Author Topic: How do you know when to job hop?  (Read 3565 times)

marielle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 861
  • Age: 26
  • Location: South Carolina
How do you know when to job hop?
« on: October 31, 2017, 01:39:25 PM »
I'm still at my first job, with a little over a year of experience. I feel like I have a near-existential crisis every week. Maybe this is common for people my age fresh out of school?

I don't have any major complaints about my job, other than it not being very related to my degree (Mechanical Engineering), so I feel like I should be happy. Then again, I'm not. I feel like I should try to find something related now, versus waiting longer when I've forgotten everything from school. Then again, most jobs typically train you as you go right...?

How many of you are actually in careers related to your major? I'm not dead-set on something related to my degree, but I'd like something that's more challenging.

I feel like I should just take a risk and go for something new especially with my net worth being positive after only a year of working (started at -28k because of student loans!). I'm starting to get a lot of self-doubt about my worth and abilities since I don't do anything particularly difficult. I try to tell myself that I CAN get an engineering job and that I DO have marketable skills, but it's difficult to keep believing that. For whatever reason I feel like I'm not as marketable as others that graduated with me, even though my grades and projects went really well...

Job pros:
- Salary isn't bad, $60k but in a VERY low cost of living area. My roommate makes $65k with the same degree, but my SO makes >$75k with the same degree in another LCOL area. I think I could improve this with a job transfer especially in a HCOL area.
- I get an office
- Relaxed environment, I can wear jeans and a t-shirt
- Company is new and rapidly expanding so it could be a good opportunity to be a part of this versus working at an established fortune 500 company
- No traffic?

Cons:
- Middle of nowhere in the south, I'd like to eventually live somewhere that has more going on and with like-minded people
- No friends at work, everyone is older and I'm the only one with a 4-year degree
- Not very challenging. Mostly boring work like writing procedures or meeting with contractors to plan expansion projects. Occasionally challenging work like programming.
- My SO of 5 years lives an hour and a half away and loves his job, wants to stay there at least another year...we have no concrete plans of moving in together nor any job opportunities in his area (also middle of nowhere), so we'd probably be long distance for a long time if I move to another state
- No 401k but the company is rolling one out in 4 months

So when should I consider job hopping? What caused YOU to job hop? Is one year of experience too soon?

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 848
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 03:19:02 PM »
Everything in this world, including employment, is about PR. The people in movies or out there being pop stars are not the most talented, they just have the best PR. You need to up your PR game, I think. It doesn't much matter what YOU think of your abilities for employment. It's what your employer thinks of your abilities. There's nothing stopping you applying for jobs and seeing what comes up, is there? The only real difference between you and some of your classmates is that they put themselves out there a bit more, I would think.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5575
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 03:32:45 PM »
I quit on the day of my 3rd anniversary at my last employer.  I was tired of the way things were ran, how overworked everyone was, and of being paid under market value.  I also felt that I spent more time running damage control (due to stuff not being designed properly) than I was actually learning.

I think 2-3 years is a reasonable timeframe, but if you can get something drastically better I would consider changing jobs before then.

Lady SA

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Midwest
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 05:24:29 PM »
I would say it depends on your industry. In tech, I've heard that you should aim to interview at least once per year -- either to keep up your interview and industry skills, use an offer as leverage with your current company, or job hop if the offer is better than your current situation + your current employer doesn't want to play ball to bring you up to parity.

But in some industries job hopping so often can look detrimental, but in my opinion in your early career where you are at your most flexible, the more you job hop, the faster your salary grows and the more wide-ranging experience you gain.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 05:31:28 PM by Lady SA »

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 07:13:43 PM »
Many (most?) white collar jobs are simply not that challenging when you get right down to it.

I'm also a mechanical engineer by education, but have worked in computers entirely except for an internship that was half Mech E. If you're doing a job that doesn't require an engineering degree, you might be crimping your long-term prospects a bit. I wouldn't let that go more than 2 years at the max if you think you want to switch to a job that requires a degree (in practice at least). I don't think that 1 year is too short, but if you do jump after only a year, you're going to want to stay at your next gig longer. I don't want to see 4 jobs in 5 years on someone's resume. One short stint that you explain by, "Once I learned the basics, it just wasn't intellectually challenging at all and I was worried that I'd hurt my chances to get an engineering job if I stayed there much longer. I interviewed, found a position in my field and arranged a smooth transition with my old employer" is no problem for an interview.

I've been with my current employer 14.5 years (in tech, this is an eternity). Previous role, I was at for ~6 years (same building, same desk more or less, but for 3 different employers through some buy/sell/merge activity). Prior to that, I had a couple of shorter stints, but never left an employer in a lurch. What caused me to look: a new challenge (joining a startup), another new challenge (another startup, a bit more established this time), then horrible management takeover led to another new startup in another new field (best job ever), that got spun off, then sold to a public company (good money, worst job ever), so as soon as the bonus lockup expired there was *literally* a line of engineers waiting outside our director's office to resign on the day the bonus hit our accounts. Then onto the current then-startup, now public company.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 07:15:56 PM by sokoloff »

marielle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 861
  • Age: 26
  • Location: South Carolina
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2017, 06:37:35 AM »
Many (most?) white collar jobs are simply not that challenging when you get right down to it.

I'm also a mechanical engineer by education, but have worked in computers entirely except for an internship that was half Mech E. If you're doing a job that doesn't require an engineering degree, you might be crimping your long-term prospects a bit. I wouldn't let that go more than 2 years at the max if you think you want to switch to a job that requires a degree (in practice at least). I don't think that 1 year is too short, but if you do jump after only a year, you're going to want to stay at your next gig longer. I don't want to see 4 jobs in 5 years on someone's resume. One short stint that you explain by, "Once I learned the basics, it just wasn't intellectually challenging at all and I was worried that I'd hurt my chances to get an engineering job if I stayed there much longer. I interviewed, found a position in my field and arranged a smooth transition with my old employer" is no problem for an interview.

Yeah, this is why I'm hesitating applying to local jobs. I know I'll just want to leave the area soon anyway, so for a job to be worth it I'd have to be moving to another state. I did just sign a year lease on my apartment, but I know a lot of companies offer relocation. Either way, my rent is only $500 a month so a salary increase should compensate for 6+ months of extra rent.

What do you do? I kind of wish I went into computer engineering or similar, so I'd like to look into jobs with more programming or with more tech.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 06:58:14 AM »
What do you do? I kind of wish I went into computer engineering or similar, so I'd like to look into jobs with more programming or with more tech.
Everyone's situation is different, so I'll answer the question, but I'm not sure it will help you in any meaningful way. I am self-taught (simple) programming starting at age 8 (Radio Shack TRS-80 and Atari 800). I worked as a programmer part time in college and then full time from 1993-2006 or so, then moved through a series of technology leadership roles (started as 25% team management, 75% coding, then gradually ramped into more management/leadership and less coding), and now basically don't do any coding at all and spend all my time as an executive (which sounds fancy, but really means I deal with budgets, negotiations for contracts, hiring/promotions, facilities/space planning, and a myriad of people challenges/opportunities; coding was honestly more fun, but I can create more value this way than I can as an individual coder).

In your situation, you could consider trying to get a job closer to engineering and once there, see if you can combine your mechanical engineering degree/experience with computing/automation to help your company be more competitive. (That's a general bit of advice, so necessarily sounds non-specific. What I mean is as you're doing your job, see if there are things that can be automated/streamlined with tech. It's not tech for its own sake, but rather tech to allow 5 people to do the job of 7. Same reason we dig roadbeds with power equipment rather than hand shovels or spoons.)

Another piece of advice that I'll give is that most private job listings (for non-government, non-academic jobs) have a laundry list of "Job Requirements". They are often phrased as if they are "non-negotiable, don't even waste our time applying if you don't meet these". In reality, they are more likely the list of requirements that a hiring manager spent <15 minutes dreaming up when they fantasized about their ideal candidate. If you meet 2/3rds of the requirements and aren't hopeless lost on the rest, apply. (If you meet more than half, consider applying.) Some jobs do have absolute requirements, but those are generally spelled out quite distinctly.

I'm going to tread into a sensitive area in this last paragraph. Apologies in advance if this paragraph annoys anyone.
I'm going to assume from context that you are 95+% likely to be female; I find that female candidates seem to be more willing to treat a list of requirements as absolute and blocking them if they miss any of them, where male candidates are more likely to say, "screw it; I'm close enough and I'll give it a shot". Be one of the bold, regardless of your gender.

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 07:31:30 AM »
MechE here, are you me 5 years ago? My first job was incredibly easy, to the point that my roommate who worked in the same position only showed up for around 5 hours most days and still did fine. I read all of MMM, and basically got to the bottom of the internet while working there. Technical knowledge was basically unnecessary, it was all paperwork and meetings. It was great for a little while, then it was incredibly boring, and like you I thought my skills would all decay because I hadn't actually done anything worth doing.

I've since moved to a more technical role in another industry, and it turns out I learned more from that job than I thought. How things get done in a large company. How/why bureaucracy is a thing. How to get people to go to meetings, how to be more efficient when presenting information, how to manage a project. I suspect you'll be surprised at how much you learn while at this job for a little while compared to someone straight out of school.

As someone above said, most jobs are pretty easy. My current job is pretty technical, but the reality is it's still as easy as my freshman level (or below) classes. F=PA, the burst equation, and A=Pi*r^2 are really the only "equations" I typically use, along with some basic addition/subtraction for tolerance studies. Most of that stuff is in excel sheets anyway, so it's very rare I actually have to do any math myself. Working in the real world is about far more than technical skills, although I suppose some research positions are probably more like school. The reality is, most companies figure out how to do something, and become specialists at that one thing. Sure maybe some calculations are sort of tricky the first time or two, but after designing a certain type of thing 100 times, the calculations are just busy work.

Learning how people work is much more important than calculus at the vast majority of jobs. Even design based ones require you to know how people are going to actually use your designs. Generally you don't need to know the specifics of high level classes, just the basics of how things work is plenty. What stress is, basics of how friction works, what lever arms do. You get to re-learn anything you actually need once you're on the job, you'll be surprised what comes back to you after a few lessons. School showed your employers that you have a capacity for learning mechanical skills. They're hiring people from lots of different backgrounds, they aren't expecting you to be an expert when you get there.

I'm glad I left my first job, but I don't think my 3 years there held me back. I learned about a different industry, and some of what I do now is easier because of it. I think 2-3 years is the sweet spot for a first job. Long enough to learn some things, and learn to work around difficulties at a job rather than just bailing immediately.  Future companies will appreciate 2-3 years far more than 1 year on your resume as well.  If you'd like more detail on my past/current job shoot me a PM.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 07:36:51 AM by ooeei »

CanuckExpat

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2982
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Travelling
    • Freedom35
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 07:36:46 AM »
Always be looking, always be ready to apply and to interview

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 07:39:55 AM »
If MMM forums had voting, I'd upvote ooeei's advice.

Success in business, even in a technical field, is rarely purely about tech and ooeei said it very well!

affordablehousing

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2017, 01:09:27 PM »
 Out of 15 friends in New York, only one kept their first job out of college past 36 months. Most people got the itch after 2 years. YMMV but this was my experience.

Mgmny

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 573
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Northwest 'Burbs of MSP
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2017, 03:10:03 PM »
Quit early, and quit often.

I'm on job 4 since May 2014 (current job 1 year anniversary is this week!) and things couldn't be going better.

aprilm

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2017, 03:36:32 PM »
I find that female candidates seem to be more willing to treat a list of requirements as absolute and blocking them if they miss any of them, where male candidates are more likely to say, "screw it; I'm close enough and I'll give it a shot". Be one of the bold, regardless of your gender.

Female in engineering here. Yes, I tend to look at a list of requirements and think that they're... well... required. And if I don't meet most of the requirements, I don't apply, especially if I don't meet the years of experience requirement.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 848
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2017, 03:52:53 PM »
I find that female candidates seem to be more willing to treat a list of requirements as absolute and blocking them if they miss any of them, where male candidates are more likely to say, "screw it; I'm close enough and I'll give it a shot". Be one of the bold, regardless of your gender.

Female in engineering here. Yes, I tend to look at a list of requirements and think that they're... well... required. And if I don't meet most of the requirements, I don't apply, especially if I don't meet the years of experience requirement.

A job ad is just what they think their ideal candidate would be like. They probably won't get the ideal candidate. I've hired people that had not even half the skills I've advertised for because I knew that they were willing and able, and would be excellent employees.

JLee

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5575
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2017, 04:52:20 PM »
I find that female candidates seem to be more willing to treat a list of requirements as absolute and blocking them if they miss any of them, where male candidates are more likely to say, "screw it; I'm close enough and I'll give it a shot". Be one of the bold, regardless of your gender.

Female in engineering here. Yes, I tend to look at a list of requirements and think that they're... well... required. And if I don't meet most of the requirements, I don't apply, especially if I don't meet the years of experience requirement.

Most posted job requirements seem to be extreme.  I work in tech and I've seen job postings that would probably require two six-figure employees to cover and they're offering $70k for one person.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2017, 05:30:43 PM »
I find that female candidates seem to be more willing to treat a list of requirements as absolute and blocking them if they miss any of them, where male candidates are more likely to say, "screw it; I'm close enough and I'll give it a shot". Be one of the bold, regardless of your gender.
Female in engineering here. Yes, I tend to look at a list of requirements and think that they're... well... required. And if I don't meet most of the requirements, I don't apply, especially if I don't meet the years of experience requirement.
Trust me on this one. Please don't do that; you are putting yourself at a disadvantage completely needlessly.

There are job requirements for defense contracting that read "US citizenship required". Those are real and not finesse-able.

"5 years experience with Swift" is not in the same category. (Swift 1.0 was released ~3 years ago.)

Altons Bobs

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 327
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2017, 12:34:46 AM »
Definitely start looking if you don't feel satisfied. I started my first job doing what was not quite what I learned in college, I actually enjoyed it more. It was what I did part time while in college. I felt like I always had to teach people, not learning myself. I left after 8 months at my first job. Second job, I stayed for less than 12 months, 3rd job 6 months, 4th job 4 months, next job 1 year.

Don't feel like you can't leave if you're not happy with what you do just because you haven't been there long enough. There isn't a set "long enough",  you set it yourself.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4003
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #17 on: November 02, 2017, 06:07:55 AM »
Start looking, and not locally.

It might take a while. It might take some network building. Start making those connections and applying, and see what happens.

ooeei

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1143
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #18 on: November 02, 2017, 06:11:48 AM »
I find that female candidates seem to be more willing to treat a list of requirements as absolute and blocking them if they miss any of them, where male candidates are more likely to say, "screw it; I'm close enough and I'll give it a shot". Be one of the bold, regardless of your gender.

Female in engineering here. Yes, I tend to look at a list of requirements and think that they're... well... required. And if I don't meet most of the requirements, I don't apply, especially if I don't meet the years of experience requirement.

The requirements for my current job included "5 years experience in ____ industry".  I was coming from a completely different industry where I'd been for 3 years. Got a phone call with an offer about 3 hours after the interview.

I would say don't expect to get something that you don't meet the requirements for, but if you're even in the ballpark it's worth applying.

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2017, 06:25:35 AM »
Start looking, and not locally.

It might take a while. It might take some network building. Start making those connections and applying, and see what happens.
This. Your first few interview will most likely just get you a good perspective on what is out there, and how not to do interviews. Once you've got some interviewing experience, you will be much more able to get a nice position when it comes along.

One of the most important professional skills is doing the job interview well. Basically as an employee you are selling one product. You. Just think how much corporations typically spend on making their product better, and how much on marketing it better. And which companies are more successful. In my experience engineers are usually quite bad at selling themselves and have a lot to gain by improving that.

MightyAl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 133
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2017, 06:43:56 AM »
ME here too.  I haven't stayed at a job over 3.5 years and my shortest stint was 1 year.  I wouldn't be at the level I am now if I hadn't moved I would still be making a pittance and a supervisor in a maintenance capacity.  I have experience in several industries now and it has helped me excel. 

The one key I have found is that the work is what you make it and your involvement is determined by you.  It is not your bosses fault you are bored it is yours.  You need to be motivated to find things to do.  Get to know people and help them.  I believe I can learn something from everyone and try to do that every day.  Who cares if people don't have a 4 year degree.  That little piece of paper doesn't mean a whole lot about your skill and ability in the real world. 

People are your greatest resource.  That sentence means so many things to me.  I get to know people at other sites, I get to know people in the field, I get to know everyone from the guy sweeping the floor to the CEO.  I talk to them and learn from them and listen to their problems.  Get on teams and go to meetings.  Teams are better when they are cross functional. 

I live in a small town too and there is a lot more going on than you think.  Once again go out and talk to people and go do something.  You might not like it and want to do whatever the event is again but you could find out about something else. 

If I only I could do it all over again with what I know now.

marielle

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 861
  • Age: 26
  • Location: South Carolina
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #21 on: November 02, 2017, 08:09:44 AM »
Start looking, and not locally.

It might take a while. It might take some network building. Start making those connections and applying, and see what happens.
This. Your first few interview will most likely just get you a good perspective on what is out there, and how not to do interviews. Once you've got some interviewing experience, you will be much more able to get a nice position when it comes along.

One of the most important professional skills is doing the job interview well. Basically as an employee you are selling one product. You. Just think how much corporations typically spend on making their product better, and how much on marketing it better. And which companies are more successful. In my experience engineers are usually quite bad at selling themselves and have a lot to gain by improving that.

What are your tips on an engineer selling themselves better that aren't the usual be confident, ask questions, etc? Does it help to bring in examples of projects from school even if that was almost two years ago? Something I machined in school just as a conversation starter? I can't really bring in anything I made from work, but I used an Android app for some of my automation stuff so I could bring up that I can show how I did the automation and pull out my phone.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1193
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2017, 10:10:12 AM »
One thing is to do some research on the company you're interviewing at, understand what their business is, think about how your discipline helps them ("why do them employ mechanical engineers?"), and have some basic preparation under your belt.

It's shocking to me how many applicants, even for mid-senior roles, get to me and have no idea what our company does. They just know that we employ software engineers; they're a software engineer; they want a job; therefore, here I am talking to you...

2Cent

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2017, 10:45:27 AM »
Start looking, and not locally.

It might take a while. It might take some network building. Start making those connections and applying, and see what happens.
This. Your first few interview will most likely just get you a good perspective on what is out there, and how not to do interviews. Once you've got some interviewing experience, you will be much more able to get a nice position when it comes along.

One of the most important professional skills is doing the job interview well. Basically as an employee you are selling one product. You. Just think how much corporations typically spend on making their product better, and how much on marketing it better. And which companies are more successful. In my experience engineers are usually quite bad at selling themselves and have a lot to gain by improving that.

What are your tips on an engineer selling themselves better that aren't the usual be confident, ask questions, etc? Does it help to bring in examples of projects from school even if that was almost two years ago? Something I machined in school just as a conversation starter? I can't really bring in anything I made from work, but I used an Android app for some of my automation stuff so I could bring up that I can show how I did the automation and pull out my phone.
There are different interviews where you have to show different skills. What I see is that engineers are often focused on technical questions about their engineering skills. They try to be modest and truthful trying to show they are good engineers.

Engineers often don't know how to present their things properly. They will rattle on about details and balance their statements with things like, it was easy, or  I worked on this with others and my part was only small. Or they don't say anything except the minimum answer, and you have to pull the information out of them.

Not to say that you should lie or go all Donald Trump on them. But having a concise and clear statement about a great thing you made will sell it much better than a long story detailing everything that happened and what you did or did not do. You don't have to show all your technical knowledge.
Show you're someone who is nice to work with, easy to manage and who can communicate clearly. That will get you the good jobs. The way to show your technical expertise and passion is to have some published work, or be part of some conference or opensource project in that field. I actually know of people recruited from answers they gave on StackOverflow.

Maybe in the technical interview you can show your app, but as you're a starter probably they don't expect much from you and your school projects will probably look like crap compared to production grade code. There just show you know design patterns and mention you do clean code an any project you worked in a similar field or language. But don't go into details unless they absolutely insist. Talk about functionality and what you liked in that project, but keep it short. Try to get into a natural conversation instead of only the question and answer thing. If they can relate to you they will feel like they can work with you.

Another problem here is that on the other side is often a recruiter who is a trained negotiator. So even when they are desperate for you, they will play it cool and offer you less that they would where the engineer might plainly tell the minimum he will accept. So the engineer will get only his minimum even if he is worth much more to the company.

damyst

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Canada
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2017, 03:04:56 AM »
I try to tell myself that I CAN get an engineering job and that I DO have marketable skills, but it's difficult to keep believing that. For whatever reason I feel like I'm not as marketable as others that graduated with me, even though my grades and projects went really well...

It's called Impostor Syndrome.
Many (perhaps most) talented people experience this to some degree. Knowing this fact has been very helpful for me - whenever I start wondering why my colleagues tolerate my raging ineptitude, I imagine them having the same thoughts about themselves, which they probably do have.

Regarding the optics of "frequent" job-hopping:
As this thread demonstrates, there are different schools of thought on this. In my industry (software), your job hopping would have to be pretty aggressive (say, 4 companies in 2 years) to raise any flags. In general, previous exposure to multiple employers would be considered an asset, not a liability.
If you're not having a good time at your company after a year there, you should leave.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2017, 03:11:52 AM by damyst »

ChpBstrd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1430
Re: How do you know when to job hop?
« Reply #25 on: December 28, 2017, 10:39:07 AM »
You are already meeting/exceeding expectations at a small company where you are the most educated employee and where many of your peers will be retiring in the next 10 years. This story sounds a lot like the beginning of most executive resumes, you know.

Being a ME in Mega Faceless Corporation Inc. might pay better now, but you'll be unlikely to become a director in an entire career. In your current company, that milestone might be only a few years away. It all depends on your talents (technical vs. leadership) and your career goals (technical vs. leadership again). Whichever path you take, make sure the talents and the goals are aligned.