Should I consider moving jobs?

Hi all...

Hope you've been well. I've been thinking a lot about career progression. To me property and potentially business are my long term careers. However, currently I work in an investment bank in their IT operations area. I'm a Software Quality Assurance analyst...I joined as a graduate out of university and it will be 5 years in February. A lot of people say to me if they were my age they wouldn't have chosen Software Testing as a career. Although I know on the corporate ladder it doesn't take you that far, my argument is there is a difference between a test analyst and just a tester...

But that aside, the downside has been that we have ramped up the internal off shoring to our "offshore" offices. I have groomed one of the three test analysts we had in our team overseas and my boss (who is encouraging) will give me one more person to groom (and now there are 11 of them, growing from the original 3 that were hired for the project)...But that pretty much makes me "redundant". Let me mention, the project is $80+ million dollars and I've worked on it from day 1 since July 2010 and hence gained incredibly valuable experience. We are only half way through the project, but the economic times mean a lot of good people have left in the recent times and this off shore hiring isn't promising...even though my boss and his boss have been open to allow me to potentially travel overseas to train new staff....which all seems hunky-dory.

I've been affirmed I will still have lots of projects beyond the two years when the current project is due to be completed as apparently I have skills they can't really offshore...and that my role will not be touched as per my boss. And although I have all this very exciting work coming up, the downside is...I'm not sure if my career is heading anywhere? I don't see chances for promotions or career progress.... I have the ability to lead but I'm not sure if I will be getting TOO much out of leading one or two or three people in an offshore team...

Further to add to this, the dollar figures aren't competitive any longer. I told one of my ex-colleagues who is a dev with many years experience and who was contracting for the bank what I earned...and his jaw dropped. Other permanent senior/management staff who have left have encouraged me to find somewhere better/more competitive...

I don't know what to do? I may have a potential interview lined up at a private finance firm which has a government feel...and they may be more competitive and want "contractors" as they are implementing the product we have been implementing for two years...So that's going to be a pretty major project and the fact that I know the ropes of it, I may be successful if I got an interview..Which I have pushed back on as contracting may mean difficulty to get loans :confused::confused::confused: And I feel so ATTACHED to my work place...At the end of the day I'm just an employee - something I don't endeavour to be in the mid to long term...

So anyway, I want to know -
- What would drive you to leave a place besides the fact that you may not like it there any more?
- Will you stay where you are or will you start thinking ahead (given the off shoring)?
- Will you take a higher income at a role that is more worthy of your experience or will you keep giving your best shot to a multi million dollar project just for the sake of the experience?
- Is money really that important? I understood regardless of what one earns, it is important to manage cash flow and invest...Sure a bit more money may help the IP accumulation, but it doesn't necessarily mean too much :confused:

Thanks for reading and look forward to your responses :)

-- MsAli
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One thing learnt and learning is that, you have to be happy doing what you are doing, unless its temporary, short term or the benefits are significant

You have choices so that makes you better off, I'd hate to be one of those people that has no choices

Good icky with whatever you decide!
These days I think it actually tends to count against you if you stay too long in a single job and company. If your aim is to have a career, then I would suggest it is time to leave. They clearly don't have you on the fast track career path and they aren't paying well.

What is the next step up for you and what would it pay at another company? Is there specialist expertise that would be invaluable to other companies? I wouldn't necessarily switch to the same role in another company or you would be expected to do another 2 years, making it 7 in the same position.

Would doing further study in management assist? I did that part time for a few years to get ahead.

If you have good relationships with senior people that have ended up elsewhere and they rate your skills, maybe they could offer you a more senior role at their workplace.

An alternative would be to find a good paying job at the same level but without crazy hours and travel. Use the spare time to set yourself up in business / property. This is pretty much what I have done.
@Truly Exotic - thanks!

@mattnz...thank you for sharing your thoughts! You hit the nail on the head. Yes, I am not on a fast track career path - which sucks because I know I can offer so much more than I am able to and would be able to for some time to come...may be at least another two years.

The recruitment agent who called me, kept saying it's a lead role and I kept short selling myself and said I'm a Senior Test Analyst...when in fact I know the product, I can drive a team to deliver. I will call him tomorrow to clarify about this. I have no idea what the real market rates are...he asked me...but I said, may be 10k, 15k or 20k higher...which really is a finger in the air. I know someone who joined another division of the bank when I did in a grad role in App Support and he recently left who told me he was getting paid $18k higher than I was (not taking super into account)...Sure he was in a different division making more money than to where I was...but I felt I wasn't really getting valued...

Yep, the product I have worked on is pretty specialist...Usually there aren't that many companies hiring test analysts for this as there are BA's who do the testing as well. But yes, given I have worked on it ground up I believe I have invaluable skills that will make it a lot easier for a company newly implementing the system to grow their business. And test analysis is not limited to one product - the process I've learned on a big project will apply to most projects out there.

Umm..Haven't considered any specific degrees but happy to go learn at trainings...I want property to be the niche at the end of the day...

My current role was be crazy hours till last year but this year has been heaps better and I've drawn a line to go home at 5:30pm. Next year I am supposed to be driving a new stream that we are implementing to decommission a major system which is supposed to be a revenue making leg of the derivatives business (during good times)...But again, as you say - My job will remain the same! I may have more business knowledge, but it won't necessarily teach me TOO much more than I have already learned on the project....I like work that challenges me...don't want to get too stale...I work pretty fast and that makes my already supposedly aggressive job boring at times. That to me says I need new challenges I guess...

Do you work for the government mattnz? How are your hours? What industry are you in?
Do you work for the government mattnz? How are your hours? What industry are you in?

I'm in banking. Have a good 9-5 job and get paid quite well. Another year and I will have enough money behind me from developing to be able to leave the workforce permanently at 38 :)

Think about what will make a huge difference in your circumstances. It took me far too long to find developing, but the returns are amazing. Time to find your long-term niche that will move you beyond a job to pay the bills to a life-changing opportunity. Spending hours and hours working for someone else is extremely unlikely to get you wealthy. You are in a generation that needs to do something different to get ahead.
i reckon try to look into getting a different position within the company say investment banking line. As i know it the top earners working in the corporate world are from investment banking, mining and oil and gas.

Also try to check up on the redundancy packages if they're a company that offers that kind of arrangements. I know some companies do.

As for interest vs cashflow - sometimes it doesn't just boil down to interest but the necessity in practice. Many people hate their jobs or maybe don't like them but because of other financial obligations they find it hard to move on. If you're a position to move to something greater without having much impact on your lifestyle or investment objectives - then go for it
You're in the classic catch-22: Have existing commitments which you need the job for, but you want to leave the job to explore more opportunities, which in turn impacts on those opportunities.
James...I'm not sure if investment banking is really making money. I work in the securities division and it used to be the most profitable area prior to the GFC...we've been making losses ever since. What COULD work in my favour is stick it out the next 12 months as the implementation leg of the project that I'd be working on is Stock Lending, Repo, Collateral...and when that business kicks off and the market improves at some point, there is A LOT of money. I don't think they'd make me redundant least for now

Aaron...I don't exactly want to leave, but feel perhaps I need to definitely see what can offer me better $ and opportunities' Especially since some people in management who have left have hinted to me I should look out for opportunities. I just dont want to be in a situation, having done the same thing over and over (as indicated by mattnz) and too pigeon holed. They aren't really doing me a favour otherwise as I've given back what they have invested in me.

I spoke with my boss's boss and even his boss who thought I should complete the project before I consider my options or have concerns due to these offshoring resources...

Stepping up wise....I can see my boss getting ahead...but I'm not sure if I'd be able to get the "next title" (although an empty validation) for may be a year, two years or even three years to come..
From our few discussions and reading your posts here, you eventually would like property to be your business right? I think that in making that choice, you need to let something else go. While it is great to be earning more money which means higher borrowing capacity for more properties, it usually means more hours and more stress. So less time and energy to focus on property.

My husband is in middle management in IT at a bank. With each promotion he gets, there is less and less time and energy he can put in on our future business, being property. He may be up for a promotion soon but has said that his property days will be over as he can't focus on both. We were sitting at the table last night nutting out a floor plan for our upcoming build and he just couldn't do it. He said it's the last one he can get involved in. His promotions involve much higher stress for not a lot more pay, which seems to be the way in finance roles for IT.

On the other side, I've just taken a demotion (changed jobs for lifestyle reasons) and can now focus more on property. The 35K I've lost in earnings (pre-tax) is worth it when our proposed build will likely generate over 80K in equity in 12 months time.

So I think it's more about the future - what you want to do and what you need to do now in order to have that future. While I still think about the money I've lost in changing roles, I love that I'm heading home around 5 and don't take too much work stress home with me.

Sometimes you need to sacrifice something to get something better.
Should I consider moving jobs?

If you get a good opportunity with more money than YES definitely!

Also, I have been an IT contractor since 2005. Moved jobs regularly whenever I get a good offer.

Have a few million in loans and never had an issue getting a loan because I am a contractor.

Contracting is the best thing that has happened to my career. As soon I enter work my billing clock starts and stops when I leave. Don't get paid for sick, public and annual leaves but I am fine with that. The hourly rate more than makes up for lost leaves.

MsAli - I've been in IT (as a professional consultant) for 15 years now. I'd offer the following:

1) Your first job is about learning how to work in the business of IT. It won't pay well, and you'll always be viewed as a junior unless you stay for a decade or more.
2) IT is a dynamic industry, with constant change. You should expect to change jobs periodically to stay fresh, and to get promoted. Promotion (and pay rises) are far easier when you change jobs than if you stay.
3) IT is viewed by most business people as a cost. What can you do to be an income stream rather than a cost stream? With cost stream employees, executives are constantly assessing whether they can afford to keep them. With income stream employees executives have to assess whether they can afford to lose them.
4) Software testing, even as an analyst, will only get you so far. If you want a serious career in IT, you will need to get away from testing into something else. IT project management is a good area for a test analyst to move into, provided you are good at it. There are lots of crap IT project managers around.
5) A good workplace is not that common in IT. Lots of workplaces (especially in private sector IT service providers) suck. If yours is good, there's value in that.
I think you should definitely leave if there are better opportunities out there, whether that be better career progression, experience, pay or working conditions. Staying in a job because you feel attached to it means that you're just cheating yourself.
Thanks all for your words of wisdom! They mean a lot and make a lot of often it does get difficult to talk about these things at work at times.

@beachgurl, yep eventually its going to be property...It clicks well with me (like nothing else ever has). Actually it's a catch 22...if I go contracting I can earn as much as $700 a day which is A LOT higher than what I currently earn. I have a recruitment agent waiting for me to let him know whether I want to go for the interview. And that role is a step up from what I currently do. I have come to the realisation that I just am not challenged by being a Test Analyst any more. I do the same thing over and over and I am so efficient at it, that it takes me half the time to do it every time and rest of the times, I feel guilty for having done everything I had to so quickly. I had times when I used to stay back late A LOT (as investment banking culture is) but this year I haven't... partially as I can do what my role is with my eyes closed. In fact...a contract means that you do what you have to and leave on time without getting involved in the work politics...This could mean I could possibly save anywhere up to $75k-80k a year!! Thanks for your input :)

@Oracle, Wow! how did you manage to get loans while contracting? Do you need to put in a certain % of deposits? I bet it has helped you a lot with deposits! What is your role to be specific?

@VYBerlina, your input is appreciated! Interesting thoughts about being considered a junior...I feel although I do have strong foundations and reputation where I am I do sometimes get viewed as a junior. A colleague of mine who had the benefit of joining as an intern a year before me has been moved to the BA team. It was a bombshell that came today and it's another nail in coffin called the Sydney test team. It really annoyed me as there has been no indication it was coming. I feel there won't be any progress for me here, unless I TRIED a BA role out. And as you suggest long term BA and then project management (PM) is the way to go. At least BA might challenge me a bit more! But how do I determine I will actually LIKE it? I will speak with a project manager tomorrow to see if there was opportunity for me to transition. My workplace seem to support career moves/transitions within the company. Even someone from an IT Support team is now moving to a junior BA role. It makes me wonder...why did I not realise this sooner!! The only good thing that seems is the potential opportunity to go to our office overseas to train the new team members....that is the only plus. A few months ago my boss had hinted he was going to give me a team to drive/lead, but if he assigns me 2 resources, that's not really a big deal for me.

I don't think I want an IT career beyond my financial freedom. I have a goal to leave the corporate world by 35. I turn 27 next month. Instead, somehow, somewhere I want to start my own business. Not sure what it will be, not sure where it will come up from, not sure how I will gather the courage to make the move but I have a strong inkling that in the mid term, I should be doing something on my own.

How do you describe a GOOD IT work place? I have no other place to compare it against other than my internship at IBM. But I enjoy this place a lot more, because there is aggression to deliver. The deadlines are crazy, we work as a team, there is can do attitude, people are really smart, the quality of work is high.

I "think" I work with some of the best in the industry...and that makes it really hard to measure up if people "out there" are going to be as driven as where I am at...It makes me wonder if I am settling for the second best by "chickening out"...I know this may be ignorant but I have nothing else to compare it to :(

@starter...Thanks for your thoughts! How do you define a better opportunity? I think my ego is having issues to accept the fact there is no real future in this place if I stay in the same role and there is no certainty they will let me change my career either (although they may be supportive of it)...Thanks for the reminder...Like a workplace I need to see my bottom line not what the work place need...

Thank you all :(
Oh and can I add...whoever that has left that I have spoken to says to me...We are surprised why people have not left that toxic environment yet?!
I think you should definitely go to the interview, it doesn't hurt and will give you a much better idea of whether it's a better opportunity than your current role or not. Also as you said IT isn't something that you want to do long term, then perhaps it doesn't really matter if you're working in a job that is the most geared towards building up your IT skills and perhaps you should focus instead on a job that helps get you to where you want to go.

I'll give you an example. I love my job at the moment and leaving my old firm to take this job was the best thing ever. Not because I find the work rewarding or anything like that but the thing I like most about it is that I have awesome hours and even while at work I have lots of time to research properties and focus on my investment. I'm sure I'm not learning and developing my legal skills as much as someone who is busy all the time but I don't really care.
Thanks starter...appreciate your input! I will have to tell the agent I'm open to contracting if I am to go for the interview. And I suppose the decision is mine at the end of the day if they do offer me the role. At least it will give me the confidence to try other places out. I think as a grad you get a very sheltered environment and I'm so used to it over the years.

You are right ...who cares if that is not where I want to get to. Though then my "poor dad" thinking comes into place...I want to excel at everything I do...and feel bad if I am not of any real value. I'm just thinking out loud here...

Wow, good on you for choosing to invest in yourself :). May be leaving your first job is always a challenge!
Do whatever makes you happy. Theres no point working a bad job in a bad environment for a paycheque if you are unhappy.

You know my story... I left corporate IT to go out on my own as a consultant and took a gigantic pay cut to do so, the first year or so I lived off baked beans and 2 minute noodles. 4 years on and I have 5 staff and a number of blue chip clients on service contracts that are worth more per annum each than I used to earn in corporate IT.

Its not for everyone I guess and it depends on your drive for business ie working in a business or working on a business.
True that Dave. I'm not sure how you really determine a bad environment before going anywhere? I think mine used to be great...and I've had so many big opportunities, especially one being witnessing a big project being set up and built from ground up and having been an integral part of it...I guess at least now there are indicators that it is not good for me...

Yeh you have done incredible. I don't think I can do what you on baked beans and 2 minute noodles is difficult and I don't really know where to start.....But I believe if the desire is there, it will manifest...who knows it might just be property - full time!
As an analyst, put your very best skill to use:

Write everything down......pros, cons, $$$, which will offer better working conditions, work location, everything. Brainstorm it all on a piece of paper.

What to do will stand out to you. Put weight on everything. The $$$ might be the most heavily weighted.....or a 4pm finish everyday instead of a 5.30 finish.

If you always do what you've always done, then you will always get what you've always got. Are you comfortable with that? It might work for you to stay in the nice comfy job from a stability point of view, but I dont think that of you, you want more, otherwise you wouldnt ask!

Like Dave above, Ive dipped into the 'cyclone food' to feed the family along the way, but wouldnt swap it for the world of laughs and smiles (a few properties and some toys) along the way! :D

Keep us in the loop when you take on the new role :p!

pinkboy! Thanks for your wise words (again!)...I will make the lists! I know the Universe is trying to tell me...."Wake up!...time to follow your path and your purpose"