Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Job Switch

I have recently switched jobs. The decision to quit my old job and join a new one was not easy. It took a lot of consideration.

What made me go out there and update my resume in a job portal site to look for new job opportunities is that I had not really learnt anything new for quite some time with my previous job and in an industry like mine, that is a sure way of your skills becoming obsolete in a few years' time. Initially when I joined my previous job the learning was good. Along with the product that I was working on, I learnt a lot of new things on the industry standard technologies I was working on. I also learnt some of the industry best practices and the process in place seemed good too. But in recent times, things just got stagnant and it felt like I was doing the same thing over and over. There was something new now and then, when some new feature came my way, but mostly the learning was minimal and felt insufficient. I lost the kind of excitement to work that I had initially and I felt that I was not as productive as before.

But then my old job provided me with good work-life balance which is important to me as well. During the Interview with the new company, they kept repeating that it was a challenging role. It excited me and scared me a little bit at the same time that my work-life balance will go for a toss. Some of the technologies that I was going to work on were relatively new to the industry and also completely new to me so I would have to learn them from scratch.  But then there were already training sessions in progress for these technologies in my old job since they were going to transition to this new technology in the distant future, if not in the near future, albeit slowly. From what I understood they would perhaps start work on this new technology in a year's time.

Another major factor which got me thinking hard was commute. My new job location was twice as far as that of my old one from my home. Earlier my travel time was half an hour and my new job location takes around an hour to reach. So that is roughly two hours a day gone in commute. Although I enjoy driving my car to and fro work and have mentioned that it is one of the best parts of my day, driving in this kind of crazy traffic made me skeptical and wonder whether it will remain the best part of my day anymore. In fact I had a strong feeling it would become a nightmare on days when I get caught in some traffic jam, more so when I have to be on time to attend some important meeting or if I have to get back home on time. These new routes of my everyday commute are very congestion prone and totally unpredictable.

And then there was work from home option available in my old job which was immensely useful to me before. There were times when I worked from home for periods of several weeks at a time. Obviously when I start in the new place, I will not be able to work from home for a long time since initially there will be training sessions to attend which has to be done according to the convenience of those who would give Knowledge Transfer to me and then later on when I begin work on something, I would need a lot of support from the team that I would be working with. The transition to when I would be able to completely work independently will take a long time.

The job switch also marks my transition from a Service based company to a Product based company. As anyone in my industry could tell you, it is considered a good thing. Though not always the case, mostly it means more learning with more ownership, lesser working hours, better compensation benefits, etc. Needless to say, this new job offered me better compensation than my old one.

All these things left me in a confused state of mind. Even after I got the offer letter, I was a bit reluctant to join the new company due to these reasons. I guess everyone goes through this kind of thing when they switch jobs. There are various parameters to consider and it is difficult to guess whether the trade off would be worth it in the end and also to know for sure that you could hold your own in a new job. What about you? What are the factors that you considered when you switched jobs? Did it work out better than you hoped for in the end?

Eventually I decided that this was a huge opportunity that I shouldn't pass up. The Interview went on for more than four hours and comprised of two rounds of face to face Technical Interviews. Three days later there was another round of Telephonic Interview, which was an informal Technical discussion bordering on HR with the Director of the company. He briefed me about the organization a bit more, things I didn't know even after reading a bit about the company from Wikipedia as part of my Interview preparation. He also briefed a bit about my job role at the end of the Interview, after telling me that he cleared me for the position in the span of the same call.

I prepared reasonably well for the Interviews. I was confident through out all the Interviews, even during the difficult parts when I couldn't answer well and I think I maintained a sunny disposition of sorts and a positive outlook at all times. But truth be told even I was surprised that I cleared all the rounds since I took up this Interview after a very long time with my previous organization (four years and four months). This is the second job switch in my career which means that this is the third company I am working for thus far.

I am working in the new company for about two months now. There is loads to learn and there are still some training sessions going on. Contrary to what I originally thought things like work-life balance and commute are okay and definitely way better than I feared it could be. It is still early days, so lets see. They have promised me additional responsibilities in a year if I prove myself. Here's hoping that my new job turns out to be everything that it promises to be!

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