Today was the last day of my job with a large, public software company. My job went to India.
The product I was working on had matured to the point where development was being offshored within the company and my job became expendable. From a business standpoint, I guess it makes sense, but I was a little bitter at first. It was my understanding that everything was going great, at least as far as we were supposed to know, and no one in management had ever let on that things weren’t going well until the hammer came down and the transfers and layoffs started. The worst part was that I had turned down a job offer a week before the first round of layoffs began (I said I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t say I wasn’t looking).
It wasn’t the first (or second, or…) time the company had offshored a product, and I work in an industry that it is the norm to have layoffs when times are good and bad. We were in a “culture of layoffs”, and despite management’s protests to the difference, we knew inside that someday it would be our turn.
My plan had been to complete my masters and then look for a new opportunity. My side business had mostly stalled out and I figured when I finished my thesis I would be ready for a new challenge. Unfortunately it got a jump on me before I was quite ready. I was offered positions within the company, but this event made it apparent that it has happened before and it will happen again, so off to greener pastures. We were given plenty of time to get our affairs in order, and I had plenty of time to determine what was best for me.
I was already a fan of the Pragmatic Programmers publishing series, and I’d had my eye on My Job Went to India (And All I Got Was This Lousy Book) by Chad Fowler, so I bought the book the same day I found out what was going on. Luckily for me, the transition was easy and I had plenty of time to read the book.
All in all the book is a great introduction to career-planning for developers. I wish someone had given it to me when I was getting started (wouldn’t have changed much, but I might have appreciated it) because it points out a lot of things I’d been doing instinctively, rather than by plan. Tips like:
- Master the domain you’re working in, don’t just skate by on programming alone.
- Never tie yourself to a single platform or vendor.
- Keep thinking about where your current job is going to get you, and work towards it.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, side projects make you more flexible.
There are 52 essays covering skill development, getting ahead in your career, marketing yourself and how to keep your non-coding skills growing. The book is essentially a politics and career companion to The Pragmatic Programmer, only with a titillating cover and title. It’s a quick read and I highly recommend it, especially to new developers.