If you were to look at my profile on LinkedIn you would notice that since about 2011 I’ve had pretty short tenures at each company where I’ve worked. It’s understandable that that would be a red flag to anyone considering me for a position within their company. I’ve thought of various ways I could explain this in a relatively short blog post, and I realize that detailing the specific reason at each company would not be a good solution. Instead, I think it’s better if I take a different angle on this topic…
You can probably notice that up until 2011 I had worked for many years at each previous company (General Motors - 10 years, J.D. Edwards/PeopleSoft - 4.5 years, Northrop Grumman - 6 years…including subcontractor time spent there). When I left Northrop Grumman in 2011 I made a conscious decision that I wanted to seek out and work for smaller companies, especially startups, because I wanted a “faster pace” in my career. And indeed, that’s what I received.
For any of you that have made the transition from “big and slow” to “small and nimble” you probably know the upsides: getting to wear many hats, keeping up with more recent technologies, etc. However, it didn’t take long to experience the downsides, which for me mainly boiled down to “lack of overall stability”. With very few exceptions I left each company either (1) right after a layoff, (2) right before a layoff, or in one case (3) right before the company shut down.
It should be noted, as I’m trying to provide a balanced perspective (my own as well as my former employers’), that in no case did I wait around until I was the one that was laid off, and for the company that went out of business I left just a couple of months before they shut down. So…I’ll admit to being a little jittery. I’m not a young, single guy with no financial obligations, living in an apartment and playing video games at night (not that there is anything wrong with that). I’ve been married for awhile (and want to stay that way), and I do contribute to our family’s well-being.
So…without going into any more specifics (you can ask for those in direct communication if you’d like)…here is a short list of things I’ve found (so far) that make me want to stay at a company and be a positive contributor…
- good pay and benefits
- relative company stability
- a reasonable process and desire to stay current with technologies
- a diverse set of technical challenges
- the ability to work remote and a company communication and development process that is inclusive of remote employees
Regarding #4 in particular…I have found so far that I have enjoyed being more of a “full stack generalist” than a specialist in anything. I haven’t (yet) found ‘that one thing’ that I thought I would want to specialize in for the next several years.
And with that…I think if you’ve read this far, then that’s enough to get a better understanding of me. I realize that no employer or employment situation is perfect, and I certainly am not perfect either. I do my best to communicate well and be a good teammate.