Looking for Career Advice



  • Hey Everyone,
    As I'm sure most of you have been through this, I'm quite frustrated at my current job. It is low pay and I have never had a pay increase in my 5 years here. Users always complain to me about how little they make and tell me but then I am always too embarrased to tell them I make less than they do. This is actually just common here as that is why most people leave.

    I have done the job of 3 people here for the last 2 years. We have 3 campuses and used to have a person at all 3 places. It has been just me for a little over 2 years. They only just now hired a person for 1 of the other campuses. We are a small 2 year college. On average I clear out 1250 tickets every 6 months according to my stats on our support software. So they keep me busy. I currently drive around to all 3 cities to do this and I pay my own gas. We are 100% Windows based for the users, with Win10 as our OS.

    Other than the pay the most frustrating part and the tipping point to me is that I am never allowed to grow as an employee here. I have asked for access to several of our systems (SCCM was the last example) in order to learn new skills I can't replicate at home in my lab easily but always told no. I am asked to support 2 certain systems that I don't even have access to which i find insulting. Users are users, you all know them, they are mostly idiots who are very lazy except for a few.

    So to sum it up, I don't feel appreciated. I have given my all here and always ask for extra responsibility and access to things in order to learn and grow. I am asked to train the new person and subsequent new hires because I know our environment so well.

    I have a few skills. I feel like I am a good problem solver. I havent had a problem in my 5 years here that I could not figure out given a few days. I do as much with Powershell as I can. I could do a lot more if I had more access and higher credentials in our AD environment. When I first started here I was told to go to each pc and work on the problem and update them from that physical location. I quickly grew tired of that and learned how to use Powershell for remoting, update scripts that I automate now, and printer management. So I have become much more efficient. I have the A+, CTS, and Network + certs. I am about to take the SNCP storage exam and then start on Microsoft certifications. I want to do Linux exams but doing Microsoft first because that is our environment. I have basic to intermediate level Linux skills. I first started using Red Hat around the years 1999,2000. I'm a little fuzzy that far back now. However i think i still have my Red Hat cd roms somewhere in storage. I currently use Fedora and Suse, mostly Fedora though. My work desktop is a raid 0 machine with mdraid and kvm enabled where i run Fedora and a couple different Windows vm's. My laptop is just kvm with 1 Windows vm for when I am on a different campus. I operate 2 webservers personally and other things that I access from home usually. I can do basic hardening and don't have any issues working on the command line to do whatever I need to do on them. I run a few other things as well on the same cloud hardware to learn in the past such as Rocketchat, Mediawiki, and OSTicket. I can do basic level c++ and python stuff.

    So with that little bit of context, when does the average IT person move on ?
    Am I overthinking things?
    Should I just be happy to have a job?
    What do you all do when you want to learn new things to be more valuable that you can't do at home?



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    So with that little bit of context, when does the average IT person move on ?

    From this description, I would say a while ago. You've been there too long already.

    But the general rule of thumb is... when you are ready to ask "is it time to move on", that means that the answer is already "yes". You don't ask that question of yourself when it's not time to move on. You only ask yourself (and others) when deep down, you already know the answer.



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Should I just be happy to have a job?

    No, the market is good. No one should be happy to "just have a job" today. When the market is bad, sure. But I know in Salt Lake City, we can't hire a qualified person to save our lives. There are so many empty jobs and no one to fill them. The market is at the lowest unemployment, like, ever. If there was ever a time to move on, it's now. If there was ever a time that you should be "happy to just have a job", it's not now.

    It's totally the opposite. They should be SO happy that you are still willing to work there. It's they who are in the position of begging, not you.



  • @jmoore

    stay with your current job and do some hard work and learn something not Windows thats why your stuck, everything is shifting to Linux or Unix

    Play with Suse man, i am loving it right now. If your in US/Canada study RHEL and Centos. I said stay cause you should be master in it, and you can learn another thing without that effecting. and be system admin



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    So with that little bit of context, when does the average IT person move on ?

    2-4 years is the average stint according to data I have seen.

    Am I overthinking things?

    No. I think you have been under thinking them a long time.

    Should I just be happy to have a job?

    No and Hell No.... In this economy IT jobs are a dime a dozen and pay has gone up considerably as of late. If you are making under $80k and have 5+ years experience, you are undervalued and underpaid.

    What do you all do when you want to learn new things to be more valuable that you can't do at home?

    Udemy is a freaking awesome resource. I always try to do training with a certification, because you can always add to a resume. You will always have something to show for it. People say certs dont matter, but they obviously help when looking for a job.



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    What do you all do when you want to learn new things to be more valuable that you can't do at home?

    Can't realistically think of anything that I can't do at home. My home environment is better than pretty much any company I could work at. Even when I worked on Wall St., one of the factors that got me hired was that my home environment matched their production and no one else on their team had anything like that.

    Also, volunteering is a great way to learn outside of the office, and not at home.



  • @Emad-R said in Looking for Career Advice:

    stay with your current job and do some hard work and learn something not Windows thats why your stuck, everything is shifting to Linux or Unix

    He's not stuck, at all. He's just not decided to move on yet.



  • @IRJ said in Looking for Career Advice:

    2-4 years is the average stint according to data I have seen.

    Going by nothing but time averages, I'd agree. But individual jobs can be great and let you grow or terrible and not let you grow and those would alter that a lot. With the description that you gave, I'd put your current job as an "only long enough to find the next one". So 3-6 months.

    You basically want to flee a bad job, working with bad people, when there isn't career growth (or some other amazing form of happiness) as quickly as possible. Good employees want people who don't stick with bad jobs.



  • @IRJ said in Looking for Career Advice:

    No. I think you have been under thinking them a long time.

    Agreed



  • @Emad-R said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @jmoore

    stay with your current job and do some hard work and learn something not Windows thats why your stuck, everything is shifting to Linux or Unix

    Play with Suse man, i am loving it right now. If your in US/Canada study RHEL and Centos. I said stay cause you should be master in it, and you can learn another thing without that effecting. and be system admin

    Totally disagree with this advice. Staying at your current job is a horrible choice.

    Learning linux is nice in theory, but he already runs servers and troubleshoots linux issues. He needs real world experience.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @IRJ said in Looking for Career Advice:

    2-4 years is the average stint according to data I have seen.

    Going by nothing but time averages, I'd agree. But individual jobs can be great and let you grow or terrible and not let you grow and those would alter that a lot. With the description that you gave, I'd put your current job as an "only long enough to find the next one". So 3-6 months.

    You basically want to flee a bad job, working with bad people, when there isn't career growth (or some other amazing form of happiness) as quickly as possible. Good employees want people who don't stick with bad jobs.

    Also I have heard that having a job or two that is 3-6 months isnt bad on your resume. It actually makes you look like you fleed a bad job, which is a desirable trait for a good employer.



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Hey Everyone,
    As I'm sure most of you have been through this, I'm quite frustrated at my current job. It is low pay and I have never had a pay increase in my 5 years here. Users always complain to me about how little they make and tell me but then I am always too embarrased to tell them I make less than they do. This is actually just common here as that is why most people leave.

    I have done the job of 3 people here for the last 2 years. We have 3 campuses and used to have a person at all 3 places. It has been just me for a little over 2 years. They only just now hired a person for 1 of the other campuses. We are a small 2 year college. On average I clear out 1250 tickets every 6 months according to my stats on our support software. So they keep me busy. I currently drive around to all 3 cities to do this and I pay my own gas. We are 100% Windows based for the users, with Win10 as our OS.

    Other than the pay the most frustrating part and the tipping point to me is that I am never allowed to grow as an employee here. I have asked for access to several of our systems (SCCM was the last example) in order to learn new skills I can't replicate at home in my lab easily but always told no. I am asked to support 2 certain systems that I don't even have access to which i find insulting. Users are users, you all know them, they are mostly idiots who are very lazy except for a few.

    So to sum it up, I don't feel appreciated. I have given my all here and always ask for extra responsibility and access to things in order to learn and grow. I am asked to train the new person and subsequent new hires because I know our environment so well.

    I have a few skills. I feel like I am a good problem solver. I havent had a problem in my 5 years here that I could not figure out given a few days. I do as much with Powershell as I can. I could do a lot more if I had more access and higher credentials in our AD environment. When I first started here I was told to go to each pc and work on the problem and update them from that physical location. I quickly grew tired of that and learned how to use Powershell for remoting, update scripts that I automate now, and printer management. So I have become much more efficient. I have the A+, CTS, and Network + certs. I am about to take the SNCP storage exam and then start on Microsoft certifications. I want to do Linux exams but doing Microsoft first because that is our environment. I have basic to intermediate level Linux skills. I first started using Red Hat around the years 1999,2000. I'm a little fuzzy that far back now. However i think i still have my Red Hat cd roms somewhere in storage. I currently use Fedora and Suse, mostly Fedora though. My work desktop is a raid 0 machine with mdraid and kvm enabled where i run Fedora and a couple different Windows vm's. My laptop is just kvm with 1 Windows vm for when I am on a different campus. I operate 2 webservers personally and other things that I access from home usually. I can do basic hardening and don't have any issues working on the command line to do whatever I need to do on them. I run a few other things as well on the same cloud hardware to learn in the past such as Rocketchat, Mediawiki, and OSTicket. I can do basic level c++ and python stuff.

    So with that little bit of context, when does the average IT person move on ?
    Am I overthinking things?
    Should I just be happy to have a job?
    What do you all do when you want to learn new things to be more valuable that you can't do at home?

    Q: So with that little bit of context, when does the average IT person move on?
    A: When I know everything the job has to teach me.

    Q: Am I overthinking things?
    A: No. You should always be assessing your employment.

    Q: Should I just be happy to have a job?
    A: You have worth as an employee regardless of if they realize it or not. It's way harder to get a raise than it is to negotiate a new salary.

    Q: What do you all do when you want to learn new things to be more valuable that you can't do at home?
    A: I take online courses and read books. I may not be able to play with it, but I can at least learn the concepts. There is a lot you can learn at home. Never underestimate how important a home lab is. I include it on my resume.



  • Thanks for the replies everyone.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking for Career Advice:

    But the general rule of thumb is... when you are ready to ask "is it time to move on", that means that the answer is already "yes". You don't ask that question of yourself when it's not time to move on. You only ask yourself (and others) when deep down, you already know the answer.

    Yeah that is exactly what I was feeling and why I asked.



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Thanks for the replies everyone.

    And you are near some explosive markets. You are in between them, which doesn't help. But DFW, Austin, and Houston are all some of the most competitive markets in the country. In the world, really.



  • @IRJ said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @IRJ said in Looking for Career Advice:

    2-4 years is the average stint according to data I have seen.

    Going by nothing but time averages, I'd agree. But individual jobs can be great and let you grow or terrible and not let you grow and those would alter that a lot. With the description that you gave, I'd put your current job as an "only long enough to find the next one". So 3-6 months.

    You basically want to flee a bad job, working with bad people, when there isn't career growth (or some other amazing form of happiness) as quickly as possible. Good employees want people who don't stick with bad jobs.

    Also I have heard that having a job or two that is 3-6 months isnt bad on your resume. It actually makes you look like you fleed a bad job, which is a desirable trait for a good employer.

    Exactly. Now you don't want to do it over and over again. But sprinkled in can actually look good.

    I left a bad job after 10 months and the new employer knew how bad it was and said that 10-18 months looked good because I stuck it out, but showed I could handle it. Over 24+ months would look bad because it would imply that I couldn't recognize bad or didn't value myself or was unemployable.



  • @Emad-R said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Play with Suse man, i am loving it right now. If your in US/Canada study RHEL and Centos. I said stay cause you should be master in it, and you can learn another thing without that effecting. and be system admin

    Yes I have always used rhel as a hobbyist. Suse has been much more current, like the last 3 years. I just keep vm's running and experiment on them to learn.



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @Emad-R said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Play with Suse man, i am loving it right now. If your in US/Canada study RHEL and Centos. I said stay cause you should be master in it, and you can learn another thing without that effecting. and be system admin

    Yes I have always used rhel as a hobbyist. Suse has been much more current, like the last 3 years. I just keep vm's running and experiment on them to learn.

    Learn automation. 100% doable at home and it puts you ahead of a lot of your peers. you can be leaps and bounds more efficient. Highly desirable.



  • Don't forget options like interning. Our head of engineering got his role because even as a senior, he wanted to move up past what his current job offered and so he interned with us. It's different than a regular intern, and it's unusual. But it exists and it worked for him. Now he's the boss, works from home, and sets his own schedule. And works on whatever he wants.



  • @wirestyle22 said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @Emad-R said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Play with Suse man, i am loving it right now. If your in US/Canada study RHEL and Centos. I said stay cause you should be master in it, and you can learn another thing without that effecting. and be system admin

    Yes I have always used rhel as a hobbyist. Suse has been much more current, like the last 3 years. I just keep vm's running and experiment on them to learn.

    Learn automation. 100% doable at home and it puts you ahead of a lot of your peers. you can be leaps and bounds more efficient. Highly desirable.

    yes this 100%. You can do this with Azure or AWS and the cost is virtually nothing. Creating and destroying instances and infrastructure many times a month will only cost a few $$. Much of it can actually be done with free tier as you can 750 hours free a month for EC2 instances. So if you are spinning up 5 servers with automation scripts that take 5 mins to run and you destroy them after 2 hours, you can do this 75 times a month without incurring any costs



  • Why would you stay? What do you have to lose if you start looking?

    Most of my reluctance to leave a bad job has come from two places, not feeling like I have enough to invest in looking, and fear of rejection. I don't know if those two apply to you at all, but I'm going to address them anyway :). To the first, right now you are probably unhappy and stressed out because of all of the reasons you outlined above. If you can reduce some of the things that contribute to that you will be a better person outside of work. Taking some time now to invest is worth the return.

    However this is where the latter has stepped in for me in the past. There is no "4 easy steps to over coming the fear or rejection". If you go looking for another job you will get rejected. Maybe quite a few times (unemployed for 18 months with hundreds of applications for me). The reality is that if you don't try, apply, interview you won't be any better off. At some point you have to decide if you are worth taking a chance on and do it.

    On the positive side, you already have a job that is paying your bills (maybe not well, but on some level enough). This means you can go into interviews knowing that you can afford to turn them down. You have power in the process. You control whether or not you take the job. If it feels weird, it probably is. If something feels off, it probably is. Move on. There is too much drama in the world that you can't fix to take a job where you can't avoid said drama.

    </soapbox>



  • @IRJ said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Udemy is a freaking awesome resource. I always try to do training with a certification, because you can always add to a resume. You will always have something to show for it. People say certs dont matter, but they obviously help when looking for a job.

    Yes I think certs don't hurt at all and is something to do when you have exhausted resources at work. I pay for a subscription to degreed.com for video training and I use this at home a lot.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Can't realistically think of anything that I can't do at home.

    Sure I get that and your right. Its just difficult to pay for licensing for everything sometimes. That is really the only thing that keeps me from learning certain things at home.



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Can't realistically think of anything that I can't do at home.

    Sure I get that and your right. Its just difficult to pay for licensing for everything sometimes. That is really the only thing that keeps me from learning certain things at home.

    Microsoft makes essentially everything available for learning and testing. The UNIX world is essentially all free anyway. In an actual learning at home environment, I basically never come across something that I need to license just to test.



  • @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Can't realistically think of anything that I can't do at home.

    Sure I get that and your right. Its just difficult to pay for licensing for everything sometimes. That is really the only thing that keeps me from learning certain things at home.

    90% of all Windows tools have a 180 day eval. I believe that SCCM is one of those tools.



  • @wirestyle22 said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Q: What do you all do when you want to learn new things to be more valuable that you can't do at home?
    A: I take online courses and read books. I may not be able to play with it, but I can at least learn the concepts. There is a lot you can learn at home. Never underestimate how important a home lab is. I include it on my resume.

    Ok thanks man. I do use video training and I try to invest in myself constantly. I buy and read a lot of books. Subjects like Python, Git, Sql, and Security. All of it is interesting.



  • @wirestyle22 said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @Emad-R said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Play with Suse man, i am loving it right now. If your in US/Canada study RHEL and Centos. I said stay cause you should be master in it, and you can learn another thing without that effecting. and be system admin

    Yes I have always used rhel as a hobbyist. Suse has been much more current, like the last 3 years. I just keep vm's running and experiment on them to learn.

    Learn automation. 100% doable at home and it puts you ahead of a lot of your peers. you can be leaps and bounds more efficient. Highly desirable.

    Yes I forgot to mention that. I am currently learning Ansible. Bought a book and I'm going through all the exercises. thats what i did with KVM and many other topics.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Don't forget options like interning. Our head of engineering got his role because even as a senior, he wanted to move up past what his current job offered and so he interned with us. It's different than a regular intern, and it's unusual. But it exists and it worked for him. Now he's the boss, works from home, and sets his own schedule. And works on whatever he wants.

    Ok thanks I'll keep that in mind.



  • @Kelly said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Most of my reluctance to leave a bad job has come from two places, not feeling like I have enough to invest in looking, and fear of rejection. I don't know if those two apply to you at all, but I'm going to address them anyway :). To the first, right now you are probably unhappy and stressed out because of all of the reasons you outlined above. If you can reduce some of the things that contribute to that you will be a better person outside of work. Taking some time now to invest is worth the return.

    Thanks I think that is great advice and will take that to heart. That is how I have felt because every time I have asked to take on this project or have access to this system in order to learn I have been denied. they wouldn't even let me do documentation for our processes and and how to guides for users. So every time they say no it makes me feel like I don't have the skills to actually do that job anyway, at least briefly.



  • @coliver said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @jmoore said in Looking for Career Advice:

    @scottalanmiller said in Looking for Career Advice:

    Can't realistically think of anything that I can't do at home.

    Sure I get that and your right. Its just difficult to pay for licensing for everything sometimes. That is really the only thing that keeps me from learning certain things at home.

    90% of all Windows tools have a 180 day eval. I believe that SCCM is one of those tools.

    Although it seems like Microsoft is looking to take SCCM out of the picture soon and completely replace the ConfigMgr piece of it with InTune. So Intune may be a better tool to learn going forward.


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