Another question from Kyleri

Originally a locked post when it was my current employer.

You've written a lot about your job -- specially some of the more exciting bits since you guys were bought out. What would it take for you to consider looking for another job? (I know this'll probably turn your reply into a locked post; if you'd refer another question, just holler.)

Boy, you know how to ask the hard questions. :-)

I seem to have a mental block against looking for another job, and it boils down to needing to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. No, really. What I'm doing now, and pretty good at for all that the company is sometimes wonky, doesn't come in a tidy package. I'm a mix of software designer, technical writer, application-programming consultant, integrator, team lead, and assorted other stuff. I got this gig as a tech writer, but I've never been just that. But, err, how do I spin the resume and what kind of position do I apply for next? (No, I don't want to be a hard-core programmer. It's neither my strength nor my passion.) In a lot of ways it's easier to stay; from within a company you can grow and shift and explore things you could never get to from the outside.

(You know what's not on that list that I think I'd be pretty good at? QA. But I'm not looking to do that at my current company at this time. We have one awesome QA person who I love working with, but most of what the group does is not my thing. But maybe that's what I would apply for elsewhere, if I didn't mind the pay cut -- after all, I have no QA credentials despite being pretty senior otherwise.)

I stay because it's easier than leaving, and also because I have some excellent coworkers. Also some bozos, of course, but enough good, smart, passionate people, the ones who give a damn about doing good work and have the skill to back it up, that it's still an engaging place to be. Good coworkers were the reason I stayed at my last company too and that company died, so I know this doesn't always work out. I think it's fairly unlikely that the big government contractor that bought us will go poof, and I don't think they're likely to close the Pittsburgh office.

There is some bad management above me and one project that is a total morale-killer. That sucks, and I'm doing everything I can to protect myself from both. There is a project manager who doesn't work on that project, who tends to get interesting smaller projects, and who seems to think the world of me. I think highly of him too, so I'm doing my best to stick close to him. It's harder for the sucky project to suck you up if you have billable work for which you're hard to replace, and I know how to make myself hard to replace. :-)

I've learned to grit my teeth through most of the corporate nonsense, like the insult that is the annual ethics training and the petty rules about time off and performance evaluation by spreadsheet and IT policies that hinder productivity. So far only the morale-killing project has oppressive software process (they never met a hurdle they didn't like and they're talking CMMI level 5 now), so if I can stay off of that then I should be able to keep getting useful and interesting work done despite my employer. So long as enough of the good guys stick around, anyway.

So to finally answer your question, I think what it would take is either dropping below a critical mass of good coworkers, being stuck on the sucky project without chance of relief, or the parent company doing something major to us.

Either that, or a quality rabbinical school opening in Pittsburgh. :-)