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Programming IT

What Mistakes Can Stall An IT Career? (cio.com) 207

Quoting snydeq: "In the fast-paced world of technology, complacency can be a career killer," Paul Heltzel writes in an article on 20 ways to kill your IT career without knowing it. "So too can any number of hidden hazards that quietly put your career on shaky ground -- from not knowing your true worth to thinking you've finally made it. Learning new tech skills and networking are obvious ways to solidify your career. But what about accidental ways that could put your career in a slide? Hidden hazards -- silent career killers? Some tech pitfalls may not be obvious."
CIO's reporter "talked to a number of IT pros, recruiters, and developers about how to build a bulletproof career and avoid lesser-known pitfalls," citing hazards like burning bridges and skipping social events. But it also warns of the dangers of staying in your comfort zone too long instead of asking for "stretch" assignments and accepting training opporunities.

The original submission puts the same question to Slashdot readers. "What silent career killers have you witnessed (or fallen prey to) in your years in IT?"
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What Mistakes Can Stall An IT Career?

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  • Rape and murder. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Don't rape and/or murder your employees at work. That would really stall your IT career.

  • Starting one .... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Hate to say it, but starting one. I went to university for engineering ended up in I.T. -- the first firm I worked for had me doing more I.T. type work than actual engineering, and I discovered there was good money in going freelance. Fast-forward 10 years, and I'm bored.

    Now I'm going to graduate school for biochemistry and am much, much happier -- will probably end up either teaching or in medical school. I'd rather troubleshoot problems created by evolution, G-d, what have you, than clean up after bad

  • Here's one (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

    silicon valley

  • by Bookwyrm ( 3535 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @01:40PM (#55707143)

    You know, "This one weird trick can save you from silent career killers! Just sign up for our seminar, hire our career coach, etc. to learn more."

    Definitely can ruin your life.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @01:42PM (#55707157)

    ...not liking sports. Even though these grown men never played anything more than flag-football or a coed softball game they carry on about their favorite teams with the pronoun, "we," like they had something to do with the team's success. Many are huge fans of teams for whom they've never lived in the state that the team is based in and only attend games when that team comes to town for one game against the local one.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...not liking sports. Even though these grown men never played anything more than flag-football or a coed softball game they carry on about their favorite teams with the pronoun, "we," like they had something to do with the team's success. Many are huge fans of teams for whom they've never lived in the state that the team is based in and only attend games when that team comes to town for one game against the local one.

      It doesn't have to be sports, just have at least one interest that is not work-related that you can associate over. At my work turns out that we have quite a number of engineers and designers who are hot rod and sports car enthusiasts, I've never had to discuss football or such with them. Also quite a few hunters who were happy to bring me some game meat when they found out that I like to cook and was interested in trying some new recipes.

    • ...not lik^H^H^Hdoing sports
      FTFY.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Some like e-sports. :P

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      Fuck all to do with 'liking' sports. The key here is building rapport and a relationship with your colleagues.

      You don't have to like sports, and you especially don't have to like the team they support. What matters is that they don't feel that you just don't care about them and their interests - whether that's sports, hotrod cars, cycling or anything else.

      The biggest bore I've worked with was a cycling enthusiast. Every fucking conversation was about heart rates, cadence and lycra. But he was also easy to d

    • If you are really that concerned about it. You can try getting into the mathematics [wikipedia.org] of sports. [fivethirtyeight.com]
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @01:42PM (#55707159)

    Over time in development and IT, I've seen guys who carreers stalled - but it wasn't from anything like failing to attend social events, it was just being complacent doing one thing, and not even really excelling at it but just being "the guy who does X" for years on end.

    You really do have to push to try new things, get training, or try to get some other tasks besides something that is pigeonholing you. In the earlier days of career I would even do things like take vacation and pay for my own conferences, which greatly paid off later (also sometimes I was able to get a company to expense a conference after the fact, so don't give up even if they say no). However key is that you have to try and make use of what training you get, even if it's just prototypes that show alternative ways the company could be doing things. Very often those can spring up into real projects.

    Going back around to social events, like I said I don't think they hurt your progression - but that's within a company. The thing talking to people in the company and getting to know them a bit does do, is make it much easier to find jobs later as people move on and disperse to lots of other companies. It's a great help to be thought of well by someone who works at a company you are thinking of working for, and even better having an inside person lets you invite them to lunch and ask real questions about what it is like to work there. So longer term, I don't think you have to go to every event but do make an effort to not only be friendly but also interested in the lives of those around you.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Over time in development and IT, I've seen guys who carreers stalled - but it wasn't from anything like failing to attend social events, it was just being complacent doing one thing, and not even really excelling at it but just being "the guy who does X" for years on end.

      You really do have to push to try new things, get training, or try to get some other tasks besides something that is pigeonholing you.

      This is true about any knowledge worker career, don't be the "the guy who just does X" for years on end and wonder why you get laid off when X is no longer in use and have a hard time finding new jobs that still use X.

      Going back around to social events, like I said I don't think they hurt your progression - but that's within a company.

      What I've found is that at least going to events and being well known socially gives you some extra security during lay-offs, usually the first ones to go are the loners who don't even talk about the weather as nobody, especially the bosses, even cares a wit about them unless they are really,

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is one of the reasons I try to make friends with outside sales engineers that work for me vendors, they visit so many companies and often know about job openings before they even get posted.

        Lessons from a long career:

        Make friends of all those sales people, sales engineers and anyone they put you in touch with. Stay friendly with them. Remember, that to you they are a nuisance, but to them (and you may deal with them for five minutes), you're just one of 20 people they may meet this week. They will network in a week with more people than you will in a month.

        They always know who's hiring, or who may have a similiar network/It setup that you can jump to fairly quickly.

        Posting anon, too lazy to

    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:39PM (#55707423) Homepage

      I'm not sure how to formulate it properly but it's about provable skills vs actual skills. As in, when you're job hunting it doesn't matter if you're really good at something if nobody knows about it or nobody believes you. You get a stack of resumes and... what does it say really? From and to dates and a title. You probably have referrals, but almost everyone can get someone to speak positively about them. A short test on the interview probably says more about who's a smooth talker and how they handle a quiz than everyday work. Ideally you want tangible proofs that you're an accomplished professional or passionate developer, second best is networks and people who'll vouch for you and third are degrees, certificates and other formal papers.

      I think it also depends on how big of a niche you're in, despite living in a >100k city I find that many of the same people are circulating around the same oh, maybe 50-100 jobs. I don't feel the need to really actively "market" myself, people I've worked with in the past either at other companies or have left for other companies means then you've seeded quite a few ex-coworkers who hopefully have a good impression of you. But you have to make that impression, you can't just hide in a corner and do your own little thing. Personally I don't think I could, I got fingers in way too many pies and is actively trying to *not* get caught up in more. Mostly because I'm the one stuck cleaning up the train wrecks when things derail.

    • Yup all of that.

      I'm in my 50's. I just dropped a two decades long career in writing software drivers to write web applications in C#.

      I did it for a couple of reasons.

      First reason - if I have to write another keyboard driver ever ever ever again, I'll murder someone. I can't do it anymore. It isn't possible to be more bored with something than I am. Doing something new - anything new - feels like a vacation.

      Second reason - growth. It's a strange rule of our profession that the things that pay be

      • Oh, and a brief side note.

        The people who complain about Millennials? I have absolutely NO idea what they are going on about. I work with a couple dozen of them. I've never met a smarter, more energetic, more knowledgeable bunch in my life. Their dedication to getting things done is astounding. I'm amazed daily by how competent and informed these folks are.

        I strongly suspect the people who have problems with Millennials have never been around a group of them trying to figure out why the server is ha

  • I've only had to deal with IT, but I've found the ones my company has retained tend to be those who have a great breadth of knowledge across platforms.

    Being an engineer, most of my contacts are pretty tame. I'm that guy who gets locked out of their email or intra net, or need to order a new technical setup which my department insists should be done by IT.

    The best IT guys I've worked with, I have been able to ping about remote server access questions or public key requests and they responded with a gre
    • Companies vary. Sometimes they hire the cheapest of the cheap IT people, with no interview lasting longer than it takes to present a Microsoft stamped certificate that proves that they have attended a class. Some companies do better here, with smarter IT up the chain away from the support desk.

      Smaller companies in my experience tend to hire better people, because each IT worker has got to manage so many more things.

      Really large companies all outsource everything, so instead of ignorant American cookie cutt

  • by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @01:46PM (#55707177) Homepage Journal

    Career killer par excellance

    • Seconded...if you're not built for it, you will hate it. Been there, and have the scars. Plus, middle managers often just get hollowed out in "delayering" exercises, so there you are mid-career, unemployed, with no useful skills. Not a good place to be!

      • by mikael ( 484 )

        I saw that myself. One previously nationalized company started to take advantage of IT to implement the "paperless office" in the 1980's. The first thing they started to do was to reduce the management hierarchy. It was 1:3 ratio of manager/subordinates. All the managers really did was get the completed tasks from the supervising engineer, put those in a spreadsheet, print them out and hand them out to the senior manager, who then signed them off and handed them up to the director. Once the new IT system (e

    • Yup. That's what destroyed Borland.

    • Yeah - my boss is retiring in a few months and I just turned down the promotion into that management position. Realistically I probably have the best overview in the department of how things work, but I'm still 15 years from retirement and I don't think I could stomach that long in management - plus it would only be a pay increase of about 10%.

      Maybe in 11 or 12 more years I'd be interested, but for now I still enjoy actual coding too much.

    • Only if
      - you aren't cut out to be a manager
      - you let your tech skills rot

      Personally, I've been a manager or director for most of the past seven years. I love it! I still write code at home to keep up with the latest developments. I relish the role of mentor and coach, and love it when I can play a role in helping my team members be successful.

  • Missed some (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ranton ( 36917 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @01:47PM (#55707191)

    Two huge ones I feel they missed are sticking with a single company without advancement for too long, and waiting for responsibility to be given to you.

    While hopping between jobs every 10 months is a big red flag for most, staying at the same company in the same role for 10 years is even worse (IMHO). Every time I meet a developer who has been at the same company for a decade while staying at a mid-level developer position, I expect mediocrity. Only once have I been wrong. In your mid 20's to mid 30's you need to be moving up in responsibility rapidly, and most of the time a non-enterprise sized company cannot keep up with enough opportunities.

    Also most coworkers I have had wait until being formally given responsibility instead of just taking it on themselves. Every time I have gotten a significant promotion my day to day responsibilities were largely unchanged. This was because I was already doing that role and the company was just making it official. I hear many coworkers complaining about how poorly their department is being run without ever finding ways they can improve it themselves without direction. If you have a boss that doesn't like this, get a new boss. But you cannot just wait for opportunities to present themselves; create opportunity.

    • Re:Missed some (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @03:02PM (#55707567) Journal
      Good ones. Though I know several competent developers who have stayed with the same company for 10 or 20 years. They have kept up with their profession and are a far cry from mediocre; they just like to stay in their comfort zone. Problem is: many others in the company assumes they are mediocre because they haven't advanced. A great way to stall their IT career... but it's a career they may not have wanted in the first place. That's not a red flag for mediocrity, these could be excellent hires in their current expertise. Just don't expect future management material amongst them.

      TFA glosses over the value of networking, but I think social skills really are an underappreciated asset in tech careers. And yes, social skills are a skill, which you can learn and practice if it doesn't come to you naturally. As an introvert I had to work hard at improving my social skills... and I started later than I should have. But it has paid off in every single assignment I have held since.
    • I'm not so sure I agree 100%. If the company allows you to get diverse experience and is a good place to work, I think it can work out. Problem is most companies aren't designed like this and want to pigeonhole people into the same thing year after year. I've been changing focus every 2-3 years within the same company, trying to pick something interesting and employment-generating just in case.

      And yes, I know sticking around can make it harder to find another job...I think the key to fixing that is to keep

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @01:48PM (#55707195)

    But I don't label it a mistake.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    dropping the database close to the deadline..

  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @01:52PM (#55707223) Homepage

    Getting old. Although you wouldn't like the alternative to avoiding that.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Being a white male doesn't help either - viewed as having too many of those despite the preponderance of Indian men in the field (about 60% of IT at my current employer)

    • by 3Cats ( 113616 )

      boy fucking howdy, this. 40 is a terrible age to suddenly become unemployed in the IT field due to your company closing. Those 20 somethings with a wet degree will do it for half what you expect to be paid.

    • I keep reading and hearing about this, but I don't see it.

      I'm 51, and still thriving in software development. I work next to a 60-year-old programmer.

      Maybe this ageism thing is a Silicon Valley phenomenon. In Houston, I've worked with lots of successful older programmers.

  • And having your finances destroyed for life. Just say NO to Silicon Valley, you CAN'T afford it after taxes unless you are a Millionaire.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:15PM (#55707321)
    IT systems come and go. IT people inexorably linked to systems also come and go. Best way not to go? Stay curious, learn new things, learn new systems. Look to the future, create the future you want to work in. Don't link yourself to the past and present.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by greenwow ( 3635575 )

      I somewhat disagree. Most systems exist for many years or even decades after they should have been replaced. Here's an old but good article from Joel on Software:

      https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/04/06/things-you-should-never-do-part-i/ [joelonsoftware.com]

      It talks about how code rewrites almost always fail. I could easily come up with another hundred examples. We've started rewriting our inventory system three times and failed three times. I heard the last failure cost over 20 times what the software originally cost to

      • I somewhat disagree. Most systems exist for many years or even decades after they should have been replaced....

        My point was less about having a job, and more about growing in a job. If you don't want the lay-off target painted on your back, stay curious. Of course, if your goal is to stagnate then, by all means, link yourself to a IT system and don't learn anything new. It's your career and your choice.

    • Thank you. Flexibility is your only defense: I read the post and laughed when it said "how to bullet proof" .. It's almost the same as someone trying to shoot a target... It's moving faster than you can aim. Changing its dimensions and orientation, and intermittently disappears and reappears somewhere else.
  • When I RTFA, it's not very clear who this is for: IT drones or coders. If you do a search in the article on "code", "writing", "engineer" and you won't find anything. There is talk of a 23 year old team "technology team leader" but nothing to say that he's actually writing any code.

    I'm pointing this out because "IT" to me means the people who (reluctantly) answer phone calls for system and internet problems and (even more reluctantly) go to a user's desk and help them. I'm being somewhat disparaging beca

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      I've seen life at the "hell-desk". Employees calling up wanting to get someone to replace the paper in the laser-printer. Universities have to put up signs stating "please do not refill the laser printer toner cartridges with coffee". Having the technicians do marathon runs across alternating floors of the building to make everyone see that "something was been done".

      • Well, it is a low level job, and it might include refilling printer paper.

        Maybe they find it unpleasant simply because of their own bad attitude?

        Most of the job is simply looking up what the fix for something is, or repeating fixes you did before. It is technical, but not skilled.

        • by mikael ( 484 )

          At the time (back in the 1980's), office LAN's were still based on the yellow and blue Ethernet cables along with vampire taps. The flash ROM's on the network boards (about the size of GPU's back then), would fail once in a while. Either one board would start transmitting non-stop or not even respond. Other times, two cards would end up with the same MAC address. This was really flaky stuff. There weren't any firewalls across the networks, so when one PC blew up, the whole building went down. That would lea

          • No, a computer taking down the network for others does not have to do with "firewalls" (strange thing to say, that) it was because you were on a token ring network.

  • Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MattRyanUK ( 44915 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:18PM (#55707329)

    Realising that corporate politics is a load of bullshit and not playing along is the #1 career killer.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:20PM (#55707343)

    When they say, "Our employees are our most valuable asset."

    Pro Tip: The more you can relate to Dilbert (in general) the more you need to find somewhere else to work.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      A dilbert (D) is the international unit of measure for bureaucracy. One dilbert is equal to 1 person hour of office work. In plain English, 1 dilbert of bureaucracy is the time required to occupy a person with pointless tasks that serve no purpose for 1 hour

      As the dilbert is an international unit of measurement, standard prefixes can be applied; 1 kilodilbert is 1000 hours of office work, 1 megadilbert is 1 million hours of office work. 1 millidilbert is 3.6 seconds of office work.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      "Our employees are our most valuable asset."

      Yes, the ones slated to replace YOU.

    • Didn't Dilbert's PHB announce that they made a mistake, employees were actually the twenty-third most important asset, right behind carbon paper?

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:21PM (#55707347)

    ... that stall every other career:

    1) Not knowing my worth.

    2) Relying on others to advance it.

    Which are somewhat two sides of the same coin.

    I happen to be in the lucky place of having (at least) two careers in an lifetime. The other being performing arts. (I have a dancing/performing arts diploma) I can assure you the things holding me back in one are the precise same things holding me back in my other career in IT. It boils down to this: All careers, IT and elsewhere, that deserve the name are hand crafted and built on the willingness to have uncomfortable/difficult conversations and make tough decisions. Your current IT lead is just the very same as your current choreograph: Beyond a minimal extent he/she doesn't give a flying fuck where you are at in 20 years from now. And they don't have to. It's not their job or their concern.

    It should however be yours.

    I'm pretty glad with how my career is going and you can be sure all advancements are based on going through very very tough patches and seeing them through and coming out on top. Eventually.

    My two eurocents.

  • Being over 40 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    To be fair, that will stall many careers.

  • Bosses wife (Score:5, Funny)

    by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:39PM (#55707427) Homepage

    Sleeping with the bosses wife or girlfriend come to mind. Anything involving the words, "officer that isn't my cocaine." Getting drunk and mistaking the main server as a urinal

    Fire arms and the disk drives from the corporate san.

    posting to facebook while intoxicated.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      That's why we need unions to represent IT, you don't want to get fired for that.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Sleeping with the bosses wife or girlfriend come to mind.

      Not a problem, unless you're caught.
      The plus side is knowing that your (likely former) boss pays for college for your child.

  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gCHEETAHmail.com minus cat> on Saturday December 09, 2017 @02:40PM (#55707433) Journal

    1. Being born after 1985 or before 1975
    2. Not living in NYC/SF/Austin/Boston
    3. Being born without a penis

  • Pets (Score:4, Funny)

    by Monster_user ( 5075027 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @03:12PM (#55707605)
    Non-Career or life goal focused responsibilities can undermine one's ability to excel in one's chosen career.

    So to can life's responsibilities recieved at inopportune times. But that's life. Life never goes according to plan.
    • by tychoS ( 200282 )

      IT Career killers:

      1. Getting married
      2. Fathering multiple children
      3. Buying a house with a garden
      4. Developing social relations with non IT people

      Lets face it. To keep on top of the IT field you have to work fulltime++ at the dayjob with technology that is current, up-to-date and mainstream and then go home and spend evenings & weekends exploring bleeding edge technology and learning new languages, tools, frameworks etc.

      That is easy enough when you are 25, live in a small apartment full of computers and

      • Agreed. Except coaching softball, etc, grants a leadership experience role, and other experience which can be leveraged into a promotion, or leveraged into moving out of IT and into another role in the organization.

        But, yeah, I do feel that IT is as ErichTheRed points out, a series of jumping in and out of rabbit holes, which is a job for the young and unattached.
      • by Rande ( 255599 )

        AI girlfriend? Nope, took Eliza out and shot her in the head multiple times. Kept wanting to talk about my feelings.

  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @03:31PM (#55707699)

    Overspecializing is a huge danger, and it's a constant fight in IT/dev trying to figure out where you need to be next. This is especially important now that SaaS services are starting to take the place of managed environments and in-house software. I know several people who work as contractors in NYC bouncing from banks to law firms to media companies, and rates are dropping. Some skills just aren't in demand as much as they were...Exchange admins who knew everything about the product used to make tons of money because email was so important to companies...now they just buy Office 365. CCNP-level engineers who knew the network back and forth could easily make huge salaries and they're largely being replaced by SDN managed by the ISP or someone in India. The problem is that to get to these levels in any speciality, you need to tunnel-vision focus on your area at the exclusion of almost everything else.

    The problem this presents is that you basically have these choices to try to make a career for yourself:
    - Specialize and hope to $deity you picked something that will be around for a while...you can get rockstar-level money but the downsides are (uaually) having to move every year or so where the work is, and the risk of finding yourself in a dead end needing to jump to another rabbit hole.
    - Be a total generalist...you'll be jack of all trades and master of none. You'll usually be limited to small shops which limits income and exposure to "enterprisey" huge systems. The only upside I can see is you won't find yourself in the same place EMC or NetApp wizards are finding themselves now.
    - Dive into rabbbit holes but constantly bounce out...that's where I am now. The upside is that I've been able to work at the same place for over 10 years (which is important to me because I like a stable home/work life) without being the guy who's had the same year of experience 10 years over. Downside....chasing New! Shiny! Must Learn NOW!!! while being semi-competent at whatever specialty I'm engaged in. The firehose of information can get exhausting, especially when you see how much new shiny is yet another wrapper on a wrapper on a layer on a framework on a container on a virtualization platform.

    Long term survival in the IT world without winding up a washed-up middle manager or project manager means being flexible. Don't go too far down rabbit holes...the good money is only temporary and will require another massive effort to climb out and back down the next one.

    • Diving in and out of rabbit holes. That is how I view IT as well. That is what I rely on for job security.
    • by jon3k ( 691256 )

      CCNP-level engineers who knew the network back and forth could easily make huge salaries and they're largely being replaced by SDN managed by the ISP or someone in India.

      I definitely disagree with this. We cannot find or retain CCNPs. We have three open positions for CCNA/CCNP right now. And we are SD-WAN customers, we have Citrix SD-WAN deployed at almost 50 locations right now. Don't drink the Kool-Aid, it won't magically replace your need for network admins.

  • Never stop learning. Make sure you stay current. Use every position as an opportunity to learn new things.
    Manage perception. Make sure people see you as a subject matter expert and a person with high commercial value.
    Network effectively. Stay in touch with people as they change jobs.
    Proactively seek new opportunities.
    Negotiate hard for the compensation you want. This is another aspect of perception management.


    I've been continuously employed and well paid in this industry for over 34 years. Just
  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @05:01PM (#55708057) Homepage Journal

    In my particular case the court appointed psychiatrist thought that having had more than ten jobs over the past ten years at the age of 28 meant I was unstable. This of course was a woman in her sixties who's parents put her through an ivy-league school then never really had to hustle a day in her life because her dad was politically connected and got her connected to several judges who sent her business as often as she wanted in exchange for campaign contributions. She literally had a quarter million dollar a year position handed to her right out of college due to her connection and it just went up from there. Let's look at theses ten jobs over ten years at the age of 28 - most of them were in the first four years of that span, meaning right out of high-school moving from the sticks to the city without a connected family. The home town video store, to security guard - still aged 18 - that only lasted about eight months, to manufacturing, to better manufacturing to engineering to supporting businesses, to supporting satellite earth stations for gas companies. You're supposed to go through a bunch of jobs right after high school to work your way up in your career, the job as of the time of the shrink visit was at four years. Something else she held against me - the company I worked for when I first moved to Houston dissolved and formed a company in partnership with one of our clients. I worked for the same people more or less for four years, but since it was two different companies I changed jobs on paper and that contributed to my instability. When I did work for one of the oil companies who I worked for changed four times while I sat in the same desk in the same office - that was job hopping to her. It's almost like she was programmed into government technicality stupid mode. You would think someone doing that job for that long could understand people without a silver spoon in their rectums having to climb a ladder and someone who lived in Houston all their lives having some understanding about oil companies.

    My next job was a pretty good one. It's wasn't super awesome, I stayed in one spot for 8 years at about ~$50,000 simply because I've been in a custody stale-mate the whole time and I wanted to keep the shrink happy. I had more opportunities come up, but I refused to take any risks, the sheer magnitude of my child support combined with well-timed extra expenses kept me from ever developing any kind of buffer zone for risk combined with the fact even if I found something better it would be a red mark as far as the shrink was concerned caused me to remain stagnant. My job at NASA was finally Obamanated after 8 years and I'm coming up at 4 at the next place. Fortunately within the position I'm at we're making changes in my department to actually form a subsidiary company and I might have a chance to make some risk taking type advancement without the same risk taking stigma I would take on my own. Regardless it's only a few years until my kid hits adulthood at this point and even though I don't truly have the buffer zone anymore it matters less.

    I was considered a wiz-kid well ahead of the curve when I first started out. Even after I leveled out a little I was still upwardly mobile and making waves. After getting married to a sociopath the career brakes were hit hard.

    • Whatever. Marriage has been proven to be a net positive for men. Just because you have psychiatric problems and/or made a poor choice in a woman doesn't change that. Grow up.
      • Asshole, you obviously didn't read it.

        You're right, poor choice in a woman. Of course a bad choice in women shouldn't be a court enforced multi-decade punishment for a man, especially when you can prove the woman was the screw up. I grew up well ahead of most of my peers, the court system is designed so that ONLY men have to grow up responsible.

  • I am 2 months away from the end of my 30th year as an independent contractor. Over the years, I have worked with different languages and tech. in different fields/markets.

    The basic issue is learn something new every 6 months. And stay on top of where tech. is going.

    Also, it does not hurt to love what you do ;) I have been fishing every day of the week for 30 years. I am 62 and I am never going to retire, heck may as well get paid to fish ;)
  • Well, I read the article and quite frankly... IT isn't the same merit based environment it once was.

    Which essentially means I do not care. Having made the right moves in the 90s and 2000s I'm not worried about "today". I live in a rural area and work as a PC tech along side engineers who cannot hold a candle to my skill set. But... it's a better life. I'm 52 now. Did my first coding in 1979, first professional gig in 1984. I've accomplished everything I wanted to. I do not need to "earn"....

    My career goals

  • Pretty much fixing bugs and working under other engineers who are in charge of the actually projects is considered low prestige. Admittedly it's expect you do this early in your career to get some experience. However if for any reason you get stuck doing this for any length of time once you have experience or find yourself transitioned to this role it becomes harder and harder to get out of that role and staying here will stall your career. Ways you can definitely tell you're basically consider a grunt and
  • by GlennC ( 96879 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @06:32PM (#55708353)

    1. Being over 40
    2. Being a US Citizen
    3. Being White

    I'm sure that there are others.

    • What a Crock! Am 62, US Citizen, White and self employed independent IT Contractor. Do not fall for the standard Victimization. The moment you accept it, you can not fix your own problems! And that is what they want!
  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @07:17PM (#55708469) Journal
    Doing all your scripting in Brainfuck [wikipedia.org]. Yes, you're a genius if you can do it - but it is rather complex to maintain...
  • by technomom ( 444378 ) on Saturday December 09, 2017 @08:51PM (#55708803)
    I see this all the time. "I'm a web developer, I don't want to learn any backend services stuff.", "I'm a DB person. I don't code." In this market you'll be competing against full stack developers who do everything including all that devops stuff to deploy apps. Good luck with your career if you don't keep up with at least a few skills. Don't be a one trick pony in IT. It doesn't work anymore.
    • I've found that "Sure, I don't know anything about it, but I'll give it a try" has worked pretty well over my career.

  • Took several years off because one of my kids was sick. Right decision, but it killed my career.

  • I've had 3 truly toxic managers in my career. One of them I didn't realize until after, but if you ever wonder, "Is it normal for my boss to undermine my efforts?", the answer is a resounding NO. Get out. As soon as you can. No paycheck is worth having to battle a person who should be your advocate.

    I had _3_ < 1 year positions in a row. I was lucky in that the first and second had very reasonable explanations and the third was honestly just bad placement. I'm a jack of all trades developer but they were

  • Working overtime with no vacation with three or four project managers breathing down the back of your neck while your boss who has ADHD keeps piling on new (but useless) projects. Burn out can hit you and hit you hard.

  • DROP TABLE

  • - Jumping ship
    I haven't done it yet. But I know people that do it a lot and they get paid a lot more than I do for the same amount of work/responsibilities.

    - Folding under pressure
    I cool as a cucumber under pressure because I take the time to figure out what's causing the issue. My management isn't. I have found that not running around like a headless chicken appears to hurt me. They mistake calm for not caring. I'm not joking.

    - Burning bridges
    I haven't done this that I'm aware of at this point.

    - Missi

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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