Justlooking123 in  
Security Analyst a year ago

How to know when to change jobs?

I have been working in tech for 15 years now. Throughout my career, I have always been an extremely dedicated loyal employee. I always have received high performance reviews, but it’s been a fight to earn more money over time.

After working at my last company for 6+ years, I decided I needed to put myself out there and find another opportunity that offered really good pay. I also wanted to no longer be a solo security engineer who wore 12 different hats, I wanted to work on a large team with talented individuals.

A recruiter talked me into interviewing for a contractor position for a state government, even though I really wanted a full time position. During the interview, I really connected with some of the team members, so I decided to take the job. I have been working there for a year and half now as a security engineer in their SOC. I have developed a solid reputation with the team as someone who has a strong skillset, is a solid team player, understands the whole picture, and is willing to help on anything.

I find myself struggling with the job, it is absolutely effortless for me. I am used to being given so many responsibilities to the point were I was always drowning in work. I have managed to get my hands on more responsibilities, but being a contractor, they want me to stay focused on specific things and there is a limitation to the amount of responsibilities that I can have.

Since it’s the government, switching to an FTE position wouldn’t pay nearly as well as being a contractor. So I feel entirely stuck with options at this company. The organization is also reletively flat. It’s also frustrating that I don’t have any real good benefits to speak of as a contractor. When I take time off, I loose money, so I find myself not wanting to take time off unless necessary.

I know I can make the wages I am making now at a Fortune 500 company with full benefits according to other job prospects, but I am not sure if I should change jobs.

I find myself loving the people I work with, the work life balance is also great compared to my last job, I am no longer on call 24/7. They have told me that they will renew my contract indefinitely.

So when does one consider moving onto another job? My biggest struggle is the lack of PTO and feeling like there is no further promotionary pathway without loosing money.

I am cautious of moving right now because my wife is expecting in the next 6 months and the possible upcoming recession/tech layoffs.

I am also scared of leaving this place with really cool people and going to a toxic environment. I am also trying to be a family man while also career driven. I feel stuck.

Aspirant2023Technical Program Manager a year ago
I think as @ZTrope90 said, you are in a comfortable situation, so take your time and pick & choose your next move. While you can afford the luxury, you should proactively plan your future. Both the kind of company you aspire working for and the type of role you want to play in the next 5 years. Keep working and building your profile to get there. Trainings, LinkedIn profile enhancements, blog posts and everything else is part of it if you want to play the game. 15 years of exp means I am assuming you are somewhere in the late 30s to near 40s. Ideally by 45 you want to be set on path to just enjoy the present and not worry about what the future has in store