On switching jobs.

I feel like this year has again started with many posts about how people are switching jobs. Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure it has been the right move and I’m really happy for them. Nevertheless, it has caused a little bugging feeling inside me.

When people share about their new jobs, they are justifiably always excited. The little bugging feeling is, that I think those posts do need a counterbalance. In the form of posts telling how great people’s current job still is. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall into thinking that you should find a new job just because “everyone is changing jobs, should also I?”.

Sure, there are some really good reasons to quit a job and no one should stay if the job feels wrong for a long time. This post is not about when is the “right” time to switch jobs. I just wanted to share my thoughts on being excited and in love with the current job. Even we’ve had our weak moments and switching to something else has sounded like a nice idea for a blink of an eye.

When I pitched this discussion in Koodarikuiskaaja Slack, someone pointed out that they’d switch their job to get a higher salary just to make more money even their current standard of living is presumably adequate. Their rationale was, that if you’ve been in the industry for a long time and there’s really no career development ahead, the only way to make progress is getting a higher salary.

In a way, I understand that. But at the same time, I cannot disagree enough with the thought behind. There are just so many other things to value than money, assuming that the salary in the current job is decent. Some things cannot be replaced with money.

So, this is an appreciation for my current job, co-workers and the company I’ve been with for five years now.


Wide range of awesome clients

We have a really wide range of different clients. Some are smaller and some are bigger. Some are public companies, some are family-owned companies. There’s a variety of different industries. There are NGO’s, foundations, start-ups, government agencies… A portion of them is looking to make the world a better place in some way. I get to work with some of the industry leaders. I get to follow the journey of a small group of friends trying to make an impact.

Some of our clients have been with us since the company was founded. Multiple ones have made not only one project, but multiple ones with us. It’s truly amazing to learn something about the client’s industry. It’s so rewarding to walk alongside them for years and get to know each other. With many clients, the relationship has become something higher and better than a mere business relationship.

Co-workers that know you

We spend much of our time together at work. Like a lot.

My co-workers do know who I am deep inside. I know who they are deep inside. We know each other weaknesses and strengths. We sense if something isn’t right. We detect when someone is under way too much pressure. We know, what can relieve the stress and help the friend in a tight situation. It doesn’t take much, just a few works and one bad joke. You know what someone other is trying to say, even if they aren’t so clear at that moment. You can hop into a project and immediately know what others have been thinking. It’s sometimes almost like having mentally connected brains – everything just goes so smoothly and everyone reads each other intentions seamlessly.

Opportunity to try things

In a way, the company was still looking for its shape when I joined it as a first employee. That certainly allowed me to test so many different things, techniques, WordPress plugins, workflows, ways to build websites…

But even when the company and our project sizes have grown in the past few years, the mentality of trying new things hasn’t gone away. Sure, we don’t use so experimental techniques anymore and there’s certain stability. Every each of us can nonetheless test, experiment and propose new things and ways to work. The process is just a little different – instead of going right ahead with something, you’ll get to chat about it with your colleague and get some really valuable opinions. We actually highly encourage everyone to develop our tools and company on weekly basis.

Opportunity to grow

When I look back to a project that has been published a year ago, there are so many things I would like to do differently. Being at the same job for years doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t grow, get better and professional skill would be stale. Each project is different. Each client is different. There are always new challenges ahead. You get to learn something new almost on daily basis.

Alongside professional growth comes personal growth. There have been times when I’ve made mistakes, in my personal life and at work. My colleagues have pointed those out, I’ve definitely heard about those but not a single time they’ve been condemning. Instead, they’ve supported, listened and helped me out. This has hugely affected my thinking and how I treat persons in my life. Colleagues that you know and can trust, are excellent in nudging you to think things differently.

Changing job description

It does not necessarily take much. You learn as you go, find new interests and the company around you grows. You start to recognize where your skills are and what is the best fit for you inside the company. Hopefully, your co-workers and employer also notice these things. All this makes changing the job description possible.

I started as a web-developer, doing literally everything related to websites. Over time, we realised that my strengths and passion were in backend development whilst our second developer had a passion for frontend development. It was the only natural move, to start making projects together instead of both having their own projects. My job description changed to backend developer. We are now four developers, but the idea is still the same – everyone focuses on the area they really like working with and are good with. Of course, alongside the actual development, there are a number of other things I help with – maintaining our servers (because I like it), support sales on technical questions and making estimates (because I’m good at it), write case studies (I like writing as you may have noticed) and various other small tasks.

What I’m trying to say here, there are almost always ways to find new exciting things and content for your job inside the current company. Albeit, it does not come granted. It does not come by itself just hoping it to happen.

Trust

In a long relationship, you need trust. That trust usually just strengthens the longer relationship lasts. With the trust, you get benefits and freedoms, as the employer can rely on you and you getting things done in time. That allows the easier organization of everyday life, appointments, things related to hobbies etc.

In the summertime, I can easily take one or two days off here and there, to organise cycling races in the midst of the week. I can have a meeting with city officials about cycling infrastructure during the “normal” office hours. I get to contribute to the WordPress project. At the same time, I can make longer hours when needed trusting that the company isn’t exploiting me and the situation isn’t going to last forever.


What do you think? Let me know on Twitter!