I used to be one of those people who jumped jobs once every ~2 years. I’ve now been at Bolt for about 2.5 years, and a few close friends asked me if I was okay given I haven’t switched jobs yet 😂. I was amused, but the truth is, I am actually so happy right now and there has been absolutely no reason to look for a change!
One of the things I’ve talked to a lot of engineers about recently is what I look for in my job. In the past when I decided to leave my role, something was missing and I just could not put my finger on what it was. This bothered me a lot! Yeah I could say I was excited about my new job, but why was I looking in the first place?
So after some introspection, some guessing, and a lot of coffee filled walks with mentors I managed to boil down what I look for in my job into 4 simple factors:
- Am I learning?
- Am I growing in my career?
- Do I like the people I work with?
- Is there a good financial outcome?
Lets talk about each of these factors and I will explain why they matter to me. Keep in mind, some are more important than others, and there are always ups and downs at every company.
This is the #1 thing I care about. If I am not learning, then I get bored pretty quickly. I’ve found that I am happiest when I am learning something. Initially it was just learning technically, but over time that changed to learning beyond just tech problems. Late last year I started managing all SaaS vendors at Bolt and one may ask, why in the world would you take that up, but to me it was something I had no clue about. Today not only do I understand how to negotiate contracts, but I also learnt how to better empathize with our customers, legal requirements, and security assessments. What you want to learn is really up to you, but never be OK if you aren’t learning something.
Growing In my Career
Many times people mistake learning for growth in your career, or at least I did. What I’ve noticed is that you can have learning with no growth and vice versa. Stop and think about where you want to be longer term and work with your manager to chart a path for that growth. I’ve been super lucky to have some amazing managers who have pushed me to think about this. I remember once during my first job at Twitter Amit Kumar pulled me into a room to talk about my career. Back then I was wondering why we weren’t talking about the new service I was building, but looking back the advice and path he set for me were priceless.
You spend 5 out of 7 days with these folks, and you want to work with smart, humble & nice people. Some of my closest friends today are people I met at work. Being with a fun bunch of folks makes work feel a lot less like work!
I’d be kidding myself if I said this doesn’t matter :) Look for a company you believe in and that you think has a good outcome. This means different things for different people. Personally, I weigh this the least amongst other factors, but obviously not at a 0.
You’ll notice how I never talked about startups or big companies up to now. This is because many companies can give you these 4 things. Personally, I’ve found that you get much more learning, growth & financial outcome from startups so I find myself always being biased toward a startup where I can own more and therefore learn more.
Just remember, never settle! Find a job that excites you :)
Maybe I will look back at this post in a few years and want to add one more thing to consider, or maybe I’ve found the secret formula! :) If you want to chat, join my team at Bolt, or debate about adding a 5th factor, hit me up on twitter @roopakv or email me at rv[at]roopakv.com.