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I'm in my first software development job and have been only working at my company for a year. I am wondering how people know when to find another job and when to stick at the job they have. I find knowing when to quit is hard for people in their first-time jobs. The issue with this job is I find the people all right but the cons are starting to cause me a lot of issues. I have listed below some vague issues and was wondering if in the software industry are these common issues?

  • Only one working on a project
  • Long working hours
  • Have to do work outside of the workplace with no pay
  • Small dev team
  • The owner doesn't understand tech well (expect things to take no time at all which are complex and doesn't understand why with a small dev tight deadlines will cause extra bugs to appear).
  • Owners expect us to fix any minor issue within a day of them appearing including on weekends
  • They message me with work to do when I am on holiday
  • I don't agree with most of the things we prioritize, because of issues that happened in the past
  • We don't follow industry standards which is making me worry everything I am doing won't help me with finding a new job.

Update:

I just found out they offered someone who started work a week earlier than me equity. Even though they don't work as long hours as me and has less responsibility than me.

  • @JoeStrazzere how do u have a good work-life balance? I don't want to worry about getting fired because i am not wanting to do certain things like work lots of overtime – jessy Jun 7 at 18:59
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    As a Team Lead, if my team is routinely working outside of normal work hours to get our projects done, I'm doing something wrong. You shouldn't be expected to work on weekends and holidays. That's why it's important to spread knowledge across the team. – jcmack Jun 7 at 19:51
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    I don't know that being "on-call" on the weekends or on vacations/holidays is standard operating procedure for most companies. Working long hours and occasionally from home is a part of being salaried, but I wouldn't say its normal to be asked to monitor and address issues on the weekend without some sort of on-call role. – Steve-o169 Jun 7 at 20:33
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    First sign you should look for another job: your're asking on SE if you should look for another job. – KutuluMike Jun 8 at 11:55
  • There's a web site TheDailyWTF.com . It has war stories, and is worth a little time each day. If you catch yourself wanting to write an article for them, well, resume time. – O. Jones Jun 8 at 12:09
56

"Have to do work outside of the workplace with no pay"

This alone should be enough to decide to move on, unless you like working for free. The primary reason that you are likely working is to make money. If you aren't getting paid for work you are doing ( or not getting paid enough ) you should look for a new place to work.

The other cons you listed can certainly be factored in, you just have to determine if the pros of the job ( if there are any ) outweigh them. That is something you would have to determine on your own.

24

I am wondering how people know when to find another job and when to stick at the job they have.

There's nothing wrong with always looking for new opportunities and comparing them to your current job. Browsing LinkedIn job listings, reaching out to recruiters, or submitting applications are all perfectly okay to do when you're satisfied with your current role.


Staying in touch with recruiters and occasionally testing the job market will give you some signals that may help you make a decision about leaving your current role:

  • A recruiter may reach out about a role more senior than your current role: It might be time to ask for a promotion.
  • A job listing for a role similar to yours may offer better compensation or benefits: It might be time to ask for a raise.
  • A job opportunity might allow for better balance with your personal life (e.g., flexible hours, work from home): It might be time to ask for the same flexibility from your current manager.

If you can't get similar promotions/raises/benefits/flexibility through a discussion with your manager, it might be time to search for a better opportunity.

There are many other signals you might get from keeping yourself in the job market. All could also be signs that it's time to start a more involved job search with the aim of leaving your current role.

  • 1
    Agreed. It's good to always be thinking about what you want out of your next job, whether it be an outside offer or an internal promotion. – AffableAmbler Jun 8 at 17:10
11

I am wondering how people know when to find another job

When you no longer like the work, the pay, the management, the company, etc.

Only you can decide this for yourself. There's no "universal" checklist.

5

Some of these are not uncommon when working in a small company or in a small but unique department in a larger company:

  • Only one working on a project
  • Small dev team
  • The owner doesn't understand tech well (expect things to take no time at all which are complex and doesn't understand why with a small dev tight deadlines will cause extra bugs to appear).
  • We don't follow industry standards which is making me worry everything I am doing won't help me with finding a new job.

As the sole staff in a department, the reason they hire you is because they can't do the job themselves, so it's partly your job to educate the owner of your trade and to introduce good practices and industry standards. A good owner should take your views and experience into account even if they don't fully understand the reasoning behind it.


The others are less common, they're often a necessary evil when you are the only person in the company that can do a certain job, so it may be acceptable. However, the owner have to appreciate that when you do these, that you are doing this beyond your normal duties and that you should be fairly compensated for it:

  • Long working hours
  • Have to do work outside of the workplace with no pay
  • Owners expect us to fix any minor issue within a day of them appearing including on weekends
  • They message me with work to do when I am on holiday

With a good owner, if these need to happen regularly, they should be negotiated in your contract in a way that satisfies the both of you. It's not uncommon to negotiate a contract that requires you to be on-call during off-hours would also grant you terms to receive more leave in lieu, or terms to regularly work from home, or the terms to give you flextime hours. Modern jobs contracts are often not 9-to-5 and the only guideline here in your negotiation is mutual agreement and satisfaction between you and the company. It does not matter what is "common" in other companies or other employees as long as you are both satisfied with the terms.

The best way to help reduce this pressure is that you should either ask the owner to hire a second employee that can cover for your work in your absence (this is not always possible in smaller companies) or to train other staffs to perform some of your job duties. You may also want to automate some of these tasks or script them to the level where it's simple enough for less technical staffs to perform some task without bothering you.

A good owner would always be open about openly discussing these issues even if they can't always give you everything that you want; however, if they react badly just because you tried to raise these issues (e.g. threatening you), then that would have been a big red flag and I'd suggest brushing off your CV.

With a good owner, they should also accept that you can refuse to perform any task beyond your normal duty if you choose so and they should not blame you for refusing to go beyond your duties. They should accept that by not hiring/training an alternate, they are taking a business risk that they would need to accept, and that it should not be your risk to take. A good owner should also accept the business risk that by putting these pressures on you and not addressing them, that they would risk losing you.

One thing to remember is that you should not feel any obligation to stay with a company if you are unsatisfied with your work situation. This is mutual, they'd cut you off if they're unsatisfied with your work as well. You should only worry about yourself and your own well-being.


The last item here will happen to anyone with working in a company of any size greater than one person:

  • I don't agree with most of the things we prioritize, because of issues that happened in the past

This is totally normal in any work environment, you should accept that differences of opinion happens and they'd just become bigger issues as a company have more employees.

  • Hi, thanks for the response. Shamefully the owners think we need more marketing people than devs. This has resulted in a company that is based off tech 3 devs and 10 marketing members. This is one of the main issues i have with the company that they just don't respect what we do. For example they think everything is "easy" and takes too long to do even when we explain it we will still have this brought up. Getting someone hired to help with tech would be impossible shamefully since i have asked multiple times and the answer is always no. – jessy Jun 14 at 9:08
5

When you get a better offer

I see a list of things that you don't like about this job. OK, that gives you an idea what you don't want to see in your next job. So get your CV out and see what's there.

It may be that all the other companies that want you to interview will also have long working hours and unrealistic expectations. If so, you can always stay at your current job.

If you find a job that is better, then you can quit your current job and go work there instead. But until you get that better offer, stick with this job. Because

  1. It's easier to pay the rent and eat when you're employed.
  2. It's easier to get hired when you have an existing job. It's harder when you're unemployed.
  3. You don't know that things will be better at your next job.

But definitely start looking if you're unhappy. Because

  1. You won't find a better job if you aren't looking. (There have been exceptions to this, but the really good jobs keep their employees and don't have to spend all their time hiring.)
  2. The very act of putting in applications elsewhere will help keep your stress down.
  3. If other jobs are no better, at least you'll know that and can plan accordingly.
  4. Some problems won't get fixed unless you leave.

The last may require more explanation. If they are giving you work on weekends and while you're on holiday, that tells me that they feel that they can do that. If you leave, that will tell them that they can't. They'll either learn that lesson or they'll eventually run out of people who will put up with them.

I wouldn't worry terribly about not using standards in terms of your job search. Every company has its own quirks. Future employers will expect a period of adjustment while you learn the way things work there.

Waiting until you have a better offer puts you in control. You are the one who decides whether another offer is better or about the same. And it avoids the wishful thinking problem where you quit only to find out that you can't find a better job right then. Looking for a new job gives you the information that you need to make a good decision.

I would suggest that you try to let go of the idea that marketing is respected more than tech. It may or may not be true. Marketing has its own challenges, even though it seldom gets called at 2 AM to fix a typo. Their job is different. Focus on how you are treated rather than on how others are treated. I mean if you're getting beaten with a riding crop, would it be OK so long as some marketing person was getting beaten as well? Hopefully things aren't quite that bad, but ...

How to tell if an offer is better?

There are several things in your post (or comments) that are relatively easy to evaluate and compare:

  • Your compensation package. Do you prefer what you currently have to what the potential new job is offering? Or vice versa? One of the advantages of looking early is that you can afford to wait until you get some kind of improvement here.
  • Company size. If you go to work for a Google, Facebook, or Amazon, you can expect that there will be a large focus on tech. If you're working on a tiny company, that's less obvious.
  • Company focus. You may prefer to work at a tech company rather than a company that does tech as a sideline. E.g. you may prefer Facebook to GM (car company), no matter how large GM's tech team is.

Other things, you have to ask.

  • Dev team size. This is something you can straight up ask and they are unlikely to lie to you. If you want a larger dev team, you can probably get one.
  • Expected hours. Are you expected to work more than forty hours regularly? Are you expected to work nights/weekends regularly?
  • On call. Will you be on call to do support? How often does this happen?

Go ahead and tell them what you don't like about your current job. If that scares them off, then you're probably better off without that job. If it doesn't scare them off, save their replies. If you're ever in a legal dispute, those could come in handy. Or even if you're in a disagreement with your supervisor.

The nature of interviewing is that you'll be talking to technical people who work at the company. Let them tell you how it is to work there. If you don't think that you're meeting enough, ask to meet more of the people who work there before making a final decision.

Another way to evaluate them is to read reviews on a site like Glassdoor. Reviews aren't perfect, but you can at least see if the main complaints are a small dev team that management does not respect with uncompensated hours of work.

If worst comes to worst, your other job may not be better. Then you put your CV out again. And again, you wait until you have good reason to think that the new job will be better before moving. Good reason is not just, "How could it be worse?" Good reason is that your research shows areas where the new job is better.

There are jobs out there where

  1. Tech work is respected and managed by people who understand it.
  2. Out of hours support is provided by dedicated professionals.
  3. There is a good work/life balance.

You may have to spend some time looking for one, as their turnover is lower. And failing that, you may be able to improve your work/life balance and get more respect from a different company, even if it's not perfect. In the end, you will never know if you don't try.

  • Hi, i have been wanting to leave but something i should mention in the above post is that its the constant worry about if the next place will be worse. Do i really want to take that risk. How do you know the next place is not going to be worse? – jessy Jun 14 at 9:15
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It has to come to the point you are decided to leave regardless of what they offer to you. When you wake in the morning thinking why I am still doing this. When you feel dissatisfied, not appreciated and have little contribution - even you think you could do so much more but they do not care.

It is not about the money anymore, it is not about the position. You have lost your hope and faith for the things to improve.

Even they they say things will get better you have lost the trust.

This is the time you start looking.

  • Hi, thanks i do get the feeling some days when i walk in and just think what will they say next. Its either why is this not done (not caring i worked overtime to try and finish it) or some joke about my personality and they don't take anything i say seriously. Then they wonder why i get easily annoyed with them. – jessy Jun 14 at 9:12
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I am learning a lot from other answers! great points!

Here is another red flag for me:

Sometimes you may be working on a project where you feel comfortable, the work relation with the team is good, you can manage your time with flexibility and deadlines are smooth, and work atmosphere is relaxed,too relaxed...

You realize the project is not going to work as expected , so maybe not now , but in a few months you know there will be problems , then people will be fired and all your codings and time dedicated to the project will be useless

So, my advice would be to be alert when atmosphere is too relaxed

hope this is useful for anybody

  • Welcome to Workplace. When you answer a question, please take care that people don't see it as a "thanks-only" answer or they'll close it. – O. Jones Jun 8 at 14:17
  • Thanks for the advice , but I did not mean my post to be a thanks-only answer , does it look like? – Alvaro CC Jun 8 at 14:55
  • Yes, somebody, or some bot, reading the first line might mistaking it for thanks-only. – O. Jones Jun 8 at 15:06

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