My first job out of school I was doing some basic development and I had a ton of questions. I would ask everyone I worked with. If something stumped me I would spend time researching new things and trying to understand the basics. As I progressed I mastered some of the basics and went asked fewer questions.
In the technology industry, we quickly learn how most people are introverted and don’t like to be bothered. It is important to do your homework before you ask someone a question. I find this interesting as some technology people get mad if people share the stereotype that technology people are hard to get along with.
If you find yourself working with the same technology year after year and not learning much new it may be a sign to look for a new challenge. Dale (not his real name) worked at a company for many years and had become a defacto leader of the technology team. He vetoed every suggestion that the team tries a new technology. Many of his co-workers become frustrated and decided to move on. We need to honestly ask ourselves if we are learning anything. We may not like the answer.
Your performance is lacking
If you have a sense that you are just not making the grade it is likely others have already noticed. Your teammates have probably noticed too. When you are consistently missing deadlines or getting work handed back for errors you have made you could be ready to move.
As a leader, if we have performance issues we need to make that clear to our team member. In some cases, we put people on warning that they need to make changes or else they will be let go. This is hard as a leader but we need to understand that for both parties it is good to let people go if they are not making the grade.
I know this does happen as I have seen this scenario play out at a few different places. One company was acquired by another and slowly a few key people began leaving and then like someone had turned on a switch numerous people switched companies. If the culture or climate that a business has changed quickly that can lead to a mass exodus.
There are other things that can cause a massive shift in a company too. For instance, as technology professionals, leadership change can affect the key technologies used in an organization. When a company has a large portion of business from one client this can be treacherous if the relationship becomes strained. I have heard a few horror stories where complete companies go under as they have one large customer that leaves and they can’t continue. It helps to understand your companies business and see signs of potential trouble.
Have your Duties Changed?
In our competitive environment, we work in companies are constantly trying to become more efficient. We try to pack more duties onto our already strained workload. A good manager will occasionally ask you to temporarily add tasks to finish a project or meet a deadline. If you have been asked to add new things without a title change and a salary increase you may not be getting what you deserve.
Ben was working at a small company for a few years when I met him. He started in an entry-level role right out of college. His manager had taught him quite a few things and Ben felt like he was enjoying his work and be compensated correctly. The company began to rapidly grow and Ben was thrust into a role of training new members of his team. He enjoyed the new challenge but he was never given a raise or title change. He became overwhelmed after six months.
We worked together for a few meetings and put together a plan for Ben. He decided he wanted to discuss things with his boss and see if they could make it right before looking for a new opportunity. In the midst of all the growth the management apologized for this and gave Ben a new title and a significant jump in pay. They valued him and wanted to keep him on the team.
A few years ago I worked with an irritable team member. We even would go so far as to take turns asking a question of this person, let’s call him Edwin, to get a weather forecast you might say. If he was having a bad day we would let the rest of the team know that things may be stormy today. Edwin was pretty good at his job so we felt management allowed his bad attitude to continue.
Another team had to use some code that Edwin developed. Somebody dropped by to ask him some questions and it got heated and then boiled over. Edwin crossed the line that day and said things that no one should ever hear in a workplace. Management said absolutely nothing, it was a tacit approval.
This pushed many people to begin looking for new opportunities. Allowing verbal abuse in a workplace along with a poor attitude was a big failure of the management of that organization. If you find yourself in this situation you need to have enough respect for you and your career to get out. No paycheck is worth that type of environment. Move onto a more sustainable work.