Moving your cheese:Job Change:Decision

This is a blog long overdue, and since I have been thinking about it for quite some time now, it’s getting lengthier. So, two things – since it’s been a while, I won’t delay it any longer, but I might make it longer, i.e. into a series. I am generally worried about the length of blog entries and prefer them short rather than long. I am willing to make an exception for this series.

When I started my job change process, I searched for any blog related to job change. I was highly disappointed that I couldn’t find the kind I wanted to read. There were short ones, the kinds that would be enough to just fill up a coffee break conversation. I wanted to read more and in more detail, since it was serious. My first draft looked something like the coffee break talk and I was unhappy. Over time I have managed to create a structure around the process that I went through which forms the basis of this series.

The process of job change starts with a thought – “I want to quit” except in cases where someone else does that for you which is “lay-off”. If that thought crosses your mind, my advice is similar to what a meditation practitioner would tell you, watch yourself. Question your thoughts; get to the root to figure out why?

What is more important, quitting the current position or acquiring a better position? If it is former, I would advise you to be very careful. That is the phase 1 of job change process – Weigh you reasons!

I have compiled a list of reasons for job change, mostly gathered over coffee break talks and have
  • My manager sucks: That is one of the most common reasons for job change as Mr. Narayanmurthy mentioned in his famous love-your-job-but-not-your-company email. People leave managers and not companies. In this case here are the questions you should ask:

    - Is it possible to change my manager without changing the company? In most cases, if you work for a service company, the answer is a yes. If that is the answer for you, your process stops right here.

    - Is there a possibility of the manager moving on from the company, thereby making point # 1 possible? In lot of cases, these things are not so apparent but processes are running in the background. If you and most of the others have problems with the manager, there is a good chance his superiors will have problems too. It helps it further if (s)he is incompetent. Sooner or later you will see her out of your way.

    However, if only you have a problem and she is competent, then you should think about it more. Analyze “why”! It may be a better idea to correct yourself if you are wrong on some account. In such a case if you leave because of something that you need to correct in yourself, you will see a re-hash of your current situation in near future in your next company and next to next company and so on.
  • My peers/reportees suck: This is related to the one discussed above, but usually this comes out as a result of more balanced analysis. Usually if someone has this reason, it is more often valid than the “manager sucks” reason. If the general population around you isn’t what you thought you would be working with, it’s usually a good idea to leave. But at the same time, it becomes more important for you to choose your next company with utmost care.
  • I “need” more money: I have come across a few cases with this as a reason. Sometimes it is a disguised reason. But let’s assume it is the real one. There is not much you need to think other than going for it. However, a word of caution, look at your need and see if a job change is really going to help. If your need is quite big then even a change may not really help and in longer it might hurt your career in case you are doing well in your current position. In such a case think of alternative ways of meeting your financial needs. Think of getting more education if required, that may be a bigger catalyst than a job switch. For folks in IT, onsite can always help you cover a lot of lost ground if required. Uprooting yourself from a place where you are otherwise happy for petty raise is a bad bargain.
  • My friends are making more: Envy is one of the seven deadly sins for nothing. This is one of the most improper reasons for a change. You should do what is right for you and not what is better than what someone else is doing. There may be other things that may not be as apparent as the fatter pay cheque when thinking of others. Of course, if you are really grossly underpaid (rather than friends being overpaid), go for it.
One important point, however that needs to be understood is, all these factors work in your subconscious and you need to make sure you understand the right and compelling reason.

There are a few more which I will continue in the next entry since this is already way too long for one reading.


Came across this really stale joke, but it resonates my view of how sometimes we tend to exaggerate the issues we are dealing with. As I mentioned earlier that IT people take themselves and their work too seriously. I would not rule out the possibility that sometimes we manage to reach the level this joke talks about.

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly her husband burst into the kitchen. "Careful ... CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! HERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful ... CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when u're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!"

And most of the times, when fried eggs are done, there will be congratulatory stuff about doing a great job sticking it out when it was required ;-)

Teach India, but what?

Like most of us, armchair patriots, I too have thought a lot (and done nothing) about helping our country grow. I have been involved in discussions about how corruption should end, rogue politicians be killed and lot of other equally unreasonable ideas. That makes me one among the lakhs who would have thought and discussed this same stuff over and over (I do it much less now, and with much lesser intensity, not sure if it's a good thing or bad).

The one idea, however, that I have always felt sincerely about is education being the key. This "innovative" comment, probably makes me one among the millions who would have said this earlier. Let me try and elaborate a bit on this cliche though.

For almost everything that we do (especially to do with things related to analysis), there are two approaches to look at something - the bottom up and the top down. A lot of solutions about changing the system, getting honest people in right places, punishing crooks, start voting seem like a top down approach at solving our problems. Like all other ideas, we can poke holes in most of such suggestions, because those just cannot be implemented. You always get to choose between two crooks in elections, even if there are rare good people elected, they are few in number or enterprise to count. However, that is not the point. If all this is tried out, it will be refreshing and it is, whenever some such things are seen.

The other way of thinking is to 'enable' all of what is said above without actually doing it explicitly.

I believe there was a generation of India who by the force of circumstances turned out to be extremely pragmatic but wily at the same time. People of that generation would be roughly in the age group of 40+ now. This generation has a very strong survival instinct and a tendency of self preservation which often makes them corrupt or too selfish so to speak. I believe the generation below 40 (and above 15) is a tad better in terms of morality, capability and ethics but is far too indifferent towards the nation to make a difference.

My hope lies with our next generation (below 15). If our generation is not a willing participant in the process of improvement, but acknowledges this fact, at least, we can try and build a generation that does it. Herein lies education as my silver bullet.

Education as I have known all my life has been about capability development. Little thought is given to developing a character. In effect our education makes most of us capable of doing good work for us and the nation but not necessarily willing to do so. We limit it to us. This "willingness" development can be the key differentiator now. And this is how I think the bottom up fix will work.

If I am indoctrinated to grow up as an honest, hard working person, sensible enough to keep the greater good above personal interest if it makes sense, I believe rest everything will fall in place. Most of the top down fixes will start "happening" by themselves.

So, here is your chance to participate in the process.

Profile of a President?

I was extremely disappointed when Pratibha Patil took over as the President of India. I don't feel so bad any more realizing how bad it can get.

Sarah Palin Meets ***** Pakistan President Zardari

3 stages of learning

There is an old and defunct(not completely though) rule of job security. Keep your skills to yourself and you will be indispensable. However, I have realized, better things will happen to you if you pass along your skills.

Someone once told me that the best way to learn is teach. I have taken that advice quite seriously, not by turning myself into a teacher, of course, but trying to teach others what I know. Here is a more elaborate explanation.

There are three stages to learning any new stuff and learning is just one of them. Here are all the three

- Learning
- Doing
- Teaching

Until these three stages are not done, the learning isn't yet complete. You start by knowing it for the first time, gain confidence by doing it. Then you try and see how you see others when you have gotten around the fence yourself. So, my advice, if you are learning something, keep these three stages in mind and better things will happen to you.

Choose it or lose it

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” (-Albus Dumbledore)

This must be the millionth blog about choice being important. That, however, doesn't stop me from publishing it.

It has been very wisely said by Albus Dumbledore, that its our choices that determine who we truly are more than our capabilities. I would take it a step further, they also determine what happens to us more than our talents at times. 

Oftentimes between easy and right, I am finding myself increasingly getting inclined towards choosing easy. Not blogging for some time was one of the manifestations, as it seems blogging is hard work too. The path of least resistance is what I am taking as opposed to the path less travelled as Robert Frost would have liked me to.

It might be that my work has been wearing me out (customary disclaimer: This isn't meant to be a reflection on my past, present or future employers), I hope that is it, and not any permanent setback to my road selecting capabilities. I hope this fatigue wears out soon. When I started I didn't intend to make it a personal post, but now that it has turned out that way, will leave it at that.