How's work been?

Low stress + pays enough + no ridiculous demands on my time are definitely priorities for me. My brother does the whole tech company switch jobs every 2 years thing, and while he makes a decent amount more than me, he is perpetually unhappy with his work/life balance.

That said, over the last few weeks I started updating my resume and thinking about updating my linkedin, because all the little annoyances about my job have started to weigh on me. But then Mauna Loa started erupting and suddenly it's like maybe I do still like my job. But on further reflection, the eruption is just an exciting event that's masking everything else. The fact that I was intrigued by a little local bakery hiring is a good sign that deep down I want to exit software/IT positions entirely.

I took an IT consulting gig at the State of Minnesota about six and a half years ago and was making a really solid wage at that point. They liked me, I liked them, so they upped my contract multiple times. I liked the people personally, everybody had a great work ethic that was basically "get all your sh*t done in 40 hours, then go home", the Department of Transportation people were really great. When a "real" state job came up, they told me I should think about it, and it didn't take long for me to apply and eventually get hired, day one of being a "real" employee being the day everything shut down for COVD in March 2020. Sure, the benefits are nice, and we have the huge advantage that both my wife and I are IT people and she's been happily doing consulting for years and has consistently crushed my salary, but we were really enjoying that extra income. In the end, though, I realized I had a job I liked that wasn't hugely stressful, and any stress that really came about was because I gave a crap about the work and the people I worked with and I was putting on myself to make sure stuff got done. I've never once regretted it.

Extra money would be great, but, if you're at a point where you're comfortable, more money isn't worth wrecking your life. There's a time to push hard to get to that comfort level, but, once you're there? Prioritize your happiness, expand your skills, and, when something that looks good comes up, you'll have an opportunity to move if you want. Don't screw yourself just for more money on top of what's already working for you.

Yeah, that's definitely the way I've been leaning. My wife and I make over $200k/year together. We're... not struggling for money. Neither of us are in any risk of losing our incomes. Like... none whatsoever. Extra income would absolutely be just play money, and I have almost no stress right now in my current job that pushes past the "annoyance" stage. I'm a bit bored in my current position, but my boss feels I should absolutely start doing classes and just do the schoolwork in the office, so I even have support there.

I was mostly venting because if it weren't for those two toxic people, I don't even feel there'd be an increase in stress for taking the position, and they really shouldn't be that involved in that specific position to begin with. It's just frustrating that I know I'd enjoy the work, enjoy learning new things, enjoy working with the other guy because we work pretty close with him already as well as his direct boss who's a trip, enjoy more money, but I wouldn't be able to handle the poor higher management overseeing the position.

Not "play money" though... Retirement money. Very important.

Your subconscious has already decided you don't want it, you're just talking yourself into being comfortable with the decision at this point.

There is an uncomfortable alternative perhaps.
Does this new position have any authority over your current position?
If so, and you don't take it, then someone else will. And that someone might disrupt your current zen or not run interference for you from those 2 toxic people. Or worse, they could be a puppet for those toxic coworkers.

I think you are making the right choice. It is just something to think about if you have any insight on who would take the position if you didn't.

Also, 200K for IT, where do I sign up?

That $200K is PurEvil and his wife together, not just his salary.

Well $200K /2 is still in the range of "sign me up!"

Come to the DC/Maryland/VA area and you'll find opportunities galore, if you have decent experience. More if you are clearable. Even more if your speciality is Cybersecurity; like, a *lot* more than $100K...

And of course you can always go Govvie and get a good salary, great benefits, job security and a pension after 20 years. That's a great incentive.

Robear wrote:

Come to the DC/Maryland/VA area and you'll find opportunities galore, if you have decent experience. More if you are clearable. Even more if your speciality is Cybersecurity; like, a *lot* more than $100K...

And of course you can always go Govvie and get a good salary, great benefits, job security and a pension after 20 years. That's a great incentive. :-)

And make twice as much after you retire!

Robear wrote:

And of course you can always go Govvie and get a good salary, great benefits, job security and a pension after 20 years. That's a great incentive. :-)

That sounds great, but I'm not sure jobs like that exist anymore. Or at the very least, not at Interior (USGS). I'd describe it as mediocre salary (After 8 years here, I still don't make anywhere near what I made when I quit my job at Boeing in 2013), good-not-great benefits, job security (ish -- I fully expect some enterprising administration to attempt to defund science orgs at some point), and definitely no pension.

So, I talked to the manager overseeing the position today, and I got a lot of context that I certainly didn't have before. While I still feel those two are a pain in the butt... most of it in his case was probably valid. Apparently he had a bad habit of going full stop as soon as he hit any kind of issue (even something that could be solved in a relatively quick Slack message), and would never escalate or follow-up on anything. So while he did quit because of those two... it was because they were looking for updates on things he either blew off or didn't want to update them on. And honestly, as someone who's been on the other side of that... I can kind of see where they were coming from.

So it's an interesting offer. He knows I have no formal experience with the technology expected in the position. He expects me to take a while to get up to speed on everything, the company is willing to train me, they will pay for training courses if it seems valuable (they put the other guy through a course on Prometheus which I will likely push for as well). The job description isn't exactly set, there are several areas that I could basically specialize in, like helping design hardware prototypes, building and deploying servers to our data centers, focusing on virtualization and monitoring (mostly VMWare, HyperV, and AWS), helping with scripting and development, or helping our lone IT guy. His concern was that it's easier to train someone like me on the technical side of it, than it is to hire someone and hope that they have a similar work ethic that I've already shown. That, and I'm already really familiar with the install process which takes a ton of the early training off the table, and would involve months of training someone else on that anyway.

I told him that I was interested, and he asked for a number for salary. I haven't provided it yet, but I told him I was going to give him something somewhat absurd and let HR knock it down. My wife and boss have both suggested $110k, which is a little higher than average for the position for someone who has experience. I'm thinking they'll knock that down to the high 80's to low 90's

Does this new position have any authority over your current position?

None whatsoever. Completely different departments. Entirely different management structure as well. So no worries there.

Your subconscious has already decided you don't want it, you're just talking yourself into being comfortable with the decision at this point.

Not really, I actually want the job, I just didn't want to deal with two people because the impression the last guy gave was that he had no power, but apparently that was because he just didn't push back on them while basically not doing his job. The manager, when I brought that up, flat out told me he expected that I either push back where I feel it's warranted, or escalate to him.

I'm pretty anxious, but pretty excited at the same time. It's something new, and I feel like I'm jumping into the deep end of stuff I've never even been exposed to. And it should pretty much set my resume up, especially if I focus on AWS and cloud services at the moment. This does mean I'm going to have to push getting a degree to the side at the moment, but the degree would have been to get a job like this, so...

That does sound pretty positive to me! Go for it!

billt721 wrote:

hat sounds great, but I'm not sure jobs like that exist anymore. Or at the very least, not at Interior (USGS). I'd describe it as mediocre salary (After 8 years here, I still don't make anywhere near what I made when I quit my job at Boeing in 2013), good-not-great benefits, job security (ish -- I fully expect some enterprising administration to attempt to defund science orgs at some point), and definitely no pension.

I was speaking of Federal jobs, not contractors. And I was wrong, FERS kicks in after five years, not 20. If you are Federal, you have a pension through it.

I've been all over the government tech world since '85, and not only do all the Govvies get pensions, but there are a ton of places that have good-paying IT jobs. They tend to be at the more technical agencies and Departments, and of course in National Security environments.

Just a quick search shows that a job managing developers at Census in Suitland, MD will start you at a GS-14, which is $95K to $124K. A systems architect background with the ability to interpret and advise on supply source risk analysis will net you a bit less, GS-13 at SSA. And so forth.

Huh. Who knew (not me)? I'm enrolled in FERS, of course, but only really knew about the TSP portion. Playing with some calculators, it's not much extra per month, but I guess it's something.

Maybe I just need to exit USGS. Like, there's no way I'll ever get to GS-14 here. I sat on a research grade panel analyzing a dev who is literally the world-wide expert on like lunar spectrosity or something wild like that, and he ended up getting assigned a GS-13. I almost quit right after that panel because it seemed 1) so arbitrary and 2) like the panel was trying to find a way to justify not grading him higher. Here's a guy who consults with space agencies all over the world and he can't even get beyond a GS-13 in USGS.

I would definitely start looking at other government opportunities, especially in HQs. Smaller offices tend to have more influence in the hands of a smaller number of people.

Each year the FERS pension grows, so stick with it, is my advice.

My former grandboss who got buyer's remorse about my biggest project and then became my direct supervisor and once again decided I was awesome when I got promoted a few months later, has given notice.

He was really good at a third to a half of his role. As for the rest, he was also the reason the role I used to report to has had three people leave in the last 13 months and has been empty since mid-October.

So his departure is good for the organization, but he was also the devil I knew and I'm not very confident in the current leadership. My past posts in this thread have mostly come when I've been especially annoyed and/or frustrated with this job, and I've also noticed that winter depression has contributed to the annoyance and frustration. So once again I'm updating my resume and trying to figure myself out and plan my next move.

If you don't have confidence in the leadership, find a better ship to sail on.

December 23 falling on a Friday is the most quiet-quitting-ass day I've ever experienced in my life. Good lord.

Dying laughing at hearing a manager at my company expressing his frustration that they're having a hard time finding any new hires due to the company's full-time back-in-the-office policy.

One might argue that they should, instead, be smart and change their policies to ensure they're getting the best possible candidates. Instead, however, what I overheard was this:

A post in another thread reminded me of the following story.

I worked in a place once where for several years, no tape backup plan I put in place was acceptable, even though they were each perfectly fine. With tape backups, one had to balance the number of tapes used per month, the number of reuses each could take, time to backup, and the amount of time to recover and get the data or system back online. I could *not* figure out what the problem was, but each week I had to sit down with a system manager to explain, yet again, how we had full backups once a month, weekly incrementals and daily incrementals (or whatever system they imposed on me, later on). Then they'd ask "Well why not weekly fulls?" or whatever approach I was not using, and the answer of course was that it would greatly increase the cost of tapes, or backup time, or recovery time. And on and on and on. She was often reduced to tears since she didn't understand why she'd been set the task of "correcting" me for something that did not seem to be a real problem. I'd set up one pattern, they'd insist on another. I could not figure out why they didn't just trust me with that decision, since I was trying to save money and data and time, and anyway I'd take the hit for any issues.

Once I located a job that paid 2x what I made, I let my boss know that I was leaving, and asked him tangentially why I'd only gotten tiny raises? He said the constant user complaints had driven my ratings down. Come to find out the government had hired a newly minted PhD about a year after me, about my age, and he really hated that I was doing a good job and everyone liked me. So he made it his mission to talk me down, and zeroed in on the backups as a way of really nailing me to the wall. He also screwed with other support branch people, like the poor system manager who got tagged to harass me about backups. I polled my users personally and absolutely none of them had problems with me; some offered references. Turned out the PhD dude just made sh*t up, attached names to it and handed it to my boss on the regular.

When I confronted him about it, he laughed and said "No one should have it too easy in life". He'd presented himself as a friend the whole time, and with hindsight, tried to manipulate me into situations that would have gotten me fired if I'd gone for them. A true psychopath. (His career tanked after his first few papers, his coworkers shunned him, and he left the agency as soon as he could take retirement; he's living the single MAGA life in a cheap, small house ion VA with a few criminal convictions under his belt to boot. Psychopathy exercised in the office does not pay.)

Robear wrote:

"No one should have it too easy in life"

Rhetorically: what the actual f?

It dropped my jaw. Then he said "Do you want to hit me?" and laughed. He was all about the emotional mindf*ck.

Working at a big tech company for the first time in my life (been here a little over a year) and experiencing what it’s like when they do a large amount of layoffs. 0/10 would not recommend.

18 years working at a big tech company. It sucks the soul out of you to the point that you stop noticing when 20% of your team is suddenly gone.

kazar wrote:

18 years working at a big tech company. It sucks the soul out of you to the point that you stop noticing when 20% of your team is suddenly gone.

So far, other than layoffs, working at a big tech company has been generally great but I am not assuming any consistency across big tech companies or roles.

Layoffs always suck. I’ve been through those at smaller companies but that was like a dozen people leaving not thousands. It’s staggering how many people a big tech company can lay off and have it be just a small percentage of total staff.

I was made redundant from the best job I'd ever had at an amazing company last June. I went straight into an operations manager role in a new industry and it was toxic AF. I hated every second of it. I lasted 2 months and then spent 2 months unemployed living off the redundancy payout. I ended up taking a "survival" job to pay the mortgage.

I've taken a 50k paycut but I'm doing something that is virtually stress free that I can do in my sleep.

The plan was to keep looking for higher paying roles but honestly it's hard to be motivated to keep applying when I know to get better money I'd be taking on the extra stress and anxiety.

Don't let the toxic job convince you that all jobs are like that. Take your time and look around, you'll find something at a reasonable company that fits you. Use resources like Glass Door (or what you have in Oz) and see if you can figure out the turnover rate for the company, that will help. Talk to your former peers and find out where they are what they are doing. You can do this!

Something that kinda boosted my ego today:

I contracted for a company back in 2019 and, while I did not like the job, I liked the team I was working with and the money was great. They let me go at the end of 2019 when the project's funding dried out, but it's been back in full swing for the past two years. An agency contacted me at the end of November regarding that very same job, so I applied through them, and I was hired after a 10-minute interview. I've been working for them for three weeks now.

Fast forward to today: I had a short conference call with one of the folks I worked with in the past. Turns out he's the one who said to the project manager "Hey, I know bobbywatson, he did great work for us in the past, if you can get him, that'd be great!".

It's nice to know that my work was appreciated!

My contract is for one year, but the project is expected to go for another three years or so. Assuming my work is still valuable, I should be able to spend a good chunk of time without having to look for something else!

The job is still not very fun. However, it's good money and, since I'm only a few short years away from financial independence, it's pretty much all that matters at this point.