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Moving to your next developer job. The right way

Originally posted on my blog

We can all agree that it is very refreshing for our lives when we as developers get a new job. Ideally when we are searching for something specific and we finally find it. That feeling of us about to rule the world.

Once we find that new job and announce to our manager how do we ensure a smooth transition to the next adventure?

Let’s talk about what to do once it’s time leave, rather than your reasoning behind this decision.

Disclaimer! All the points made in this article are my personal opinions and are not aimed at anyone.

How do I tell that to my current employer?

I totally feel you. The first time I gave my resignation, I was shaking. I expected that they are going to tell me to "f*** off", fight me, kick me out of the building and not pay me a single penny ever again. 🀣 Let's be honest... This is definitely NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. We live in a civilised society.

What has worked really well in my career so far is sharing a little bit of your longterm plan. If you know what you want from your future and make your bosses understand that you are chasing your dream, they are not likely at all to stand on your way. In a certain case a few years ago even though my role was important to that company, after giving my reasoning one of the executives told me "if I was you I would do exactly the same".

Having vision will not only help you progress with your career's direction and make it clearer, but it will also make others take you more seriously because you are showing them you are going after something.

What to do before I leave that job?

This is maybe the most important aspect of showing who you really are. Having that direction may give you some extra credits but leaving a job is a lot about maintaining relationships. Planning on a good exit is an important factor of shown as being professional.

Give as much notice period as you can

It is likely that the resignation will happen in the middle of a project. The rest of the team will find it quite stressful to see that their resources have been minimised but the deadline remains the same. It will take a lot of time for the company to find a replacement (if only they do have that luxury) and suddenly everyone is going to be busier than before.

Offering more time will help your team figure out better how to redistribute the workload, get all the required information out of you and more. It also shows that you are not in a rush to leave.

Transfer as much knowledge as possible

It is so annoying when someone asks for help with that piece of code and the answer is that the dev who wrote it and knows how it works is no longer around. Maybe the fact that this piece of code was not documented anywhere refers to another problem but let's not talk about that in this blog post. πŸ”₯

Any developer leaving has to make sure that there are no knowledge gaps between what he/she and the team knows. Yes having some sessions on how to deploy that api or explain the logic inside that reducer is a must.

We have all worked on this system that has some really messed up logic and the person responsible for it left and no one knows why everything was done in such a way. This person totally be infamous within the team. So it seems that it all comes down to how you are going to be remember which has to do with relationships.

Maintain relationships with the people you enjoyed working with

A mentor I used to have once he left that job told me the following.

If you liked working with someone, keep in touch and reach out to them every now and then. You may get referred and end up working with each other again in the future. This is how great teams are built

This is called having a network and there are so many people who spent so much time, energy and effort on that. Promoting your career is sometimes referred to as Personal Brand and knowing people can only be beneficial for it.

Think about this awesome colleague you have. Together, you wrote some really robust code that is used by many users on a daily basis. Imagine if this colleague goes to a great company and after a while when they start hiring he recommends you and you get that job. That sounds like an dream scenario isn't it? Well, this is something that can definitely happen if you invest in having some good relationships with the colleagues that you like.

Talking to people, offering to help when someones doesn't understand how this code works or even joining the socials or nights out are great ways to build relationships. On your last day or so make sure that you organise some leaving drinks where you spent one last time hanging out with your colleagues. That night out will make them feel more like your friends. There are so many other things you can do that I cannot fit all of them in such a small post.

Just avoid being this guy that is behind his computer the whole day with his gigantic headphones on and doesn't talk to anyone. In my experience, these would be the last people I would want to reach out to for any given reason. We all have our own busy lives, but making that obvious gives the message that others are not worth your precious time.

Ok now that we started complaining time for the things-to-avoid list.

What NOT to do

Ok we talked a lot about things to do that will make you look good. Now let's focus on some things that I have seen people doing which may lead to a not so happy results.

Because you're leaving it doesn't mean it's not your problem anymore

To be honest I believe that even if you say you want to quit without any reasoning, the most common reaction you are going to get is a plain sure no worries. However don't do that. No matter how much how good you are at knowing what you want, not caring about your last few weeks at this company will make many other people unhappy. It is so obvious when someone is unmotivated. They show up at work late, they leave earlier, they are late in meetings and more. Do not be that person. There's no better way for everyone to consider you as a p***k as when you stop caring.

Exactly, even if you're leaving, during your last few days at this job you will receive a full salary so why all of a sudden you start offering less? The whole idea is that once you are about to leave, you give your best so that your team won’t be hammered and should ideally work without noticing that you are not around any more. At least that's how things should work.

Avoid giving a short notice period

You signed a contract saying that once you resign you have an x amount of week before you leave. In reality you can always leave even before that and not get paid for the difference right? Do not do that. This is an amazingly good way to enter your bosses blacklist.

You are entitled to give AT LEAST the amount that is specified in your contract. Anything less than that will only put more pressure to the rest of the team. It is the best way to be shown as selfish. Who is looking forward to work again with selfish people in the future? Exactly, no one.

Never make it obvious that you're leaving because of more money

You may be saying that money is a very very important reason to leave a job isn't it? Let's be honest here for a second. It is and I do not believe there is a single developer out there that does not think about it. However, I am not saying that it should not part of your reasons. I am saying that this should be given your main reason. It looks bad for both you as an individual and for how your colleagues will see you from now on.

We have all worked with someone who decided to leave but the company somehow managed to change his mind. This is called a counter offer and in most cases, it translates to extra money. Making it the only reason why you quit shows that money is your main source of motivation.

I personally do not like people who are "all about the money" and if I was a company owner and someone would leave because of money (obviously if they’re not underpaid), no matter how good they might be, I would not even try to stop them.

Would you recommend someone you know to a job if you know that this person is after the money? It happened to a previous job where that developer was hired only to leave a couple of weeks later because he got another offer with more money. No need to mention the recruitment fees the company had to pay for that person.

Instead, focus on learning / improving skills or moving to another industry or bigger company. These are some really valid reasons and guess what... exactly they are indirectly related to more money.

Moral of the story

Career progression has many different factors. Some people prefer a job that is stable and gives them security whereas others (like me) prefer to take this risk, go to the unknown lands and challenge themselves.

It all comes down to what works for each person. So far in my career I have kept in touch with a high number of people that ai worked with in the past and really enjoy expanding this network.

It really is a shame when relationships that take so much time to build are ruined within a few hours or even minutes because of a decision that has been presented in a really bad way.

What are your tips for changing jobs?

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