something about your mom in front of everyone? But, ignoring the size difference and the fact that he's already shaving daily at age 14, you step forward and say "Oh yeah?", with a Brock Sampson-like eye twitch the only warning of the impending ownage? That's the kind of ego that kept me determined to give software engineering a second shot.

Over the course of the previous year, my friends quickly learned I liked to talk about work less and less. When I did open up about it, they were astounded by, well, let's say various factors of the work environment. Each and every time it was discussed with my peers in the field, time and time they gave me the same advice: Get out.

I have to say, they were totally right.

All the signs were there, but I blazed on, telling myself that this was just a rough patch for the company, and that we'd pull out of this tailspin in time to land safely at our destination. I was ignoring the pilots screaming "Mayday, Mayday".

Now, while I was blind to obvious signs that it was time to leave, doesn't mean that you have to be. I would like to present the 4 signs that you should leave your workplace (for software engineers):

1 It's the environment, stupid!

In the University of Pittsburgh's Computer Engineering program, there is a mandatory department seminar, where the department informs us about our career options. Oftentimes, alumni come back to speak about the career opportunities in their field. It's all very, very dry, and as a result, nobody listens. They also fail to give one piece of advice that I would at the first seminar of every year, if I was ever asked to give one:

Don't work in cubicles, ever. Working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company. Imagine the smartest person you know, working in your field. Now imagine how they would react if they were told they're going to work in a box with no door or roof, allowing them no privacy.

They would no doubt leave that organization for one that is less creatively stifling. So unless you are convinced that you're stupid (and, in that case, you're in the wrong field) you shouldn't be accepting cubicles in your work place either. If the company will not or can not spend the money to create offices for its knowledge workers, so they can get into the zone, the odds of it creating a successful software product and capitalizing on it are about the same as you becoming a millionaire by going to Las Vegas, betting fifty on black, and letting it ride all night.

Cubicles do not automatically make an employee stupid; but it is one more barrier for you to climb over before you can create your own space to think. At my last workplace, the noise traveled. Everyone could hear everyone. An intern with nothing to do bullshitting with your boss, a co-worker venting about how he's not paid enough, the busybody secretary ordering people around with no authority. Not one single employee liked the set up, but without management's understanding, naturally nothing was done.

And for those management types who live in the dead end of corporate culture, if you don't believe noise is a big detriment to your productivity, just buy an electric drill or vacuum cleaner. Turn it on and let it run. Put it as close to your ear as humanly possible, and try to get work done.

It sounds like such a small thing to critical about, but like so many things in life, little things turn out to be extremely crucial. Little things snowball into bigger things. If people can't relax in their workplace, dealing with them becomes difficult, which creates friction where none should exist. That friction could destroy the delicate cohesion every team needs to maintain to produce software. So if you find that getting ready for work in the morning is a larger effort then getting ready to go out on a Friday night, maybe you should talk to your boss about making your workplace more accepting, or find a new one.

2 Just How Dumb is Management, Anyway?

Engineering n-tier enterprise level software is like navigating a minefield. There are countless potential disasters just waiting to happen. From creeping requirements to budgetary nightmares to horribly incorrect estimates, oftentimes it is not technical ability that makes or breaks a product; it is how all the other chainsaws are juggled. Your project is as dependent on the know how of your manager as it is your technical ability.

Since the inception of the term, software engineering, people have acknowledged that it is inherently hard to manage software projects. It is exponentially harder to have a superior that actually understands this, and is capable of both properly delegating and managing the complexity. Here are three major mistakes to look for in your manager. Take any of these as a sign that it is time to have that interview suit dry cleaned.

A. Thinks they know too much:

        Is your superior an old hand, who's worked his way up from the trenches, but hasn't kept up with the pace of technology? Does he base his assumptions of how you should be doing things based off the way that he did things? So while you try to explain that the create_user_account module should call a stored procedure in the database to minimize the chance of SQL injection, he's showing you how easy it was to create a form in Access97. Questioning the methodology at work will often result with a "this is how we did it in the old days, and I don't see anything wrong with that!" New technology isn't likely to be adopted at its full potential in a workplace with a manager like this. Instead, you will end up grinding the same gears, only faster, louder, and harder.

B. Relies on, but disregards your technical advice:

        Oftentimes, a non-technical manager, or an "old hand" who's edge is no longer sharp will be impressed enough to listen to your technical advice. If they were smart, they'd actually take it.

        My former company had the unlucky experience of needing to reformat its single production server. While our DBAs tried to figure out what caused the crash, and how to fix it, I began talking to various other developers about what needed to be done if we had to recover from a worst-case scenario, where a reformat/reinstall was necessary.

        I studied up on the re-install procedures, so that I could come in over a weekend, fix the sever, and have it ready so that everyone could work on Monday. I told my superior, who promptly disregarded it. That task was going to another employee, one who had no experience in setting the server up properly. If you find yourself in a situation where management is disregarding the sound technical advice they should be basing decisions on, you need to expedite your job search.

C. Schedule Bullies:

        This one needs no explanation. If you tell management that it will take 8 days, and they turn around and tell you they think it will take six, you need to leave. Rushed work is almost always subpar. You will not learn sound defensive coding practices. If management does share your view of "I'm writing this, I'm the only one who can tell how long this is going to take." then you have an uphill battle explaining to your boss such difficult terms as quality or pride in your work. I wish you luck on that endeavor. It will be as fun as herding cats.

        Remember, not all programmers make good managers, just like not all managers make good programmers. If your boss' skill set brings nothing to the table, don't expect to replace him anytime soon. Instead, get your references ready.

3. Personal Growth:

At my last job, I constantly felt dejected. "You're not growing fast enough! You're barely in the middle of the pack." was the kind of feedback I was getting from my supervisor. Much later, I realized they were setting employees up for failure, and then blaming the employee, instead of blaming themselves.

When it comes to growth, you need to consider two things about your company. Are you happy doing what you're happy doing? Do they have you developing in-house tools, when you'd rather be developing next-generation user interfaces? Are you finding yourself spending half your time fixing the network and pulling cable when you'd rather be developing a framework for your fellow developers?

The second thing you need to consider is what kind of options they offer for career advancement. Will the company you're working for pay for graduate schooling in your field? What about management classes? How about industry certifications? If the answer to any of those three is no, the company is trying to trap you, by removing the path most employees use to get better jobs: Expanding on their experience and education. Plenty of companies now offer this benefit to developers, so if yours doesn't, find one that does. You'll thank me when you have that nanotechnology Ph.D.

4. Compensation and Overtime.

If you're not happy with the amount of money that you're making, do a reality check. Find out what you're worth. If you are confident your compensation is inadequate, extend your superior the opportunity to rectify this mistake, and then start looking for jobs where you will be valued.

Overtime should also be considered along with compensation. If you're working too many hours at the office, and the company isn't doing whatever it takes to get you back down to a healthy 40 hour work week, then something is wrong. Is it because the network is breaking and none of you know what to do? Hire a network administrator with certifications. Are you talking to vendors and doing the legwork on products you might need later down the pipeline that a temp could do instead? Are you testing software instead of a full time tester?

While the occasional (paid) overtime is nice, long hours put more wear and tear on you, and over time, can cost you the passion you had for developing quality software. No amount of profit sharing, casual dress or office perk can get that back for you.

Final Thoughts:

Work is not all bad. A lot of employers say they want their employees to think work is fun. Few employers put their money where their mouth is, and difference is something you not only see - you feel it when you start working for those employers. After reading this, you should have some concrete feeling as to whether you feel your employer measures up, or whether you need to move on. If you start thinking more about your career and less about your particular job, you'll start to pay attention to those warning signs. And for those of you feeling those warning signs:
I'll offer you the same two words of advice that my friends gave me: Get out.

Re:article text (2)

ScottSCY (798415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719962)

I made the choice long ago that I will never work in a cubicle or end up like those guys in office space. I'm currently in grad school and loving it. It's a lot of work, but you're working for the benefit or yourself and your field. JUST SAY NO TO CUBICLES.

Re:article text (1)

fodi (452415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720054)

Do you get paid to go to grad school? If not, then it's not much of a comparison. Oh, I'm at grad school, and I work in a cubicle. Most people I know do also.

Re:article text (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13719991)

5. Management wants to use .Net in the nuclear power industry.

Run for the hills (literally), and try to get 100 miles from their nearest customer.

Re:article text (1)

moro_666 (414422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720067)


I was to be part of a team of highly skilled, versatile, .NET Ninjas.
We were going to produce top-notch software for the nuclear power industry.


i agree, but dont run for the hills, either get a plane or a coffin(so others would have to make one for you).

who could possibly so %^#$@#%@ stupid, that he would build a system that needs to be up !25/8!(yes that is meant as 25 hours a day, 8 days a week) on a software that hasnt been proven to be stable for years in a row ? you CANT have a failure in plant with the software. enough can already go wrong without it.

nuclear plants would really be good off with some really old boxes running single threaded os's on them ( and that are backed up by some failover boxes just to be sure ). this way you have no lockups , no blue screens, no nuclear mushrooms over your city.

it actually would make a pretty nice comedy movie, powerplant engineer calling the president: "We have a problem, i was just installing that doom3 patch here and the machine locked up, and the funny red lamps are glowing, i have no idea what it means but my doom wont run and my collegues thought i should call you in that matter ...."

nuclear/dot/not

Re:article text (3, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720093)

nuclear plants would really be good off with some really old boxes running single threaded os's on them ( and that are backed up by some failover boxes just to be sure ). this way you have no lockups , no blue screens, no nuclear mushrooms over your city.

Waste of time. Run a modern design incapable of meltdown and use simple monitors where possible. Old, reliable is good, but address the root problem first. Oh, and nuke plants don't explode.

Re:article text (0, Offtopic)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720133)

Oh, and nuke plants don't explode.
Chernobyl [wikipedia.org] !!!

Relevant quote:
On Saturday, April 26, 1986, at 1:23:58 a.m. local time, the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl power plant--known as Chernobyl-4--suffered a catastrophic steam explosion that resulted in a fire, a series of additional explosions, and a nuclear meltdown.

Re:article text (2, Insightful)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720162)

Chernobyl !!!

Stuff it. You were talking about mushroom clouds, not overpressurized steam. Anyway, pebble-bed reactors don't behave like chernobyl.

Re:article text (4, Insightful)

TiggertheMad (556308) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720155)

who could possibly so %^#$@#%@ stupid, that he would build a system that needs to be up !25/8!(yes that is meant as 25 hours a day, 8 days a week) on a software that hasnt been proven to be stable for years in a row ? you CANT have a failure in plant with the software. enough can already go wrong without it.

You know, for someone who really seems to hate 'stupid', you are making a pretty big assumption. Just because they were writing sortware for the nuclear power industry, doesn't mean that they were writing reactor control systems. I mean, the nuclear power industry needs infrastructure databases like any other businuess.

Note to the person who modded troll: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720105)

.Net is neither hard-real-time nor fault-tolerant.

Non-real-time OSs, like Linux (vanilla) and Windows 2003 have no place in critical systems.

Re:article text (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720014)

> Don't work in cubicles, ever. Working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company.

This a big fallacy. When I started my job I shared an office with a coworker, but due to various moves to different buildings through the years I'm now in a cubicle. In fact, almost everyone in my building (all 5 floors) has a cubicle. The only people with offices are either high-level managers or executives. I would hardly say my company isn't successful, and the cubicle isn't so bad considering that I can work from home any time I want.

And I think you've heard of this company, it's called IBM.

Re:article text (1)

moderators_are_w*nke (571920) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720151)

You dont want too work for them. IBMs pay rise policy: 'He's got a house, and a wife and kids, he won't risk leaving. We don't need to give him a pay rise' I does work backwards though: 'He's a new graduate, better give him a pay rise or he'll leave'

Re:article text (5, Insightful)

Watts Martin (3616) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720032)

I'm going to nitpick a bit at the article's first point: as much as we may dislike cubicles, a blanket statement like "working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company" is... well, a sure sign that the article's author hasn't worked at many companies. I've worked at some very successful companies with cubicles (my current one is arguably the world's most successful network equipment manufacturer), and more than one small, dismal and unfortunate place without.

I don't want to imply that happiness on the job is overrated, but very few of us can claim to be happy all, or even nearly all, of the time with our work--even the self-employed. For most of us, a significant chunk of whatever our given job is involves Sadly Boring Shit. Drudge work, waiting for work, paperwork about waiting for drudge work.

Do look out for warning signs about when to quit your job, sure. But make sure those aren't just signs of a bad day (or week, or even month). And if at all possible, get the next job before you quit the crappy one.

If you don't do that, make sure you're prepared for unemployment. Try to follow all the standard cliche advice: have enough money to live on for six months. (This means figuring out what your minimum outflow--housing, food, gas, utilities, other debt payments--is per month. A whole lot of people I know have no idea what this is.) You can expect to spend a month looking for work for every $10K of salary in the range you're looking for (I know people who've spent a lot less, yes, but I also know people who've spent well past that time)

Re:article text (4, Insightful)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720097)

I'm going to nitpick a bit at the article's first point: as much as we may dislike cubicles, a blanket statement like "working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company" is... well, a sure sign that the article's author hasn't worked at many companies.

Great point. The cubicle backlash is a tad extreme and the idea of being always happy at your job is probably getting too much airplay. You CAN be happy working in a cubicle and you can be miserable working in a job with an office.

Also, chances are, you're not working at Adobe or Microsoft, so you may need to realistically redefine what the employer has to provide for you to be "happy"...or you need to get a job at Adobe or Microsoft. Just because you boss doesn't let you bring your dog into the office, it may turn out that you can live with that concession if you try.

You make several other excellent points in a post worthy of a +5 insightful.

.NET Nancies more like it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720061)

try bending over forwards rather than backwards.

its called 'assuming the position'

Re:article text (5, Insightful)

Bamafan77 (565893) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720068)

I personally believe the time to leave that first tech job is when you can find another job that pays significantly more (and at a point that doesn't leave the current team in a bind). This applies to any job in any industry, not just the tech industry.

You should think of yourself as somewhat of a free agent, not totally unlike a professional athlete. Money is the bottom line with any company and is independent of the behaviour of anyone in the company. Even employers "who put their money where their mouth is" are helpless if the money just isn't there for whatever reason.

So while your boss may be the nicest guy in the world able to inspire the troops through any adversity, if the money ever runs out then the troops will die, period. And blaming the employer is pointless, even if they deserve it. You have to think "I'm in this situation...how do I get out of it and if possible, how do I guard against it in the future". Let others waste time and energy whining. You can join in later...after you get your new job.

Some people may read this and think I have a totally self-centered attitude...and that'd be true to an extent. However it doesn't mean that you have to become a callous asshole. You can still be a nice, moral person. However, being nice doesn't mean you're a naive pushover. You have a duty to look out for yourself.

We're still in the growing pains of a new era in the American/Global economy where getting a job doesn't mean you can retire there if you so choose. Let this layoff be a wakeup call.

more warning signs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720083)

If there's a sudden drop in the amount of communication from management then something is wrong.

If management is saying things that everyone in the room knows to be lies then you've got a major problem.

If new people are coming in and making things worse, you've got an incurable problem. "A players hire A players, B players hire C players". You cannot fix that kind of death spiral by working hard or even by working brilliantly.

How do you tell if you're job-jumping too quickly, overreacting to normal frustrations? Here's a hint. If you wake up two hours before your alarm goes off, throw up, and can't get back to sleep, then the time for toughing it out has been over for a long time.

Re:article text (4, Insightful)

Malor (3658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720092)

I have been in the workforce for more than twenty years. The great majority of jobs I've had have been cubicle based, from insurance to several technology companies to bioscience. There's a pretty darn good solution to the noise problem. It's called 'being quiet'. As long as the walls are reasonably high (I've seen extremely short cubicles, which don't work well), and your coworkers are polite, it's a great way to get a lot of work done.

Offices are expensive. If you're THAT bothered by distractions, you can buy huge jars of very good foam earplugs for like $8 at your local drugstore. You don't need to hear everything going on around you. You don't need to see it either. Wear earplugs for a few weeks. Realize how little you're missing by not paying attention to everything around you. Soon, you'll likely develop virtual earplugs that will serve you just as well, and cost nothing.

Demanding that your employer provide the workforce with offices is saying "I require that you quadruple your rent to suit me." It is very, very unlikely that you are that much better than everyone else, nearly all of whom work just fine in cubes.

Your complaints about poor management, though, are spot-on. That is the telltale of a bad company. If you realize that the management is dumb, get the hell out.

THAT'S your sign, not cubicles.

Re:article text (4, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720192)

As the semester's end finally hit, I realized something. I was going to need a job, and I hadn't even started looking. Then, almost on cue, the phone rang.

The article's author should consider himself fortunate to have landed a job without even looking for one. The next time around, when he actually puts some effort into finding a job at a good company instead of taking whatever falls into his lap, maybe he'll actually have a job he enjoys at a company that treats him right.

Pro tip: (5, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719928)

When you're sitting in meetings thinking "I would cheerfully shoot any one of you fuckers in the face to get my last job back", it's probably time to move on.

Re:Pro tip: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13719953)

Tip #2: When you're in a meeting and the guy next to you mumbles: "I would cheerfully shoot any one of you fuckers in the face to get my last job back," it's probably time to get the hell out.

Re:Pro tip: (4, Funny)

Soko (17987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720132)

Tip #3: If it's the CFO mumbling "I would cheerfully shoot any one of you fuckers in the face to get my last job back", it's time to get the hell to the brokers and cash the stock options.

Soko

Re:Pro tip: (4, Funny)

tipsymonkey (710561) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720002)

Hrm...

I always think "I would kill everyone in this room for some chilli cheese fries"

That's the only think that gets me through the day.

The Bitter End (1)

ParodyMan (891236) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719933)

Well, after about 4 years at my first programming job we started seeing the signs that the whole office was going to go. People had been trickling out before then; the final layoffs were a year later. They kept a few people on in the end. After all, when your company extensively uses a product, you should probably keep someone on to fix the bugs. (Duh!) One poor choice after another. :(

Re:The Bitter End (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720025)

Well, after about 4 years at my first programming job we started seeing the signs that the whole office was going to go. People had been trickling out before then;

Don't worry. Only Franco has to go. We will be merged with another team, under their manager. We will continue working on the products we are working on now. With a little bit of luck, we'll even keep our Linux and Internet privileges ;-)

the final layoffs were a year later. They kept a few people on in the end. After all, when your company extensively uses a product, you should probably keep someone on to fix the bugs. (Duh!) One poor choice after another. :(

Oh, sorry, different company. You had yours already. For us it's still rumors.

Slashdotting In Action (1)

eric.t.f.bat (102290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719934)

Gods that's freaky... zero comments at any level, and the page is already slashdotted. There's got to be some way to create and automatic mirroring system for /.-referenced pages, so that before an article is posted to /., all pages it links to get auto-mirrored on some server that can handle the load, then the links in the article point to the mirror instead of to the original article. Gotta be possible, and GOTTA be better than what we have here.

Re:Slashdotting In Action (2, Interesting)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719971)

It's called Mirrordot. Get Greasemonkey for Firefox and the right script, and Mirrordot links will be inserted into the Slashdot story. Very nice.

Re:Slashdotting In Action (1)

Metteyya (790458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720044)

There is something like that. It's called mirrordot.org , you just have to know about it and use it.

Interesting side thought... (4, Interesting)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719955)

He touched on the importance of your boss staying current, and not relying on the way they used to do things - I am currently in an environment where one of the worst symptoms of "Pointy-Haired-itis" has reared it's head.

I work for a Doctor who owns his own practice. I recognize that he went through years of medical school to get where he is, and I respect that.

However, med school does not teach you Programming/Networking/System Diagnosis and Repair. It appears to have barely taught management.

When your boss thinks he knows how something should be done because he is a professional in another field, it is time to type up the resume and start passing it around. When you can't convince him of something because he "Knows" how it "Should" be done, your sunk.

Re:Interesting side thought... (1)

somoose (780633) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720123)

Hear hear! My father-in-law has made a profession of serving as a business manager for different medical practices. Doctors seem to have a God complex; since they know so much about how the human body works they obviously know everything about humanity and business. Unfortunately, this has forced him to occasionally search for a new job. Oddly enough, I've seen pastors of medium and large churches think that since they're capable of delivering an excellent sermon on Sunday, then they must be capable of managing a million dollar organization. When the church starts to run out of money, he's usually not the first (or the last) to go. As the parent says, if the boss isn't an expert in your field but thinks he is, then you should start looking elsewhere.

Well... (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719956)

> After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward?

Hint: don't bend over backward.

Re:Well... (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719974)

Hint: don't bend over backward.

Thats what I thought too with my first job but then before I knew it I was working 10-12 hr days. Didn't stop them from laying me off when they "restructured" a few months later.

It usually takes getting burned a few times before you get jaded enough not to fall into the company line.

Re:Well... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720156)

> > After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward?

>Hint: don't bend over backward.


An excellent point. Bending over forward works much better, as it allows you to at least rest on the desk (table, etc) with minimal stress.

As a bonus (?) this position gives management easier access to your rear entry, thus expediting the procedure.

Over-loyalty (2, Interesting)

dustmite (667870) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720177)

This is something I noticed about graduates in particular - they often try too hard to please. (I did the same thing at my first job, and a few years later could recognise it the new hires.) It's your first job, so you are eager to impress, think that your performance and not 'office politics' is what will primarily determine your advancement etc., so you bend over backwards - lots of extra hours, neglect your personal life, etc. This phenomenon makes graduates particularly ripe for abuse - employers know that graduates are eager to impress, and will use you. If all goes well though then you'll soon realise your employer has no loyalty towards you, that he is the one who will be getting rich from all your hard work and extra hours, and that you should start focusing more on yourself. Unfortunately for me this realisation occurred in a rather negative way (basically I accidentally overheard my employer one day saying some, well, less than pleasant and rather dismissive things about me behind my back to another manager), but whatever the scenario, after the 'acceptance' phase you'll hopefully start putting your priorities right (which, roughly speaking, should be: (a) yourself first, (b) your loved ones second, and (c) your company third).

Of course, it doesn't always happen. I've seen people who have spent their whole lives programming, and still in their forties retain that child-like submissiveness and loyalty. At the other extreme, I've seen other who seem to instinctively understand the system even before they graduate, and right off the bat are looking after their own futures primarily (these people are usually the most successful in life, except for the arrogant ones with oversized egos). I sometimes think these various behavious are probably "hardwired" into us - the old 'alpha male' story, that may of us tend to instinctively be submissive/loyal to the 'leader' in the group, or alternatively some want to 'challenge' that leader and/or be the leader (in modern terms, start your own company).

The ultimate sign...... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13719965)

When the new CEO proudly states - over the intercom - that the best reflection of a companies performance is the stock price.

  I bet the mail server had trouble handling the load of outgoing resumes within minutes.

Cubicles (5, Insightful)

Lisper (461847) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719968)

Don't work in cubicles, ever. Working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company.

I worked at Google. We had cubicles. Good thing this guy came along to tell me it wasn't a successful company or I never would have known.

Re:Cubicles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720013)

There are worse things then cubicles. IBM did a study years ago and found that cubicles/offices where the best environment for development (mentioned in 'Software project survivial guide' afair).

I have worked in a development area that was open plan. So not only did you have people walking by your desk but you could see everyone around you. It was one of the worst places to work in environment wise. I ended up getting working from home and found I did more work in 1 hour at home then a whole morning in work.

Re:Cubicles (1)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720022)

Don't work in cubicles, ever. Working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company.

I worked at Google. We had cubicles. Good thing this guy came along to tell me it wasn't a successful company or I never would have known.

The problem with cubicles is that it's (usually) a noisy environment that makes it hard to concentrate, except for a few minutes. The efficiency and error-rate is lower in such environments.

Re:Cubicles (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720173)

The problem with cubicles is that it's (usually) a noisy environment

Try a big open room with ten developers and a few random people walking in and out. I'm in this mess right now and I'm about to do anything for a cubicle.

Anything?

Anything.

Re:Cubicles (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720104)

Agreed - cubicles do not mean a disastrous job. Cubicles can even be configured agreably.

Cubicles may offend the aesthetic principles of the FA's author, but if you The Young Idealist are only going to look for jobs with companies for which using floorspace is no issue (even GOOGLE is using cubicles to partition space), you will have very limited options.

I've been with one of the stablest, hottest (not Google) and best-managed software companies in North America for a while now and it's all cubicles.

How much a company invests in its people, and whether it grinds them to dust or nutures them, are far better indications of a good employer.

Re:Cubicles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720168)

Indeed, but personally I don't know that Google is really a successful company. I reserve judgement on that for a few more years... Honestly I wonder how much of Google's success is because of Google and how much is because of pent-up market demand for some hot new tech company to invest in, because there certainly isn't a lot of transparency as to how they're making the sort of money that would justify their stock price, if indeed they really are.

I also note the use of past tense in your post. Assuming you didn't get canned for boning the department secretary on the photocopier, you came to the conclusion that your best interests involved moving on. I'm not saying that this indicates cubicles are bad or that Google is a bad company, but you found a reason to leave. That says something. The stories of long hours and mediocre pay in an extremely expensive part of the country really turned me off when I had the inclination to apply after figuring out one of the google problems (the first-ten-digit-prime-in-e thing), because having smart coworkers is no compensation for working 80 hour weeks and being barely able to keep up on your student loan payments.

I'm probably just bitter that I have a boring, stressful job writing business software with a bunch of other boring, stressed-out people in shitty open-plan/low-wall cubicles. :) (On the other hand, I haven't worked more than fourty hours in months and months and the pay/benefits are pretty good for my area.)

Re:Cubicles (3, Insightful)

Shishberg (819760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720176)

Cubicles are likely to exacerbate a problem that's already there - if your coworkers are more of a hindrance than a help by just being around you, then having an office solves that specific problem, but doesn't actually put you in a more helpful environment. On the other hand, if you respect and work well with the people around you, having a more open office can help creativity, at little (although probably still some) hindrance when you're in Deep Hack Mode. I find that I'm only distracted by people who are frustrating to work with anyway, for whatever reason.

I realise bits of the above sound like a whinge, but my current job is actually towards the respecting-and-working-well-with end. All I'm saying is that getting an office doesn't change the fact that you have to work with people, and if they're hard to work near then they'll be just as hard to work with.

Company in trouble (5, Funny)

Centurix (249778) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719970)

I've worked in 4 companies which have bitten the dust in the last 10 years, some good indicators of problems are:

* Paying you in pizza and food stamps
* Managers being overly nice to everyone in meetings while looking very nervous
* 'Minor unexplained troubles' when pay fails to make it to the bank on time
* Large men standing at the doors of the company in pinstripe suits telling everyone to go home for the day
* Leaving the office late in the evening, seeing the company accountant loading what seems to be company property into the back of his SUV
* The CIO borrowing lunch money from you
* Sudden and unexplained 'asset stocktake' undertaken by little men you've never seen in the company before, calling themselves 'administrators'.
* You get an e-mail alert from the stock exchange warning you that your company has announced that it has been placed into liquidation.

Re:Company in trouble (1)

nocomment (239368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720018)

I was laid off once. I knew it was coming because I was in a meeting one morning and suddenly realized that they were interviewing me. I had worked there for two years. I decided what the hell, and when they did lay me off a month later, I took the summer off and drank. :-) I miss that summer.

Re:Company in trouble (1)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720179)

Ugh! Not being paid on time has got the first possible crime, for which there is NO Excuse! Of course, I'm referring to consistently delayed paychecks. Every company screws up up once or twice with their SAP/PeopleSoft/Blah stuff. If your company delays your paycheck 3 months running, it's a definite sign to get the fsck out!

it's time to look for another job when... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719972)

...your boss is suddenly not the least bit interested in assigning you your next task. Been there, had that done to me, at my first dot-bomb.

Good advice (2, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719985)

Some of the specific examples are job specific in this case, but I think this is good advice for anyone in a professional environment. Software engineers don't have the monopoly on bad managment.

Is going into the tech industry a good idea? (1, Flamebait)

Mechcommander (784124) | more than 8 years ago | (#13719987)

Well, this is probably going to come off as sounding idiotic, especially here on Slashdot, but it's been reccomended to me by many employees of HP (Parent works there as a Mech Engineer), and a couple in-town software companies that I should head into business.
Now, I'm by no means a smart cookie, I didn't even make it out of high school with a math higher than our final algebra class (read: not calc/pre-calc), so this may be a better choice for me than the general super geniuses we have running around here; but is the tech firm in a decline? I keep on reading that a company can hire an Indian programmer for less than a US one and still get equal or better results. Same goes with EE's, ME's, and tech support (besides the accents, Dell decided to keep some call centers in the US due to customers not being able to understand them, IIRC).
So, my question is this: With all the layoffs that keep coming at most tech firms, is it a good idea to get involved with a degree that may only last one a decade or so? Or do the majority of you predict this is as bad as it's getting, and the US tech firm biz has been getting better?
It doesn't really matter to me, I suppose- I wouldn't stand a chance at most jobs Slashdotters want to get into; heck, I'm thinking of taking up a career at McDonalds, if my current job proves to be something that I would like to do. (They offer a thing where they can actually pay for my schooling, as long as I decide to stay in the company, et al.) And while many will scoff, I know that there will always be a job there for me. And apparently it's not too hard to move up into corporate after you've had enough experience in the restraunt.
I guess it simply comes down to job security for me. Do the majority of /.'ers care about Security, or do you all want to try switching around a lot? And I realise this is a pretty big generalization, so I welcome any input into the subject, especially those who are already in tech careers that are paying off right now.

Re:Is going into the tech industry a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720040)

Well I'm going to beat a dead horse here, but I'd say if you love technology programming/theory whatever, then it will always be worth your time to get a computer science degree. I think a lot of people going into college thought they would be making 6 figures coming out, which just isn't the case. I'm happy at my job which pays about half as much as my brother's job (he's an IP lawyer), but I'm not living a miserable existence (being an IP lawyer). Besides, markets ebb and tide, a year from now there might be a huge shortage of people in the tech field.

Re:Is going into the tech industry a good idea? (1)

ghc71 (738171) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720089)

Realistically, no bachelor's degree affects the job you get after a decade of experience. Possibly, a doctorate specifically in a technical field will, in specific areas like network routing where heavy theoretical mathematics is a bonus. But IMBSHO you'd do better to get a comp sci degree, and accept that your career will change several times over your working life.

Unless you get a graduate recruitment place (sometimes called the "milk round") with somebody exciting like Google or HP (labs), or someone with a good guarantee of incredible financial reward (CapGemini or a similar consultancy, maybe McKinsey), then just go get another job after you've been there two years.
Don't stay longer than that. You should expect a significant raise every time you voluntarily switch jobs, so the key is to balance as many changes of job as you can with a resume that looks like you are a stable and valuable employee.

Re:Is going into the tech industry a good idea? (1)

AVIDJockey (816640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720116)

I hope that you're just trolling and don't really think that little of yourself.

If not, the best professional advice (applicable to whatever field you decide to eventually work in) anyone can give is to work on your self-esteem. If you're talking yourself down to complete strangers, I'm afraid to know how you act around your co-workers and superiors in the workplace. Just don't do it.

Please take this as constructive criticism and not a flame.

Cubicles (2, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720003)

"Don't work in cubicles, ever."

I don't know if that's true. I know very smart people making decent money who work in them. The problem with this advice:

1. it disregards smaller companies who can't afford to give its engineers offices. That job you turn down for making you work on folding tables could be the next microsoft (or google or whatever). Find a job you enjoy and that lets you live comfortably in your lifestyle.
2. engineers who aren't that valuable to a company will find it hard to get a job in an office. I know what you are thninking: that's exactly the point of not working in a cubicle. The unfortunate truth is many people, straight out of college, are simply not competent enough to get their dream job.
3. your first job is often not your last. Think of it as experience for when you are looking for a better job (or promotion). Yeah, cubicles suck, but if you work hard you won't be there for long.

Cubes (5, Insightful)

CargoCultCoder (228910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720004)

Don't work in cubicles, ever. Working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company. ... If the company will not or can not spend the money to create offices for its knowledge workers, so they can get into the zone, the odds of it creating a successful software product [are not good]

Huh. I work at one successful company with plenty o' cubes, my girlfriend at a very successful company where practically no one below VP has an office. So, there's probably something more going on here.

First off, a small company, or a startup, has a hell of lot better things to do with its money than build offices for its employees. If it's not demonstrably benefiting the customer, it's not worth the investment.

Second, yes, cubes do allow more noise in, and yes, it can sometimes be a problem. But the root cause is usually not the absence of a door and ceiling: it's the lack of self-discipline that causes some folks to holler back and forth over cube walls, and it's the lack of an ability to focus that causes some folks to be distracted by any conversation in earshot. As engineers, we shouldn't be paid big bucks just because we can crank out good software under ideal working conditions. We should be able to do quality work under less than ideal conditions, and we should have enough discipline to not create those conditions for others.

Now, if your company doesn't recognize that excessive noise is a distraction and a productivity killer, then that might be a good reason to leave. But at the end of the day, demanding complete quiet and isolation is a prima donna attitude. Learning to filter out minor distractions is achievable, and greatly increases the range of places you'll be able to be productive in. That will only help you in the long run.

Re:Cubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720129)

seconded.

No-one at my company below MD has an office. That's 3 people out of an entire floor of around 300 people.

We're hardly "unsuccessful", there are very many people here paid multiple 6-figure salaries and all they have is a desk, -- and a small one at that.

Now if you want to work in the boondocks, where rent is cheap and salaries are too... you might think insisting on your very own office is worth it. That's your choice.

Benefit of cubes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720160)

Me (Yell over cubcles): Yo, Dilbert, why does the injecto-magno-oscillator connect to the plasma-regulator via the quantum-field-inducer?

Dilbert: Because the proton streams must not cross. If they do, every atom in your body will explode outward at the speed of light.

Me: Oh, glad I asked.

Moral of the story: cubicles facilitate teamwork. And they educate fellow engineers about important matters.

He's not in a position to offer career advice. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720010)

He only graduated from college one year ago. What does he know?

Feeling disillusioned right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720019)

Current job seemed like the right step career-wise, especially the management aspect.

But I've just found the office atmosphere to be... depressing. The people are generally good. One the positions under me still hasn't been backfilled. I don't mind picking up the slack but it means I can't do other stuff. Money is extremely tight. And the software I thought was going to be my primary responsibility was more or less outsourced when I started. But the customers still see it as my responsibility to improve and fix. So there's a lot of bitching to deal with.

The bottom line is that I'm incredibly unhappy. I feel worse for being unable to make the job work, especially since I made a big push to get the job in the first place. A rather shitty place to be in. I'm planning to leave at the end of the year... but that seems so far away at the moment.

Welcome to reality... (4, Insightful)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720023)

You're in the tech field.

At all times you should have 20+ people you could call to have a resume on the right desk the next day. Network (the people kind). Then network more.

You are in a place where job turnover is worse then at McDonalds. Outsourcing, cutbacks, takeovers by another company, etc. Your job is about as safe as a house below sea level in New Orleans - you WILL lose it, just a matter of time.

So plan ahead.

would you like some cheese with your WHINE? (5, Insightful)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720033)

This kid graduated in the spring of '04 and, only 15 months later, is complaining about the IT industry? Get in line. Or rearrange your priorities. I think the college kids of today - or young people in general - think they are "entitled" to a nice job, nice pay, organized management, etc. Ha! Welcome to the real "Real World."

He's complaining about cubicles??? I recall one time a client (the president and the head of technology) came to visit us and they commented that it's too quiet in the office. They said that they wanted to hear and see people talking, discussing, and creating new ideas, etc. Sorry, kid, but you don't get a shiny office straight out of college, or even ever in life. He's got his expectations way, way, way too high. (I wonder if this carries over in his interpersonal relationships, or not, with the fairer sex.)

And yes, management is dumb in some areas, but really, really, really smart in the one area that counts - longevity. If a project fails, management doesn't get the can. They find the "problem" in I.T. and fire them. They can always shift the blame, pass the buck, and fudge the bottom line. The question to ask is how can you stay on managements' good side? Time to put your pride aside and learn how to suck up.

Personal growth is something you do on your own time not on company's time. They ain't paying ya to discover your inner calling.

Compensation & Overtime has been ruled null & void by the the greater supply of IT people. We are interchangeable. If you don't like and tell that to management they'll find a replacement for you, not pay you more. Every programmer thinks he's the hot shit. Don't let that get to your head. You're not.


I think this kid needs to growing up to do. It's funny because the older guys at the office just smile when I complain. It's the "been there, done that" experience that you learn as you grow older.

Re:would you like some cheese with your WHINE? (1)

Soko (17987) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720119)

Well, so much for my inner child. :'-{

Soko

Re:would you like some cheese with your WHINE? (1)

Durrik (80651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720172)

I have to agree. By the time I graduated university I had already been laid off once. Laid off for the last month of a 4 month co-op term. And I was told that about 2 weeks into the term. Of course the company shut down completely not long after.

My first job out of university lasted 6 weeks. That was a nice piss off. I had just finished the manufacturing test system (which I was actually working on contract during my last year at university), and got the product into the factory. That was the last pin it seems holding the branch office open. Three days later everyone at the office was let go. The product was still produced, but the engineers weren't around to make the next product.

Another job lasted 4 years, before I was laid off from that one. And that company effectively closed its doors 4 months later.

Getting laid off happens. No-one is unreplaceable. And if you're good enough you can get a new job fairly quickly. I just hang around myself at these down jobs for the severance, which where I work is legislated to at least one week per year worked (not sure the numbers). I got laid off in july on the last one, and had two months of summer. Felt like summer vacation from school all over again. My favourite thing is when people tell me when I get laid off 'Welcome to the new world', and I usually respond, 'Yup I've been here before, more times then you'. From what I remember the average Tech Job lasts 3 years. Get use to being laid off, its part of life as a tech worker.

But the cool thing is, if you get known as someone who can design large systems, and do project management for the systems that you can do personal growth partially on company time. On the new job I had to do some cross platform development, and I wanted to get Java onto my resume in a better fashion so the new system I designed was written in Java. Of course its a system for testing, so its not an actual product, but I now have 'professional' esperience with Java. And a new project we're looking at is basically in UML. Something else I've been struggling with, read several books on the subject, I'm just waiting for the chance to get professional examples of it to see how it really works. And if I'm lucky I can get enough experience in it go put it on the resume too. You just have to know the best way to introduce 'new' technologies that you wish to learn into the product stream.

You can look at being laid off as a negative. Or you can look at it as an opertunity. But you have to plan ahead. My first lay off out of school was fast. But when I went looking for appartments after university I made sure to get one that I didn't need a car. And it was cheep. With just six weeks of pay and money saved from my contracting I had enough to last me for about 3 months if I tightened my belt a bit. It wasn't needed but the financial analysts always say to have six months living expenses. Those people who panic after a lay off I don't think do this and this may be why they look at it negatively.

As for cubicals. Get use to it. I've always worked in a cube. I probably always will work in a cube. The director of my department refuses to work in an office, because it isolates him from the workers. I like working in a cube because I can hear some of what's going on. If someone has a problem that I have the solution for I can put it in, saving them the hassel. And I often get some of the problems I'm working on solved the same way. You're part of a team, and part of being a team is teamwork. Offices put up barriers that you get issolated from the team. And working in a cube is NOT the sign of a company going down the tubes.

Compensation? In this market. I've not had a pay increase since 2001, and even taken a pay cut moving between jobs. The job market sucks for tech workers. There just aren't as many jobs for high tech workers in North America as there use to be. I don't really have trouble finding a job. Finding a job in what I like is another problem. 5 years ago there use to be 8 major telecom companies in my area looking for people with my skill sets in the field I want to persue. Now there's only 1. My stock options are underwater, about 60 fathoms down, am I expecting a pay raise this year? Not bloody likely. But I'm in a job where I can expand my skill sets, and hope that when then next bubble starts I can get ontop of it.

Who knows, maybe I'm one of those jaded people out there. But as Catbert says: cynism is indiguishable from experience. Don't go looking for a company to be loyal to you, it won't be. Find out how the job titles / promotions work out, and how the market is doing. When you have the years for the next level, and the market is there and you want better compensation find a different job. Nothing to say that you can't go back to the old company in 3-5 years for the same reason.

Re:would you like some cheese with your WHINE? (2, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720180)

I think this kid needs to growing up to do. It's funny because the older guys at the office just smile when I complain.

Possibly. But, as an "older" guy I think it's better to keep trying to improve your life rather than just let it beat you down until you accept whatever slop they want to put on your plate. I'm all for checking the ego at the door, but this time I'm with the "kid." If we didn't push for things that we wanted or felt would be better for us we might as well live in some feudal society somewhere.

Re:would you like some cheese with your WHINE? (1)

sahrss (565657) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720187)

Thank you.

Here's a new one for the grandparent: If your cow orkers are defeatist jerks, it's time to get out :-P

Here are my tips (5, Informative)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720058)

Take them for what they are worth.

When to start looking for a new job
1) You notice that the best engineers are systematically leaving the company
- They are leaving for a reason. Maybe it's bad management, maybe it's bad pay. Whatever it is, you don't want it either.

2) You are forced to take a pay cut
- If you take a pay cut, take it when switching jobs. Your salary at a company should always be increasing, and never decreasing.

3) The coffee delivery man stops refilling your coffee machines
- Amenities getting cut in a budget crisis are one of the signs that further budget cuts are on the way.

4) The network gets locked down
- Some companies will lock down the network in an effort to eliminate wasted time. It leads to bitterness among the employees and rarely works out the way the management wants it to.

5) The company get-togethers become more frequent, but less extravagant
- HR is one of the first departments to know when things are going down the tubes. They respond by trying to raise morale with fun company get-togethers, but with a limited budget these get-togethers are less banquet celebrations and more confused standing around a punch bowl in the lunch room.

6) The CEO position has changed hands twice in one year
- It is not uncommon that a CEO will quit after a certain amount of time at the top. It is a bad sign, though, when a CEO can't last a year. Something is wrong with the business and he is getting out while the getting is good. You should follow his lead.

7) The CFO position has changed hands twice in one year
- CFOs are relatively harmless glorified accountants. Except when it comes to budgetary issues. If a CEO can't keep CFOs around, it is because they don't want to work for your CEO. Maybe you shouldn't either.

8) Your company announces a Brand New Direction
- Companies can't just change their direction. Every move should be calculated and based on the strengths of the company. If your company designs software to run banking systems, be wary when the CEO declares that the company will begin work on medical systems.

9) The atmosphere is acrid
- In a company where things are going well, there is usually a very strong atmosphere of comraderie. When things are going bad, or people are overstressed, that atmosphere turns sour. This cascades from the upper levels of management on down, so be aware when your coworkers stop being friendly.

10) The company opens a "research center" or "development center" in an impoverished country
- Companies have found that they can increase headcount by hiring low-cost engineers in impoverished countries like India. They will typically declare the foreign site as a development center to handle development overflow from the main office, and that no current employee will be let go (so relax, because you're safe). This seems to be okay until you notice that headcount in the local office is decreasing because the employees that are leaving aren't being replaced. Brain drain at any company is a serious issue, and one that is directly caused by this type of off shoring.

Stop voting republican? (0, Troll)

grumpygrodyguy (603716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720062)

There's your first tip. After all, there's not much point in strategizing about 'when to leave' when the IT job market is non-existent.

Oh, for Pete's sake... (1, Troll)

The Dodger (10689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720065)

...our kung fu grip on .NET...
Uhm...
The first layoff is tough. After bending over backward, after being a loyal employee, this is the reward? To summarize how I felt: Disillusioned.
Oh, get the fuck over it. Grow up, welcome to the real world.
Don't work in cubicles, ever. Working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company.
Bullshit. I work for a top company - tens of thousands of employees, an instantly recognisable name, multi-billion turnover, a top-choice destination for graduates, recognised in lists of the best places to work, constantly in the top three of our industry. A lot of our people work in cubicles, including some of the smartest and best developers and technology people on the planet.
Just How Dumb is Management, Anyway?
Just how dumb are you? You have, that, 15 months experience out of college, and you have the idiocy to write an article like this? Do you actually realise the potential impact of this? Part of my job is interviewing and selecting candidates for our graduate programme, as well as lateral hires. If I ever hear your name as a potential hire, I'll veto it.
Oftentimes, a non-technical manager, or an "old hand" who's edge is no longer sharp will be impressed enough to listen to your technical advice. If they were smart, they'd actually take it. [...] If you find yourself in a situation where management is disregarding the sound technical advice they should be basing decisions on, you need to expedite your job search.
Bullshit. It's just as likely that they're more experienced than you and have the smarts to think about the wider picture, not just the narrow technical scope that you think you're expert in. Try asking them why they've made the decision and learning something from them instead of throwing a juvenile hissy fit.
If you tell management that it will take 8 days, and they turn around and tell you they think it will take six, you need to leave.
This guy's a loser.

Guess what? A company does not, repeat, not revolve around an inexperienced, prima donna, overinflated programmer. You are there to contribute to the company, not the other way around. If the circumstances demand that you do an 8-day job in 6 days, then pull out your fucking finger, put in some overtime and fucking get it done. Otherwise get the fuck out of that seat and out the door to make way for someone who can do the job.

If you're not happy with the amount of money that you're making, do a reality check.
Hahahaha... Really? Ya think? As part of that reality check, why don't you have a long, hard think about exactly how good you actually are?

If you're so smart, why did you leave it until May of the year you were supposed to graduate to start looking for a job? If you're such a fucking .NET ninja, then why aren't you working at a decent company, rather than some crappy local software company?

Upstairs here at my firm, we have some of the smartest Comp Sci grads in the world. Why aren't you among them?

Yeah, here, take your reality check, go cash it and here's the extra 90 cents you'll need to afford a Big Mac.

Oh, and while you're there, pick up a application form for a burger-flipping job.


D.
..is for Don't reply. It would be a waste of good oxygen.

Re:Oh, for Pete's sake... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720152)

Interesting that you omit the name of this company. Sounds more like you have some deep seated resentment towards the world (or people that don't like you) rather than any valid criticism here.

When a company treats its employees like the newborn industrial era factory workers and then churns out shite code.. Well, its not surprising. Am I not the only one who sees the parallel here? You speak just like the old factory bosses who tried to gloss over what work is really like.

I've been through the industry myself, I know what its like. The smart kids aren't attracted to the code factories, they're the ones who get real jobs where their talents are adequately flexed and can produce some quality work, not some rushed out the door shite code becuase the boss said get it done in less time than is reasonably possible for quality work.

Re:Oh, for Pete's sake... (1, Funny)

SlashTon (871960) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720171)

Unfortunately I don't have time to write the kind of reply this sort of nonsense deserves, so I'll keep it short. > Guess what? A company does not, repeat, not revolve around an inexperienced, prima donna, overinflated programmer. No, it apparently revolves around inexperienced, overinflated, grossly overpaid managers, who think of the people doing the actual work as 'resources'. Guess what? Management is just overhead. All companies need some of it, just like they need some chairs and desks and things. > If I ever hear your name as a potential hire, I'll veto it. I'd suggest to the guy that if he ever hears your name at a potential employer, to look for a better employer instead.

Warning signs for artists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13720096)

"He discusses warning signs you should look for in your own work environment that point toward 'Getting out'"

'An interesting read, especially for aspiring artists or artists out on their first job.'

My first warninng sign was the game that I spent three years on was found on a warez site. The second warning was when netazines started bashing me for pointing out what they was doing was wrong. The last warning was one of my artist idols giving up the biz in frustration at his treatment by "customers".

Currently I'm a janitor, which pays lousy. But I don't have to keep looking over my shoulder for "warning signs".

Reality calling... (2, Insightful)

EireannX (905058) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720136)

The only time to leave that first job is when you have the second job lined up. There seems to be a large lack of reality inherent in the attached article

Don't work in cubicles, ever. Working in cubicles is the sure sign that you're not working for a successful company. Imagine the smartest person you know, working in your field. Now imagine how they would react if they were told they're going to work in a box with no door or roof, allowing them no privacy.

Many graduates will never get a job with this advice. Most of the companies I have seen with graduate programs are large companies which means cubicles. Of course it also means a very good name on your resume, graduate rotations so you can experience different workstreams and some form of mentor program if you care to take advantage of it.

It also means many of the evils that come with corporations such as bad bosses, bad methods and general cluelessness. These can be opportunities to learn, or the bane of your existance. They can be both if you choose to learn everything you can from them and then do not move on. Learn how to achieve things in the corporate world, how to persuade management without offending them. That way when you go work at a smaller firm you will be able to communicate with your customers on their terms and understand where their requirements are coming from. If you have never experienced ISO9000 or the like from the inside you can never really appreciate some customer requirements.

This guy is setting himself and a number of people who buy into his philosophy for a rude shock. If you do not have the perfect boss, move on. If your boss allocates a function to a co-worker that you think you are better prepared for, move on. If your boss does not accept your estimates on times, move on. Basically if you are not Lord of all the eye can see, move on.

Reality is, some bosses are pains in the butt. So are customers. Learn to work with and aroudn them, then when you have learned all you can and learned how to recognise this type, feel free to move on. If you are a programmer advising the boss on how to manage a server, and he has server gusy for that, then there is a balance you need to strike. The boss is paying the other guy to perform these tasks. If he isn't up to scratch the boss should move him out and get someone else in. He shouldn't be delegating to you the tasks from other departments that you want. I have seen this issue so often with new people in companies who want to focus on what interests them and not on the job they were employed to do. The other guy probably can't program, so the boss would be paying two resources for the same role, and his project would be behind.

If you want to be proactive, I support it, ubt start in house. Suggest improvements to your own processes, document the undocumented, set standards. Then you get your bosses attention and suggestions for other areas will get more attention. But if you are a grad and you come in creating issues for other workers, you are the one who will suffer.

And you are a graduate, and you are giving estimates on how long it will take you to complete a task. Do you always have only one task or are you expected to run multiple jobs at once? You need to learn to negotiate. You can have this module in 8 days, but one of these others will slip. Email is your negotiating friend, as long as you use it as a record of agreements as opposed to a blackmail tool.

Finally, you need to stay in your first job for about 2 years. This gives you a job history as well as a reputation ofr being able to commit. 3 weeks in a job before kicking it will look negative on any resume, and you won't get a reference worth squat. The first 5 years in IT were hard work taking the job that best equipped me to get another job. Now I get to choose what I want to do and where I work, and I can demand an office. But I earned that, I didn't just complain or walk out when it wasn't handed to me

The voice of authority? (2, Interesting)

TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720150)

I don't wish to sound harsh, but why is a fresh graduate giving people career advice? It's not as if he has a surfeit of experience to draw on.

And it shows. Take advice number one: "don't work in a cubicle". You'll be looking a long time for a job that comes with its own office. Most corporations, especially, make sure that offices only go to managers above a certain rank. That's just how it is.

On the matter at hand, though, my advice to anyone wondering if they should quit is this: quit if going to work makes you feel sick to your stomach every day, and even then, only if you have a choice. If you have a mortgage or dependents, find another job *first*.

Oh, yeah, and one last piece of advice: it's called "work", not "happy fun playtime". Most jobs suck. Come to terms with that, and you'll be a man, my son.

Happened to me (2, Interesting)

ChaserPnk (183094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720153)

I got laid off after six months of working as a Java developer--straight out of college. I had even interned with the company the summer before I graduated and everything was great until the day-to-day reality set it.

My boss was a micromanager and a bully as well. I would try to defend my decisions unlike other employees and I got into bad favor with management. The whole office was so badly run and management had no clue what employees were up to. I got blamed for something that I was partly responsible but didn't deserve to get fired for. But I did.

I was extremely disillusioned. The lack of jobs made it worse, but I bounced back with a brand new career in freelance writing. Sure I don't make as much money, but it's getting better and I love the work and the hours (9 am start).

At this point, I'm kind of glad it happened. Although, I don't know how I'll explain the huge gap in employment if the whole freelancing doesn't work out. At this point things are looking good. Getting fired isn't the worst thing. Not doing what you love is.

Easy really (3)

Alien Conspiracy (43638) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720181)

Three things that scream GET OUT to me are:

1. Not getting the promotion you felt you deserved.
2. Being stuck using older technologies.
3. Having so little work to do that you become a slashdot "obsessive-compulsive reloader" ;-)

Oh My... (4, Insightful)

megalogeek (519027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720183)

I have a burning desire to verbally bludgeon the author of this article, but instead I'll give a brief outline of my thoughts.

A) This was your fisrt job. If you truly feel you can judge everything about the working world from your first job, you're shallow, incompetent and pathetic.

B) If you think succesful companies don't have cubicles, you're in for a very rude awakening when you get jobs #2 and #3, etc.

C) You were working for a startup. You should have demanded a very lucrative stock package. Most startups (and I really need to stress most--ask the SBA) fail! That's a risk you take and the stock package is the payoff if the comapny succeeds.

D) .NET is highly untested and nuclear power plants are the zenith of mission critical. If any nuclear power plants adopt .NET to run their plant, I'm moving to the moon.

Hey Chris, if you're expetations are this high for your first job, I pity you. You've got a long way to go and a great many things to learn.

--James

What a doofus (3, Insightful)

kongjie (639414) | more than 8 years ago | (#13720185)

As the semester's end finally hit, I realized something. I was going to need a job, and I hadn't even started looking.

As far as I'm concerned, since he put NO effort into looking for a job, researching companies and talking to people about the company, he has little right to complain about the way things turned out.

There are plenty of students in their senior years who put some effort into their job hunts. Depending on your school, you may have a quality Career Services department that can be a lot of help. Or they may be idiots who don't know a thing about it.

If he got a job by doing nothing and waiting for a phone call, he should thank his guardian angel that he had the opportunity to work for a year.

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