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This is something I struggle with. My early career, due to naivety, was many short jobs, like a year or less. I can understand this looks bad, however, the whole point of a probation or a role is that it goes both ways and you can have a say in it and your career too.

Fast forward to 13 or so years later and I am in a tech lead role. The role is underwhelming due to not being busy and a lack of technical matury (I am in software dev). The role is not mentally stimulating at all and probably won't change. I want to leave but keep hearing how, 7 months later, it will look bad. (Oh and no support from my boss). I just get rubbish advice like "hang in there" which does not help, so I have to go through the emotions of a job I don't like frustration, regret, jealousy (the last two are because my mates from my last company are in much better roles now, and I speak to them to know so). So I feel like staying in the role is sabotage.

I draw a comparison to relationships and if you dated someone who had a lot of short relationships, you would question if it is him/her and his/her relationship skills, but it could be his/her partner(s), though maybe not for every short stint. I can obviously show I can hold down a job, so what is the answer here? It's one thing to say stay and get some longetivity, but it doesn't help with the lack of any real professional development.

Just to add, to compensate I am very much into learning and doing projects (for real people with real requirements) in my spare time to compensate for where I feel my job isn't developing me for my next role(s).l

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  • Honestly, any company that cares about jobs you held a decade ago, isn’t a company worth working for. Your expertise you gained from those jobs is valuable. You advanced your career regardless if you worked there a month or 36. Now your current job, is much more relevant, if you have been there a month or 36.
    – Donald
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 17:08
  • How long were your jobs in the last 5-10 years? Have you stayed at your last job for a reasonable time? Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 15:36
  • What, exactly are you trying to accomplish or resolve? SE is a question-and-answer site; we need a specific question to offer answers/solutions to.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 24, 2023 at 19:40

3 Answers 3

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A lead really shouldn't be able to complain about "role is underwhelming due to not being busy and a lack of technical maturity"... because you're responsible for both of these items.

Are you saying that you have incorporated absolutely the latest technology, everything is fully automated, and you're just looking at dash boards all day while AI systems do all your work?

That's unlikely your scenario, so you should be able to dig into your existing systems and tackle technical debts.

At senior positions, you always have the option to create work for yourself, whether it is better development platforms (e.g.: Docker), evaluate onboarding processes, improving architecture, refactoring old code, creating better management reports/dashboards, or whatever else you want to work on.

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  • I realised being a lead means I do things like roadmaps, evangelising, mentoring, etc. I am beginning to do all this but it's difficult as some of the projects I was brought on to do have been canned due to finances and other reasons (which are way above my control). Me and a colleague are tackling tech debt by improving some processes, partly as we have this quiet interrim period. This is the point of things like SRE where in downtime you tackle tech debt and manual processes and make them automated. Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 18:30
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    @Bladerider1 The fact that projects are canned isn't a strike against you. You can still say you did planning / projection / design for it just the same. You also said "The role is not mentally stimulating at all" but it is very strange because you can create projects for yourself, so you're not challenging yourself enough. If there are pushbacks and barriers that stop you from doing your projects, then that's a completely different problem, but you made no mentions of such barriers.
    – Nelson
    Commented Jul 7, 2023 at 2:46
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I can hold down a job, so what is the answer here?

The answer is: learn how interview and to pick your jobs better.

Don't sign on to roles and companies that are not a good fit for you. If you have shown that you can keep a role for a non-trivial another short stint isn't the end of the world. The question than becomes: what will you do to make sure the next thing is going to be better and you aren't going to end up in the same position.

At this point you have accumulated an impressive track record of picking the wrong jobs. Unless you fix this, your situation is unlikely to improve. It's easy enough to fix and if you are interested ask another question and/or do some research on this.

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  • I forgot to mention this. This is something I have been thinking about. The interview process was three stages with a test and my bit was ask some routine questions and I am happy. I want to change this by getting an advanced insight into the company'soperations around software dev etc (where possible as there may be issues seeing confidential data and not being an employee). Also I want to turn the interview on my terms by going through my own portfolio of projects. However, my friends just did a standard process and asked very few questions and got the roles they love. I guess that's luck... Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 0:26
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    @Bladerider1: the interview process if often completely misunderstood which is baffling to me. The outcome of hiring the wrong person for the job at hand is just misery for everyone. There are some very effective strategies that you can use as a candidate to avoid this. Feel free to ask a separate question about this.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 0:59
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    @Bladerider1: It may not be luck, if the problem is that you have unreasonable expectations. As noted, in a senior role you are increasingly responsible for shaping the job to be what you want it to be. Moving within the company is often (though not always) a better option than an external job hunt, for example, and it's your responsibility to pay attention and notice such opportunities. And you can and should take "technical lead" literally and actually work to lead the department/company in productive directions.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 11:11
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My answer here is: start with yourself.

You talk about a job lacking technical maturity, but to me the one who is lacking maturity here may be you -- not technical, but rather human/psychological/emotional maturity. Your question sounds like a complaint rather than a question, and (at least to me) fails to reflect a recognition of your own responsibility for making a job work for you for any length of time. It comes across as suffering from unmet expectations.

You draw an analogy to dating, but applying your attitude toward a job to a personal relationship would be like expecting every time to be like the first time. That expectation can never be met, because it must be adjusted over time and the focus of the relationship shifted from romantic excitement to nurturing a more well-rounded, multidimensional partnership with a complex human being who is at least as imperfect as you (and having no illusions about yourself).

The analogy to a job would be understanding how to maximize your potential and value-add in a role you do have, with that employer, with that technology stack, and with the nature of the work and staff you've been given. Maybe in the future you will be handed more challenge than you currently do, and be able to work with more sophisticated tools than you currently do. That all takes trust and resource commitment from the organization, and like in any relationship, trust takes time to develop and nurture. There is no shortcut.

Trust for which the price of time has not been paid is often wasted.

In contrast, your question-complaint suggests that you are good at identifying the flaws in the job, seeking immediate perfection to match your high standards, but don't dwell on the possibility that it is your attitude and expectations that may need tweaking.

If you want a more challenging job then apply to work for companies known to provide those on day one.

If no job out there can meet your needs, consider working for yourself as a contractor so that you can blame only yourself for landing gigs that are underwhelming or lack technical maturity -- not your employer. Good luck!

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