Moving Around

Yesterday, following what I’d said about three interviews, Gordon asked

From a ‘hiring’ point of view, don’t you ever worry that you change jobs so much??? Even as a contractor you do seem to chop and change..

Anyway, it did make me think a bit – although not lots – about the way I work and/or the way I change.
As it turns out, I’ve actually settled down quite a bit over the last few years, and now tend to change jobs on average once a year. In the past it’s been a lot more than that – I think the record was six places in one year, but that was in ’94/’95. But since working in IT, my worklife is a lot more stable – if only by comparison to my own standards, as opposed to anyone else’s.
I changed jobs once in ’06 (to the current place), twice in ’05 (I started a new job on 2nd January, and that was a grim mistake that only lasted three months, so I changed in April to the one that lasted ’til August ’06), no changes at all in ’04, once in ’03, and once in ’02.
So it’s not actually as bad as it seems on first impressions.
At the same time, yes, I do talk a lot about changing jobs. And if I’m honest, a job generall has a 6-9 month lifespan with me before I start to get bored- usually by the people, rather than by the job, to be fair. But I don’t just get bored and quit- I always make sure I’ve waited ’til there’s something decent to go to before I leave a place. It’s very rare that I’ll get to the point of just telling people to sod off, without having a back-up plan in place and ready to go. Thinking about it, the last time that happened was in ’01, with a contract that was just horrible – the one where I was commuting daily between Manchester or Bath, and London. Absolute insanity, and still the only contract I’ve actually walked out on. Not a bad track record for the best part of a decade.
As it is, my current workplace still want me, and I’m not (yet) at the point of generally being chuffed off. It has its ups and downs – what workplace doesn’t? – but for the most part it’s still OK. The only real downside is that they’re toss-awful at paperwork, which means I have to chase up contracts, invoices, purchase orders, and everything else every damn month, which is incredibly annoying. But that’s just how they are.
Will I change anything, should any of the ones I’m seeing today come up? It depends. If the offer is interesting, and decently paid, I’ll think about it. If it doesn’t grab me, I won’t bother. There’s a lot of other stuff going on in the background at the moment, and while it’s quite an ego-boost to see so many companies interested in what I can do, it still doesn’t mean I have to work for any of them.
So when all’s said and done, really I’m just sounding things out at the moment. If nothing else, it lets me build up some contacts, which may or may not come in useful later on in the year.
We’ll see.
Does the changing worry me? No, not really. I’ve always been a bit transient, and the entire idea of sticking in one job for years just brings me out in the shudders. My tolerance levels just aren’t that good – the constant witter of colleagues drives me insane after a while, and the true delimiter is always when I can predict every single bit of conversation that’ll be had during a day. When that happens, it’s definitely time to move on. I actually like moving on, going to a new place, finding out new stuff, doing new jobs in different systems, dealing with new people, the whole bit. I like the challenge, the newness, the learning. Once I’m done, I@m bored, and I want to move on.
For me, and for the things I do, moving on fairly regularly isn’t really seen as a bad thing. It keeps my knowledge up to date (although at the moment I’m seriously lacking on the ASP.NET side – mind you, looking at ASP.NET sites, I usually think that’s probably a good thing) and keeps me current in the eyes of agencies. To date, I’ve had exactly two contracts that haven’t extended past their initial period. One (already mentioned) because it was horrendous, and one because I’d done all the work well within the projected timescale, so there was nothing to continue with. Other than that, every single contract has been extended by the client – and not because I hadn’t done the work, either. So in the eyes of the various agents/agencies I deal with, I’m actually pretty golden (he said, modestly) and so changing jobs doesn’t do me any harm at all.

2 Comments on “Moving Around”

  1. Gordon says:

    I guess it’s because I’ve never been a contractor, that plus the fact that you get better results from my job if you stick with it over a longer term. Influencing an organisation is fun!

  2. Lyle says:

    <mumble>Depends if the organisation wants to be influenced</mumble>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *