IT career "golden cage"

38 posts in this topic

I saw a good discussion about IT contractor jobs a few threads ago and would like to seek forum’s advice on my situation too.

I work as IT manager with some specialised domain knowledge for a relatively small non-IT company in Berlin and somehow found myself in a golden cage that is difficult to leave. I don’t enjoy projects I work on any more, and see no further professional growth or career development opportunities at this company. Having said that, the conditions I managed to achieve are quite generous (€ >100k+ salary, flexible working hours, unlimited home office), the contract is permanent and somehow in the last 12 months I was not able to get any offers from other companies even nearly matching that.

What would you do in such situation? Keep on jobhunting? Or just stay put and perhaps try starting a small but interesting & challenging business as a side gig?

Any advice is much appreciated!

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I have been dealing with just this tonight (different field) but moving on from contracting.   Plenty of OK work on offer with decent pay but not enough challenge or (non cash) reward.  How did I deal with it?  I went back to my aspirations and what suits me.   What do I really want to now?   Focussing on those makes it easier.    Then I can say not to the stuff that is well-paid but my heart is not in for whatever reason.

 

These seem to be the choices: (1) Aspire higher (quality, career dev etc)  (2) Focus on what you really want and accept the trade-offs.   I concluded I could be happier doing something lower paid but giving a better solution rather than churning out high paid commodity stuff "for the money".   As a friend said, there is always work. 

 

I last did it about five years ago and I got (1), so win-win with two things you do not really mention: contacts, and upwards move in my profession.   I also downshifted before, including to come here.   You manage.   My preferred "side gigs" are personal like family, property, investments, friendships, education (also helps upward move) especially if already working and earning well.   I think they pay back and add more. 

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Why would it have to be a side BUSINESS?  This strikes me as coming from a person who has too much personal identity/satisfaction tied up in work, so I'm thinking in terms of life balance here - do you have hobbies and activities you enjoy outside of work that you could spend more time on that would give you a sense of satisfaction you are missing at work (as opposed to just taking on more work)?

 

What I've found, personally, is that all jobs carry a suck factor.  Not all the time, but there's always something unsavory going on - I have yet to find a "perfect job".  Some are worse than others, with respect to stress especially, and yes, feeling bored or under-challenged can most definitely be stressful in its own way, but at this point I evaluate jobs more on how they support the rest of my life than how exciting or personally fulfilling they are (within reason of course).  

 

It does sound like you have an exceptionally sweet deal at the moment, so instead of looking at it as a "cage" I'd encourage you to look at it as a home base or safe space - this kind of salary and flexibility in your working hours is HUGE! Don't discount that!  Find a way to leverage it.  I'd then encourage you to explore what can you do to bring more joy into your life, both at work and during your free time.  For example, at the core, what is important about career growth, to you - what exactly does it do for you?  Is it the challenge?  the recognition of a job well done from your boss/company? getting to do something new?  etc. Then: how can you tweak your current role or what can you pursue outside of work that might give you that kind of satisfaction?  You can do this personal investigation with any and all twinges that you have.  

 

The older I've become, and the more jobs I've worked in, the more I feel this:  it's just work - it's not (nor should  it be!) the sum and substance of my whole life!  Yes there are still things I enjoy a lot about working, but it's not all that.  Try thinking outside your current box and see where it leads. 

 

 

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A vision of wider life helps. I also think with decent money you need a takeaway (especially if it is dull) like a paid for home or sizeable investment plan or even a social circle. This then gives you more flexibility in next life steps.  Pro- bono work is another way to put back business knowledge.

 

The people I have known over the years who claim to be in golden handcuffs tend to want the lifestyle it buys and usually follow the money -  end up working in Switzerland often.  It does often seem self-selecting.  The cycle to break.

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Thanks a lot, swimmer!

 

Yes, actually education is one of ways out I am seriously considering. As a "quereinsteiger" after a PhD in natural sciences I don't really have formal qualifications for my current job or for the jobs I am applying for, and getting a couple of formal certifications (PMP or other project management + domain certifications) seem to be a realistic way out indeed.

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My qualifications in my profession are very much something I rely on.  I know they are a plus for senior jobs in my case and also mean I can dip in and out, knowing I can draw on them.

 

It is easy to dismiss what we have but I also got to a point where things like home office also felt restrictive - I wanted my home as just that, my home. I decided not to do that anymore.  But, on the other hand, you do have to put up with seeing your mates living that life.   In the modern parlance, it is about authenticity.  Who do you want to be?    Looking at those ops last night, I can vision the life I will be happy with in the next five years, and they do not fit.

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Thanks lisa13!

 

Being sort of workaholic myself it is not that easy to develop sustainable sense of satisfaction outside work. But I do get your message about shifting priorities in life and in fact it resonates well with words I often hear from more experienced professionals. 

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As an exercise, take one of the other salary offers you've received and try living off of that salary for a couple of months and see if you like the new, adjusted lifestyle.  Would you have to move?  Get a cheaper mode of transportation?  Fewer nights out?  Shorter/no holidays?

 

How wide is your job search net?

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Yes, another thing I did was pull together a list of ways to live  - things I could do to carry on.    In general, I do find the idea that looking to the future makes you feel more positive and in control.  That also again draws you away from the current setting and to where you may be heading.   Also, it is probably not "all or nothing" (unless restricted by visa etc, or possibly lack of German).   There are lots of things to earn some money from,  while retraining or having time off,  for example. 

 

And of course, one can easily read it the other way.  The dissatisfaction is a sign of it being time to focus on other aspects of life - it is telling you something, to act on.   You can easily build the narrative that way.

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24 minutes ago, swimmer said:

Yes, another thing I did was I I I me me me I I I...

 

Here Swimmer dear, is a song you may like:

 

 

 

 

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The poster specifically asked for other people`s experiences, and I am doing the absolute specific same now.   Just sent an e-mail turning down an op.

 

If you don`t want to read my posts and wish to stick to conspiracy theories rather than matters such as how to turn  turn down 100k+ jobs and be happy doing something else instead, I suggest you put me on ignore.  So very easy.

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1 minute ago, hooperski said:

So banter is a one way street then my little Liebe Wurst.

 

Actually that issue - I was kinda sensitive that time as I'd just been doxed. So sorry I snapped at you. 

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Oh I see, next time someone pisses me off on TT, I'll walk the streets looking for a Trumpette to punch.

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21 minutes ago, jeremytwo said:

Calm down! I was only teasing you! I'd hope you do the same to me! It's just banter!

 

You must have a template for this tired excuse.

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8 minutes ago, SpiderPig said:

 

Condesending prick.

 

Sorry to condesend, but it's condescend.... :lol:

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24 minutes ago, jeremytwo said:

Calm down! I was only teasing you! I'd hope you do the same to me! It's just banter!

 

4 minutes ago, fraufruit said:

 

You must have a template for this tired excuse.

 

God, the man and his lame excuses for bullying the women he's not permitted to fuck...

*byatch can't take a joke! Hahahahaaa!!*

 

People get fired from jobs for this shit.

Too bad he doesn't get fired from Toytown.

 

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