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Old 12-14-2010, 11:45 PM   #21
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Interesting to read. I guess I have always thought of myself as having a specialty consulting practice that has one client at a time.

The place I liked best (despite the high burnout factor) was the 12 man hedge fund that the principal (and a great teacher to me) described as being basically a privateer of the capital markets: you just hoped you ran across a stray treasure galleon and not the Spanish Armada. A gazillion person bureaucracy is not a good fit, but that's all there was when I was tossed out in the street a month before Lehman went tits up.

We will see what is out there. Worst case scenario is that I hunker down and suck it up for the next 3 years until ESR.
I've worked in the following since 1997:
homeless shelter-1yr
Staff development trainer for a major university-1
Boy Scouts-9
Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director-1
Conference planner for a different major university-Temp job for 6 months
Health and welfare community resource specialist-1.5
Variety is the spice of life!

Knowing when to move-on is difficult. Having the courage to do so is even more difficult. One of my departures resulted in a fairly spectacular public blow-up for the organization (articles in the local news media, no less). Sometimes an environment becomes so toxic that you simply have to leave. No matter cost to yourself or the organization. If you have reached that point do what you need to do. It WILL work out.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:26 AM   #22
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6 in 22 years, one of these employers re-hired when a higher position became available.
For Germany that is a lot, but the fact that I was re-hired made up for it.
Longest stay was 5 and currently 7 years.
Good luck for your search. Consultancy might not be a bad idea...
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:07 AM   #23
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I had one job after college and stayed there for 23 years until I ERed 2 years ago. I nearly left the place a few times in my early years but stuck around and continued to make myself more and more valuable with my unique skills. This translated into leverage which I used to switch to part-time in 2001 and further reduce my hours in 2007 in anticipation of an early retirement in 2008.

Staying there was made more worthwhile financially with the inception of the company's ESOP which began in 1997. Thankfully, my peak earning years were in the late 1990s and in 2000 when I received a lot of shares. In the 1990s and 2000s, the value of those shares exploded by 3000% so I was able to cash them out and live off the dividends in the last two years and will continue doing so indefinitely.

Had I not stayed there the whole time, I would never have benefited from this huge windfall and been able to ER two years ago. On the downside, my pension (which I can't begin collecting until I am in my 60s, more than 10 years from now) was frozen back in 2001.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:24 AM   #24
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I take an opposite approach. If the job pays well and I can meet the needs of my family then I just develop coping mechanisms to deal the all the BS. I've learned to not let it affect me.

I keep my eye on the prize, in my case my pension and just come to work, do my job, and go home.

My brother job hops. Every time he hops he goes up the corp ladder. I am happy just sitting at my current level and plodding along.

My job does have some built in BS protection. Like 40 hour weeks (can't work over 40 hours) and lots of leave time, so this helps.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:51 AM   #25
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I take an opposite approach. If the job pays well and I can meet the needs of my family then I just develop coping mechanisms to deal the all the BS. I've learned to not let it affect me.
I feel the same way. Over 40+ years of wo*king, I never had a "career"; they were just jobs (six, in all) that supplied income to me, and my family, and provided me with a very good retirement lifestyle (before the age of 60).

I did not (nor would I ever, if I was not retired) invest any time and think of anything other than the "end product" (e.g. $$$) that any j*b provided.

Just my POV.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:27 AM   #26
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Brew - I don't think what you're doing is out of the norm.

My DH is in software development and he went through 4 companies and 6 official job changes (requiring resume and interviews) within the last 12 years. He cares little about the actual address of the job and worries less about protecting the actual job. He does, however, work very hard at protecting his life balance and career path (type of work, resume flexibility, marketability, etc). In this aspect, you and him appear to have lots in common.

I, on the other hand, have not switched jobs in over a decade. Reasons? Decent salary, back-stabbing free environment, supportive middle management, some say in choice of assignments and unbelievable overall flexibility - option to toggle between full and part time, option to set flexible hours (e.g., work 6am - 2pm), option to telecommute 100% of the time, etc --- great options with small kids at home.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:36 PM   #27
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This is an interesting thread. Let me tell you all about my "oddball" work record.
6 years US Navy
33+ years with same Megacorp at the same location.
Did get promoted twice and kept things interesting
I can hear and understand the comments now...."they just don't make em like that anymore".
Times surely have changed I know.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:48 PM   #28
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In 37 years I worked for four firms and am now retired with 4 pensions - I wish they had been transportable.

Firm A 6 years
Firm B 6 years
Firm C 7 years
Firm D 18 years

Good luck with your next move Brewer.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:28 PM   #29
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Your post got me to thinking, and I needed both hands to do the calculation. After graduate school, I worked for 19 years. Over that time period I had 7 different employers, although I did spend 9 years at one firm. Overall, my longest stint has been being FIRE'd.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:43 PM   #30
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In my 13 years as a physical therapist, I have had 11 different employers and am about to start my 12th in January 2011. No, I didn't change jobs that often...just worked per diem for multiple facilities at one time (more lucrative that way), plus DH and I have moved 4 times in the last 5 years for his career...it's been a challenge.

The current job I am leaving is only the second one I am leaving for a reason other than moving. Toxic environment. I stayed 11 months too long. I say move on if you can - no need to stay miserable any longer than you have to.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:50 PM   #31
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HR was one of the two winners of the 2010 President's Award (with some sort of 6 sigma association) for coming up with a program called something like Flex Workfarce (not a typo). Flex employees are hired under some streamlined hiring process to fulfill a specific requirement. They will receive higher wages because they will receive no benefits. The employee can buy into the health insurance plan at 100% of cost and contribute to the 401(k) with no match.

Because you are an employee, all normal employer paid taxes are paid. When the need (i.e. project) is over, so is your engagement. COBRA? Unemployment? Don't know. It probably depends on the length of employment.

You are now in a pool of "approved" workers for projects to choose from in the future. Sounds like HR figured out a way to hire temporary workers without paying the middleman.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:04 PM   #32
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I say move on if you can - no need to stay miserable any longer than you have to.
I agree with that advice. The last 2 firms I worked for were Megacorps, and I moved location and job 6 times during that 24 year period, 5 times because I'd grown to hate where I was and once because they closed down the location and either laid off or re-deployed the employees.

I never once moved purely to gain a promotion, and I turned down several promotions because I was perfectly happy where I was.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:08 PM   #33
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Firm A 5 years
Firm B 9.5 yrs and counting with MegaCorp

I'm trapped with shares that finally vest in 2011 so I'm open to make a move in early 2012. It will depend how I feel at the time. I think it's good to move around a bit as you get exposed to different ways of doing business.

Kudos to you Brewer if you recognize when it's becoming demotivating and can make the change.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:45 PM   #34
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I was with one company for 12 or so years, but I really had three different career types within the company. I quit them, and a few short stints here and there, wound up going back to them for about 5 years then quit them again. If I go back again I figure I'll be the only 20-year employee with two weeks' vacation. (Most benefits reset on rehire.)

I've been with my current company about 4 years, but I'm on my 3rd major job role within that time. I don't think I'm a long-timer type.

I'm not sure how much is built into me and how much was me looking at my 30+ year tenured coworkers and thinking "damn, I don't want to be still doing this same thing in 10, 20, 30 years!"

Also, in my first run as a field tech I met people at many different companies and many different jobs, and I noticed quite a few who lamented they had been with one company and one job for 15-30 years, got laid off and couldn't get paid the same because they were monolithic and/or obsolete. I knew I didn't want to be "that guy".

I used to think my current skillset would last me until retirement, but I'm not so sure anymore. Companies have been trying to engineer out the need for my higher expertise so all that's needed are procedures and cheaper screwdriver-turners. They couldn't get it right for a long time, but with ISO20000 and ITIL they seem to be getting it right enough for the big brass to be happy, if not the end user. The smarts are being centralized, proceduralized or engineered away.

Anyway, I expect changes one way or another for me in the next year or two. I'm not FI, but I'm in the best position I've been in my life to handle drastic changes, and that's not by accident.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:50 AM   #35
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If you were a consultant 2 years per job would be ok. Look at your profile like a consultant. If your skills are getting stale or not growing, that’s the problem. If your resume shows solid skill building and expertise in critical areas, that’s an opportunity, and you take advantage of it by changing jobs. New company or old company doesn’t really matter. This is even easier for you and any prospective employer because you have no long term employment expectation.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:08 AM   #36
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If you were a consultant 2 years per job would be ok. Look at your profile like a consultant. If your skills are getting stale or not growing, that’s the problem. If your resume shows solid skill building and expertise in critical areas, that’s an opportunity, and you take advantage of it by changing jobs. New company or old company doesn’t really matter. This is even easier for you and any prospective employer because you have no long term employment expectation.
My thoughts exactly. Many people work this way now. I worked for 7 employers in 35 years and that seemed like a lot of job hopping. The reality is, after a certain time period, each place I worked for become a drag in one way or another. If I were in my 20s and starting my career, I'd want to be able to change my work setting and employer frequently.
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Old 12-16-2010, 08:24 AM   #37
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Great thread! I had thought about starting a thread on nearly the same subject. My career path:
8 years Air Force.
4 years in college, 30 year old freshman, got my Electrical Engineering degree.
2 years company A
2 years company B
Both company A and B involved sales but paid no commission leaving me very unmotivated, started my own company doing controls work and panel building.
10 years running my own company. It got pretty capital intensive the final couple of years when I started building machinery and at DWs urging I decided to shut it down. Most of the time I loved the work but it became a 7 day a week thing which was probably not good overall.

4.5 years company C. Loved it the first couple of years as I had many weekends off and was involved in very cool projects. Got to travel fairly regularly which I also like including some international.

Things are not going well currently though. Several series of layoffs and 3 bummer projects in a row. I am seriously thinking of leaving and starting a consulting business but am afraid of falling into my old habits of working 7 days a week and starting to hire people/build machinery. I question whether I have the energy and discipline to follow my plan and work for myself. I can see in my mind what I woould like to be doing but am not sure how to get there.
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Old 12-16-2010, 10:12 AM   #38
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Son-in-law changes jobs every two years more or less. Important thing is that he's never burned a bridge in the process.
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:56 AM   #39
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....40 contract jobs and a dozen W2 jobs...
Damn! I thought I could top it.

I am almost to 20 jobs. With me it was often a question of lay-offs and not so much being upwardly mobile.

Brewer,

Keep your chin up. You were looking when you found this one. A new and probably better one is waiting just around the corner.

Free to canoe
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:38 PM   #40
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34 years in IT. 11 years as employee with 3 different companies. 23 years as a contractor with approx 12 different companies. Job hopping was the fastest way to increase skill set and hourly rate from 1976 - 2000. The last 2 gigs as an employee were supposed to be my last stops but then outsourcing and downsizing came in vogue. Watching incompetent middle managers decide other people's fate was enough to cure me of employee = job security.

My most stressful years were as an employee the last 2 times. Too much politics and dead-weight were at these places. They both get in the way of being productive. My last 2 year gig (contractor) was at an insurance company. I am currently on a 3 month gig at a medical facility doing some data warehouse work. Same chit, same problems, they just talk in medical jargon enstead of insurance jargon.

Contracting is the only way I roll now.

Get a new job while you still have this job. You make your own breaks.
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