A barrier is that situation doesn't occur often. I think it could, but not many companies seem to be run that way. The stereotypical tech company, for example, seems to be driven by growth at all costs, and there's a kind of mercenary thinking by both company and employees, towards each other. Which is intertwined with the weird dynamic in which folk wisdom is that companies will pay more to hire someone than they will to retain.
Another barrier is that a worker opting out of this -- to go to a mythical modest little oasis company run by a CEO with a heart of gold who will live forever -- can be difficult, due to the large number of high-TC other workers in the field. In the US, if a worker is making relatively a lot less than others, they're at a disadvantage for housing, healthy living in various ways, opportunities for their children, etc.
So even lifer-inclined people will be motivated to play along with our current situation of chasing FAANGs, hierarchies of people all targeting promo criteria and metrics rather than company and team success, job-hopping whenever the right bump of TC and title comes along, rehearsing for fratbro interview rituals, etc. (Maybe with a bust cycle of a lot of VC exit schemes, we'll start to get better, but a lot of workers and companies have known nothing else, and there's a lot to unlearn.)
I can't stress how much #6 impacts what makes someone a 'lifer'. By the time you are in 35+ and you've been in tech your entire career, you lean a few important life lessons that you witness the less experienced (both career and life) do all the time.
The bar of compensation is almost always goes up as you progress early in your career. You get used to your standard of living. Next thing you know, you want more money. Getting a promotion or new job that bumps your income, that standard of living naturally goes up. It's hard NOT to go on fancier vacations, upgrade your Honda to a Porsche, hire landscaper/housekeeper/dog walker, buy a bigger house, etc. Eventually, you run into a situation that throws a wrench in disposable income and you have to lower that bar. Then you realize money isn't the most important thing in your career. You learn that the difference between a total comp of $150k to $250k isn't as life changing compared to going from $75k to $150k, so what is the purpose of fighting for more?
When you are 35+, job stability is super important. You might have a family, a hefty savings/retirement account, etc. Whats most important is that work/life balance and not that RSU grant next quarter. Once you find a company that makes you comfortable, and you reach a level of seniority that isn't overwhelming/stressful, stay.
Above all, the thing that makes me stay is having creative control and freedom over how I do my job. I've done enough things to know how rare that is, and how frustrating it is not to have it, and what a blessing it is to have the trust of the people I work for and with. It's so important to me that I feel it as a different baseline state in my body.
Great that you are happy where you are but my advice is to keep your skills fresh and push yourself to learn and experiment with things in your personal time - if you do not the opportunity to do so at work.
I just finished interviewing people for an SRE position and it was just staggering the number of people who could be described as having been in the room when someone else did something but could not talk about any aspect of what was done in detail. Several people I interviewed had gotten into Java coding in the 90s but had done nothing to grow their skillset since. One person spent three years manually making S3 buckets in the AWS GUI - no effort to learn the cli, cloudformation, or terraform - just came in every day and waited for Jira tickets telling him to make buckets. You don’t want to be any of those people when the time comes.
You can observe this as a manager, when you can see the salaries of people and watch the pay inequity get worse and worse to punish people who have been there a while.
I don't know what mechanism causes this, but it's likely related to leverage: when you don't work there, you have leverage to ask for more. Now that you're there, especially if you are loyal, they have the leverage unless another offer comes along.
How do I know this? Because when I interviewed and moved position I got the promotion easily off of the back of explaining what I was doing day to day.
I guess the summary was I haven't worked at places that actually promote at pace.
I'd also never started with a high salary for example my first programming job was in a big famous city at £15k ($18k) per year salary. Couple that with very low yearly pay increases that meant the only way to get a reasonable pay increase was to move jobs often.
I've now got into this as a habit to move jobs more often.
That's not to say I haven't been at a single job for a good amount of time, I've managed to stay at 2 jobs almost 5 years each. I also don't job hop every year my average tenure is just under 3 years.
Although I do admit I now enjoy moving:
“A person needs new experiences. It jars something deep inside, allowing them to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”
I appreciate that it's a task that actually has real customers and revenues, in a firm that's about 20 years old and showing profitability and growth. It doesn't look like there's signs of "oh, the acquisition we were building towards vanished and we ran out of runway, kthxbai, grab a few logo T-shirts on the way out." In particular, I like the spot I'm currently at because it's sort of the firm's core competence, so I'm in the centre of real value generation.
It also keeps me well away from front end, which I should not be allowed near due to a personal design sense that is, at best, Soviet.
I could probably make more money elsewhere, but I hate interviewing and tooting my own horn. I only grudgingly left my last position (10 years on) when it became abundantly obvious the firm was in terminal death throes. They were clearly in a "how much do you need electricity" phase of operations. I brought in a pizza for lunch for my team, and there was a distinct "I haven't eaten in three days" vibe coming from some of them. When I left, they had shorted me at least 9000 USD in unpaid salary.
I prioritize personal investment and social engagement over raw salary income. I could find a better paying job tomorrow, within my current company. I like being up to my elbows in the business problem, and the best way to get a seat at the table is to have been around long enough to earn it.
My spouse and I both work at the same company, which greatly increases the sticky-ness of it for me. I can book family meetings with them from within my work calendar. That's worth a lot.
I've spend 15 years ingratiating myself across multiple teams, and multiple larger organizational slices. I have a lot of contacts to fall back on. If I needed a new job tomorrow, I could find one within the company, without having to go outside.
A lot of your items are "of the moment" and could change tomorrow. I wouldn't bank on them remaining stable.
Unless, all you read all day is the same crap that everyone else reads all day, then yes, you would be led to beleive that 'the end is nigh' for software engineers.
Great site tracking all the layoffs: https://www.trueup.io/layoffs
Salary isn't great in global terms, but puts us within the top 20% national household incomes. Enough no not really care about money.
We work 35 hours per week, pretty flexible schedule, about half from home and have more vacation days than we know what to do with.
The work is a bit monotonous and the office politics terrible, to the point of giving us depressing "golden cage" feelings sometimes, but when we take a peek outside, it doesn't look better than what we have. So we'll probably stay for the next 20 years.
I'm a lifer at Netflix (coming up on 8 years), and I have a lot of the same lack of negatives (remote, good work/life balance, early 50s, etc). But more than any of those, I stay because Netflix gives me an opportunity to work on things I'm passionate about (network performance and CPU efficiency) and allows me to work on them in the open source OS that I love (FreeBSD), and allows me to contribute that work to the community. I like and respect my colleagues, and I feel like I'm liked and respected as well. Its the best job I've ever had, by far and I feel incredibly lucky. So I just can't imagine leaving until / unless something changes.
I'm not wearing blinders, so I do talk to recruiters regularly. But either the jobs just don't interest me, or they can't match the Netflix top of market, or they don't allow remote, etc.
Then I moved into a local telco and spent a few more years there until it was acquired by a buy-and-hack operation that is still trying to sell the pieces, and I moved to my current employer.
It has been seven years now, and every couple of years something major happens and I end up moving internally, sometimes on my own but lately because I'm asked to follow someone into a new org to rebuild it.
I'm in my 50s now, am fully remote, match most of your list (except I have a 4-6 hour offset from most of my team), and yet I don't really feel like a lifer because I want to do stuff that I find _gratifying_, and most of the tech industry is just running around after shiny things without considering the outcomes.
So every now and then I sit down and talk to people to assess what I should be doing next.
Right now, _everyone_ is telling me to stick it out given the current situation, but the engineer in me is itching to do different things - stuff that I might not be able to do in the current context, no matter how "comfortable" it is.
But the main point I would like to make is that you should be aware the world moves without you, and the situation may change drastically in only a few weeks.
What are you talking about? Unemployment is at historic lows, the job market hasn't been this good in a long time. Sure, some ad-revenue based companies are laying off some workers, but the market is great.
Sometimes I think about getting a new job for a pay bump, but I'm not sure I could compete at a "real" tech company anyway, I'm just a regular/average dev and I almost left the field entirely after I burned out from my previous job.
So, that said, I might end up a lifer (already in my 40s). I love my job but I know the circumstances can change at any point if I get a new boss or the work climate changes.
I don't think I'd want to stay until retirement at a regular ol' company or corporation where I'm making someone else rich.
Just my 2c.
I have been working here for the past 14 years, and hope to be lifer.
Practically, there are many reasons that this may stop - I don't get paid and may need more working hours elsewhere, they may suggest I retire (am already a grandfather), etc.
I also have been programming part time for longer than that and hope that continues as well.
I recommend that anyone who could, to take on a do-good project and consider it your main occupation [even if it only gets an hour a day], and then go lifer on that.
The merger went surprisingly well and they brought in some good processes (and some bad), but mostly we were left alone to do our thing.
At a point I saw that they didn't have a big enough support organisation personnel-wise. I had to organise team events, manage sick leaves, do 1:1's with my team, be an architect, a salesman and a software developer in one.
In short, eventually the compensation didn't match the stress of the job.
I found a job through a friend in a multi-national mobile games company and left on good terms.
The gaming company spent what equaled to a "large project" in my old company just for audience testing unreleased games. Marketing budgets amounted to the yearly turnover of my old company. My pay doubled from what I used to have in a few years and my first bonus was bigger than all the bonuses I received in the past 10 years in my previous job put together. And I got actual stock options for the first time.
Money doesn't make you happy, but hoo boy it's nice to get it - and it makes the tiny inconveniences easier to take (like having early morning/late evening calls to the other side of the planet).
Like the OP I'm embarking on my 40s. I'm into my sixth year at a FAANG. Staying at the same company probably made me miss out on some of the career and salary growth of the last several years, but I work in a specialized technical niche that I really enjoy and have a good manager and team.
Part of my motivation for staying is the economy, but the other part is just being a senior team member with a significant amount of subject matter expertise, trust and autonomy. Being able to set boundaries around work/life balance and role scope is super valuable to me.
My spouse and I joke that FAANG life is as hard as we want to work, so we might just stick it out until we are ready to semi-retire and then work on something more low key.
In those 14 years, I've moved continents, changed citizenship, changed dramatically as a person (I hope for the good). So far I've managed to keep the freshness at work (modulo the difficult times). Red Hat's engineering culture fits me like a glove.
The ability to give direction to my own work and the culture are the big factors that keep me in. I'm sure I'm losing out on some better compensation elsewhere, but there are other variables that matter to me. Also, I've been a remotee for the last 8 years.
So far I've been responding to recruiters with "Thank you for reaching out. I'm gainfully employed, I wish you best of luck in your search." As a wonderful colleague of mine once said, "but my umbilical cord isn't tied to Red Hat, though". :-)
It's experiences like this that make me question the wisdom of staying in a place for a decade. It's hard to see things you enjoyed wither away and die.
Well, that's the trick, isn't it? You could do everything right, and the environment changes, or financial issues hit, or you get bad managers.
I worked at a company for 22 years. In the early 2010's I transitioned to full-time WFH and did that for 7 years. Then new management came in, they rebuilt the office as open-plan, a bunch of Agile cultists took over, and they summarily cancelled all WFH. Then the organization ground to a halt, crushed into immobility by Agile. Then they laid off my entire division, new hires to senior managers, about 300 people.
So, in the space of just a few years, it went from a fantastic place to work, to a miserable place to work, to not wanting me around. Absurdly, they paid (and are still paying) a huge amount of money to go away because 22 years got a great severance package, and I'd been there long enough that they're on the hook for "retiree" benefits.
I’ve been in too many situations where my role was changed overnight because of the above.
Currently at the most sought-after (by many) FAANG but I’m always fully prepared to leave/be laid off and don’t let my mind think it could be long term.
What is long term is instead a dense network of professional relationships with ex-bosses and coworkers to whom I would fully entrust my life and certainly my career, and I typically jump ship by moving closer to them every few years. Corporations are just a soulless random entity.
I don't feel particularly bound to my position. If work stops being comfortable, or if I got uncomfortably bored, or if someone offered me a sufficiently huge pay increase, I might take it, but why mess with a good thing?
- Doing the same thing for years can really wear you out. And in a profession where you work with your brains, it would affect the quality of your work.
- Especially in your 40s and later, it is important to challenge oneself and learn new things, otherwise you may thing you know everything there is to know and the only way from here is down. Doing this in a new place is often much easier - in the old place you can get stuck in the routine.
- Not all interviews are bad. If you know your stuff (and by 40s you're supposed to) and aren't desperate for a job, there's no reason why interview would be bad for you. Worst thing, you don't know something - so, see above, you have the opportunity to learn something new.
- Job market goes up and down. In 3-4 years it would look completely different.
- Definitions of success differ. If you're senior enough (which again by your 40s it makes sense you'd be) you should get a regular pay which allows you to cover your needs comfortably. All the startup options are bonus lottery tickets on top of that. Sure, winning $MILLIONS would be rare. But, winning $THOUSANDS won't be that bad either, and that happens much more often. On top of that, you may end up doing some fun stuff which isn't done anywhere else, and meet people which otherwise you would never meet. It's not always the destination - sometimes even the road is worth it.
- Change can happen regardless of what you plan. Today you have excellent company with genius CEO, tomorrow he retires and his airhead son takes over the business and ruins everything. Or consumer preferences change and a profitable company has to look for a new business model. Or a regulator steps in and makes their business model impossible. You may not seek change, but the change may find you anyway.
Then things changed. My boss left, we got a new boss, change of direction, change in the kind of work we were doing. I didn’t have any career growth available, and performance reviews felt arbitrary.
So I left. It has been a great decision for me. I’m very happy. Companies change and people change, so the match may not seem great in the future. I hope it works out as you want it to.
> 6. I'm in my early 40s
> 7. Startup success ... is going to be rare in the coming years
If you're in your early 40's, you'll likely have worked through and/or witnessed the 90's recession, the dot-com bubble and the 2008 financial crisis. There's always a recovery in sight and there are often great opportunities to be found during market corrections.
I've given up on terms like "lifer" as they don't account for changing circumstances. If an opportunity presents itself to earn 2x my TC while maintaining all the rest, I'd give it serious consideration. Fully remote work is my preferred arrangement and I'll never go back. Corporate friendliness to work/life balance can change as can one's personal definition. Interviewing can be a horror show but it can also be like having a great technical discussion with like-minded professionals. I've experienced both ends of the spectrum on that front.
I graduated in 2017 and I now earn 240% of my graduate salary. 12.5% of the difference came from internal pay rises, 87.5% came from changing company.
I am very happy where I am now, but on past results I imagine I will have to move in a couple of years in order to keep pace with the market.
So, no, I wouldn't be a lifer in my early 40s. I'd be a "ride it out as long as it stays good", though. (Again, I've been around a while. If you have interesting work, good people, reasonable management, and good pay, think hard before you go somewhere else. That's not always easy to get.)
At the second place I worked, I thought I'd be a lifer. It was run by a weasel who knew how to take money from investors and redirect a good portion of it into his own pockets. I stuck with the company when angry investors managed to oust the CEO and put a new guy in charge. Well he was an alcoholic who slipped down the stairs in his mansion, broke his neck, and died [for real!] so I stuck with the company when a new investors decided to stabilize the company by buying our biggest competitor and merging with them. But unfortunately that led to redundant people and product offerings so they forced me to lay off all 20 of my programmers and then lay myself off.
Since then I've hopped around every few years [sometimes by choice; sometimes by circumstance]. I'm probably still too loyal, but I'm 50 now and getting a bit weary of change.
Don’t count on anything in this world staying the same. The good times last only so long.
I've been lucky that my boss and I have an excellent relationship. I have more influence than I would have elsewhere. Our group has been given expanded responsibility and is relatively high profile.
No doubt I'll have to leave before I retire, but I doubt it will be in the near future.
It's a function of both variables, of course.
Because contrary to whatever one thinks making frequent changes to a process doesn't mean automatic improvement. Staying at one place ensures I don't have to undergo pointless stress to prove myself to new managers over and over again. Plenty of time to exercise, take care of health, work on investment projects and more time for generating multiple streams of income.
Also lots of free time. All code written is the same, and after a while you stop being impressed by over working and wild wild west coding lifestyle. I'd like to have more time for what matters to my life.
The only catch is finding a place worthy of being a lifer at. I did find one, and sticking to it as long as I can. And yeah by the way, I have done the other side of things too- Sleeping 2 hrs/day, multiple side projects, start ups etc etc. It wasn't pleasant, and not very rewarding either.
Work/life balance is excellent for me, which I'm really thankful for - it means I can go pickup the kids from daycare every day. Otherwise it's either my wife or myself being a stay-at-home parent.
One thing I noticed though, being fully remote I'm on 2x (or nearly 3x) the total compensation compared to doing a similar job for more local companies in the office. I'm living a few hours away from a major metropolitan area. Until either the remote TC or the local in-office TC changes, I can't see myself moving.
To points keep me from going that direction. The _only_ time one can be sure is getting market value for your work is when one engages with the market - e.g. switches jobs.
And bitter experience has thought me that employers shy away from giving market compensation the longer one stays at a place, even for “business critical” roles like CTO positions.
The other fear of mine is getting to a local maxima of skill, solving problems the easy comfortable familiar way, and missing out on some great innovation. If I manage to find a position that alleviates those fear I’m sold! I could see myself working there more than the usual for me 5 year tenure.
The job has a social impact, pays more than enough for my modest standard of life (lower than market rate, but that's expected for a job in a social impact startup, and I'm at peace with that), colleagues are nice, boss is bearable, and short of the company failing, I can't really be fired. The job is also interesting, with new challenges all the time.
Long story short: it's the right situation for me, and I know for a fact the grass is not greener elsewhere.
I don't see myself leaving the role I'm currently in voluntarily, but managers have a way of causing turnover...
I should have done this earlier - never realized how the certainty of a paycheque had cost me.
The thing is:
- The job remains more interesting than a lot of the stuff recruiters contact me about. Some of this is the space I'm in, and most recruiters are trying to recruit out of that space, not a sideways move into a similar company.
- My TC is off the charts compared to what it was now that stock started vesting. I have to explain to recruiters their sweetheart deal would likely be a $100k+ pay cut unless my current employer tanks, simply because I sell a decent chunk of stock every year at my FA's recommendation.
- Basically over time the upside for startups has gotten more and more skewed towards the institutional investors with engineers being the absolute bottom of the totem pole. Taking a pay cut to do that feels like a HUGE gamble now because I have never had an upside for an exit that equal what I sold in RSUs last year at the public company.
- Current work/life balance is excellent.
- 60% remote, no real pressure to go in any more and no real trouble if I need to work less than 40% in office in a given week. (I like going in though.)
- Office is close to home, minimal commute, company/office culture is good
- Current company is foundational and has been very very long term stable with mature/conservative management.
So yes, not sure what's going to happen, but I don't even have to ride this that long to possibly retire early as I've been living well below my means for a long time now, I'm not a "show off money" person at all. If things are bad in my mid-50s it's almost not going to matter because retirement will become an option if I can stay on this path. If things go south and age discrimination becomes an issue I'd easily be able to go start a side project to try and create income and be in a semi-retired mode in my 50s.
Had second thoughts about it a few years back and did some interviews. Got a great offer for an interesting role at a great company. For half my current TC and worse benefits.
In my poor corner of the world, all that is available for my salary demands are high stress hero roles, which is the opposite of what I am looking for.
Trying to find fulfillment in other aspects of life instead, and at work just trying to keep my head down, keep digging the proverbial ditch and lining the coffers.
I never expected to like it here, and I loathed the work in the first few years. I posted about it here in the past. But I've made it my own, and that has made it more bearable.
I still suffer from occasional FOMO. My SO has been through 4 tech companies while I sometimes feel I've been languishing here. My dad worked at the same place pretty much all of his career and I always wanted to be different, to see the world so to speak. But I ended up staying at the same place just like him. I guess it doesn't matter as long as I feel fine here. I keep dreading the day a really bad manager would come around, or some reorg would actually touch me and throw me in some other less friendly team - several reorgs passed over my team without really touching us.
Incidentally, all my high school friends have more or less stayed in the same place, or hopped just once, during their career. None of them are in tech though.
Then there's the compensation, that's a sore point for me, sometimes. I make significantly less money than many other people I know who work in other companies, including my SO. Somehow I stopped caring about this though. So maybe I'm a sucker for staying here. But I don't feel like one.
If you bought in your early 30s and are now in early 40s - congrats you’ve missed an entire decade of insane housing cost inflation. You’re able to afford to not job hop whereas people who haven’t bought just don’t have that option.
1. The bare minimum is that my salary should keep up with inflation, if my work productivity stays the same and nothing improves at all. Only my most recent employer has passed that test. It sucks to prioritize just compensation that much - but in such a turbulent economy as the one I was born into, I can't afford to support myself and my partner while making less year over year due to the devaluation of the dollar.
2. I want to ideally work 40/hr week. Some overtime is going to happen, after-hours work is going to happen, that's that nature of the work, but it shouldn't be a weekly thing.
3. The company should provide training and both horizontal and vertical movement opportunities. No one wants to stagnate if they care about their skill growth.
4. Decisions the company makes are rooted in logical processes. This one sounds kind of vague, but it's important. I've worked for many companies that changed large parts of the business up just because someone new came in, or the CEO felt a certain way. When the company lays out the reasoning for a change in direction or policy that is rooted in reason and proof, that inspires confidence to me - both in company longevity and in how I'll be treated as an employee.
There's nothing I love more than to dedicate myself to my work, but the experiences I've had over my time in the industry thus far have made it a very unwise choice to make until I've spent significant time with an employer and can evaluate these points.
The company can take a wrong path and realizing it when it's to late, or on the contrary, it can be successful and it will attract external investors.
It's totally reasonable to hope that things stay the way they are until you retire and that would be really nice, but it's a very long time to bet on and you should have an emergency plan.
I advise you to sharpen your technical skills to stay employable if you have the time to. An interesting thing I do is to sometimes say "yes for a call" to recruiters on LinkedIn.
I choose the ones who seem nice and who are not just recruiters like tech leads and CTOs. I always start by saying that I'm not planning to switch and that it will probably not work out but that I'm ok for a call if they are ok with that.
And by doing this I have had really interesting exchanges with interesting people I know I'd like to interview with some day if needed (even if they switch companies). What is cool is that you can discuss with them without playing a game since you don't really care. You can say stupid things, you can be honest about what you want and what absolutely don't want, you can learn about their products, their career ... Hell you can even try to recruit them for your company :D
I'm not saying you'll make new friends but surely you'll meet nice people whose you can keep the mail address / phone somewhere.
And frankly, when they finish the call by "I understand that you are not actively searching a job but it was a great exchange, don't hesitate to call me back if you change your mind", that's really reassuring.
Also, I hate to argue semantics, but it's weird to call it "lifer", given that you're employment is almost bound to end before retirement for a myriad reasons (the economy will go up and down, there will be layoffs, reorgs, mergers, pivots, changes in regulation, etc... Also you might be bored, depressed, harassed, sick, offered a better job somewhere else, required to relocate for personnal reasons, etc...)
So what question are we to answer. "Are you realistically planning to spend the rest of your career a the same company, and if so, why ?" Then the question sounds to me like "Are you realistically planning to stay the same age for the rest of your life, and if so, why ?" :) (To which I'd answer "can it be just a tad few years earlier please ?)
If the question is "are you content with your current job ?",then, "yes", but I would feel delusional thinking it's going to stay the same forever.
1. I'm full time remote employee now and I am not fully onboard with it. I don't plan to retire as a remote worker. I want to work in office again - in some form.
2. WLB is a valid factor. It is a sad reality that we need to talk about this in 2022.
3. I guess here you meant to say that the company won't go under before you retire, which makes sense.
4. Avoiding interviews is one of the weaker excuses to stick to one company. It puts you at risk if stuff hits the fan. Always be looking. This is not a critique of the interivew process, but you need to play the game.
5. Job market is another weak example. If you plan to be a lifer, you _want_ a strong job market, otherwise your job will be at risk.
6. Ageism. Surely ageism is going to be a big topic very soon if not already? The tech-boom went mainstream in mid to late 2000s. Those who benefited from that wave are already in their mid-30s now and by mid 2020s they will fit the criteria for ageism. I am hoping this gets talked about more by then at least.
7. I heard somewhere that "the top company in X years time hasn't been established yet." I believe there will be new opportunities.
Other reasons that might influence becoming a Lifer: 1. Arcane knowledge of internal systems.
2. Specialization: Too old/reluctant/afraid to specialize in ML/AI/web3/...
3. You're a superstar coder/10X Engineer/Charismatic Leader/...
I have around 25 years of career left (with retirement age in mid 60s). It feels too risky to say I would stick to one company for life, even if it is _insert-your-dream-company_.
I hate my job, but there aren't many good options for me in my situation. If somthing better does come along, id consider it. That's 10 years down, what's another 20ish years?
In all of those scenarios I "planned" for 1-2 years to see what I could accomplish and if I wanted to stick around.
This industry doesn't tend to promote the idea of long form employment; hell, it almost finds it questionable (which I find stupid. If you are good and satisfied and produce good work, there is no need to find that suspect; not everyone has to be motivated the same way, seek the same incentives for the same path).
1. I work with brilliant people
2. I get to work on challenging problems
3. I get to work with a wide range of tech stacks
4. I'm treated as a professional and not micro-managed
5. Pay is not near FAANG levels, but more than enough to live a comfortable life (~150 now with a career cap closer to 200)
My man Rands explains it best: https://randsinrepose.com/archives/shields-down/
P.S early 40s ain't old, happy hacking!
1) None of your reasons have to do with your own ambitions. I think this is temporary, as everyone's ambitions have gotten a haircut of late
2) None of your reasons have to do with your team. I find myself staying through thick and thin with good teams, but percolating out when the chemistry is meh.
Well, plus one bonus: Money goes out awful fast, and there's no wealth in salary and savings; the vast, vast majority of wealth is in stocks and real estate. You might think that you don't need that much money, but then your costs skyrocket as you compete with people who have money.
I am now in a smaller company and earn more money than in my previous job. I am also happier. I'm enjoying the work I'm doing.
Pay at $dayjob is pretty fucking good currently, and will only get better.
Company culture is pretty relaxed.
No prohibition on side work, no weird clauses about IP, etc.
Fully remote, usually pretty relaxed about time too.
Can't really be arsed interviewing or hunting for a new job.
I turn 51 in a few weeks, and as much as I would love to stick around we recently went through a merger and the company that bought us tends to do more outsourcing of their tech to vendors than internal development, so no telling if changes will make me end up looking elsewhere.
I work from home, have maxed out my 401k all this time so I have a few million there, I’m an architect on a data science team so it’s interesting work. I’d gladly stay here another decade if I could.
I'm a lifer by your definition. From my POV the market is not weakening, it's just transforming. I'm getting fewer recruiter messages than ever, but they have never been this good, including recruiters from FAANG companies that had never looked me up.
The current market is all about quality over quantity, hiring less but with more specific goals, specialists over generalists, etc. If you share that mindset you will be happy, if you don't you will get the impression companies have stopped hiring.
If you don't, you're putting yourself and your family at risk of being under-resourced, e.g., homeless.
Complacency is the mother of all assumptions / failures of imagination / laziness.
Also, being around longer I've built up a nice backlog of benefits including equity and a metric ton of vacation days. I would have to give up a lot if I moved, and most companies I've spoken to won't match my deal for a new hire.
I'm honestly just waiting for inspiration to quit my job and start homesteading or something. I don't mind becoming a joke as long as I don't have to deal with the monotony of endless subpar commercial bullshit.
There are honeymoon periods but the sands around me have always been shifting.
Then another company in a different market but building a similar product offered me 2x the salary, with a potential to 3-4x it very easily.
I couldn't say no. The work life balance took a bit of a hit in the beginning, it's been almost a year now, and I feel almost as comfortable as I did in my previous one. I don't regret leaving. I would likely go back to the previous one if they offered me 2x what I make now. :)
Compensation is kinda crappy (Would be a bad joke in the US, not great in Germany but also not a disaster), but I just enjoy the freedom I have. It probably helps that I’m very unambitious.
I'm also somewhat biased due to personal experience - everyone I've worked with that has only worked at one company tend to have overly narrow skill sets, and know only one way of doing things.
Free money is going to dry up for a while. Bullshit valuations and unsustainable growth will be less frequent
But the number of problems to solve is not going down, quite the contrary, economic downturns are in practice the best time to build, if you're a builder, that is.
Career so far:
14 Years (various company name changes but the same work/office etc)
6 Years (moved from contract to permanent during that time)
If I can deal with the work and get paid "enough" I'm not too fussed but I have got to work with quite a few different teams/projects/technologies during that time.
I'm not earning a top salary, but it's pretty good. I have good equity, a decent salary, world-class benefits and actual work-life balance.
If I didn't have those things, maybe I'd job hop more, but right now there's no reason.
I wish companies would keep up with inflation at least.
If a company is not transparent about their "employee life", then that company is worth called a scam itself. They stole lives.
If you’re still around and the site is still aroun in 20 years, I propose you write a retro post about how it went, compared with your expectations. I predict divergence. I can’t guarantee a response from my part, since I don’t underestimate the Universe’s creativity.
I didn’t have the education get get into a FAANG in the early years and don’t have the risk tolerance for a startup.
You're looking at about 45 more years of life where the plan appears to be "this job I've already been doing for a while, then retirement, then death."
This does work for some people but make sure you've got something going on that'll keep you from being bored to tears.
I've always changed jobs every ~3 years, but if you think that's a horror show, imagine how it'll be when you're laid off in 12 years. It'll take 10 minutes to write FizzBuzz and you'll have great knowledge for everything in a 15-year-old tech stack.
That being said, I don’t see myself leaving my current company as long as the pay/shit factor ratio starts really going down.
But I still keep my resume and career document up to date, my fixed expenses down and stay interview ready.
I'd be concerned about stagnation of your skills and accomplishments. It's easy to coast when things feel nice and comfy.
That being said I could see myself leaving programming at some point to do something else. But I'm not shopping for it
I find myself in startups due to circumstance, not preference. I’d rather be in a slower, stable corporate environment (provided it pays well and has good work/life balance).
My wife is a lifer civil servant, so that also makes the bet on a startup easier to justify.
I am at the top of my game and the company recognized it. It will be very hard to find another company like where I am right now. Currently the manager I have is one of the best and the coworkers are also one of the best.
I have zero incentive to move somewhere else.
"Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change."- Tony Robbins
For a change they’re also paying really well for the market I’m in.
My income pretty much halfed compared to year ago (in company I work for from home as contractor for 6+ years and work on site for 2 years before that) which is already half of what I had years ago, so I had to contact also other company trying to substitute my income and if it doesn't work out can look for completely new company to cooperate with, because companies are aholes always bringing more and more new requirements to make your work more and more difficult (while delivering same result as in the beginning) and while maximizing their profits and minimizing what they pay you.
so am I a lifer? for now, yes. as long as upper management here doesn't feel the need to shoot themselves in the foot for no reason
Mostly because i believe in the company and its future. The future we're building is a solid one.
That said I have changed teams internally and will do so again.
Why would I consider committing myself to a company that can ditch me at a moment's notice, potentially for factors completely outside my control? That's absolute insanity.
The reality, whether I like it or not, is that I need to keep my skills sharp in case I'm looking for another role on short notice.
I once worked for a startup that hired a "lifer" who'd spent 30-40 years as a developer at a bank and was eventually laid off. They thought they'd scored a real gem. He was a bright guy, a good human being. Had led some big projects at the bank.
In reality he was essentially unemployable for any modern development role. He literally only knew COBOL and such, no lie. With much effort I'm sure he could have reinvented himself and rejuvenated his career. In a more ideal world he could have lead us, we could have learned from each other, etc. But we had hard deadlines to meet.
In reality, all he got for his "lifer" commitment was a kick in the ass out of the bank's door and a set of atrophied skills that made him more or less unemployable. We had to let him go.
I never want to be that guy.
Ooof that's a reason?
You literally cannot see the job market improving (or the startup environment for that matter) at any point in your remaining 25 years of employment?
Sure, if nothing changes you're in great shape, but change is inevitable, and the likelihood everything you've mentioned stays the same is effectively zero.