Why are you working where you are right now? Specifically, how did you go from offer to acceptance? I have found that it is pretty difficult to figure out how to analyze a new company and I'm looking for some advice. My current choice was heavily influenced by a former mentor of mine. Yet, I'll probably need to be my own man soon enough...

So, what did it for you?

+2  A: 

I chose my current job because it was a project that I was interested in. As for pay, the offer was 7th out of the 9 offers I had, but it promised to keep me close to home and hold my attention.

Unfortunately, this was my first job at a large company after 20 years at small, mostly private entities and over the almost 8 years I've been here, the politics involved and the constant battle for "increased revenues" has made the project itself lose most of its luster.

I just want to provide technical leadership, but management doesn't seem to be able to shield me from the flak. Oh well!

Steve Moyer
+1  A: 

Was referred to me by an good friend. I trust him with many of his suggestions and as always his was right. A great job.

Ólafur Waage
+1  A: 

The technology was interesting, it was something I wanted to do, & the team was impressive. The money didn't hurt either.

+17  A: 
Unfortunately, you can't choose the people you work with. Probably they are already there when you arrive :)
The point is, if you get bad vibes from your potential future coworkers, don't work there.
David Hill
Your interviewers are a good indication of what the culture is like there.
Ryan Thames
You can always ask to have a quick tour around the office and take a good look at the staff while sensing the atmosphere.
Petteri Hietavirta
@friol, This is not always the case. In a lot of companies, especially smaller ones, one of the biggest criteria for a new hire is how they fit in with the rest of the team. Once you establish that you are technically qualified for the job, it isn;t unreasonable to have an interview with the people who would be your peers, preferably without any managers. Both sides can learn a lot. I've had this happen a handful of times in the past 15 years or so, and specifically ask for it when I'm in a company that's hiring people I'm going to work with.
Bruce McGee
+1  A: 

When I made my last job change, I did two things. The first was to think of all the companies I would love to work for, and wrote them letters. I then started looking at job boards thinking that I wanted to work for my dream job. I got lucky, and found a job ad posted by TOPP on Joel's software board. I investigated the organization a bit, and immediately fell in love with the job. I wrote them a letter telling them so, and sent my resume. They contacted me, and I got the job and moved here to New York.

Douglas Mayle
+1  A: 

My previous job required me to write Cobol programs. I liked it initially. However, after writing two programs each of around 300 lines I decided to get another job. Now I am writing C++ programs and I am loving it.

+6  A: 

I chose my current position because I wanted to work for a small company. In my previous job I was 1 of 1,500 developers. When I joined my current employer, I was developer number 11 (sweet). However, since I've joined, numerous years ago, the company has been sold and now I'm part of a much larger company with developers in three different locations (almost 200). After reading Joel Spolsy's book, Joel on Software, chapter 12, Five Worlds, it helped me to understand myself and why I chose my current position and my part in a much larger organization.

Relative to 'being your own man'. I believe we should always try to find a good mentor and be a good mentor. Even after being a developer for over two decades, I appreciate good mentoring and I try hard to be a good mentor.

+6  A: 

In the famous words of Achmed, Location, Location, Location :)

+3  A: 

My current employer hosts the local Ruby on Rails users group. I had been attending the group since it started, and I had already gotten to know some of the employees from talking to them and watching their presentations at the monthly meetings. So when I announced I was looking for a job and they approached me, I already had an idea of the kind of people who worked there and the kind of work they were doing.

+1  A: 

Since I don't live near any of the major tech centers I haven't had the luxury of picking and choosing jobs. If a job comes up that utilizes skills i have and presents an opportunity for me to grow either financially or in my skill set I will take the opportunity to apply. If the company seems stable, offers the basics in benefits and they like me above everyone else they interviewed and present and offer there isnt much else to talk about.

+2  A: 
  • Closer to home
  • Smaller company
  • Cubicle walls you had to stand up to look over. Yep, my old company had panels that were less than 4 ft high!
Brad Bruce
+2  A: 

Its the money. Sure, tech can be fun and people can be pleasant but.... you never know whether you'll actually be using either until after you've started.

Leaving can be troublesome if you do it too early and too often, and a great job can still have its uncredibly boring aspects (like supporting that code you loved to write :) ) so make sure you get paid enough to motivate you during those days.

But if money's not your desired thing, I have this tech startup you might be interested in... :)

Completely disagree. Sixteen months ago I left the highest paying job I ever had, for a %30 decrease in pay, because I would spend most afternoons browsing the web, waiting for something to do. I could leave early and no one cared, I could do side projects at work, and I was bored to tears.
David Hill
+10  A: 

I choose jobs because of the current conditions and how they improve my future conditions. What I mean by current conditions is:

  • Salary
  • Location
  • Am I going to enjoy the type of work? If I'm going to hate it, I'd rather take a little less salary and actually enjoy my life.

What I mean by future conditions:

  • Will this benefit my career in the long run?
  • Will I be around people that can either teach me more or will the connections I make be worthwhile?
  • Am I keeping up with technology and if I'm not do I want to develop a niche?
Russell Myers
+2  A: 

I previously was a contract web designer (doing front end stuff like xHTML and CSS) working for a business near my house. It was mostly ran by a graphic designer who had no clue about the internet at all, and as such it was ridiculously hard for me to get any useful information from clients, and all the designs etc were done by the graphic designer.

So while it was good money, the lack of control and the frequency of conflicting client requests pushed me away.

I now run a small business doing the same thing, but doing it in a much better way (at least from our perspective).

I guess the reasons I like working for myself are:

  • Having a say in what goes on with regards to all aspects of the business
  • Knowing what's happening at all times
  • Being able to pick and choose which projects we take
  • Being able to pick and choose who I work with

As a result, my work environment's pretty nice and when I sit down to do work I don't feel like I'm doing it because I have to. Earning more than I would as an employee at anywhere else I'd be qualified to work at is just a bonus.

+4  A: 

My current job is the first one at a non IT company. We do consultancy for environmental issues. And the company happens to have a small (12 people) inhouse software development group.

The company is environmentally aware and really treats its people as its most valuable assets.

An example: due to a problem with my bike, i was late. And because i had to park my bike in a troublesome part of town. So i really wanted to get it home as soon as possible. They did not only approve of this, they even offered to take me there.

So maybe the salary is not as great as at a big IT company. The people are great and the work is fun. So that are the things that really count for me.

+3  A: 

I own a small software shop so, for me, the answer is that I didn't "pick" a job, I created one. My best advice for someone looking for fulfillment is to find a way to "create" your job regardless of where you work. That is, find something that you can really master, where creativity comes naturally and abundantly and then push the envelope. It isn't so much "taking control" as unleashing your creativity so that, after a while, people just naturally turn to you to solve problems of a given type. That will lead to greater security, responsibility, and control over your future.

Mark Brittingham
+1  A: 

Case 1

Company A gave much better first impression and acted swiftly. Company B was much slower, sloppier and their offer was around same. Company A won.

Case 2

Company Z was smaller, had no dress code but was somewhat less professional sounding. Company X was a blue chip company with dress code, moronic HR department and had initially a better offer. Company Z matched the offer and won.

Conclusion Better salary, no dress code, smaller company size (20-100 instead over 500+) and possibilities to push my limits seem to be affecting factors for me.

Petteri Hietavirta

The manager who hired me made a really good sales pitch for working here, interesting work, good people, and I'm in a field where I can explain to my parents what the software I work on does. It also helps that the offer was 20% better than the other offer I had at the time ;)

+7  A: 

There were several things I was tired of in my old position:

  1. I was sick of working in an organization whose primary focus was consulting (i.e., 3-6 month long projects for "enterprise" clients).
  2. Tired of having to travel, although I was pretty lucky that I traveled once maybe every 6-9 months or so.
  3. A few weeks of mandatory pager support every few months.
  4. What felt like a lot of unnecessary stress from management, mostly due to the consulting nature of business and the constant need to bill more hours.
  5. 25 mile commute on a major highway in the most densely populated region of NJ (which is the most densely populated state in the US), so the drive home on Fridays or any day there was an auto accident could easily double or triple in time.

I found a job with a company that

  1. Sold products, not hours.
  2. Had a casual office with a relaxed atmosphere.
  3. Had zero traveling.
  4. Offered me slightly more money, although I was prepared to take a pay cut.
  5. Was across the street from a major train station.

So, basically the new company was able to improve on the working/social/life balance situation for me.

In retrospect, I failed to apply any sort of Joel Test to the new company, and now I find myself working on some rather boring tasks with horrible code (using System.out.println() to print from JSPs that make direct database queries like its 1999). I've traded off some headaches for others. I also left behind some good colleagues, and a level of prestige (for lack of a better word) at my old company.

I think I was focusing on trying to optimize on one variable so much that I neglected others. But now I realize why things like the Joel Test can be so important, if you hold those kind of things (the actual "professionalism" of the work you are doing) in any sort of value.

matt b
+1  A: 

Location and timing. I got an offer at my job in the area I went to college before I graduated. They even waited till I finished school before they made me work.

After location, salary is the most important. In this industry you'll usually get paid pretty good, but you can get ripped off if you don't know what you're doing. I thought I was getting paid a lot, but I later found out I'm getting paid about $9000 below the market value per year for an entry-level software developer. I'm not going to leave my job, since the experience is invaluable and it's my first job, but watch out for that.

I guess after that, the work has to be interesting. If you can't wake up and at least kinda look forward to work, you probably need to look elsewhere. In my case I write software to support a fighter jet, so no problems there.

Some people have their priorities in a different order, but this is what works for me.

Ryan Thames
+2  A: 

They offered me a job.

It was 2004, and the dot-com bust was still affecting the local job market. I had been unemployed since graduating in 2002. In college, people were staying in school and getting graduate degrees because they couldn't find a job. Even after applying for any advertised jobs, I had a total of 2 interviews in that time.

Why have I stayed? Mostly because I like what I do, and the pay and benefits are decent. I have no reason to look elsewhere yet.

+2  A: 

I've made good and bad choices - and I'm thankful that the situation I'm in now has (so far) turned out to be a good choice.

My criteria were (in no order of importance):

  • Location. I bought a home not so long ago, so packing up and moving across state, let alone the country, was not an option. YMMV, but I have to at least be able to commute to the office, or work from home and travel when necessary to attend meetings, etc. And I prefer commuting to telecommuting.

  • The work had to interest and challenge me.

  • I needed to be paid a wage that reflects respect for my skills, my time, and for the work.

  • I needed a work environment and a management structure that helps me grow as a developer, yet acknowledges that we have a life outside of the office. Part of that is in the work, but the rest of it entails standard things like managing crunchtime smartly, not choking oneself on the H1B nozzle, and eliminating trivial hassles like whether or not I can wear sneakers to work.

Those were the major ones for me.

I would add that building your personal network will definitely help you get honest information and considered opinions with which to base your decision, whatever the criteria.

John Dunagan

I chose my job because I was an excited customer of the brand, salary and vacation. All work and no play makes jack a dull boy. It's all about work-life balance despite people telling you that you need to love your job. More importantly, you need to love your life, a job is purely a subset of your life.

Sheehan Alam

Because they pay me to play around with .Net (I think they're on to me though)


12k€ more per year, changing from dull gov. create/delete/select forms to high technology, better location...and still...I miss my old job's partners, who turned out to be more than that, they were friends. There's no such thing as working surrounded by friends.


My current job (contract) is the result of a very deliberate search. Once I decided to leave the previous company, I spent almost a year looking for a position that offered (in order of importance):

  • A good mix of interesting technologies.
  • Training opportunities (always be learning).
  • Good working conditions, including talented people, flexible hours, ability to work from home occasionally, no tendency to cheap out on hardware or tools, etc.
  • Good pay. Not my top priority, but one has to pay the mortgage.

Planning ahead paid off in a big way. You are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. Don't be cocky, but at the same time, know what you're looking for and don't be afraid to ask direct questions. In my experience, this kind of directness is appreciated by the company, too. If it isn't, I'm not sure I want to work there.

Bruce McGee