neilv
I suspect that a lot of people would be happy to be a "lifer" in the right situation. (Good company, good work, good colleagues, good respect, good TC.)

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.)

mikeortman
Lifer until the benefits that matter to me disappear.

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.

dang
I cringe to think of myself as a "lifer" but I've been doing this for 10 years so draw your own conclusions.

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.

zxcvbn4038
Things can change very suddenly - new person joins who makes everyone miserable, company goes in a new direction, market changes or sours on company, advertising snafu, etc.

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.

mancerayder
Unfortunately salaries rot. Like vegetables in the fridge. I've been doing this a long time, I can assure you that most if not almost all companies let your salary go through attrition by itself with inflation, while new hires get paid market rates.

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.

Dave3of5
I'm the opposite (a non lifer ?). The problem I've had is that most of the places I've been at didn't promote but rather got you to take on more work and responsibility even though you've not been paid for it. That means when I was a junior I was doing a mid levels job, mid level I was doing a seniors job, senior I was doing a principles job.

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.”

hakfoo
I work for a low-profile fintech, 100% remote, since 2018. I see no particular need to move elsewhere.

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.

JohnDeHope
Yes I am a lifer.

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.

fullstackchris
Point 5 is painfully misled and I'm getting real sick of seeing this trope over and over again. Just because we are witnessing some layoffs of absolutely rediculously foamed over billion dollar tech giants in no way reflects the software job market at large.

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

fcatalan
I work at an 800 year old institution. I have been here for 20 years. My wife works here too.

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.

drewg123
One of the things I'm seeing in your post is basically a lack of negatives. But what about positives? Do you actually like your job? If not for that list, would you stay or be out the door in a heartbeat?

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.

rcarmo
I thought I was a lifer back when I worked in telco. I had a 10+ year career when Vodafone 360 happened (look it up, Vodafone tried to invent their own iPhone/Android ecosystem atop LiMo - unsurprisingly, it did not end well) and everything I had invested in career-wise became meaningless overnight and turned into the longest, hardest slog of my life (I spent 2 years trying to fix what I could of it).

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.

jupp0r
> Job market is weakening with no recovery in sight

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.

ok_coo
The org I work at has existed for over a hundred years. It's probably not going away for the foreseeable future. The work, my coworkers, the perks and work environment (low stress) are all great. The only thing that's not at a high-level is the compensation.

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.

sam_goody
I spend most of my day as a volunteer for a youth group.

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.

theshrike79
My longest stint in a single company was 9.5 years, it started as a small software consulting company and was bought by a government-controlled telecom/software company.

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).

allthecybers
I'd like to be a lifer, or as close as possible to a lifer in today's economy.

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.

kashyapc
Like dang[1], I too cringe to see myself as a "lifer" but here I'm: I joined Red Hat when I was 23. Now I'm 37. So I've been at it for 14 years (and still ticking).

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". :-)

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33797196

pram
Actually COVID ruined my lifer plans, it absolutely demolished my previous company. Resulted in insane/pointless re-orgs and just killed the culture. It became so unpleasant I followed my current manager elsewhere.

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.

g051051
> don't see myself leaving of my own accord

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.

deanmoriarty
Nah. Life in corporate America is too volatile. People (especially managers and skip managers!) change, projects change, RSU tank, circumstances change, …

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.

CobrastanJorji
I'm eleven years into a FAANG company. It pays well enough that I can be the only earner in the family, and on my particular team, it's not demanding on my time. I work from home most days, I leave the office a couple of times a day to pick up my kids from school or go grocery shopping. The work is interesting enough to grow but not particularly stressful. Frankly, it's an ideal place to be while I focus on what's important: my family, and where possible my hobbies.

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?

throwaway_au_1
You're only ever one promotion or departure (not yours) away from a management shuffle which can make your job shit. That stable software delivering value, day in day out? Legacy trash that needs to be rebuilt as a matter of urgency. Actually, no - outsource it. Software isn't our core business, after all. Personally I have no confidence that I will be able to avoid this scenario (again), or suffer it in silence, so I cannot see myself being a lifer for this reason alone. But the idea alone of working for one company forever doesn't concern me in the sense that I'd have only 1 item on my resume for several decades of work, nor would I look negatively at someone with that resume. I just have a low tolerance for corporate bullshit and at this stage in my career I think it's easier to jump ship than to try and fight the winds of change emanating from some Cx0's arse.
smsm42
Some things to consider though:

- 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.

sircastor
At my last job, for the first few years I really thought I might spend the rest of my career there. Household name, I was working on interesting things, I got to travel, I got to contribute to the industry.

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.

0xbadc0de5
> 5. Job market is weakening with no recovery in sight

> 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.

mathieuh
No, because in my experience in order to get adequate compensation over time you need to change job.

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.

ginger2016
I am not a lifer, but I know many people who are lifers. I switched job too many times, my stress is more than my lifer friends. Being a lifer is not too bad, if you want peace and stability.
givemeethekeys
I don't see a point of being loyal in an environment where the loyalty is rarely rewarded in kind.
dougmwne
Wow, this must be some kind of leading indicator. I have never heard or read anyone talk about being a lifer before and lay out coherent reasons why that might be a good thing. I guess the job market is about to shit the bed.
AnimalMuppet
I've been around for a while. Some companies can be great places to work... until they're not.

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.)

xs83
I cant ever imagine staying at a company for more than 5 years tops unless at VP / executive level, I felt the same as you for a company I worked with for several years and then everything changed, the culture, the vision, the market - you literally cannot predict how things will be in a few years time in such a dynamic market.
glonq
At the first place I worked, I thought I'd be a lifer. They moved my division to a different country, and I followed it there. They sold it to another company, and I stuck with it. They it suffered a takeover by a bunch of wall street pump-and-dump scammers who ran it into the ground. I took the "stay bonus" to stick with them when times were tough and the end was near. Then a vendor bought the assets of the company, kept me around for a couple months to train their guys, then laid me off. Ironically the original parent company is still around and going strong. I know lifers there.

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.

nashashmi
I was a lifer. But now I can see the tunnel darkens at the end of the journey. You are just one stone throw away from misery.

Don’t count on anything in this world staying the same. The good times last only so long.

zerohp
I worked at a bunch of smaller companies before and I'm now 5 years into working at a FAANG. My team and org have the most competent management I've ever seen and I have no interest in rolling the dice on another job unless something changes here.
tikkabhuna
I'm a lifer. Early 30s. Been here 8 years. I've tried to leave, but my boss/team are excellent and moving has always appeared high risk/low reward.

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.

dang
Although the OP is phrased in terms of the individual (are you a lifer?), I wonder if the question wouldn't be better asked about organizations: what places are actually worth staying at?

It's a function of both variables, of course.

kamaal
Yes,

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.

Simon_O_Rourke
I'm going to stay where I'm working now for at least two or maybe three years at minimum. I'd tick most of those boxes you listed, however, I'm still actively interviewing, but at a more leisurely pace, just to see what opportunities are out there and to stay "fresh" doing interviews.

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.

seer
I would love to be a “lifer” dedicating oneself to a single cause and working diligently towards it. Once you’ve built the right tools around you you can be _incredibly_ productive.

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.

kemiller2002
No, I'm not. I'm not built that way. I always have this plan of staying until my kids are in college, and honestly, I realize I can do more. Most places, I see what my boss does, and I think, "I can do that" and then someone offers me the opportunity to do it and I do. I was at an interview a few months ago, and VP asked me how I'm going to offer assurances I'm not going to leave in a few years for a better opportunity. I just plainly told him, I'm not going to offer anything like that. I said if that's the type person he wants, someone that will sit there until retirement doing the same thing, hire someone else.
Fradow
I guess I can be considered a "lifer". Co-founded a startup nearly 10 years ago. Nowadays my job description can be considered "senior developer" with no managerial responsibility (my choice).

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.

DawsonBruce
After being laid off from my previous employer of 7 years, I found a company to join in my domain that has weathered the storm for many decades and is well-established in the industry I’m in AND also has income via federal contracts from another department at the company. The company is still privately owned by the original owners, and it seems to be a sustainable company that will weather the coming economic storm. I’m really happy to have joined when I have, I think this is a company to spend some good years at, and there’s a number of employees that have been with the company for over a decade. Things are looking stable, and I suppose for now I am a lifer.
denkmoon
Why not? It's just a job. Whatever allows you to extract the most of what you want and give as little as possible in return.

I don't see myself leaving the role I'm currently in voluntarily, but managers have a way of causing turnover...

ddoolin
I've been where I am for almost 6 years, which is pretty incredible for me at 31. But am I a lifer? I can never say for sure, but I highly doubt it. It's so circumstantial. I am not worried about getting laid off, but I question what my salary ceiling is (pure salary, I get no other comp), especially next year when inflationary raises need to be more like 10%+ rather than the standard 3%. I really love my job and the work in it, and leaving will be hard, but it's given the pay situation, it seems unlikely to be more than another couple of years.
tibbydudeza
I am 55 - used to be lifer until I got laid off in 2020 - started second career as an IT. consultant (Python and .NET).

I should have done this earlier - never realized how the certainty of a paycheque had cost me.

ben7799
I get it.. mid-40s, married with one kid. I've worked at a bunch of startups since 2000. I am currently in my second stint in a public company. I've been at my current job 8 years now. The first 3 was when we were a private startup. 5 years ago we were acquired. This is a really long stint for me, my previous long one was 6 years but there were a fair # of 2 year stints and also I did 2 one year stints at startups that were not a good match for 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.

exDM69
Lifer at a gigacorp with golden handcuffs since 2008.

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.

olvy0
I suppose I'm a lifer, I've been working at the same place almost 20 years now. Even doing the same thing, more or less. But I've had the fortune of having decent managers. I got along even with the one manager I didn't wholly like, and he had his redeeming qualities. All the points made above by the OP are also true for me, except I'm in my late 40s, and we're not fully remote.

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.

bradlys
One aspect that is avoided here is that it’s basically impossible to be a lifer unless you were able to time the housing market. Taking lower wages just isn’t possible for people under 30 if they want a home.

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.

devmor
Until recently I had never worked for a company that respected my time and career growth, so being a lifer seemed like a choice from a bygone era. I now have a checklist - the most boxes I can tick, the more likely I am to stick around.

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.

pjerem
You are in a great situation but you should be advised that things can change suddenly.

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.

phtrivier
I'm a bit troubled that you don't mention "I'm doing something I like / important / fulfilling" :/

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.

eleventhborn
I am not and I don't actively plan on becoming one (if it "happens", then so be it).

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_.

trashface
I'm 47 and wish I had found a lifer job. Literally could not as I believe every company I have ever worked for is now out of business. Bad sign perhaps. I now do contracting here and there but the pay is low (think poverty level) and unpredictable. Points 4 and 5 on your list are particularly relevant. Maybe the new year will bring me a change in fortune.
giantg2
I've been at my company for over 10 years, since I was straight out of college. I plan to stay until I can "retire" at 50. Then I'll get some other job.

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?

zeruch
I've never started anywhere with an intention to be a "lifer" but I have had a fairly linear jup from early short stints, to a 4 year run at VA Linux Systems, later a 6 year run at an "anti-piracy" company that was farcical in many ways but paid the bills and got e through my undergrad nd the 2008 maelstrom, and eventually 10 years at a CRM company that was maybe a year or two longer than needed but otherwise a great run.

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).

eschneider
Sounds like an excellent situation! Just remember that good situations don't always stay good, so stay up-to-date, stay sharp, and be ready for something new if/when things change. The best thing is that if this really is a good job at a good company, you're probably doing those things already.
throwaway6734
I plan on being a lifer now that I've found my current company.

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)

joezydeco
Almost everyone thinks this at one point or another. And then, one day, your shields drop.

My man Rands explains it best: https://randsinrepose.com/archives/shields-down/

jwmoz
I have never been a lifer. I worked as a contractor for a decade so constant change and learning. The last couple years I ran a solo operation which covered my living costs but ultimately was really brutal during the last year. I secured a perm job for the first time in a decade and used it as a way to move back to the UK from a cheaper country. I also have a nice setup similar to yours, pays well, good people on the team, mostly wfh but can go to a nice office in London. Plan is to ride it out and get finances back to normal and use it as a way to secure a mortgage and house. Now I realise most the 'lifers' are probably just middle aged men paying off their mortgages.
ryandetzel
Heh, I was a lifer until some billionaire bought the company and laid me off even though I've been a top performer for years. You never know what life will throw at you, best to prepare for the worst just in case Space Karen comes for you next.
weatherlite
If you like your job and feel somewhat secure you'll get employment for the next 2-3 years it makes a lot of sense to stay put. That said - thinking you're a "lifer" could be naive though - no one knows what's coming. Things can get worse for your company, or things can be OK but they still shut down projects or move them oversees or get bought. This happens all the time. And the opposite is also possible - things in the market can improve in 2-4 years at that point you being "early 40s" won't scare you so much and you'll want to move. No one knows and there's little sense in calling yourself a lifer.

P.S early 40s ain't old, happy hacking!

overthemoon
I've only been at it for 5 years, current gig for about 1.5, so it's too early to tell. But in the right context I'd love to be a lifer. I want to have a deep knowledge of the business that only time can provide, deeper relationships with colleagues, a sense of a legacy. I could see that happening where I'm at, depending on what the work looks like going forward. I'd really like to focus on just a few things, to actually become an expert on something. I'd also really, really like to build something from scratch. I want to be the engineer whose name is cursed by a junior 10 years hence for my incomprehensible decisions.
w10-1
Just two observations:

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.

amerkhalid
I wanted to be a lifer at my previous job. It was a tech giant, they were doing a lot of cool things, and there were a lot of opportunities for internal mobility. But the salary increases did not keep up with the market. And it became very difficult to stay motivated. Even when I had the opportunity to work on an interesting project, I decided against it and concentrated on interviewing with other companies.

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.

nibbleshifter
Considering it currently.

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.

punk-coder
I’ve been at my current job almost 19 years. I’ve been in many roles on many teams over that time, so even though I’ve been here a while I moved around enough to keep it feeling fresh.

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.

nonameiguess
I'm 42, so apparently about the same as you, and figure that means at least another 20 years before I'm retiring. I don't know how you can possibly expect me to project what I'm going to be doing and who I'll be working for over that entire 20 years. I'm not actively looking nor answering recruiting e-mails right now, but that is a pretty long time. The only thing I know for certain is that if you'd asked me what I'd be doing in 20 years back in 2002, I would not have been correct. The specific industry segment my current company is in didn't even exist yet in 2002.
ElevenLathe
I'm at a pretty big company and basically intend to retire from here, though I find it unlikely that they'll let me. We're public and so anybody with cash can come in and suddenly change things, including laying people off and shipping jobs elsewhere. So even if I trust current management to treat staff semi-decently (keeping people on during lean times if they can afford it, arranging severance for laid off workers, etc.), I have to assume that the people actually in charge can change suddenly and to the median US corporate malevolence (or worse) at any time.
mkl95
> 5. Job market is weakening with no recovery in sight

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.

sacnoradhq
You're only fooling yourself: there is no such thing as "retirement". Downsizing, outsourcing, and reorgs will likely see you ageismed out and trying to get a job when older. There is no security except what you make for yourself on the side. This might mean a startup project, real-estate, and/or other passive income sources. It might mean something as simple and trivial as a coin-op laundromat (unattended laundry business). Ebooks. Rental properties. Whatever makes enough money.

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.

hellweaver666
You sound a lot like me, only I've already been in my current company for a smidge over ten years. I don't see the experience in another company being any better than I have here (sure I can get more money but at the loss of work/life balance and personal stress levels).

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.

throwawaaarrgh
I change jobs just for the variety. After 3 years with a company I don't believe in, dealing with crappy management and piss poor products, at least doing it all over again somewhere else is new for a little while. Plus you can get that salary / title bump by moving.

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.

creativenolo
A different spin to the question might be: “Are you a “lifer”? If so, how frequently did you want to be a “lifer”?

There are honeymoon periods but the sands around me have always been shifting.

aprdm
I was. Was 5y in the company and thought about retiring there.

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. :)

quickthrower2
4 years in. Lifer by default because the risk of bad culture in other companies is so high. Even if you get good vibes in the interview stages. I would put it at 50% chance.
Semaphor
I work for a small business (5 employees, including the boss/owner). They’ve been publishing their news website since 1996, I joined as a sidejob in 2006, and have been working full time since 2012. Fully remote since 2008. Solo dev since 2014.

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.

kgodey
Even if I was completely content at a job, I'd find it hard to imagine being a "lifer" because I've enough experiences with leadership changes that completely changed the company or team's culture. I'd expect that to happen in 3-5 years at most organizations. Maybe things don't change so fast in older / mature companies, but then the work isn't as interesting.
poulsbohemian
I've never had any desire to be a lifer, but your Ask HN reads like a humble-brag. Would be hard for anyone to walk away from what you describe.
nvarsj
I’d love to be a lifer. But also terrified of the idea, because I get comfortable very easily, and I’m afraid of ageism. Moving jobs is generally a catalyst for me to upskill and stay on top of tech trends.

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.

mackman
I think the most important thing is that the work stays varied enough to be interesting in the long term. If you aren't able to move to new projects you'll eventually get some combination of bored, restless, and burnt out. Then it might be time to reboot your career inside the company (if that's something they make easy to do) or you might find yourself ready to move on.
stephc_int13
>7. Startup success (which I've had previously as an early employee) is going to be rare in the coming years

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.

BowlGambit
> 7. Startup success (which I've had previously as an early employee) is going to be rare in the coming years Downturns are great opportunities for new start-ups. The 2008 crash spawned a whole range of massive companies - Uber, Square & WhatsApp were all founded in 2009. The current layoffs and hiring freezes will fuel that in particular.
thorin
I would be, but for various reasons I'm not (yet).

Career so far:

2 Years

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.

maxehmookau
I'm not a lifer, but I spent 7 years in my previous role and have no interest in leaving my current one (currently 3 years in).

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.

Taylor_OD
I'm very very happy at my current company and would like to stay for many years. BUT I'm absolutely sure we are going to get a small cost of living raise this year and I'll be able to get at least a 10% raise if I leave. Much more likely I'll be able to get a 20% raise.

I wish companies would keep up with inflation at least.

revskill
"Profit" companies have no reason to keep being profitable if the engineers have no life. That's the simple science of cause of effect. It's about "when it stopped" and "fucked itself".

If a company is not transparent about their "employee life", then that company is worth called a scam itself. They stole lives.

otikik
I think you might be underestimating the Universe’s capacity to surprise.

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.

Spooky23
Lifer here with a short gap. I make less, but in my mid 50s can get an early retirement plus fully paid healthcare until Medicare. I’ll probably work a few years as a consultant or in sales to get my kids through college with little or no debt.

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.

safety1st
I would just say make sure you know what is going to keep you stimulated.

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.

bdcravens
Been at a small company for 13 years. The full responsibility of the main product is firmly on my shoulders, but with that is compensation to match, and full autonomy over the stack. In addition, they've stood by me through personal challenges that would have been an algorithmic termination at other places.
yuuu
No. Because I like money.
dehrmann
> 4. Interviewing is a horror show best avoided

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.

scarface74
Things change. Companies get bought. Management changes. I’ve learned never to get comfortable.

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.

electrondood
I used to work at a company full of lifers. They were all laid off 10 years away from retirement, and none of them had developed a single marketable job skill in their tenure.

I'd be concerned about stagnation of your skills and accomplishments. It's easy to coast when things feel nice and comfy.

mkoubaa
I'm in my early 30s and have been at one place. As far as programming jobs go, I can't imagine a better one than what I have ( technically interesting, well managed, ...).

That being said I could see myself leaving programming at some point to do something else. But I'm not shopping for it

ultrahax
Been at current company for 15 years, from software engineer through to principal engineer. I don't see myself leaving. The work is for the most part interesting, the money is pretty decent, and the people I work with are broadly aligned on the same goals and culture.
circlefavshape
Turned 50 this year, and probably will stay where I am until I retire. I could make more money at Google, if I lived in the city I'd probably consider it but I'm a 90 min commute away so fully-remote suits me better. Maybe I'll move when they kids leave home (or maybe not)
jckahn
I’d love to be a lifer. I want to show up, give my honest 8 hours, and then be done until the next work day.

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).

jeffrallen
I'd like to be a lifer: I'm in a startup with people I like, doing something that's interesting, with a good work life balance. Being a lifer here would mean that our startup succeeded!

My wife is a lifer civil servant, so that also makes the bet on a startup easier to justify.

dasil003
I'm a bit older and I would never describe myself as a lifer. Capitalism is brutal and corporations are not capable of loyalty, so it's not a psychological position I want to be in. That said, I also don't put a time limit on tenure—if the people and work are good, I'll stick around. The key is to keep learning and growing though, that way I don't get bored, and I won't get caught flat-footed when it's time to leave (whether voluntary or not).
jmartin2683
As you get old, time becomes a lot more valuable as it’s the only thing that you spend every day and can never make more of. Money is cheap and doesn’t really do all that much, beyond a point. The drama of switching jobs becomes less and less worth it.
hsn915
Not early 40 but late 30s (approaching 40), but this for me was more motivation to quit than stay employed forever. I never wanted to be an employee forever and approaching my 40s makes me realize if I don't do it now when will I?
didip
I guess so?

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.

dagw
2 years ago I ticked all those boxes and thought kind of like you did. Then a bunch of things changed very quickly at work, and then I got contacted by a former colleague with a job offer, and then I ended up at a new job.
happyjack
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plan." - John Lennon

"Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change."- Tony Robbins

dusted
What is a lifer?
Aeolun
Not necessarily a lifer, but my company is so comfortable right now that I’m quite put off by the prospect of doing an interview anywhere else.

For a change they’re also paying really well for the market I’m in.

abdou4a
Markoff
I wouldn't mind, but I don't think it's realistic/possible.

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.

chasd00
Hop around a lot when you’re younger then take your wisdom and stay somewhere to cash in when you’re older. It’s the secretary problem applied to your career.
seydor
self-employed, lifer. I d be wary of investing too much into a company i don't control, especially post-40 when i d be less competitive.life's way too short
vertnerd
I thought I was a lifer at my company in 2000, for many of the same reasons. Then the company was bought by Tyco International and burned to the ground.
whoIsYou
thought I would be a lifer at a previous company. Then upper management did a re-org and I lost a manager and team lead that I both loved working with and held in high regard. They were replaced by an okay manager, and a team lead that was technically strong but personally intolerable.

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

cmsonger
Very similar except: :s/40s/50s/ :s/is a horror show best avoided/is fun/ :$ A 8. Really love what I'm doing.
senectus1
Late 40's, been at this company for about 18 years.

Mostly because i believe in the company and its future. The future we're building is a solid one.

gkfasdfasdf
I am in a very similar position, however with FAANG salaries / TC what they are it's tough not to feel like I could be doing better.
koromak
I despise the interview process with a passion. I'll do everything in my power to stay at a place I'm mostly satisfied with.
JoelMcCracken
I've always wanted to be a lifer, but I just haven't found the right place. I think my current place might be it, though.
iLoveOncall
Yes, for a single reason: I can't be bothered preparing for interviews.

That said I have changed teams internally and will do so again.

Havoc
Rapid promotion these days seems to require some level of job hopping even if slowish (eg ~5 years) so no
JohnBooty
No. In an abstract sense, I wouldn't necessarily mind becoming a "lifer" but the reality of doing it in a capitalistic society is an absolute joke.

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.

bearmode
Unless I get annual wage rises on par with what I'd get by switching jobs, no chance.
vidanay
Same, except for #6. I'm in my early 50's. 21 years at my current company.
cdchn
8. Is your work meaningful? (To you? Are you engaged? Are you making a difference?)
pingwing
By all means, stay if it is going good. Just stay for you, not them.
dogline
I wasn't, until I read your points, then thought, well, maybe.
yla92
Now, the question is where I can find such jobs?
xcrunner529
Yes. It’s remote (now) and I have a pension.
racl101
> I'm in my early 40s

Ooof that's a reason?

potta_coffee
Count me in for 1 - 6.
gsich
Whats a lifer?
matai_kolila
I mean... how nearsighted is this supposed to be?

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.

cheri9
sr.ht