If you have been reading Full Time Finance recently you will note a few posts on Job choices. Besides my recent job change there is a good reason behind this. Many of the points I’ve been discussing to date fit into the decisions I made. Today I’m going to dive into this a bit more. Why I may have just taken my last job.
Two Doors, One Choice
As noted previously there were two job options on the table. One option was the better fit for me then the other. But it doesn’t end there. This particular decision tree marked a major change in my career direction. This post is probably more personal than normal, but perhaps it can help someone else with similar decisions.
The Road to The Choice
To start we need to rewind 14 years to the beginning of my career. It’s post dot-com crash and I’m a young Software Engineer working for a large pharmaceutical company. In the imminent future is the outsourcing of all IT at the company and a job decision for me. The first option, I could become a contractor on contract for the same company coding in the same area for a major pay increase (3x what I made then). The second option, I could stay with the company and jump to the business side of the house.
High Pay But Dead End
Now my passion had already dictated business was a better fit. Also the coding area was very niche, so if it didn’t pan out I’d end up jobless. As such I let the job with future prospects outweigh the immediate payoff, a fantastic decision at a young age that I recommend often.
My Recent Job Choice
Fast forward 14 years, my situation has changed considerably. I now make 3x what I made then. My position both before and after the job change are not niche. In a worst case scenario I could easily consult for any major company in the world for anything involving business process, E-commence or systems, especially if it involved SAP products. So future job prospects in the case of a dried up opportunity are not a concern.
What do I Want To Do, Rather then Where Will It Lead Me
That more leaves the question of what is my desired future job trajectory. Am I in search of bigger things or more money. Which brings me to the latest choice. Two jobs, one of which could theoretically be my final job.
The Management Job Versus The Employee
These 2 jobs were diametrically opposed in many ways. One was back into the world of management, a world I left a few years ago. It would be a second level manager position in an area in which I am an expert.
The other remaining as an individual contributor in a new area though one for which I also have a significant amount of relevant experience. Both were on the same pay scale on which I am way at the bottom, so much room to grow financially. However future job opportunities are different.
An Executive Position
The first job in management would leave me one level below executive on the management food chain. It would likely open the door to an executive position at my company had I chosen to take this job since it was in an area where the company is currently focusing attention. It would also be high stress due to some issues with personnel and politics that have been festering.
The Last Job Option: Individual Contributor
The second job is considerably different. The first thing said to me with the individual contributor job was the expectation that I stay in this job significantly longer then 2-3 years. The retiring incumbent has been in it for 30. I was told it was expected to be a career type job, ie. a long term job. The underlying message was it would be frowned upon if I moved on from this job in the foreseeable future.
Only Future Opportunities: Executive or New Company
The reality is I’ve reached a level where the only path up from my currently level is out from my current employer or executive. I won’t rehash it here, but at least for the foreseeable future I have no desire to be an executive. You can read all about why here.
A Change In Question
As such I’ve finally reached a place in my career where the questions for the next position changed. The question is no longer will this job lead to the next opportunity on the ladder. That is the question someone early in their career should always be asking. In my case though I’m now at the peak of my desired career trajectory within my current company. The question is now, does the job fit me better, offer continued pay increase opportunities, provide transferable skills, and is the job stable.
Individual Contributor Job for the Win
The answer to all these questions, came out ahead for the individual contributor job. The job surrounds me with a really capable group of high functioning individual contributors from which I can learn while still placing me into a leadership position. It challenges me with ever new tasks. Finally it allows me to have continued significant impact on the overall strategy of my company (something I view as highly important). Hence I accepted what may very well be my final job.
The Future is Unknown
Now a disclaimer before anyone says anything, the future is unwritten. My company could change directions, be acquired, or dissolve. I could be offered an executive job anyway somewhere down the line. I could even change my own mind about wanting to be an executive. Any or all of those could change in the future. What that means is while I am prepared for the possibility this could be my last position, I continue to prepare in case it will not be. IE. I will continue to develop my skills regardless of what happens next. Transferable skills are a key decider, thankfully the new job has this as well.
So this one goes out to the older career folks in the crowd. Have you reached as far as you are willing to climb on the career ladder? If so how did you know you wanted to stop?