Programmer, aka Soldier of Fortune

Programmer, aka Soldier of Fortune

Loyalty is overrated in a career. It used to be a thing, but so did pensions. But any more it does not pay off. And that is for any job. Now take programming jobs. It is one of the most in-demand jobs around these days. What that means is that it’s a seller’s market. If you are half-way decent at writing code and you get laid off, you will find a job. There are more jobs to go around currently than there are programmers.

But there is also a flip side of that coin. For some reason, raises are pretty much unheard of in programming jobs. Oh, there are some places that still subscribe to the old school model of benefits. I actually took one of those jobs. It had year-end bonuses, a great 401k and a guaranteed cost of living raise at the end of the year with possibility for more. I was there for two months. They got bought out and all those benefits disappeared. The contracts you sign when you get a job are for the companies protection, not yours. Benefits can and will be taken away at any moment.

Up to the point of getting hired for that job, an idea was brewing in my head that the best attitude to have in this job market is one of a mercenary. I owe no one for my job. I owe no loyalty to a company who pays me well for my best work. When I am unhappy, it is time to start looking. It’s the attitude that gives you the most options. It makes you stand on your own two feet and be responsible for who you are and what you do. If you do good work, then that is what you are paid for and that is all. They do not own you.

Well, when I got that job, I thought maybe I was wrong. Maybe I had found a job that I could retire at and be a “company man”. No, I was right in the first place, as the job itself was soon to teach me. When my benefits got cut, I started looking.

If you do good work, promote yourself so that you are one of the first people recruiters find and learn to roll with the punches, you will always find a job. And you will be the one in control of your career.

You will hold all the cards, which you already actually held. Corporations do like creating minions. Why do you think there are meetings you are required to go to. It’s like church. It’s indoctrination.

A lot of people in a corporation are easily replaceable and must accept the yoke. But not programmers. At least, not yet. So throw off that yoke and take control of your future. It will be your choice when it’s time to go. It will be your choice what your next job will be. Corporations will be more afraid of losing you than whether or not you are a good company man, the way it should be. You have the power.


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Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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