Do you change jobs often?

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
I have been at my current company for about 20 years. I work for one of those places where you need to quit and come back to get any kind of significant raise. So it is very likely that my co-workers that are junior to me make more than me.

I am probably one of if not the most talented software engineers on our team yet I likely make less than people that are less productive and don't turn out the quality of work I do.

Of course there is no way for me to confirm their salaries nor do I really want to know but the suspicions still bother me from time to time.

The fact is I can confirm is making more if I move to another job. A friend that used to work at my current company did this and he eventually came back to the same company I am working now. Had he decieded to stay he would not be making the new salary he is making today.

The only good news about my current job is I don't have to work a lot of hours. It is rare I work more than 40. In the event I need to work a weekend or evening, I usually get to take off early in the week to compensate.

And I used to be fairly happy at my job. But no longer. My job has gotten so complicated with following regulatory procedures it has taken all of the fun out of the job. And we have recently moved to a new technology that is causing us nothing but problems, adding to the stress. The benefits used to be really good but no longer. They have cut our 401K contribution and our medical insurance pays for almost nothing now (until you pass the $2000 out of pocket).

I would make a move but I am 58 years old now. I should have done it years ago and I would probably be making a lot more than I am today.

So have you changed jobs to get a bump in salary? Or are you fortunate enough to work for a company that keeps your salary competitive with the going rate for your job?
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
11,013
The last time I changed companies to get a salary bump was when I was single and in my 20's. My salary went up about 35% in 18 months and, when I returned, I was a grade ahead of my coworkers who stayed.

A couple years later I was married and wouldn't take chances like that. The only way I got big raises after that was to do a good job and get promotions. At our company, it was impressed upon you that you owned your own employability. If I was in a job where I couldn't advance for one reason or another, I'd use my internal contacts and find another with more potential. I did that a half dozen times.

The last half dozen years of my career, I was just thankful that I had a job. I was earning a good wage and raises of a few percent were better than being the alternatives. Being in your 50's and looking for a job isn't a good place to be...
 

DickCappels

Joined Aug 21, 2008
6,463
Jumping from job-to-job in electronics at least doubled or tripled my salary every 10 of the 30 years that I worked. Many of these were startups desperate for talent that were not very attractive to engineers who had families to support, and some of the jobs only lasted a year or so before the funding ran dry.

One consequence from all this jumping from job-to-job was that some employers commented on it and that might have cost me a job offer or two. I don't have any problem with that, having passed over candidates that did not seem to be likely to stick around long enough to learn the job.

You mentioned the idea of returning to your present job after getting a pay raise. This is only my opinion, but when I left a job I didn't look back but toward the new opportunity that existed (or didn't in reality). Many times the new job was more interesting than the one I left and going back to an old job would have been very boring.

It often literally paid well to be up-front about my salary needs and expectations. The manager responsible for keeping your highly skilled team together would probably appreciate an opportunity to make things right with you rather than spend a lot of resources searching for a replacement.

By the way, have you looked at salary surveys recently to see where you stand with respect to your peers in the industry?
https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/firmware-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,17.htm

The best of luck whatever direction you choose.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
25,930
Except for this last time I've never changed jobs based solely (or even primarily) on compensation considerations. It's hard to say how many jobs I've had because I've almost never worked just one job at a time and have frequently worked three (or more).

I figure the start of my professional career to be when I started at the company that hired me out of grad school (although because they wanted me to start right away I left grad school a couple weeks before the end of the semester with the plan to wrap up over the summer. That was in 1995 and it took me until 2004 to finally finish my Masters -- and I can't say I wasn't warned by several people of the real risk of that happening. I worked for that company for 14 years (although the company was bought, went bankrupt, and restarted during that time) and I still consult for them off an on. During that time I also taught nearly full time at UCCS and then did teach full time at the Air Force Academy (for a one-semester special appointment) and started doing research there part time. I also did some consulting on the side (including for my employer on some things that I had the tools for but the company didn't). A few years into that I got the opportunity to work as a contractor full time at the Academy and so I finally quit my original employer (on very good terms). The research gig went very well until my sugar daddy lost all of their discretionary money (which they were using to fund my work). But during this time I finished my PhD and then consulted full time for nearly a year for my old employer.

This worked wonderful when I was single, but by this time I was married and had a family and stability and benefits were becoming increasingly important to me, so I started looking. My old employer didn't want to bring me back full time because their project load didn't have a lot of forward looking visibility and they liked having me and a few others as contractors that they could turn on and turn off -- and in fairness the hourly rates they paid us to get us to accept the risk of being turned off will little notice reflected that. I had a contact at the Space Dynamics Laboratory and after interviewing with them it looked like a lock -- they wanted me and I wanted to work there (although the pay was less than was I had been making, but the work was really interesting). Unfortunately, with my wife and stepdaughter being a legal permanent residents they discovered that it would likely be three years to get my TS/SCI clearance approved and they just couldn't work with that. So I put out my resume on Monster and, aside from all the contacts telling me that I was a perfect match to sell insurance, the only contact of significance was Amazon. I almost landed that gig, but after the trip up to their headquarters both they and I came to the conclusion that while I was a good fit technically, I probably wasn't a good fit for their culture, so we parted on friendly terms.

Then I contacted my alma mater and they hired me as an Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor with the expectation that it would lead to a permanent appointment -- and it almost did. They extended my for a second year and then set about using funds they had to create a permanent position for me. The last bits were being put in place when the money was pulled in order to fund an "opportunity hire" in another department. Since visiting positions aren't supposed to be extended in the first place, there was no way they could swing another extension, so that came to an end.

So I started teaching as an adjunct again at UCCS and they offered me a full-time instructor appointment. The pay was a significant reduction but the benefits were great, so I took and planned to make it my swan song. But the lack of pay really started becoming an issue as we looked at what it was going to take to set us up for retirement. I wasn't really looking at doing anything about it until I got a call from one of my former colleagues at the Academy looking for someone to help out on their research. The call was really just asking if I might recommend someone, but while we were talking and catching up we both realized that it might be a perfect position for me to fill. It's soft-money funded with no benefits, but the funds are on hand for long enough to get us to the point where we could retire if I absolutely had to. So that's where I am now and I'm loving it, especially since at the same time I was getting this all set up my wife switched jobs at twice the pay and with full benefits, including pretty decent medical.
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
I've been at the same job for over 40 years. I don't think I've had a raise in the past 10 years.

Why do you stay then?

I have had raises but they have been dismal. No where like back in the day when AI worked for TI and we got cost of living raise + a merit raise. I probably do better than my co-workers but it is still pretty bad by comparison to when I was first employed. We have a system where my manager has only a certain percentage to divide across the time. I usually get the most because as I mentioned I likely make than my less talented co-workers.
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
One consequence from all this jumping from job-to-job was that some employers commented on it and that might have cost me a job offer or two. I don't have any problem with that, having passed over candidates that did not seem to be likely to stick around long enough to learn the job.
That does not seem to be a problem here or at least not anymore. Lots of people do it. And the company would drop you in a heart beat if they did not need you or replace you with someone cheaper. That is my big worry right now being replaced by cheap labor. The good news is that the cheap Indian labor we hired to help us through a large project was mostly a dismal failure. The quality of their work was appalling and most of it needed to be redone.

You mentioned the idea of returning to your present job after getting a pay raise. This is only my opinion, but when I left a job I didn't look back but toward the new opportunity that existed (or didn't in reality). Many times the new job was more interesting than the one I left and going back to an old job would have been very boring.
.
What I mentioned was returning to the same company. Not the same job at that company. If there was another job available within the company, I could move to that job and wouldn't be paid any more than I am being paid right now. But if they hire from the outside, that person would likely make much more.

It often literally paid well to be up-front about my salary needs and expectations. The manager responsible for keeping your highly skilled team together would probably appreciate an opportunity to make things right with you rather than spend a lot of resources searching for a replacement.

.
Not at our company. It has been tried many times and they refuse to up your salary. They would rather pay for the cost of replacing someone.
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
The last half dozen years of my career, I was just thankful that I had a job. I was earning a good wage and raises of a few percent were better than being the alternatives. Being in your 50's and looking for a job isn't a good place to be...
Exactly my thoughts. And why I hesitate to change. When I was younger I was a lot more bold but no loner. But while you stand a slightly better chance of staying employed when you are not the new kid on the block, there are still no guarantees. I see the writing on the wall with the huge number of Indian contractors we hire. And those are only the ones that I can see. We also have dozens if not hundreds that we employee offshore.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,513
The reality is I have had 3 jobs in my entire life and one of those was about 9 years in the US Marines. Following the Marine Corps I spent about 10 years working a a civilian component of the US Department of Defense. The money and benefits were good but the travel extensive. My daughter born in Havelock, NC and my son in Naples, Italy. All of the remaining years till I retired in 2013 at age 63 were with the same company and government related work.

I originally had planned to work till age 66 but decided to take the out early. I was fortunate to have worked for a great company and be vested in a salary pension plan. The last ten years before we were bought we were ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) meaning the employees owned the company. When we sold life was good and we had great benefits including 100% paid medical. The sale was sweet as many of us older vested employees owned considerable stock. There were winds of change. Those of us vested in the salary pension plan would no longer be credited years of service after December 31 2013 so whatever your pension worth was on that date was as good as it would get. Annual salary increase became small averaging 2 to 3 percent. The job demands and projects load increased and while we were compensated for overtime the place was not as much fun to be in as it was before.

When I looked at my actual pension and my social security I decided it was time to pull the plug. I still enjoy seeing old friends from "the job" and they all tell me the same thing. I was wise to go out when I did as the place is no longer fun. All those years I actually really enjoyed my job and the work but the winds of change left me looking for the door and being grateful I was old enough to get through that door.

Over the years there were times I considered leaving, money is always a strong driving force. Then you reach an age where you know you are no longer hire able and that age discrimination is in fact alive and well in America. I am glad I stayed and very happy today.

Ron
 

gerty

Joined Aug 30, 2007
1,289
Well I changed jobs 2 months ago and haven't been on here since. I retired in Dec and don't know how I had the time to go to work. Been covered up with honeydo list and a bout with the flu, but staying busy.
I need to return more often..
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,513
I retired in Dec and don't know how I had the time to go to work. Been covered up with honeydo list and a bout with the flu, but staying busy.
I retired May 2013 and my wife, two years my senior, retired in Nov of that same year. I tell people I had six relatively nice months of retirement. :)

Ron
 

MaxHeadRoom

Joined Jul 18, 2013
20,932
The reality is I have had 3 jobs in my entire life
Ron
Your work history story is very similar to mine in some ways, except after a Electrical engineering apprenticeship I was 'invited' into the armed forces for 2yrs, courtesy of HRH. (conscription).
Then worked 10yrs for a motor manuf company as a Electrical/Electronic Technician.
The next step was rather rash when I look back on it, I had a good well paid job, wife and family, own house, decided I needed a change, so took all of us to Canada, I knew no one, no job, had never been there. (talk about self confidence!).
Got a job next day after arriving.
Ended up at 58 with a buy out and a pension so went on my own for 10yrs before retiring.
Max.
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
Well I changed jobs 2 months ago and haven't been on here since. I retired in Dec and don't know how I had the time to go to work. Been covered up with honeydo list and a bout with the flu, but staying busy.
I need to return more often..

So you changed jobs then immediately retired??
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
21,397
Why do you stay then?

I have had raises but they have been dismal. No where like back in the day when AI worked for TI and we got cost of living raise + a merit raise. I probably do better than my co-workers but it is still pretty bad by comparison to when I was first employed. We have a system where my manager has only a certain percentage to divide across the time. I usually get the most because as I mentioned I likely make than my less talented co-workers.
Because life is not all about money. I get paid enough to have a good life.
I love my job. It is stress free. I am practically my own boss. I could have retired 15 years ago but don't see any good reason to stop what I am doing.

And I get to go sailing any day when the wind is good!
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
Because life is not all about money. I get paid enough to have a good life.
I love my job. It is stress free. I am practically my own boss. I could have retired 15 years ago but don't see any good reason to stop what I am doing.

And I get to go sailing any day when the wind is good!

Wow you are lucky. My job basically sucks and gets worse almost everyday. Hence my dilemma on leaving.
 

Thread Starter

spinnaker

Joined Oct 29, 2009
7,835
That's where I was fortunate. I had the time in, was vested and was old enough to bail out when the winds of change started prevailing in all the wrong ways.

Ron

My co-worker. Same thing. He doubled down by cashing out right before the last crash. If you recall the market was way up too. He is a great guy and I am so happy for him. He would have been absolutely miserable today if he was still working. Got to visit him at his new place in the Seattle area. Expensive as hell to live there but absolutely beautiful.
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,513
My co-worker. Same thing. He doubled down by cashing out right before the last crash. If you recall the market was way up too. He is a great guy and I am so happy for him. He would have been absolutely miserable today if he was still working. Got to visit him at his new place in the Seattle area. Expensive as hell to live there but absolutely beautiful.
I wish I could take credit for doing about the same. Kathy and I had a very good financial adviser and planner who is now happily retired. Had it not been for Jack's foresight and suggestions we would likely still be going to work tomorrow morning. I think today Jack is on a beach in Aruba. We still exchange email. :)

Ron
 
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