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I'm after some thoughts of other peoples experiences of career moves done in the name of an end goal rather than just a pay rise or something like that.
I had an interview with a specialist networking company today to do 3rd line support, and it's long been one of the few specialisations I've been interested in, working in application load balancing, as opposed my current job of pretty much generic linux and network admin. The thing is that I don't believe I'd be financially better off in any real terms by taking the role, and will go from being 5 miles from work to about 105, or working alone in my garage as a part home based job... My feelings are that it could / should lead to some real big opportunities in the future in terms of consultancy etc.., but would you move sideways into a role in the belief that it will end up better in the long run? What about actually getting a lesser package than you're currently getting? The main thing that's making me take this so seriously despite the possible shortcomings is that it's basically the *ideal* job for what I'm interested in, only this company, only a handful people working there in the UK. Any other company I'd dismiss it out of hand, but not these guys, F5.
I'm not in the IT industry, so you can take this with a grain of salt. I always have to weigh things like this against my family obligations and requirement of "being an adult". For example, if my perfect job came up and had to take a 50% pay cut, well that would probably be pretty irresponsible with the mortgage and several small kids. Now, if after talking to the wife, we decided to move down in house and change our lifestyle significantly now knowing that it could pay off later, we could weigh the pros and the cons. Being better off financially is nice, but job satisfaction and work/life balance are worth more to me. I took a slightly worse job financially so that I could be near family and have a flexible work schedule. It may or may not be the right time to make the jump for you. You'll have to weigh it out. Maybe you'll have to say no now, but keep in contact with the company and continue showing your interest. Maybe later it will work out if it doesn't right now.
Of course, I'm naturally risk averse and less likely to make a jump because I'm uncomfortable with change. Others will disagree because it's a personal thing.
Sounds like you're in software
Some thoughts: Career goals come a poor second to lifestyle and comfort issues; Specialising too much is more likely to land you on the scrap heap if your specialisation is no longer needed. Take my example - doing hardware repairs for industry. I was top of the game here, but we lost our industrial sector(!) and the bit we have left is iso9000 based so they can't hire a single operator like I was. If I had chinese I could emigrate:-/. With software, what you haven't used in 18 months is dead, and unless you're learning the next thing you are unemployable. People want paperwork to say you know the latest thing - certs, degrees, etc. When you work from home, nobody knows you're there, and no customer you know can give you a job, because they only know you because they farm out that work. It can be bizarre
1. If you come to a problem, walk on water, & fix it quick, they reckon it was simple and bitch about the bill.
2. If you spend ages before you spot what was under your nose, they think you're a bloody genius, and did a great job.
3. If it's that bit more difficult, you don't beat it, and they think you're an idiot and shouldn't be in business.
Trust me - I've been there, but with hardware.
Ultimately ignore all the advice - you know your own game, position, and goals best
I've always been aware of over specializing, but at the same time moving into something like application load balancing is more about combining a lot of detailed diverse knowledge. To properly deal with stuff like this you need excellent tcp/ip knowledge, excellent http knowledge, excellent scripting etc, excellent Linux knowledge... so it's still generic knowledge, just applied in a specific place. I'd think it'd be really pretty easy to pull those generic skills back out with little trouble. But maybe that's because I want it to be the case!
Whilst I genuinely may soon be spending 3 days a week in my garage, that doesn't appear to be directly affecting me, as long as I kept my sanity my doing the drive down frequently to. I'm just aware that it'd be a big change for possibly zero immediate gain. AND 5 weeks solid in Seattle on training!
Would it be proper for a new member here on LQ to advice or talk about this to a moderator? Heck, I do not know. But you are not too old.
And I understand what you are saying. And what you are thinking. I have been through this. Was working in one of the biggest independent IT companies in the world couple of years before. But that job did not excite me though it paid well. My real interests were Linux system administration and not FS quality analysts on solaris. One fine Saturday while reading Sydney Sheldon, gave a thought about my satisfaction in the job. And the next Monday I knew I had resigned to take a peanut paying job as Linux admin. But its been worth. Not that I am getting paid well, but as pljvaldez said, I am very much single. And that came handy while switching. No family commitments and responsibilities.
If money is not what you are looking at and if you feel work is really worth the shift, taking a risk could pay.