: Wherein I discuss the weirdness of half ppl being like “GTFO L8ER !*#$&S”, and the other half like “wut where u goin jus chill out”
I am struck by a strange dichotomy of phenomenons that I find in tech job mentalities.
One goes a little like this:
You’ve been there 9 months and you’re not looking for a new job?! Why not?!
While the contrary goes like:
Yeah, this place is good. I can seek out what I need within my company and I am well supported here.
Perhaps you identify with one or the other mentality. Certainly I found myself happily settling into my workplace, grateful for the autonomy and influence I was given, grateful for the people I worked with, grateful for interesting challenges without undue pressure and unachievable deadlines. But more and more, I felt like the walls were closing in on me - walls of
- “But you’ll never grow if you stay in the same place!”
- “You could get a nice big pay bump if you changed companies.”
- “It’s so boring to stay in one place, when are you going to quit?”
- “Companies don’t care about you or keeping you learning and engaged.”
- “You’ll lose your edge if you don’t quit every 9 months.”
- “You gotta swoop in, write a bunch of shit real fast so you look good, and then move on and leave the shit for some other suckers.”
And I grew more and more unhappy.
How stupid was I to think I could stay in this job! What a joke to be anywhere longer than a year and a half! A real programmer would never dream of doing such a thing! All the cool people get in and get out!
And worse, thoughts of money haunted me. I didn’t ask for enough when I was being hired. I am getting underpaid because I’m a woman. I didn’t fight hard enough for a raise. I could get more elsewhere. I’m gonna be stuck at this pay level for the rest of my life. Everyone else is making more than me. The hard work I do is utterly uncorrelated to my compensation. I’ll never have enough money.
What absurdity! I am so priveleged to have a job and a salary and all of the wonderful things I have, and life is too short to spend it worrying about how much money I don’t make. Alas, it was too late - I was brainwashed by these messages of “more money, shorter jobspans” and becoming rather unnerved by the whole shebang.
As I began to express these opinions in surprise to my fellow humans, I discovered that some for whom I had deep respect had remained at their current jobs - sometimes their first jobs! - for 3 and 5 and 6 years, and maybe even had no plans of leaving.
Incredible! I thought. Unheard of! I mentally pencilled names onto my list of “evidence you don’t have to quit every couple weeks”.
To counter my anguish around my stagnant position and questionable remuneration*, I mentally and emotionally checked out from my job. I spent a while just drifting around, completing projects as required, complaining and commiserating with my dissatisfied colleagues, and half-heartedly considering alternatives, but without taking any action.
Then finally, after one day of roaming the office making snide comments and just generally dumping my newfound negativity on everyone, I was struck by the uncertain reactions of the unfortunate humans on the receiving end of my hostility. I am nothing if not overly sensitive to other peoples’ reactions, and I was taken aback by their being taken aback - I had to explain myself multiple times, as if my sass was so unexpected as to be un-understandable. That day, I called my mom. It went something like this:
“Hi Mom. I’m becoming grumpy. I think everyone around me is grumpy. But I don’t have to be grumpy. I could keep being happy despite other peoples’ grumpy.”
And that was how I came around to realizing that just because other people express distaste for their co-workers or managers or jobs, or just because other people want more more more money, or just because wHATEVER, doesn’t mean I have to join their petty and petulant pity parties. I can - and I want to - keep appreciating what I have, respecting those around me, and being content in my life as it is. I know my job is good and that I have rich opportunities where I am, challenges waiting for me to rise up and meet them, and mentorship from others if I only am brave enough to solicit their wisdom and knowledge.
Sometimes it’s important for me to be reminded that I can go my own way in life. The choices I make are the right ones, even if there were 1347236572898986397924 other ones I could have made, because any path is a good path if I am on it ;). Other people do cool things and have cool thoughts, but I do too, and if they want to be negative and share that negativity with me, I am sorry to be a nice non-porous metal wall from which they can bounce away to find somewhere else to seep in. I prefer to be a role model of positivity and satisfaction than a sheep of sourness and bitter endings.
With that, I am off to enjoy my life, and practice this principle in all corners of it. I hope you too are reminded to go your own way, but smell the roses along the path - other people can trample their own roses, but don’t let them trample yours too! :)
- Note about remuneration: My french-speaking colleague used this word and I wondered if he had erred in his translation from French, but it turns out to be a technically-correct-but-rather-rare-and-generally-with-a-slightly-different-meaning word meaning pay. Presumably in French it is more commonly used. Cool.