Author Topic: Career Advice  (Read 1296 times)

smisk

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Career Advice
« on: July 31, 2017, 06:07:17 PM »
I've gotten some good advice from this forum before, so I'm hoping you guys can help me out again.. I'm 25 and a bit at a loss for how I want my career to progress.. I've been at the same company since shortly after I graduated college, and work on military software. The people there are good and the job isn't too demanding, but I feel that I'm a bit underpaid and my company generally doesn't give great raises. I'm also in a support role which requires off-shifts more than I'd like, and I'm getting a bit bored of the work. Occasionally I get to do some development work which I enjoy a lot more, and I'd ultimately like to move my career in that direction.

I'm also not super thrilled with where I'm living. I'm in a suburb of DC and have lived here most of my life. I recently visited Portland, OR and fell in love with it, I often feel that I'd be happier living there even though I don't know anyone in the area. I've been kicking around the idea of quitting my job in March-April of next year, then taking a month to travel somewhere, and spending another month or so brushing up on programming so I can apply to dev jobs, and then moving to Portland to look for work. My 'stache is somewhere around $130k so I'm not too concerned about money, though obviously I don't want to burn through too much of my savings. Though sometimes this seems too risky to me, and I wonder what my parents would think. I also have a fear about moving to a new city.. My parents and friends are here (no wife or kid though) and I worry I won't be able to meet people if I move.

On the other hand, there is a software development position open with my company currently and I'm wondering if I should talk to my boss about moving into it. I think I'd be a good fit for the role and would find it more interesting than my current job, though I also don't know how people would feel about me leaving my current support role open, as it has a more immediate need/impact. If I did move into this position it would probably delay any move by a couple years, I wouldn't feel good about leaving six months after taking on a new role. I guess I should also mention that I don't always feel great about working for a defense contractor. My ideal career would in some way benefit humanity, though I recognize that it's not necessarily realistic for my morals and my job to line up.

Then I guess my third option is just to stay in my current position, not take any risks, and remain personally and professionally unsatisfied. Anyway, sorry for the long post, hopefully this is more readable than I think it is.

JLee

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Re: Career Advice
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 06:26:54 PM »
I've gotten some good advice from this forum before, so I'm hoping you guys can help me out again.. I'm 25 and a bit at a loss for how I want my career to progress.. I've been at the same company since shortly after I graduated college, and work on military software. The people there are good and the job isn't too demanding, but I feel that I'm a bit underpaid and my company generally doesn't give great raises. I'm also in a support role which requires off-shifts more than I'd like, and I'm getting a bit bored of the work. Occasionally I get to do some development work which I enjoy a lot more, and I'd ultimately like to move my career in that direction.

I'm also not super thrilled with where I'm living. I'm in a suburb of DC and have lived here most of my life. I recently visited Portland, OR and fell in love with it, I often feel that I'd be happier living there even though I don't know anyone in the area. I've been kicking around the idea of quitting my job in March-April of next year, then taking a month to travel somewhere, and spending another month or so brushing up on programming so I can apply to dev jobs, and then moving to Portland to look for work. My 'stache is somewhere around $130k so I'm not too concerned about money, though obviously I don't want to burn through too much of my savings. Though sometimes this seems too risky to me, and I wonder what my parents would think. I also have a fear about moving to a new city.. My parents and friends are here (no wife or kid though) and I worry I won't be able to meet people if I move.
Are you a social creature?  From what I've heard, Portland (the northwest in general, really) is exceptionally friendly. I wouldn't expect meeting people to be that difficult.

Quote
On the other hand, there is a software development position open with my company currently and I'm wondering if I should talk to my boss about moving into it. I think I'd be a good fit for the role and would find it more interesting than my current job, though I also don't know how people would feel about me leaving my current support role open, as it has a more immediate need/impact. If I did move into this position it would probably delay any move by a couple years, I wouldn't feel good about leaving six months after taking on a new role. I guess I should also mention that I don't always feel great about working for a defense contractor. My ideal career would in some way benefit humanity, though I recognize that it's not necessarily realistic for my morals and my job to line up.

Then I guess my third option is just to stay in my current position, not take any risks, and remain personally and professionally unsatisfied. Anyway, sorry for the long post, hopefully this is more readable than I think it is.

I quit my last job for something new a matter of days after I was promoted.  Why?  The new job was way better in every respect, and replacing me was my previous employer's problem, not mine.

Your third option sucks. Don't do that.

YummyRaisins

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Re: Career Advice
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 07:26:53 PM »
Hey Smisk.

Moving to a new place is a cool idea, but there are problems that will take the plane ride with you if you don't figure out how to deal with them now.

It sound to me like you are afflicted with a lack of motivation.

Job is uninteresting.

Location is blah.

What if I don't find friends in my new place?

My advice would be to get more engaged in your current situation. Assess your current job and try to imagine what you could see yourself doing there that might fulfill some of your desires in a job (it doesn't have to be perfect). Get fired up about working toward that goal. If nothing else, you will improve your resume for a new job.

Try growing your social capital by getting involved in your community or by finding groups that do something your are interested in. Make new connections.

I'm not saying all this because I think moving is a bad idea; on the contrary, it could be amazing. But if you don't do the things you should to improve yourself where you're at now, you'll always be bringing that baggage with you to a new situation or location.

apricity22

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Re: Career Advice
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 07:38:03 PM »

Though sometimes this seems too risky to me, and I wonder what my parents would think. I also have a fear about moving to a new city.. My parents and friends are here (no wife or kid though) and I worry I won't be able to meet people if I move.

On the other hand, there is a software development position open with my company currently and I'm wondering if I should talk to my boss about moving into it. I think I'd be a good fit for the role and would find it more interesting than my current job, though I also don't know how people would feel about me leaving my current support role open, as it has a more immediate need/impact. If I did move into this position it would probably delay any move by a couple years, I wouldn't feel good about leaving six months after taking on a new role. I guess I should also mention that I don't always feel great about working for a defense contractor. My ideal career would in some way benefit humanity, though I recognize that it's not necessarily realistic for my morals and my job to line up.


Moving to a new city can be extremely scary, lonely, and stressful but it can also be a catalyst for personal growth as you are forced to meet new people and encounter new ways of living (culture in the United States is fairly homogenous so it won't be too shocking but I'm sure you'll quickly learn the weird way they do certain things in Portland compared to DC). At your age, I wouldn't hesitate to try it out. Worst case, you hate it and it doesn't work out and you move back to DC and find some other defense contracting job again. For me, I've always regretted the chances I didn't take rather than the ones I did take that didn't work out and when you take a chance that does work out, well, that is truly sweet indeed.

Unless you are doing something extremely stupid, dangerous, or illegal I wouldn't worry too much about what your parents think, you are your own person and you must blaze your own trail, live your own life and make your own mistakes.

Ask your boss about that job soon. See if it in option and get more information about it so you can make a decision with as much information as possible.

Good luck!

apricity22

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Re: Career Advice
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 07:41:28 PM »
Hey Smisk.

Moving to a new place is a cool idea, but there are problems that will take the plane ride with you if you don't figure out how to deal with them now.

It sound to me like you are afflicted with a lack of motivation.


I saw Yummy Raisins post after I posted mine and I couldn't agree more with what he said. Whatever issues you are dealing with now do not magically disappear with a change a scenery! Keep that in mind as well.

JLee

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Re: Career Advice
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2017, 07:45:04 PM »
Hey Smisk.

Moving to a new place is a cool idea, but there are problems that will take the plane ride with you if you don't figure out how to deal with them now.

It sound to me like you are afflicted with a lack of motivation.


I saw Yummy Raisins post after I posted mine and I couldn't agree more with what he said. Whatever issues you are dealing with now do not magically disappear with a change a scenery! Keep that in mind as well.

They don't, but hating where you live is huge.

I left my government job in NH in 2011 and moved to Phoenix with nothing lined up. It's been a hell of a ride, but I have no regrets.

smisk

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Re: Career Advice
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 09:49:11 PM »
Thanks for the advice all! And yeah you're definitely right about lack of motivation. I'll try to come up with some ideas to improve things. I'll admit that one of my fears is that even after I change jobs/locations I'll be just as unhappy.