back to article When to say those three little words: 'I am quitting'

My despair as El Reg's resident job expert is that you people sometimes can’t even follow basic simple advice. For example, when I wrote about pay cuts, some arts grad commented that he’d immediately quit. I shall type this slowly so you understand: You... quit... when... it... suits... you. Not out of spite, not for revenge, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    simply cannot agree with the author:

    i can quit for any reason i want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I have to say the Author does come across as a bit of a tosser. No idea whether his advice is valid or not, it just comes across as 'I'm so great, do what I say' or you life will be ruined. Which I find irritating.

      TD;DR

      1. JDX Gold badge

        It's almost like he thinks he knows more about the recruitment world than we do.

        1. James Hughes 1

          He may well know more about the recruitment world (although, where is the required citation as to his credentials!), but his use of 'my way or the highway' and his way of presenting it does rankle.

          And since when does knowing about stuff stop people commenting here that they are talking bollocks?

          1. Shagbag

            Give the guy a break. He may come across as being very positive about himself, but that's the nature of someone in sales.

            Look at all them from Dragons' Den. They're all shameless self-promoters - the guy who made his money from chocolates, the guy with the beard. They're all at it. Then there's the most shameless self-promoter of all: Alan Sugar.

            1. JDX Gold badge

              Surely the brash style is deliberate... he wants to make it very clear that he is not writing about what is right or wrong, how things should happen, or what he likes or dislikes about the world of recruitment, only the facts about the system so you can play it to your advantage.

        2. stu 4
          Thumb Up

          knowledgeable yes, annoying and full of himself, also yes

          I'd imagine the reason the author gets on peoples tits, is that he speaks like every other agency pond life we have all probably had the misfotune to have to speak to, pander to, and basically hope for a scrap from his table.

          Granted this one seems to know what he's talking about, which frankly, puts him in an exclusive group of 1 with his fellow agent scum in my experience.

          It's a bit like reading a Dawkins book when he's on a roll:

          + you agree with him, he makes excellent points

          - he comes over as a bit of an arsehole, completely full of himself - the odd possible 'convert' is more likely to be wound up by his attitude and stop reading, than listen to him anymore (this is from the experience of gifting his books to friends and family only to be informed they couldn't stand his attitude after a few chapters*)

          It's a persona not best suited to persauding the greatest number of people to your point of view imho.

          *The Magic Of Reality it like this... he makes a statement at the start about 'this is not about god, no talk about god and athiesm here'... then littered through the book are aside snide comments about the stupid god believers, etc.. does he not realise that this puts certain people off ? he just can't help himself. An otherwise excellent book, remains unread of my mothers bookshelf, as she does want to be preached at like a 5 year old.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        He does indeed, but that doesn't affect the validity of his arguments. I've been on both sides of this, and agree with the points made completely.

        Sure, you can quit whenever you want to, but if your choice of when and how deliberately makes it difficult for yourself to work again, you've got to question your motives for quitting.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        recruitment consultant? Tosser?......

        ......You'll be telling us that Ursine mammals defecate in arboreous areas next.

      4. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

        Not my job to be liked

        My job is to tell it like it is.

        I could try harder to be liked, maybe you'd like my next piece to have fluffy kittens ?

        There's plenty of happy clappy advice out there, feel free to read it in the dole queue.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not my job to be liked

          > maybe you'd like my next piece to have fluffy kittens ?

          Hmm, interesting idea. I can't seem them surviving to the end, though... how about a competition between the resident cynics of el Reg: Dominic vs. Stob va BOFH on the subject of fluffy kittens in IT, that should brighten up a Friday.

          1. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

            Re: Not my job to be liked

            Actually the Reg politburo and I are discussing a sort of "Reg Careers Live and unplugged" at a secret City pub this July, maybe we do a debate or dissing by rap ?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not my job to be liked

          "maybe you'd like my next piece to have fluffy kittens ?"

          Only if they are going in a blender. Then I'm interested.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dominic's advice is nutritious

            ... wolf it down while you can.

            I have some experience in recruitment and I would roundly agree with the sentiment of his words.

            Thanks man. Look forward to more of it.

        3. Tom 13

          Re: feel free to read it in the dole queue.

          I suspect that phrase sums up more problems on either side of the pond than many would believe possible.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I have to say the Author does come across as a bit of a tosser."

        Of course he does. He can afford to.

        "No idea whether his advice is valid or not"

        I suspect you will feel a bit less "irritated" by it the day you find out whether his advice is valid or not.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        See how easy you can write an article ..

        `I have to say' [nothing of value] ..

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC (OP)

      Learn to read. No -one is saying you can't walk for whatever reason you choose merely how it will be interpretted by potential employers.

      Think you can explain at interrview? Think again, as most likely you won't get the chance to as the red flags will be waving.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh look, yet another subject upon which the Reg's commentators have more skills than the experts in that subject. It's not anything to do with not knowing enough about the subject to understand that you don't know enough to comment, oh no, I'm sure you know best.

      It is a strength to realise that you have areas in which you've not got expertise and listen to experts, not a weakness.

      1. SoaG

        @ AC 12:11 GMT

        I hope you don't have any plans of running for office with that attitude.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re yet another subject...

        There are plenty of Reg articles where I turn to the comments to find out what's really going on, or what it means, from the commenters, but I don't count Dominic's pieces amongst those.

        Is it possible that he really gets up the nose of the very people who should be taking notice of what he says?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      While I normally agree with the author - and you are getting negged to buggery I can only agree.

      People should remember you can quit whenever you like, for whatever reason they like. I've done it, sometimes on a whim and sometimes out of spite - but always when I thought it suited me best rather than the company.

      If you can't cover up the gaps in your CV with something convincing; death of a pet, an unfortunate accident doing something exciting, working for a company that's sadly no longer with us then you really deserve to remain a wage slave.

      The rest of the article seems to be focussed on keeping a tight grip on the greasy pole. Good luck to you if that's the game you want to play. But it really isn't compulsory.

    5. Ian Michael Gumby

      Tosser or not, there's always some truth in the article...

      I think the question you have to ask is what can I take away from the article.

      1) Don't jump ship until you have some place to land.

      2) While you may value your skills at X, doesn't mean that other employers will agree.

      First, while I think its common sense to always make sure you have an exit strategy.

      However, I have to disagree with the author because there are times when your work environment has become so caustic that you just have to leave. Even just to regain your center and focus before moving on to the next big thing.

      One thing that would make anyone jump before finding something is when you're doing 100% travel and you can't really interview, and your former employers think that just because your a salaried employee (exempt) that they can expect you to pull a 60+ hour work week for 10 weeks straight.

      The second issue is also common sense.

      Just because the average salary for a position is X doesn't mean that your skills are at that level or higher. Or that you have enough work experience. (Among other things)

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      « i can quit for any reason i want. »

      Of course you can.

      The question is: what happens next?

      One possible answer: maybe you'll need to start capitalising your "I"s sooner than you think.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "When to say I quit..."

    Rule 1: When you already have something else.

    Unfortunately there are too many people who overlook this and manage to get themselves into major problems because of it...

    1. Danny 14

      Re: "When to say I quit..."

      Depends really. I quit and went travelling for a year. I had money reserves for year +1. I had no problems finding a new job afterwards and had a good reason (on paper) for quitting. In reality my old job was shite, I hated the company, was paid crap thus manufactured a good way to leave, go on holiday and spend time looking for a new job - all without killing my "appeal".

      If you can bullshit your way with a good excuse (and evidence to back it up) then quit when you like.

    2. Daniel B.
      Pirate

      Re: "When to say I quit..."

      Ahh, ShelLuser, it seems you've met my dad. Breaking Rule 1 had the consequence of him going through a 2 year jobless period. It also cost me a full year of suspended studies, as the reserves dried out and there was no more money for college.

      Though sometimes you have to break the rule, as I've unfortunately found out. When the old boss gets fired, the new boss starts harassing you and all the projects you're "managing" are being actively sabotaged by your boss, it's better just to pull the 'EJECT' lever and hope for the best. It's that, or have your reputation smeared by your employer's inept approach at project management.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 09.25

    "I have to say the Author does come across as a bit of a tosser."

    wouldn't necessarily disagree with this, but sadly I think he is just telling it like it actually is...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @AC 09.25

      This comment reinforces my view (based on his articles in general) that the author is not only a tosser, but lacks self awareness:

      In my OS/2 article I shared how a team member was so outraged by my comment that he hit me, which might be taken as evidence that I didn’t have the best time.

    2. Putonghua73

      Re: @AC 09.25

      Agreed.

      It's the difference between prescriptive i.e. how we think the world ought to be (all religions) and descriptive i.e. how world actually is. There is usually a big gap between the two, with many of us transposing the two based upon our own world-view.

      I do like Dominic's brash style because it cuts through all the bullshit. As painful as it is to hear the reality, we have to accept that the world (mostly) operates in accordance with this modus operandus.

      I've generally found the more corporate the company, the more the game applies. I've also found that 24 months in such an environment is usually my limit at any one time.

      FWIW, I've quit on a couple of occasions when I haven't had an immediate role to step into. The key is to know why you are quitting, and to have enough cash to tide you over whilst you either do something else and/or tide you over whilst you are looking for another role. You should have already anticipated and prepared a convincing answer for any career gaps on your CV when they will be brought up during any interviews.

      I do concede that the correct way to quit is - as Dominic quietly rightly states - on your own terms, with another role lined up. However, given the myopic nature of most corporate environments, a tactic that I always state as shall follow (but fail to follow through) is to update one's CV every 3 months, so when you do spot the icebergs looming ahead, you are well prepared and can evaluate one's (potential) exit strategy, if need be.

      It seems facile to say, but one's range of options is determined by one's personal circumstances (savings, family, mortgage, yada yada yada). The principal message remains: be pro-active in developing and managing one's potential exit strategy. I've had a mixture of good fortune in the past (chance favours the prepared mind, and all that), but I have been single, no debt (mortgage) and have had savings. Yet, I have also frequently squandered opportunities and been too lax and lazy in following through after I've spotted warning signs (no senior management follow-through, changes in board / senior mangement, constant re-structures, colleagues exiting the business, etc).

  4. Lallabalalla
    Megaphone

    "every time you change jobs there is a risk of making a catastrophic mistake"

    Especially when it's the recruiter who has lied to you about the stability of the company, about how much they will in the end offer and about what has happened to previous employees and the teams they were in.

    Clearly, those representing the company, trying to get you to join, tell the same lies. It's hard to resist when this is coming at you from both sides.

    In all my years in the game, I have found 2, maybe 3, recruiters I trust, 1 that I definitely don't, and all the others I view with extreme skepticism, not to say cynicism!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "every time you change jobs there is a risk of making a catastrophic mistake"

      'In all my years in the game, I have found 2, maybe 3, recruiters I trust, 1 that I definitely don't, and all the others I view with extreme skepticism, not to say cynicism!'

      You've been lucky. I've dealt with > 10. Not a single human being among them. Modern day slave traders. Falling into the same category as Estate Agents, Traffic Wardens, double glazing salesman, candidates on the TV programme 'The Apprentice' and similar parasites.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Caveat Emptor

    I've read Mr. Connor's take on matters with great amusement in the past, but being a professional contractor with about 25 years of experience under my belt (albeit in a different sector) I'd like to issue some friendly warnings :

    1. The bulk of HR people ar wholly incompetent and generally have no idea whatsoever about what's an actual job requirement or what the work descritptions acually mean. The just know how to but a few keywords in a text search box to scan CV's.

    2. They are just as competent or incompetent as any cross section of the population. It's a gauss curve. Which means 20% are utterly useless, 60% are adequate and therefor not good enough to weed out the top 20% of candidates, and only 20% function on a ;level competent enough to actually do their job above and beyond.

    3. For the bulk of recruiting firms : see 1.

    4. Things only work as Mr. Connor describes if the HR bods subscribe to the same philosophy as Mr. Connor. However, most of them can't even write 'philosophy' properly.

    4. If you have to work for a British manager things are often a lot worse than anywhere else. What passes for a 'manager' in the UK is often someone of ill-tempered, bad mannered and generally boorish conduct.

    5. If you feel you must walk, walk.

    6. All this 'they may need you more than you think' lark is usually hampered by managers being on the wrong side of the Peter Principle curve. They feel pressured by an employee and react viscerally to being put on the spot. There is NO sure-fire way to determine if your argument, however well constructed, is going to generate the logical response you have imagined it will.

    7. Be careful withthis one : some people treat you like crap because they are under the false impression you will not break their face because you are civilized, and all the reasons why they regularly had beaten the crap out of them on high school no longer hold true. And that they therefor can insult you, your parentage and your offspring as much as they like. This is blatently untrue. At least it is with me. There is a line. It is not a fine one. It is big, wide, brash in fluorecent colours lit by 10 kW floodlights. Don't cross it. It will be very painful.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Re: Caveat Emptor

      Well measured response. but I would like to add one more tiem:

      8. Beware of injelititis: managers who have a combination of a large degree of incompetence and a similarly large degree of jealousy, a combination known as injelitance. Injelitant people in managerial roles cause a disease called injelitis. These people actually prefer to have a third-rate team, because they know deep down in their hearts they themselves are second-rate at best. Do not think you can single-handedly change the course of such a department (key words to watch: "Yes, mr. X is brilliant, but mr. Y is more sound"). Abandon such departments at warp speed.

      See: C. Northcote Parkinson: Parkinson's Law, or the Pursuit of Progress.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Injelitis

        So it does have a name! That's why I quit my last job. Unfortunately, it wasn't just the manager, but the actual Top Man in the company also suffered this. He axed the competent managers and put the injelitance-enhanced people on managerial positions. My own departure didn't take long.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Caveat Emptor

      I agree entirely about British managers. I've worked all over Europe and on average I found the worst managers to be based in Britain, the best in Swizerland, IMHO. I have worked for some extremely good managers in the UK, but the average manager here is woeful.

      1. GreyWolf
        Flame

        Re: Caveat Emptor

        I agree about British managers. I worked in Sweden for many years, where 75% of managers have a technical or science degree, and are fully numerate - they do the calculations on every business decision, very little is decided on dogma or fashion. I've seen the stats on British managers - less than 50% have education as high as A-levels. In my experience, they are selected to be wilfully ignorant bullies.

    3. lee harvey osmond

      Re: Caveat Emptor

      Go on, reread the article. You are suggesting that HR bods are lacking in a competency that O'Connor implies they are not even required to have.

    4. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Re: Caveat Emptor

      It's interesting to talk to HR and hear what they are told their job is, quite different from what staff believe.

      "protecting management from the staff" is how one senior HR described it to me.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: "protecting management from the staff"

        Not quite. It's to be able to turn on a dime from that to protecting the staff and back again. All while following the dictates from the trolls in accounting to protect the bottom line. If it was only "protecting management from staff" it would be possible to determine a probably logical strategy and be able to work with or around it. When it's a constantly changing job description, that is quite impossible.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          @Tom Re: "protecting management from the staff"

          Dominic is right on this one.

          HR exists to protect the company. When they seem to be on the side of the employee, it's to make sure that they are in compliance with labor laws.

          Overall, they are incompetent. Not to be trusted.

          They don't know what real work means.

    5. Ian Michael Gumby
      Boffin

      @Peter Re: Caveat Emptor

      7. Be careful withthis one : some people treat you like crap because they are under the false impression you will not break their face because you are civilized, and all the reasons why they regularly had beaten the crap out of them on high school no longer hold true. And that they therefor can insult you, your parentage and your offspring as much as they like. This is blatently untrue. At least it is with me. There is a line. It is not a fine one. It is big, wide, brash in fluorecent colours lit by 10 kW floodlights. Don't cross it. It will be very painful.

      -=-

      Most bad managers are bad because they have never learned or were taught on how to be a good manager. More than likely they were just tossed in to the role and told sink or swim.

      There are those who are bullies, those who think that knowledge is power, and those who misinterpret Machiavelli. And of course the worst kind are those managers who actually thrive on the conflict.

      If you are at the point of wanting to get physical, step back and walk away. Leave your job immediately.

      This is what I meant by a caustic environment.

      Remember that there is this thing called karma, and she's a bitch.

  6. Roger Greenwood
    Thumb Up

    Checkout your new company . . .

    . . . before you jump - do some lookups e.g. duedil.com

    Amazing what you can find there, especially with smaller companies which are not so well known.

  7. chrisf1

    'a clear sign is an increase in the formality of the way your work is assigned, in emails or even bits of paper, rather than simply being asked.'

    Whilst true enough the comparison with the civil service made me laugh. Getting something with 'pl dl' (please deal) was a backhanded compliment in that it meant you were 'sound' enough not to require a 'steer' on how to handle the task.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    He's smart, knows his subject and is not shy about telling you he does.

    Which I suspect makes him about as easy for you to deal with as some of you are to deal with by your respective managements.

    You would, perhaps prefer a "smoother," more self effacing presentation? More British self deprecation?

    Guess what, so would your management.

    But you tell it like it is and your PHB starts blubbing ("Why is the nasty man being so horrid to me?")

    So if you agree with what he says, but don't like how he says it, perhaps you might ask yourself if your way is any better?

    On the whole I rather like his approach.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: He's smart, knows his subject and is not shy about telling you he does.

      Personally I like his style. I work in the world of finance so you learn to deal with attitude and look beyond to see whether it's backed up by competence or if it's a thick veneer of egotistical bullshit as is so often the case both in the business and IT. He tells it like it is and that appeals to me as it's to the point. You do find that there are some delicate little flowers around though - I'm not talking about lack of manners but how some in the trade seemingly need to be spoken to via a negotiator and treated like the most princessly of princesses.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    This author says it how it is

    A lot of people seem to bitch about this author - but the reality of what he says is mostly true and what I've experienced as a contractor.

    Hell - anybody who thinks Computer Science graduates are a waste of time if they haven't studied C or C++ is a genius by comparison with most techhies these days (sad to say).

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Uncle Slacky
    Stop

    The only way to get a pay rise...

    ...is to change jobs, as any fule kno.

    1. Danny 14
      Stop

      Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

      well I put a proposal forwards and got my pay rise after meeting objectives on my annual appraisal.

      Odd I know.

      1. Getriebe

        Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

        Yup, agreed. make certain at the beginning of the year have it all understood and what consitutues good service or whatever and do not forget to ask for the money. Unless you are on some corporate bonus structure

        What you have said is how I manage my people. Age and experience is no consideration in this

      2. Uncle Slacky

        Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

        How did said "rise" correspond to the rise in the cost of living at the time, however?

        For me, a "rise" has to be above the rate of inflation to count as a genuine increase.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

      I hate the way some bosses only offer more money AFTER you put your notice in.

      You aren't going to stick with them as you'll upset your prospective employer. Next year, when you get bugger all pay rise, they may not be so eager to offer you the job the second time round.

      1. Robert Helpmann??
        Childcatcher

        Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

        I hate the way some bosses only offer more money AFTER you put your notice in....Next year, when you get bugger all pay rise...

        Never take the counter-offer! The best you can hope for is having your new level of pay for as long as you work there. More realistic is that you will be made redundant after your potential new job is no longer available.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

        "I hate the way some bosses only offer more money AFTER you put your notice in."

        Actually I got a rise and a session working from home out of the confirmation letter I showed my boss and my usual rule is if I hand in a resignation I'm gone.

        The key part was that my manager agreed to allow home working.

        His boss proved more difficult to deal with, being what we in the trade call a c**t.

        Still got the rise but took a lot longer to get the home working worked out.

        I regret not spiking his coffee with Ritalin. I think it would have really taken the edge off his ADHD.

      3. Number6

        Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

        I hate the way some bosses only offer more money AFTER you put your notice in.

        As far as I'm concerned, that's too late. As the article said, it'll only postpone the exit by a year or so even if you do choose to stay. Most of the times when I've chosen to move job (as opposed to being made redundant) it wasn't money that was the driving factor, it was the need for a new challenge. If I've tried and failed to get a new challenge in my current job, and I've gone to the effort of finding something else that looks like it might meet that challenge, I'm unlikely to backtrack. If the boss can't read the signals (or chooses not to) then that's too bad.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only way to get a pay rise...

      My 38% payrise (from high to very high :) ) while staying at the same exact job seems to go against your lore. It did require seeing the opportunity and a careful bit of diplomacy, in which I was skilfully assisted by my rather competent agent.

  12. Code Monkey
    Windows

    Three words?

    "Why don't you stick this fookin job up your moron fookin ass you dormant bastard?" > 3 words

  13. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Loose talk costs

    > it’s rational to prep your CV and start talking to agents

    And as soon as you do mention to an agent that you might be considering the possibility of testing the water, they're straight on to your boss with the statement "we're working with one of your team who will be leaving soon, and thought you'd like to start recruiting their successor ... "

    The one thing we can say about the current system (everything goes through recruitment agents) is that it's a bad, bad system. They only have one goal: to maximise their own income, and in the current climate every possibility needs to be fully explored with their own needs foremost and everybody else's a long, long way behind.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Loose talk costs

      Clearly you don't tell them where you are working at that early stage.

      1. Mark 65

        Re: Loose talk costs

        So what occupies the section for current employer on your CV that they will be passing to the potential new employer? Like it or not they want your current CV and you won't be going far without it.

    2. Cliff

      Re: Loose talk costs

      Ohhhh yeah - I've seen that one happen, luckily not to me.

      I've also seen an (ideally suited) friend stitched up by an agent who wanted to represent him for a role 'exclusively', then not put him forward in favour of another candidate. They were actually trying to take other talent out of the market to favour their chosen candidate. Luckily, 3 months later the job is still being advertised, HR say they never were given his CV, but are mustard-keen to see it as he is pretty much ideal for the (very niche) job.

      Never go 'exclusive' with an agent, and always assume their interests do not fully overlap with your own.

      1. Steve 13
        WTF?

        Re: Loose talk costs

        What would possess an agent to do that? They get paid if they place someone, so why would they favour one candidate over another?

    3. Number6

      Re: Loose talk costs

      The only time the agent's interests really align with those of the successful candidate is when it comes to salary negotiations. If the agent is being paid a percentage of the annual salary then he's going to do his best to get you a good salary, which can help if negotiating is not one of your top skills.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its nice to hear the honesty

    Its nice to hear the honesty - I like these articles, some of them may read a bit harsh but then so is life.

    My experience shows these are very accurate of the way this world works, I'm glad I learnt it myself the easy way not from being on the wrong side of it - frankly I will be giving this guy a call when I'm ready to move on from this contract if he is still recruiting (and yes I was looking at exit strategy from here before I started - I always do)

    Why does my opinion count? Well I made it from IT grad to top end of the pay scale contractor (>£500/day) in a little under 10 years despite a credit crunch in the middle. Another 10 and I plan to be out of this game. My base CV is solid in the dev/linux/unix world and I can tweak it to look top notch in several other areas if the need arises. Oh and I'm excellent at interviews - 4 years in business sales as your part time job at uni can really help on that skill.

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Its nice to hear the honesty

      the key is interviews - CV to get the interview then your own self on the day. Ive interviewed people who were near perfect on paper, had experience but there was no way in hell i'd work with them. However, people who come across well are usually hired even if there are boxes unticked.

      Arrogance is a turn off immediately.

      At the end of the day if you can get to an interview then tweak your technique appropriately.

      1. Mark 65

        Re: Its nice to hear the honesty

        Yep, ploughing the recruitment/HR minefield of buzzword word search in order to score an interview is normally the hardest part.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Its nice to hear the honesty

        "Arrogance is a turn off immediately."

        I understand what you are saying and yes my post smacks of arrogance.

        The post is blunt honesty, unfiltered for others and posted behind the mask of AC

        Confidence, arrogance, pride, honesty, humility - all can be useful traits at times - its learning how to balance them in the moment with the person on the other side of the negotiating table that makes the difference.

        1. Danny 14

          Re: Its nice to hear the honesty

          Think of it like Sheldon from big bang theory. Can you imagine interviewing Sheldon? He is OBVIOUSLY intelligent, can do the job and will pretty much get the project done. However, could you work with him?

  15. John P
    Thumb Up

    "So being the most clued-up guy on the team may be good for the ego, but is bad for your career"

    This is exactly the reason I left my last job because I felt that I could no longer learn anything from my colleagues who were less motivated/knowledgeable than myself and I was just plain bored by the lack of opportunities to improve myself and learn new things and was in a position where my only possible career progression was waiting for the DBA to leave/die.

    Going from being the most clued-up guy whose expertise was consulted on everything to the newbie who knows nothing was a massive shock to the system (and a little to the ego) , but I am far happier for making the jump.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Parting company with my last employer was a blessing. I was the guru for the odd thing there - and I *do not* consider myself a guru at anything, not even close - but have now moved somewhere where I'm learning so much and it's refreshing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @John P

      Very true that... I loved working with the team I was in because I was learning new skills and languages, but it seemed like management was dead set on keeping me in the place I was hired for...

      Now I am in a job where rusty skills are quickly being polished back up for the position I'm in. Love it!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HR's hidden Agenda

    One Interview I had a few years back with an HR droid seemed to be totally centred around the single question

    Why had I left school at 15 and why did I not have an 'A' levels

    I was almost 50 years old at the time. What I'd done or not done some 35 years before was of little interest to me. Why should it, I have a degree, a masters, MIMechE, CEng and a whole raft of experience.

    I found out later that this woman was well known for using this sort of technique to get rid of candidates when SHE didn't like them. The problem was that I knew the person who I'd be working for and he threw a fit when he found out that I'd been rejected without being interviewed by anyone from his dept. He hired me on the spot as a contractor.

    I met the woman in the corridor a few weeks later and she demanded to know what I was doing in the building.

    She tried to get me sacked/contract revoked but failed.

    When my contract was up, I left along with the manager and three other employees and we set up in business on our own. We refused to engage in business with this company for this an many other reasons such as 6 months to pay a £1000.00 bill. The company was famous for this sort of behaviour.

    All because the lady didn't want the 'milk Tray'

    1. big_Jim
      FAIL

      Re: HR's hidden Agenda

      I once failed to land a role at a "GermanBank" as, after 5 or 6 rounds of interviews, the final HR interviewing robot lady failed to understand that a PhD in "writing up" meant I hadn't failed, it just meant I was still going through the tedium of finishing it (just a half a chapter if I recall) while working. She reported back to the recruitment people that I lied on my CV about having a PhD. My CV claimed nothing of the sort. I thought very seriously about suing.

      1. GotThumbs
        Boffin

        Re: HR's hidden Agenda

        Actually, you FAILED to properly communicate the fact that you had not yet received/completed your PhD IMO. A better term might have been "In progress" or you simply could have clarified it during one of the 5 or 6 rounds of interviews. "Writing up" can be seen as vague and obviously not universally understood. Bending the truth = white lie.

        Your failure to communicate properly to the audience should not be blamed as the audiences failure to simply know what you meant.

        Respectfully,

        1. big_Jim

          Re: HR's hidden Agenda

          The official status of my doctorate at the time was "writing up" as confirmed in writing by my University. To put anything else, including "in progress", would have been deceitful and a misrepresentation of the facts. This was the exact point the HR person struggled to understand.

          No one else in the earlier interviews gave a hoot what my PhD was.

          1. Steve 13

            Re: HR's hidden Agenda

            I've just looked up the status of "writing up" and whilst you were truthful that you hadn't failed, you certainly shouldn't have been claiming that you had passed. If the thesis hasn't been handed in, and you haven't had your viva, then you don't have a PhD, but are in fact still doing your PhD.

            1. big_Jim

              Re: HR's hidden Agenda

              Grrr. For crying out loud. I never claimed for a second I'd passed, I hadn't failed either. All I said stated my PhD was in writing up.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HR's hidden Agenda

        Whereas I know someone who got into the investment banking gig by basically lying completely making sure he was the best in his team then telling them and they didn't care at all. (Didn't do anything at all productive until over age 30 other than getting high). All they care about once you are there is whether you can handle it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: HR's hidden Agenda

        Even more amusing is I think it is fairly likely it was the same bank.

      4. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

        Re: HR's hidden Agenda

        At that GermanBank I had to explain to their outsourced HR (Resource Solutions) the nature of the CompSci PhD that my candidate had. Try to imagine the conversation, a recruiter with a CompSci degree, a PhD in AI and a clueless Resource Solutions strag, with the strag claiming that the PhD was not what it seemed.

        Can you imagine what it "seemed" to her ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HR's hidden Agenda

      shitthatneverhappened.txt

  17. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    " For example, when I wrote about pay cuts, some arts grad commented that he’d immediately quit."

    I didn't realise Computing Science & Software Engineering was an arts degree. Bugger - I shouldn't have done that subsidary in Japanese Language, after all Humanities is near enough to Arts to make no difference.

    And I repeat what I said, yes, if my employer gave me the choice between it costing me to work for them, or not working for them at all, tough luck, they can try and find somebody who can manage to get food, a roof over their head, heating and clothing for free. After all, that's the Big New Economy that CallMeDave wants, isn't it? Only those people rolling in money enough to not need to be paid to work are allowed to work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Like it or not, the cuts to rates that came about after the onset of the GFC are all about pricing power. When few are hiring and many are firing it is a simple case of lower pay or no job (much lower pay). In such times if you want to quit and take a punt on landing a role then best of luck but he's on the money with his advice.

      Remember it's make in haste and repent at leisure. I know someone who had 12 months to think about their decision.

    2. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Being an artsgrad is a state of mind, not a qualification

      Being an artsgrad is a state of mind, not a qualification, or in this case a generic term of abuse for shallow thinking and self importance.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just woke the office up, laughing.

    "The worst case is where HR is able to pursue a diversity agenda, ie, which often translates as promoting white middle class women"

    Quality. Although it's slim, middle class white women, if you read the CIPD journals, which recently admitted that HR are self declaringly bigotted against Men, and Fat women.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: I just woke the office up, laughing.

      I've seen quite a few HR depts that were staffed 90% by women.

      Discrimination? What discrimination?

    2. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Re: I just woke the office up, laughing.

      Have you got a link for that ?

      Would love to use it in an article

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its possible to quit anytime- IF....

    ....You're debt free. No credit card debt. no student loans, no car loans, no mortgage (debt = slavery)...

    ........You're talented. Talent equals natural ability times work put in. So in theory anyone can have talent....

    .............You've no family, wife or kids ... Its still possible, but its more difficult...

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: Its possible to quit anytime- IF....

      "....You're debt free. No credit card debt. no student loans, no car loans, no mortgage (debt = slavery)...

      ........You're talented. Talent equals natural ability times work put in. So in theory anyone can have talent....

      .............You've no family, wife or kids ... Its still possible, but its more difficult..."

      "So you never wanted a regular type life?"

      "This regular type life, is that your life?"

      Mine's the one with a copy of "Heat" on DVD in the pocket.

    2. Steve 13

      Re: Its possible to quit anytime- IF....

      You don't need "no wife", what you need is a highly qualified, employed wife. I could quit right now and there would be no financial problems. I suspect the wife might be upset that she was still working full time and I was sat at home in my pants though, which could ultimately lead to having no wife... But every decision has consequences.

  20. GotThumbs
    Boffin

    My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

    This article comes off as all negative. It's almost like He's trying to convince you all jobs/companies are crap and you've never been responsible for anything bad. At least that's how I see it. I don't see any real focus on on what the employee can do to add value to the company and thus solidify their position with the company. No smart businessman dumps an asset that continually brings value to the company.

    The first reality everyone needs to understand.....Every company exists NOT for their employees, but because there is a market for their services/products. Businesses are only ongoing entities as long as they are profitable and competitive. Employees are hired to add value to the company and any employee that adds value, will grow/advance with the company. If you disagree, then start your own company , hire 20-50 employees and let us know how you do.

    Personally, I prefer job ADVICE from AskTheHeadhunter. I've read his articles for years and I feel his approach much is far better than this authors. You have to love what you do and where you work. Money is important, but if its only the money that keeps you in your current job....while you hate every moment of it.....will you ever be happy? I'm guessing only when you decide to leave (after you have another job of course).

    Again, check out AskTheHeadhunter to see a very different and better (IMO) approach to finding the job for you.

    Best Wishes,

    1. GotThumbs

      Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

      Please excuse my writing errors. No edit button to correct them.

      Best wishes,

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'No edit button to correct them.'

        What happened to the EDIT button? I note some users have mentioned this feature still works for them...

        Its also necessary to logout and log back in again for 'My-Posts' to update.... Any others experiencing this?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 'No edit button to correct them.'

          the edit button is a feature for badge holders. We will probably make this available to more people.

          "

          Its also necessary to logout and log back in again for 'My-Posts' to update.... Any others experiencing this?"

          We are not aware of this as a bug. We're interested if more of you are experiencing this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

      You'll be surprised how many businessmen DO dump assets that bring value to the company... It's when they leave others in charge that this happens...

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

      GotThumbs,

      It's consumer advice. OK he puts it in a light, overly-cynical conversational style. But as a reader you're supposed to be bright enough to know that money isn't everything.

      The question is, how do you get your fair share of the cash available. In most cases, if you don't ask, you won't get. Even if you do ask, you'll have to persuade the company it's worth their while to pay you.

      Smaller companies are better here. You're usually not working for a faceless manager who's part of a faceless bureaucracy - but someone with power and incentive to treat you well. The downside is that they probably get to keep all, or a portion of, any extra profit the company makes, so every extra penny they pay you literally comes out of their own pocket. But there's a good chance theyWith larger companies your manager may want to pay you more, but not be able to - or may be able to but not want to. If you've got one that is paying you more, and training you, then you don't need to be reading these articles...

      So I think Dominic Connor is providing a valuable service here. In an ideal world, everyone would be adult and sensible, and act in their long-term best interests, while also being moral, and treating people fairly. This isn't an ideal world.

      In my case, I once got promoted to do my ex-boss's job. He left because they failed to give him the training they'd promised him, and it was clear that his career wouldn't move on any further, and in fact would go backwards as it was a limited and niche area. But actually they didn't promote me, they just handed me his workload. Then we had a long drawn out process where the carrot of promotion was held in front of me, but always just out of reach. So I was getting paid my old salary for my ex-boss's job. With the promise of getting it eventually. This wasn't them being totally evil, it was politics at the management level. On the other hand, I was being ripped off. And not getting the nearly 50% pay rise they owed me - and that it would cost them to get anyone else competent to to it. As happens, no deviousness was required. My boss understood my situation (and I think even genuinely sympathised). It wasn't personal. And actually the extra responsibility improved my chances on the job market. So I openly job hunted, and that encouraged them to employ me. Everyone was polite, mature and reasonable, management settled their bun-fight and it all ended happily. My obvious threat to leave gave my boss the power to get me hired, because my knowledge of a niche area was currently unique within the company. If my manager had been a bastard it would have turned out differently. He'd have recognised he needed me, and won his political battle. If he'd been an idiot, he might have got rid of me, as I'd "insulted" him by looking elsewhere, and cost the company money. His inability to get his wants past other management cost me real money (4 months of the higher wage I should have had - i.e. a bloody good holiday or a cheap-ish car), so it's worth considering how good your boss is at office politics, as well as how nice they are.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Boffin

      Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

      " I don't see any real focus on on what the employee can do to add value to the company and thus solidify their position with the company."

      I call "House" on this round of BS bingo.

      " No smart businessman dumps an asset that continually brings value to the company.""

      Wrong. Internal IT departments are not viewed as "assets" but as cost centres,

      If it's a software house I'd refer you to "The Good Wife" S4/Ep21 for a view on how they view their meat devs.

      "The first reality everyone needs to understand.....Every company exists NOT for their employees, but because there is a market for their services/products. Businesses are only ongoing entities as long as they are profitable and competitive. "

      Wrong again. The only mandate a business has is to make a return for its investors. There is no market for SCO or other patent trolls yet (like cockroaches, but without the fringe benefits of their existence) they exist.

      "Employees are hired to add value to the company and any employee that adds value, will grow/advance with the company. "

      And has this happened to you? Have you been rewarded for it? Because if you haven't you've just been "stroked" by your management. Responsibility without authority is BS. Responsibility with authority without remuneration is also BS.

      "You have to love what you do and where you work. "

      You should but IRL that's rare. The ideal employee from (certain) management perspectives is remarkably like the "focused" characters in Vernor Vinges "A Deepness in the Sky."

      When a CEO (who in the FTSE 100 collects on average > 100x the salary of their employees. I think the figure is somewhat higher in the US) says that wanting to be able to afford a nice place to live and a decent standard of living for my family without working an 80 hour week is "disloyalty" you know the phrase "We're all in this together" is complete b***cks.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

      "Employees are hired to add value to the company and any employee that adds value, will grow/advance with the company"

      Ha ha ha. Excuse me while I pick myself back up from falling over laughing, but that's one of the most naive views I've read for a long time.

      I worked for a company (which is no more), team leader with line management responsibility which I'd worked my way up to in a short time. When we needed to recruit from outside the cheapest person who was any good was asking about £7-8k MORE than I was earning, and I would be their line manager. My boss at the time tried to tell me that how much I was valued was nothing to do with how much I was paid.

      6 months down the line an entire layer of management was stripped out - mine, and I only heard in a team-wide meeting. I left very soon after and took holiday the day I handed in my notice, apparently the boss was seen with his head in his hands asking what they would have to do to keep me on as I was "invaluable".

      So though I'd sort of advanced by becoming a team leader, my pay hadn't grown to reflect that & even that was taken away anyway - despite me apparently being invaluable.

      1. GotThumbs
        Boffin

        Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

        I guess I've just been fortunate in my life and I have a great job because I do not sit and wait for others to direct my life. I thoroughly enjoy my work and the people I work with. Nothing is perfect and there are always rough periods, but I know I have just as much power in where and who I choose to work with. I assure you I am not naive in the realities of life/work. . I've had some lame jobs in the past, but I knew I had the power to change that and I did. I've worked at my current company over 15 years and have moved up through the ranks past others who remained in the same position/level while I advanced. I even made a career change to another division within the same organization over 5 years ago and I'm in the same position today. I know what I need to do if I wished to move up in rank, but I'm very happy with my current job and salary. I live quite comfortably within my means, yet still enjoy occasional travel and my 3 vehicles. Last one is a 2010 HD Street Glide.

        At the end of the day, everyone makes choices. You can choose to stay or move on. I always find it strange/dumb when people bitch about their job, but then they do nothing about changing their situation.

        Life is what you make of it.

        Best wishes on your choices.

        1. Getriebe
          Coat

          Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

          @Got Thumbs

          Yup its all about planning

          But "Last one is a 2010 HD Street Glide." come on - driving lorries for a living is a bit of a stretch.

      2. Steve 13
        Thumb Down

        Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

        Why did you accept a team lead role without team lead pay? The only person responsible for you ending up in that situation is you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

          Because I was stupid enough to believe the BS I was told that I would get a decent rise at pay round time and that they could only give rises then, and that that my existing job was vanishing (that bit was true). The company was small & growing rapidly, and they didn't really have much in the way of structure at the time. The entire team had transferred from different areas with no external recruits initially and no-one had received a rise, we were trying to grow a company we thought was exciting & going places. The trouble started when a) we needed to bring more people in & found out the going rate at that time for the job and b) next pay round time came & I was offered slightly under inflation. I left soon after that.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Unhappy

            Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

            "The trouble started when a) we needed to bring more people in & found out the going rate at that time for the job and b) next pay round time came & I was offered slightly under inflation. I left soon after that."

            Older and a little wiser.

            You just try to avoid doing it again.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

        "I left very soon after and took holiday the day I handed in my notice, apparently the boss was seen with his head in his hands asking what they would have to do to keep me on as I was "invaluable"."

        The answer to that BS is "Look me in the eye and tell me if you were in my shoes and know what I know about the pay rates round here you would not be doing exactly what I'm doing."

        If they say "I would stay" you know they are either a)An idiot b)A psychopath who will lie through their teeth.

        If their honest they might be worth staying in touch with.

    6. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Re: My opinion......This author comes off as a spoiled teenager, because its everyone elses fault.

      Actually 'm a spoiled 51 year old, been a *long* time since I was a spoiled teenager.

      Yes it is all negative, that's how I write, people like it this way , however you can imagine that my kids school don't like it when I help my kids write their essays. The bit where my son referred to "The causes of World War One" as "What happens when you promote people based on who their grannies fucked", didn't go down well at all.

      Thank you for your plug for another site, given that in a good month, there's upwards of a million clicks on stuff I write, maybe you can appreciate that I fear it not.

  21. Jim 59

    In summary

    Don't work anywhere less than 1 year

    When you leave be very nice about it

    Get the new contract and start date agreed in writing before resigning

  22. RonWheeler
    Thumb Up

    Never a truer word

    'Often working for a powerful bastard is much more pleasant than grafting for a good guy who is coming last.'

    Once worked for a 'nice guy' who was the kickstool for every other manager in the building. Ergo he never said no to all the other managers' doomed-to-fail crappy projects. Bought hook,line and sinker into a 'positive thinking', customer service 'guru' mantra that was meant to motivate junior customer service people - everyone else was meant to pay lip-service.

    I left.

  23. pewpie
    IT Angle

    When to say those three little words: 'I am quitting'

    When you use three words to say something instead of two would be a good start.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “resigned with no job to go to”.........vs.........Expat Gigs..........

    More tough-love from 'The Dom'... Methinks he's a fan of the biting wit of Simon Cowell. Overall, the advice in the article should be qualified. It applies more to the UK market. In my experience the US is different and the state of affairs is even more wide-ranging for those who tap the lucrative Expat market...

    The advice is most relevant to the UK stay-at-home tech. Overall the article doesn't take account of who-you-know or the contacts you build up over your career that lead to postings. It also doesn't take account of Entrepreneurs. In the US even if your business fails, you can still reboot your career. The fact that you left to start a company can give you a story to tell that can make you appear more interesting as a hire.

    Moreover, the Expat market is very different, especially HK, Dubai, Singapore, but you must be willing to travel, have worldly clout and can interact alongside different cultures. This takes an Expat mindset which can mean up-ending your family every few years which not everyone is willing to do. You must also be able to handle culture shocks, deal with home-sickness and enjoy new languages and customs. So overall, this isn't for everyone, which is an angle right there... Quitting or taking breaks is less relevant also because working in these locations for a number of years can make you financially independent.... ..

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another excellent article dispelling the fanciful illusions that most people seem to have about their 'careers' and importance to their employers. Make no mistake, unless you as an individual have a direct influence on the share price of the organisation you work for, you really are just another number on the payroll.

    Theres only one person in charge of your career development - you. If youre fool enough to leave it to somebody else to better you courtesy of a mythical training/development plan or a skills matrix and an annual review then prepare to be disappointed when you arent where you want to be in 5 years time.

    Finally when quitting or thinking about changing jobs stay professional and dont jump because you think you have 'principles' - wrong - you almost certainly have a mortgage which a job can pay for. Principles dont pay the bills - jobs do - so learn to play the game.

  26. Spoonsinger
    Headmaster

    The trouble with IT agents...

    is that you get a 'good' one. They have a role you can do. They understand your skills. You get the gig. Finish the gig with flying colours - everybody happy, you get paid, agent gets their cut, etc.. Then you never hear from them again!!!! (infact in most cases they've disappeared off the face of the planet - it's like they are anti-paper clips).

    What's up?????/

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Meh

    Just remeber the definition of "agent"

    "One who does not take ownership of goods."

    You may think they work for the employer.

    The employer may think they work for him.

    The work for themselves

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Employers are wary of job hoppers?

    Not if the job hopper is a CxO leaving a firm they've trashed.

  29. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Long notice period

    " For example, they'll often interpret “resigned with no job to go to” as “was told I could quit or be fired”. That’s not fair, I know, but it’s my job to tell you it like it is, not make it fair. "

    Indeed.

    But I'm currently in a contract which has a six month period of notice.

    I don't see many new employers wanting to wait that long. All adverts want you to start as soon as possible.

    What would your advice be?

    (sorry to be an anonymous coward)

    1. Eric Kimminau TREG
      Mushroom

      Re: Long notice period

      When they ask how long you will stay, the answer is "2 weeks". If they valued you that much or they treated you that fairly or you enjoyed it that much, you wouldnt have been looking. Screw "loyalty". 2 weeks is an acceptable notice. Do not offer a day more even if they offer a huge bonus to do so. It only means you will be treated like crap as long as they have you under contract to stay.

    2. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Re: Long notice period

      Making it hard to get another role is of course one reason why firms sometimes go for long notice periods.

      The best approach is first to spin this, being on 6 months means they value you and it is worth remembering that the interview process is hardly rich in objective data, so that is a mark in your favour, even if it is awkward.

      It depends on how rational your employer is and their reason for 6 months.

      If it's simple fear of losing then the best approach is to treat this as a straight business negotiation.

      Part of 6 month notice is that they have to pay you after you resign and that is a lump of money paying you for work that your motivation has left since your sights are set elsewhere.

      So the gold standard here is to look at your current projects and say to your boss "I will complete X,Y,Z", write a good handover document and get Joe up to speed on my stuff then move on".

      A rational manager would far rather have a motivated guy for 6 weeks than someone hanging around lowering morale and achieving very little. I don't doubt you will be professional in your exit phase, but it is not unknown for leavers to cause mischief.

      So they might go for gardening leave, but that's paying you to hang around, so if there is a deal to be struck that is not only good for your boss, but something he can demonstrate to his bosses as a properly managed process, everyone gets out clean.

      Be aware that for some managers, this is an emotional event and that another negotiation may need to be made after they've calmed down.

      Also be aware that you are under no obligation to tell them where you are going to.

      1. Corinne

        Re: Long notice period

        Yep that's what I managed at one place - reduced notice period to save them the money it would cost of 3 months on gardening leave.

        But beware the vindictive managers who will insist on you staying employed by them in the hopes it will screw up your chances of taking the new job!

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: Long notice period

        The UK seems to still be fond of the "personal reference."

        Can you comment on the real state of practice?

  31. Eric Kimminau TREG
    Holmes

    Counter offers are career suicide

    I have been a very well paid contractor for almost 20 years. If you have gotten to the point in a job search that another company has made you an offer you are at the crossroads and your choices are two. Take the offer and leave professionally, keep your damn mouth shut and suck it up.

    Any recruiter recommending you "see how much they really value you" is looking for some poor idiot who has been fired and looking for someone to pimp. That is so,eone they will make significantly more on because you will be in a position to make whatever they offer you rather than what you both know you are worth.

    Counter offers and incentives for you to stay are a knife in the back of your management chain. They will from that day forward be pissed they had to give you more under duress to stay in your current job and they will constantly be wondering when it will happen again.

    Your only discussion with your management is how long you will stay. If you have seen that they will fire someone or walk them to the door as soon as you give notice, take your vacation now and give your notice on the last day of work. It is better to say "I quit" with no notice than it is to stress out your managers manager and HR trying to see just how much they will give you before you tell them you wouldnt accept it any way.

    The professional will quietly schedule a 10 day vacation for "family matters" and the day before leaving sit down with your manager to give 2 weeks notice. Clearly inform them that it is time for a change, thank them for the opportunity to be their employee, wish them well and leave. Do it just like they would do to you. 4:30pm on a Friday. Schedule the meeting with your boss to discuss open issues in Outlook the day before just to make sure its on his calendar and he will be in the office. No shouting, no yelling. No cursing or threats. Its time to go. Go.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Counter offers are career suicide

      "The professional will quietly schedule a 10 day vacation for "family matters" and the day before leaving sit down with your manager to give 2 weeks notice. Clearly inform them that it is time for a change, thank them for the opportunity to be their employee, wish them well and leave. Do it just like they would do to you. 4:30pm on a Friday. Schedule the meeting with your boss to discuss open issues in Outlook the day before just to make sure its on his calendar and he will be in the office. No shouting, no yelling. No cursing or threats. Its time to go. Go."

      Nice. It's no better than most bosses deserve, and if they don't deserve it (there must be a few who don't) you'll stay in touch with them.

  32. Wang N Staines

    "wary of job-hoppers" ... I change my job every 2 years (max) to keep me from getting bored. I have never had any issues with getting a new job. Put in my notice, then I have 4 weeks to look for the next job. Easy!

  33. OzBob
    Holmes

    Never burn your bridges, but only with your contemporaries

    A former co-worker who quit without a job to go to (nice girl but hopelessly out of her depth in a technical role) put the old boss as a referee, and I overheard him on the phone excoriating her to a potential employer for a helpdesk role. I had a word to her on the quiet to get a written reference from another manager and forget she knew anyone else at that company.

    I also heard after I left that company that the boss was not following my technical recommendations for interface design (he was shunning the API and dumping data direct into a vendor database) and was blaming me for it not working. Another co-worker was producing my old emails showing how I had detailed the potential issues for this approach, but all that earned her was the loss of several conferences and training opportunities that mysteriously became unavailable. I suggested she should stop mentioning my name in solutions, and also got references from former bosses I could trust to be honest.

    Never underestimate the power of a managers ego in the decision-making process; most would rather do damage control on looking bad later, than admit they were wrong now.

    1. Getriebe
      Holmes

      Re: Never burn your bridges, but only with your contemporaries

      I am of course not like that! Grin...

      But this is such a good charcterisation of most British managers I have to work alongside. Never forget they got there probably not because of their abilities but because of their ability to understand the politics.

      I try and fight against this all the time, and have done to my own disadvantage but as I have so little that I must do (apart from historic Porsche - see above) I can create enemies. But even I have to back down most of the time.

      This is a reason why about 20 years ago I said I would not work for a British company again, and prefer to work with groups in disparate places like Mexico, central Europe, Singa., Malaysia and so on.

      If you do not choose jobs with an eye to being able to leave on your terms, you are doing it wrong.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While Dominic does come across as your typical self-important City recruitment agent, and he is talking just plain common sense that should be obvious to anyone with half a brain cell....there are a frightening number of people out there that go and do stupid **** like jacking in a contract before they have a written offer on the new role.

    1. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Because poeple listen to it

      . As a headhunter I know that during career transitions most people feel vulnerable which is why on the web there is a huge bulk of fluffy kitten careers advice, all touchy feely and written to make you feel warm inside when reading it.

      Certainly when I deal personally with people I am softer than I write here because we are working together to get them where they should be.

      But...

      Getting careers advice *after* things have happened is not exactly ideal and because you may be stressed you may not even process properly the advice you get during an issue.

      At any given time most Reg readers don't need much careers advice, you're doing your jobs with varying degrees of competence for firms of varying degrees of benevolence. That means I must get the message across in a form that sticks in your mind for when you actually need it and since most Reg readers are in cruise mode I'm not upping your stress level at a bad time by in effect shouting at you.

      So I fully understand why some commentards are so negative about my articles, since I'm telling them things they don't feel they need to know.

      Yet.

      "Yet" is the important word here.

      I don't actually care if you agree with what I write, I define "success" for an article as causing Reg readers to think through their career issues and disagreeing with me is a good way of getting things clear in your mind.

  35. Mike Taylor
    Happy

    Recruitment interviews

    Dominic, obviously I'm writing on behalf of a friend who may have an interview with a recruitment agency for a pretty senior (exec-level) job. I^HHe was preparing for it in the usual manner, but another friend has suggested that this level of interview is quite different. Effectively, you need to persuade the interviewer that you're not an embarrassment to pass on, and check the boxes. In particularly, the interviewer won't know much about the job, so it's more like an audition than an interview. I wonder if you have any useful advice or comments. For him. Thanks!

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Career?

    Career? What's one of those? I have a "job", and about halfway through it I start looking for the next job while trying my best to accumulate enough savings to keep me alive during the intervening unemployment.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In my last job I made the mistake of informing the director that the guy put in charge of me (I was the only developer and had been the only IT guy for a few years) was not only stopping me from actually doing any work but he also didnt seem to know what he was doing to a dangerous extent (one great example was wanting to take the website down so he could run some inserts into the database!).

    The general manager didnt get on with anyone (I left shortly after a manager who wrote his resignation in the office and with great joy slammed it on this guys desk) and insisted on shouting his anger at me as he would throw me out if it was up to him (probably why he was angry). The director had more sense and knew he needed the only one who understood the mess of their IT and so we discussed the problem. However it was clear the director wanted this IT manager and he was still bedding in.

    My exit was swift and enjoyable. The IT manager begged me to stay and was blindly offering me more money I am certain the director wouldnt part with. The general manager was happy (as was I). And the director seemed very quiet and a bit lost. I dont think he had any illusions about why I was leaving nor did he seem surprised.

    I hear they went through a few IT people after that with nothing improving. I obviously didnt ask for a reference from them.

  38. Dramoth
    Thumb Up

    Quitting to skill up

    If you do quit and the job that you are jumping ship for disappears before you arrive. Tell the next employer that you decided to leave your previous employer to skill up to future proof your skill set for a few more years with the latest technologies... if you havent been using them.

    I work as a contractor web application developer and I am planning on having a short career break to skill up on some PHP frameworks and possibly even get my MCPD certification so that when I get back out into the workforce, my skill sets are more up to date and it looks good to the prospective employer that you are willing to put in the effort to learn new technologies.

    And even if you dont bother to skill up that much, spend a couple of quid, buy a couple of random, but interesting, domain names and build web sites for them using HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery or some other flavour of JS that pleases you. Then if the employer asks, you can say that you have been developing and maintaining such and such websites.

  39. TeeCee Gold badge
    Meh

    Yeeees.....but.....

    Often working for a powerful bastard is much more pleasant than grafting for a good guy who is coming last.

    The problem here is that that powerful bastard almost certainly didn't get to be a powerful bastard by being even-handed, thoughtful and taking the flak for his fuckups, but by hoovering the ceiling[1].

    Thus, while it may be more challenging / rewarding, you need to be alert to the fact that you could get given the shaft at any time.

    [1] A process that involves sucking up and all the crap travelling downwards.

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Yeeees.....but.....

      "The problem here is that that powerful bastard almost certainly didn't get to be a powerful bastard by being even-handed, thoughtful and taking the flak for his fuckups, but by hoovering the ceiling[1]."

      [1] A process that involves sucking up and all the crap travelling downwards.

      I will have to remember that one.

      The behaviour definitely sounds familiar....

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another reason to go

    I left my last job because, as I summarized it in my list of reasons to prospective employers, "the corporate culture has deteriorated."

    What was actually going on was an explosion of new upper-management positions that crammed the shiny new HQ full of directors and senior managers and SVPs and EVPs who had no apparent idea how to actually run a company, let alone one that required an IT department to keep functioning. IT staff was cut in half and denied funding to even keep things patched together. Experienced people across all departments were running for the exits, even in some cases without anything else lined up.

    My team was great, the benefits were excellent, and there was still interesting stuff to do, but it was pretty clear it was time to leave.

    1. Corinne

      Re: Another reason to go

      Ah I worked for one of those, the only difference being it was a software house and it was the developers who were on no pay rises & less funding, and kept in the shabby old back street offices while the sales drones etc went to the shiny glass fronted HQ building

  41. Rozzy

    How about one on LinkedIn?

    This article made great reading and I learned a lot from it - always easier to learn from the mistakes of others instead of through bitter experience. Insightful, based on reality and cut straight to the point, which I like. Much better than the wishy washy generic 'advice' thats out there.

    Any chance of an article on how to put together a good LinkedIn profile? What to put in, what not to? Recruiters seem to use it as their main vehicle for finding people.

  42. Richard North
    Trollface

    Only half joking...

    I got home and found my boss in bed with my wife.

    "WTF is going on?" I yelled.

    "Remember when you said you would do anything for that promotion?"

    "Yes..?" I replied.

    "Get undressed, when I have finished with her, you're next..."

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Trollface

      Re: Only half joking...

      "I got home and found my boss in bed with my wife.

      "WTF is going on?" I yelled.

      "Remember when you said you would do anything for that promotion?"

      "Yes..?" I replied.

      "Get undressed, when I have finished with her, you're next...""

      And in a similar vein buying a nice house

  43. OzBob
    Thumb Up

    Said it before, will say it again

    Dom, you need to make this a chapter in your book "workplace politics for techies" (which you should write, of course). Upvote to agree?

    1. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

      Re: Said it before, will say it again

      My pieces *may* turn into some sort of book at some point, the question is how many would pay for my words as opposed to getting them free on the Reg ?

      D

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