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I've heard job switching is one of the best ways to get big raises, learn new technologies, gain more responsibility, and move up in the development ladder. However, I dread starting all over at a new place and being the new guy again, and possibly waiting 3 months to get benefits/medical.

Is there such a thing as a perfect job, where someone can stop looking for new jobs entirely? Or should I always be keeping my eye out for other job opportunities?

  • @Hanzolo Your question could not be easily answered since it asked many questions instead of just one question, and the "right" answer was very specific to you alone. I've suggested an edit to your question that will hopefully lead you to the answer(s) you're looking for, and have flagged it to try and get it reopened. Feel free to rollback the edit if you disagree with it :) – Rachel Jun 15 '12 at 12:30
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    This is not a duplicate question, but you might find it useful. Am I required/expected to notify current boss that I'm looking for a new job? – jcmeloni Jun 15 '12 at 12:42
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    There is no one right answer to this. – ChrisF Jun 15 '12 at 13:41
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    @ChrisF I think there is one right answer to this... "Yes, you should never stop keeping an eye out for other opportunities" – Rachel Jun 15 '12 at 16:00
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    @Rarity I see this question as "if I'm happy at my job, should I still be on the lookout for other jobs", and not "here's my situation, should I go looking for a new job". I don't think that's too specific to any one person, and it seems to be a good question for this site. – Rachel Jun 15 '12 at 16:09
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You should never stop listening for other employment opportunities

If you are happy at your current job, you definitely don't need to be actively seeking other jobs, however don't ignore job opportunities that come up just because you're comfortable with where you're at.

At the very least take the time to investigate them and find out if they might be better than where you are now. Perhaps its something you'll enjoy more with better pay! You'll never know if an opportunity might be better (or worse) unless you at least investigate it.

Sure there are reasons to go seeking a new job (money, technology, work environment, etc), however if you are happy and comfortable with where you're at, there's no reason to go looking. But don't stop listening for opportunities.

  • Hmm, I agree - and you also never know what may happen in your current role. It's a safety net to keep listening for opportunities. ! Thank You Very Much – Adel Oct 29 '12 at 0:04
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Yes, you should always aim to stay aware of the local jobs, current industry trends, skills and leading companies in your area.

Options available for you (many may apply):

  • Join online user groups for social networking with your peers.
  • Join local user groups for sharing information and keeping abreast of the current tools and skills.
  • Join local user groups to network with fellow professionals and to be a 'known face' when the times comes for a new job.
  • Join and use knowledge based Q&A information sites such as Stack Overflow (if tyour techy) and/or the hundreds of other Stack Exchange sites to have a good online presence outside of your job.
  • Work in a large enough company that you can have variety in it - the only downside is that many such companies are slow bureaucracies.
  • +1: If you don't keep up with your own market value, you will leave hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table over your career. – kevin cline Jun 15 '12 at 15:42
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If you're a good developer, it's fairly likely that you'll learn and be ready for challenges faster than a single company can offer them. In companies, you wind up with an entrenched seniority structure that makes decisions, and there are generally fewer openings for senior guy, lead, architect, manager, etc than at the level below, so it can turn into a waiting game.

You also have to contend with the dead sea effect and the motivating factors for developers to leave that come along with it. It isn't just a matter of skipping around for better pay and titles -- it's that dead sea types often default into positions of authority with enough tenure at a company, limiting the opportunities for growth that you might have beyond the better initial title that you negotiated.

Mind you, I'm not suggesting that this paradigm is universally true or that it's necessary to switch everywhere to advance. I'm just trying to explain what you'll probably see happen in a career and why you'll often find yourself ready for additional responsibility but not rewarded therewith. For ambitious people, when this happens, they tend to dust off the resume.

Personally, I would suggest looking hard for a company that will put you in a position to have your responsibility grow on a strict basis with your merit as much as possible, which will limit this effect. Hopping around jobs is (probably, I've not done in much) tiring and it starts to be a drag on the resume.

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Change is not something easy to undergo on a personal level, and sometimes it can even scare potential employers if you changed too much. Now, having myself changed companies quite a few time, it allowed me to grew up from building computers in a 4 persons company to working as a technical director for an international communication agency of thousands of people that deals with big clients.

So yes, don't fear the change, embrace the challenge of starting afresh. Chances are that you will learn more in a new environment that in your old comfortable one. You will meet interesting new people, see new things, discover new ways, etc. Raises are cool too, but really, the main thing is that it will keep you sharp and dynamic.

That being said, I can also understand the wish for some stability. It's a bit of a bet. In one company I had 4 different titles, because internal mobility was encouraged and I was investing myself into it. But in some other places, you had to kill someone to get a new job or do something different. If your current company encourage internal mobility, you can try that for a start.

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If you want to move without having to go through the pain of switching jobs, then go to work for a large organization (a Fortune 500 company in the US) or the government. Be aware though that this still doesn't guarantee you won't ever have to switch jobs or move to get a promotion, but that you will have to possibly do it less often. In today's world it is rare to make it through a 30 year career at one place.

You can however, negotiate the benefits thing when looking for a new job. I wouldn't take a job where I had to wait for medical benefits. And at my stage of my career I wouldn't take less than 3 weeks leave either. Of course you have less leverage when you are looking at junior positions.

You don't have to switch every year either even at smaller places. That tends to create a resume that becomes shaky after 4 or 5 of these switches in a row (unless you are a contractor). But really changing jobs every 3-5 years is probably good for you mentally as well. We all get into ruts. You will probably find at some point that the place where you are working is just not challenging anymore or the annoyances start to add up. Then you look for another position. It tends to be a natural progression. You will know when it is time to move on.

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Is there such a thing as a perfect job, where someone can stop looking for new jobs entirely? Or should I always be keeping my eye out for other job opportunities?

No. There is no perfect job unless you are somebody who has invented next hot thing, and sold it for a billion $'s. Then you know the next job you get is the perfect job.

You can never stop looking, at least at some level. You could get paid the perfect amount, get the perfect set of benefits, telecommute, get guaranteed hardware updates. Then your company has a patent rejected, or management was running a ponzi scheme, or they they were bribing government officials and your company is banned from federal contracting for two years.

Now the shell of a company only needs one developer, or only one office, and now half the company is unemployed. Now you need a job. Now. If you never looked before, the odds of finding a good job are slim.

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    Then your company has a patent rejected, or management was running a ponzi scheme - EL OH EL! – Hanzolo Jun 15 '12 at 23:09
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I find it useful to periodically look at new job listings just to see what skills employers are currently looking for. This gives me an idea about what I should learn for my career growth. Keeping your eye out for new opportunities also makes you aware of all of the potential employers you can try if you ever get laid off.

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