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Don't get stuck

Note: this post is about a previous job, not my current one.

Both managers were looking at me in disbelief, they seemed to be stunned for a few seconds. I just told them I'd decided to resign. One of them quickly recovered, smiled, and told me he regretted my decision. Though he also realised it's expected in our sector: people usually don't spend more than a few years at the same company.

I didn't want to chit-chat much longer so I nodded, apologised (I'm not sure why), and told them I'd be checking out the paperwork with the office manager later that week. I left the room, went back to my desk.

I received a mail from the other manager over the weekend, the one who didn't say much during our conversation. He wrote he was perplexed, didn't see this coming, and regretted the decision tremendously. He told me if there was anything he could do to keep me, I should tell him.

My decision to leave was final though. It wasn't a financial one, in fact I was just about to get a significant raise and more responsibilities. It also wasn't a relational one, I really appreciated all of my colleagues back then; I'd even call some of them good friends.

I decided to leave because I got stuck, there wasn't any room to grow anymore. The perspective of being a developer who's 5 years behind of modern day practices made me miserable.

Even though I'd been advocating within the company to make significant changes, both on a technical and management level; it didn't seem achievable. We were still struggling to deliver the quality we promised our clients, we were using out of date technologies, I went home almost every day feeling down and depressed.

I wasn't the only one, by the way. During the 3 years I worked for this company, 8 people left and around the same amount were hired. Every time this happened it was described as "the normal flow" a web development company has to deal with, just like our manager told me during my resignation.

I've since realised that this manager was wrong: it's not normal to switch jobs every 5 years, to have several people come and go every year. It's only normal when your company fails to invest in them the way it should. And that, it turns out, is very common indeed.

I don't regret having worked for that company: I did learn valuable lessons there. It's ok to be at a place where there's little or no room for growth, as long as it's not too long. Watch out, and critically assess your situation from time to time; you might get stuck without even knowing it.

My advice? Either try to change your position and responsibilities within the company or, if that doesn't work, change jobs. I realise that's easy to write, like I also realise it's not as easy as it sounds. I noticed being stuck after two years and it took me another whole year to find a place where I believed there was enough room to grow.

Whatever turns your path will take, knowing you want to go somewhere and not stand idle is the most important first step.

Thanks for reading! This post is part of my "Dev Diaries" series where I write about my own and personal experiences as a developer. Would you like to read some more?

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