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In the beginning of this year, I accepted a position as a software developer at a big corporation which is a well recognised brand world-wide and a very good name to have on my CV. However, my day to day life here has been a huge disappointment. I find that even though the culture of the company as a whole is healthy and inspiring, my department and team does not reflect that in several aspects. I feel that I don't have the conditions to do my best work here when it comes to psychological safety, and know that if I continue in this team I will eventually burn out.

Because of this, I am in the process of trying to change teams, however (even if this is supposed to be encouraged by the company) my manager seems to have some resistance to the idea, and is pushing me to stay with the team until I complete work on a feature. However, this keeps being delayed because of me having to deal with some pressing tasks related to tech debt, so it does not seem to be something that I can achieve in the next 1-2 months, as previously agreed. I am the only person in my team who is an expert in data, and this means that I am the only one responsible for such tasks. So far there is no one else who could take on my tasks, and my lead does not seem to be making any effort towards replacing me. I am afraid he is stalling me, despite knowing I want to move on. I don't feel I am performing at my best level, and feel increasingly frustrated by this, as it is about surviving each day.

So, a few weeks ago I decided I would like to have other options and started applying to jobs. I have now an offer to work in a startup in the health sector, that is a really great opportunity both in terms of career development and higher salary, along with a meaningful product and solid leadership. I will be able to have a high impact on the product and there are indications that this company will grow a lot in the coming years, which means I would have a good possibility to be promoted and reach a lead position, along with being put in a role where I would be able to learn a lot from and be given more responsibility. There is also of course some risk in this, but I am not worried about that, as I will be levelling up on my skills and can easily find another position.

However, I feel that I still have a lot of things I would like to learn about in my current company, and think there are good opportunities there to do that. So, even though it is hard to see how things would go if I changed teams, I would still like to make it to the 2 year mark at least. I am also afraid that the decision I will make now will be more influenced by my current unhappiness. I would not consider telling my current lead I am thinking of quitting before I am 100% sure I want to do that, so discussing it ahead is not an option for me.

Moreover, I don't feel that either decision would be wrong, both courses of action seem to have some potential to develop in a good direction. By staying in my current company and changing teams I would be able to go in the direction of acquiring deep technical knowledge in some areas, and by working for the start-up I would be working towards breadth of knowledge and going for a leadership position sooner (which is something I plan to do eventually).

How should I go about making a decision?

  • Only you can weigh up the various factors, we can't decide for you. – Philip Kendall Aug 11 at 17:13
  • True, but it is a tough one, both options seem good in terms of potential, and both have downsides too. – Maria Aug 11 at 17:52
  • It may all depend on what you need for "psychological safety". For me that would be to continue working with a big company and not leaving to join a start-up. It may be completely different for you. – Simon B Aug 11 at 20:47
  • Exactly what title is the startup offering you and how much actual experience do you have? – HenryM Aug 11 at 23:44
  • @HenryM The same title that I have right now, but with a lead's salary. I have 6 years of experience. – Maria Aug 12 at 0:16
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The experts who make it their business to pick which startups will do well and which will fail, are wrong 75% of the time. So it's very risky compared to an established big name business. Why Most Venture Backed Companies Fail

That said, The fact the startup is offering you so much money probably means that they strongly believe they will make a lot of money. So much that it would be insane to give you a percentage/stock options.

The only way you can know that your mood isn't influencing your decision is to lay out your short and long term goals and see how this decision fits into those even in a worse case scenario. For example if the startup fails after a year or two does that set back your goals too far or not. Goals include stuff like your investment portfolio/savings/skills.

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