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Why you should quit your job

  1. Feb 9, 2007 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    It always makes me a bit sad to see waste of talent or intelligence.

    I met someone today who is educated and very bright, and who apparently made a bad decision thirty years ago that has trapped him ever since. The bad decision was to keep his job. He started a job thirty years ago and never did anything else. It had nothing to do with his degree or his intelligence [he does have a B.A. in history and a passion for knowledge], but he settled for a bottom-rung job and never looked back.

    Perhaps this person is perfectly happy with his station in life, though I think not based on my impression today. Or maybe the course of his life forced him to stay put for reasons that I can't possibly know. Sometimes life sets its own course and we seem to just follow along with few viable options. But I have become convinced over the years that what often holds people back is the simple fear of change. We tend to get locked into a certain lifestyle and income level early on, and we settle for a job that we really don't love or even like - the potential for a great career squelched for the sake of a little security and next week's paycheck.

    Obviously one can't be stupid about it, and I don't recommend changing jobs frequently or recklessly, but I think staying put is often a terrible career move; especially for young people. Also, on a related note, IMO, and based on my experience in the working world, there is a basic truism in life: If you want to move up, move sideways.
     
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  3. Feb 9, 2007 #2

    DaveC426913

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    As a person who is currently quite active in career exploration, I have this comment:

    People not achieving thier potential are usually feeding an even stronger need: avoiding their fear of the unknown. While this fellow of yours may claim he hates his job, he clearly hates change and challenge even more.
     
  4. Feb 10, 2007 #3
    I know how he feels I've been working in dead end jobs since I was 18, still education,education,education. Not that I'm claiming I'm some sort of genius, but I'm clearly wasted IMO in stiff jobs, the job I have at the moment is semi skilled and whilst physically demanding it's not rocket science. Still that said it's a means to an end.

    I know a guy at work who picked engineering programmer as a career, a job which means your dead after 50 to them, for some reason only people under 50 can get these jobs, what a waste of experience, are employers morons? Now we've got some highly qualified numpty working as a postman or whatever job he can get because no one will touch him with a ten foot pole, oh very clever.:rolleyes: idiots.:mad:
     
  5. Feb 10, 2007 #4

    D H

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    Yes, employers can be morons. I don't quite understand why. The 50 year old will most likely be working for at least 10 more years, more likely 20 given the imminent collapse of Social Insecurity. Employers seem to forget that young people tend not stick around (as Ivan noted, it is often stupid to do so early in one's career) whereas old farts do tend to stick around (partly because employers won't touch them).
     
  6. Feb 10, 2007 #5

    radou

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    That's right, lots of people fear any kind of change. The worrying fact is that it happens among young people, too. When one is young, he should possess a great amount of flexibility and open-mindness (ok, not too great, perhaps), and not act like a 70 year old person.

    The main reason for the fear of change is a lack of self-confidence, and the most stupid thing which can happen is when it occurs among people who actually don't have any reason to lack self-confidence. It is something that is not unfrequent, at least based on my experience.

    I guess it's just a side effect of the modern way of living (disputable term, though), perhaps an easy-going way of avoiding chalenges which never come without stress and pressure. But anyway, that's no excuse, and one should fight it while it's still 'young'.
     
  7. Feb 10, 2007 #6

    Astronuc

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    There is something to be said for changing jobs, assuming that the new job offers greater opportunity.

    I've worked for two companies since I left university. The first company ended up taking a nose-dive due to mismanagement. The division in which I worked got sold to a new and larger company, which in theory could have allowed us to grow. Instead, the new company's management had major problems and one of the managers in my division did something which made me realize that I needed to look elsewhere.

    Lo and behold, at that moment, I was approached by a client and a competitor, who both wanted to hire me. So I talked to both and ended up where I am now - where I plan to stay - since the opportunities are incredible. Meanwhile, a friend and colleague from the former company recently joined us and another friend and colleague is considering an offer. :biggrin: I hope we will be reconsituting the core of what was a very successful group. :smile:
     
  8. Feb 10, 2007 #7

    D H

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    So did you go with the client or the competitor?

    The best time to change jobs is well before the stuff hits the fan. Employers main pursuit is profit. That is not a bad thing. After all, if the employer was not a successful venture, the employees would be out of work when their employer goes belly under. However, this does mean that the employer's goals and those of the employees do not coincide.

    Suppose some company has a cash cow making some widget and you are doing an excellent job keeping the clunky widget-producing equipment humming. This is a cash cow; the employer certainly is not going to look for new things for you to do. They will keep you doing the same old thing up until the moment some competitor comes up with a vastly improved gadget that makes their widget obsolete and unprofitable. Your skills are obsolete. Good bye.

    Watching out for your own best interests is your job.
     
  9. Feb 10, 2007 #8
    I've quit, or been layed off from all the jobs I ever had except one. This is my eighth, not counting odd jobs and stuff I did as a kid. It has always been scary and has always been beneficial.
     
  10. Feb 10, 2007 #9

    DaveC426913

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    I am encountering this at 42.

    An article I read recently said employers don't want more than 4-6 years of experience.
     
  11. Feb 10, 2007 #10

    D H

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    I'm older than Shrodinger's coworker. Dead meat to some.

    An older, more experienced employee is inherently paid more than someone with but a few year's experience. Put yourself in your employer's shoes: Why should they pay one person twice what they pay another when both are doing exactly the same job (and the one they pay less doesn't fall asleep during meetings)?

    It is incumbent upon us old farts to prove that we are worth more to the company than they pay us, even though our pay is considerably more than that of a freshout. We can only do this by doing things the young studs cannot: getting new work, applying our experience and breadth of knowledge, leveraging our contacts, etc. We have to keep learning, and we have to be extra alert to being put in a dead-end position.
     
  12. Feb 10, 2007 #11

    brewnog

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    I'm currently fortunate enough to be working for such a big company that I have the opportunity to make complete career changes by moving to a different role, in a different country, in a different division, but in the same organisation. We have a succession management system which actively encourages this. All the benefits of upping roots and changing direction but with fewer risks.
     
  13. Feb 10, 2007 #12

    D H

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    I do not like big companies. I have worked for big and small and much prefer small companies. The stability of working for a big company is a myth. I'll give a personal example. Several years ago, the small company for which I worked and a large competitor faced some tough times: Our joint client was hit with some short-term budget cuts. They inflicted a 20% cut on both us and our competitor.

    Our company had a pow-wow. Foreseeing that the budget difficulties were short-lived, we agreed to work 32 hour weeks so we could keep the team together. Each of us did some belt tightening for a few months, but we survived, stayed intact while doing so, and were rewarded when things got better.

    The big company had a pow-wow as well. They canned 20% of their workforce. Those who stayed suffered survivor guilt and resented their employer. Those who were canned resented their former employer even more. When things picked up a few months later, they found it hard to hire qualified employees. I wonder why?
     
  14. Feb 10, 2007 #13

    mathwonk

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    i was thinking i never had the nerve to quit a job, but i guess i did once, and it worked out well.

    i was a temporary assistant prof at a small college with no chance of movng up unless i got a phd. so i took leave for 2 years and tried to get one. after 2 years i had only a few small results, but enough for a minimal phd.

    Instead of taking it, i resigned my job [i had a wife and 1.5 kids], stayed in grad school another year, did a better phd, and went on to the much richer academic life i have led for the last 30 years.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  15. Feb 10, 2007 #14
    maybe he just doesn't give a **** about superficial things like status & money, & has little respect (or even contempt) for people who really concern themselves with that sort of thing. if that's the case i bet he doesn't care much about whether or not he has a piece of paper saying he learned something at one point since many people seem to forget everything once they've graduated, making it pretty meaningless in his mind.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2007
  16. Feb 10, 2007 #15

    Astronuc

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    brewnog, I think you work for a pretty good company. I hope you have a good mentor. I've been impressed with a lot the R&D, especially in materials. I am not sure what the bureaucracy is like -- hopefully it's a good environment.
     
  17. Feb 11, 2007 #16

    Ivan Seeking

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    Just wait until some heathen entrepreneur offers you a big fat pay raise, and the chief engineer position on a really cool project. :rolleyes:
     
  18. Feb 11, 2007 #17

    brewnog

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    I've got a really good mentor; a Chartered Engineer and the site director! Even my line manager actively encourages moving around different departments and facilities to gain experience in other roles. Beaurocracy isn't too bad at my level, there's probably more politics than in a much smaller company, and sometimes it takes ages to get anything done, but it doesn't seem to restrict anybody's work extensively.

    Sounds good to me!
     
  19. Feb 11, 2007 #18

    mathwonk

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    Fourier jr, if you were disparaging the possible good in having a PhD, I think you are misguided [OOPS, it is I who am misguided, please see correction below]. Or at least the good in having a substantial PhD, as opposed to a weak one, which was my choice.

    In my case it meant actually less money, as I had to subsist on grad student starvation wages another year and then take a new job that incurred moving expemses and a salary thatw as actually lower than people were making back at my original location.

    The benefit to me was the chance to do research, and the privilege of having been taught what that meant, and the opportunity to learn from outstanding mathematicians, as well as interact with them and have the pleasure of contributing to their projects.

    Eventually it led to appoinments at Harvard, and abroad, international invitations to share wmy work with verys timuaklting and brilliant people and elarn from them. It meant changing a routine job for an exciting series of opportunities.

    i posted it in hoope of inspiring others. best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2007
  20. Feb 11, 2007 #19

    D H

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    I took Fourier's post as an attempt to explain why the person Ivan described in the first post remains in what Ivan sees as a dead-end job. The only connection to you is that his post happens to follow yours.
     
  21. Feb 11, 2007 #20

    mathwonk

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    thank you. my apologies fourier jr.
     
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