"Peter if you find yourself in the same job after 5 years you have to stop and ask yourself, 'Why are you still here?'"
Chris Robertson was the first IT boss I ever had. He loved to talk, he could type 90+ words per minute and he had me convinced that IP Subneting was the hardest thing I would ever have to learn.
His theory was simple on jobs though, "In IT we aren't in it for the long haul. You should invest about 3-5 years per job. If you are looking to move on, an employer will want to know why you either left too early or stayed too long."
I've been at my current job for 8 years. That's the longest I've been anywhere. It's hard to stay in one place for so long, I feel like I'm losing my edge. Like I'm getting numb to this one environment and this one way of doing things. After a while you stop questioning why you are building networks the way you are and just accept it.
"That's the way we've always done it," is a sure sign that you don't have a clue why your design hasn't changed.
I like it here. I have an office, a stable network and I'm finally comfortable with my co-workers, but there is always a part of me looking to move on. Chris Robertson's words ring in my ear. "Why are you still here?"
His advice was given almost 15 years ago. It was the reason I left that job and the next two. I was reaching for the moon and stuffing my matress with stock options that were going to make me rich. I was trading my 9-5 Win95 knowledge for 60 hour weeks and the promise of learning network design and telecom troubleshooting.
In all reality, I owe Chris my career. If not for him I would have stayed a PC tech at a giant company and could see myself there today.
I love networking. So I made the right choice, but I wonder what he would say today. In this new economy there are people who would kill for a steady job. I suppose I should be happy, content and learn to live with this new phase.
I suppose it could be a lot worse. I could have ended up as a manager...