When to start looking for your next role?

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When is the right time to start looking for your next job?

You’ve been at the same place for a one/five/ten years now. Have you progressed? Are you learning anything new? Do you feel undervalued by your current employer either financially or with your efforts not being recognised? What should you do?

Are there any internal vacancies you can apply for? Have you raised any concerns with your boss? Do you feel comfortable doing so?

Have you been keeping an eye out on the market? Is there anything that catches your eye? Do you have a preferred recruiter you can contact?

Are you worried about moving on? Do you like the people you work with? Is the commute decent? There are many factors for staying where you are.

Ultimately the decision is yours.

What do you think?

twitter logo DISCUSS (19)
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This is a very important question, that I think a lot of developers ask themselves. It's also a rather touchy question. Especially on the internet. It's much like asking a retail representative if they like their job, in front of their manager.

I think there are some prerequisites. And I agree, all of them are subjective, your mileage may vary.

  1. You're no longer being challenged.
  2. You're no longer satisfied with the work/pay/benefits/etc.
  3. You've spoken to your manager about these things, to no avail.

I know quite a few people in my field that are constantly looking. This strategy can be quite effective when it comes time to request a raise because counter-offers can be used as evidence that your market value has in fact increased.


Interesting stance! Do you really think using a counter offer for a raise is a valid tactic? Does that not just burn bridges?


That's a good question!

Using a counter-offer is perfectly valid, and common. I don't think that the act of referencing a counter-offer is going to burn a bridge with a current manager. Not inherently at least. It really depends on the existing relationship with the manager and the way that the request for a raise is made.

If the request is made in an aggressive, abrasive, or cocky manner, then that could definitely have negative results. However, if the request is made in a calm, tactful, and results-focused manner, I don't see why having a counter-offer would be bad.

Employee turnover is costly.

A manager's job is to leverage the skills, expertise, and labor of their team to achieve the goals of the company. Typically that means maximizing revenue while minimizing costs. Hiring a new engineer is costly in terms of a company's time, money, and efficiency. A new engineer has to be recruited, interviewed, onboarded, and then after a few weeks, they'll start getting up to speed. Theoretically, this new engineer would be paid the same amount as the engineer that was requesting a raise. So, the entire onboarding process would be significantly more expensive, than just giving the existing engineer a raise to keep them from leaving for a competitor.

It's a win-win.

The job market fluctuates with the economy, so average salary ranges change all the time. That means it's up to companies to be competitive with how they compensate their employees. Liability wise, there's no telling when an employee may just leave. Typical employee contracts have a clause stating that either party can terminate the contract with little to no notice and without reason. Staying competitive in the job market is just another way to draw in highly sought-after talent.


It certainly does not. And, it would not be very wise to not take advantage of the opportunity at your hand.

Im my opinion if you've got to the position where another company has offered you a role. Staying where you are for a pay increase seems like a huge waste of effort.

Bro, what I meant was to get a counteroffer from current and take that to the new company.


The best advice I've heard is to start looking/thinking about your next job while you currently have a job. How passively you look or not is a personal decision.

For me, with being at my previous role for too long, I want to avoid settling or becoming stagnant.


I agree, I don't think there's anything wrong with keeping your 👂 to the ground!


Generally, I update my resume after I've completed enough of my first project to have something of note to add to said resume. It's not necessarily with intention to actively look, but it's silly not to leave a hook in the water and be willing to listen to anything new/interesting.

Still, I don't jump nearly as frequently as I did 20 years ago. Last couple jobs have been pretty decent from a "work on my own terms" standpoint. Makes the bar to "greener pastures" a bit higher.


Why do you not jump as much? Is it you're already financially secure, getting older, good benefits, like the routine? Or something else?


Combination of things. I've been in the IT field since the mid-90s. I've found there's a couple of priorities that are important to me in a job:

  • Is it interesting enough that I'm engaged more than I'm bored
  • Do I like/respect the people I work with …and can I learn something from them
  • Does the job pay me enough that I'm able to save for a rainy day/retirement/etc.

When I was young, single and not burdened by a spouse, mortgage and pets, I tended to weight the first one most-strongly …and was lucky enough that doing so also tended to come with good compensation.

Where I live, commuting is a nightmare (seriously: at my primary job site, if I arrive before 0600 and leave before 1430, I can cover the 8mi commute in about 13 minutes; if I'm even a half hour later than those two bookends, that 8mi commute becomes 40+ and that doesn't even factor in rain, let alone ice or snow). Travel jobs used to be a nice alternative to that. However, with wife and pets, travel jobs also meant significant time away from spouse and pets that have all-too-short of lives. Plus, TSA and ever-shrinking airplane seats makes travel not nearly so appealing as it used to be. Bonus: the past ten years have generally afforded me a fair amount of work-from-home opportunities - further reducing the appeal of travel-job vice a slog-to-work-every-day job.

Once you reach the point where you've been able to save for rainy day/retirement/etc., a jump in pay doesn't necessarily mean a jump in quality-of-life. And, if you're changing from short commute and/or work-from-home, moving to a long commute over toll-heavy roads means that pay-jump has to be fairly large so as to net-out.

I used to base some of my job-hopping on organizational brokenness. When I was single, it was "I'm tired of this shit: bye". However, I've had a couple jobs as a consultant. That gave me the opportunity to see a lot of organizations - a few days to a few months at a time - throughout North America and parts of Europe. That opportunity clued me in to the fact that every place is broken in one way or another - pick one that you're able to tolerate.

Much as I learned the "all orgs are broken" thing, I also learned the "change isn't always better" thing. Especially when it comes to team chemistry: if you're able to find a good team to work with, it can make a lot of other problems seem like background noise. If the team you work with consists heavily of dead wood, it can make other problems with a given job more noticeable. Right now, I'm with a good team.

Both my wife and I have chronic health issues ...so medical coverage is important. And is part of why the cynical part of me assumes that businesses' antipathy towards socialized medicine is less to do with potential direct costs than not being able to hold people hostage by way of an attractive benefits package.

At any rate, all things factored together means that each potential jump involves a more and more complicated calculus. And, right now, I'm fortunate enough that the bar for enticing me away is fairly high ...but as I alluded to in my initial reply, it's still always good to keep looking at options.


when you are not happy. or so stressed out to keep looking for things to make you miss work. when you don't go out to enjoy sun so often (if you're that kind of person) or if you stop playing and having fun with your games as you used to.


That doesn't sound like a fun place to be


I think most people working with routine and work at the same place more than 5+ years have specific reasons like debts in the bank (like any other payment liabilities) or because they don't imagine how they will work on the new place.


I always thought that somehow the relationship with our jobs is like a sentimental relationship. You start looking outside, or just think about other possibilities when things are not fine, right?

In the end, happiness is what determines if you want to stay in a place (or with a person) or not. But happiness has a lot of definitions depending on the person.

Some people might prioritize to have a job with a great environment and that allows them to have a happy family life. Other might just want constant and harder challenges. Others might just want more money and less work...

So the questions I do when my friends are doubting are:

1) Are you happy where you are?
2) If not, you think you could be happy where you are?
a) Yes. Do something. Talk to who is necessary. Or look for change inside yourself.
b) No. Do something, Talk to who is necessary. Look for a job actively.

I personally believe that one should never leave the market (job market, not relationship market hehe). You must be always listening on port:job (hehe). Keep up to date. Because let's face it, the job physiognomy has completely changed. It is not like you are going to retire in the company you started with 18 years, right? What's more, do we young generations even want that?

You might be fine where you are... but what if you could be even better?


Thanks Ben, that's a great post too! There are lots of reasons for staying too. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

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