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Old 08-28-2012, 12:28 PM
 
268 posts, read 518,592 times
Reputation: 230

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Not sure if this is the correct forum for this post. But it feels like I'm in a rut with a whole bunch of things career-wise, money-wise, and socially. I live in the Kansas City metro area, so that is the frame of reference for location-based things.

I work for a software company in KC, MO. I have been here a year, and this is my only real career experience right after college, so I don't have that much in the way of skills. I must have come off desperate or something, as I was hired as a sort of tech support guy, while paid higher than call center type people, I'm paid the least on our team, the developers make quite a bit more.

For anyone familiar with the city I live, there is in insane amount of tension between the two sides of the state line. I live and grew up on the KS side, and I take tons of ridicule and bad treatment because I live on the "wrong" side of the line. I guess part of this is attachment to the area I live, much of my social life being on this side, and I am more sophisticated usually than most people on the MO side. Yet the people at work defend MO to the death, and do everything they can so that I feel awful.

I almost took an apartment kind of near work, but anything remotely near work on the MO side is extremely dangerous.

I never have received any real training. I guess I didn't qualify for the special training program, and was thrown into a pit of stuff where the only way to get everything is to talk to the teammates, as all the documentation is out of date. Note that even though I'm in theory based on my role not meant to do development, my boss seems to want to push me into development, just at the same salary, when I don't feel like I'm comfortable doing Java. Whenever I ask my teammates for information or to start development, they push me aside or find some excuse to not talk to me.

What's scaring me even more is that some of the developers are doing some of my role now, and functionality they have built in recent releases of our internal software takes the role of stuff that I used to do. I feel like I'm becoming obsolete and they are trying to get rid of me. Everything I do is scrutinized to the fullest, and it's impossible for me to please anybody, no matter how much I change this or that.

This is a company where the underlying (not stated) expectation is to work 60 or more hours per week. On top of that, they also highly encourage us to take an insane amount of steps (walking/running), which to be honest takes up a ton of time to get any benefit from it. Basically this company takes over it's employees' lives. I am competing with people who are insanely intelligent, take Adderall to avoid sleep and do more work (not kidding) and optimize every aspect of their lives around their job, such that they have no social life. This is a lifestyle I do not want to do, I want to keep some of my social life, because if all you do is work, then you aren't really living. My team can tell, and this has led to some of the above treatment.

I guess some of the above here is that I don't like Java. I'd rather do network engineering, Linux administration, go down that route, yet I don't have any certifications. It doesn't look like I will ever get the money for those tests either, as I make only enough to pay bills and a little more than minimum payments on debt. It seems like I will have to not only get a raise, which won't happen, I would also have to move back in with parents, and not go out and do anything in order to ever save enough money and pay off debts. This would take two years, at least, when I'm in my prime, and only getting older, and in a city where I'm rapidly falling out of the age of marriage range (KC is strange in this regard, people here get married VERY early).

I do have a decent social life. Not great, but I have made improvements lately such as getting rid of people that I found to be mostly just users. I am just scared to do much based on the above career situation.

I have looked at other places, but everything seems to require 5-10+ years of experience, certifications (which are expensive to get), and mastery of a ton of different technologies. It seems in this industry, that in order to have any decent job prospects, one has to master 100+ different tools and languages. I guess this is an industry that needs to shrink massively, but keeps getting bigger because people create new languages and methodologies daily, in order to make things more complicated and inefficient, in order to keep their jobs. So think, millions of people, a good chunk of them probably working 60 hour weeks, where the real work and innovation could probably get done with one tenth or less of the current people. Yet the state of this economy, with no jobs available, people are doing this to hold on to what they have.

In short, I feel completely stuck, and any path I take will take years if not decades to make things better, and I'm worried about keeping my job. What kind of path should I take?
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Old 08-28-2012, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,726,780 times
Reputation: 2583
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason87x View Post
Not sure if this is the correct forum for this post. But it feels like I'm in a rut with a whole bunch of things career-wise, money-wise, and socially. I live in the Kansas City metro area, so that is the frame of reference for location-based things.

I work for a software company in KC, MO. I have been here a year, and this is my only real career experience right after college, so I don't have that much in the way of skills. I must have come off desperate or something, as I was hired as a sort of tech support guy, while paid higher than call center type people, I'm paid the least on our team, the developers make quite a bit more.

For anyone familiar with the city I live, there is in insane amount of tension between the two sides of the state line. I live and grew up on the KS side, and I take tons of ridicule and bad treatment because I live on the "wrong" side of the line. I guess part of this is attachment to the area I live, much of my social life being on this side, and I am more sophisticated usually than most people on the MO side. Yet the people at work defend MO to the death, and do everything they can so that I feel awful.

I almost took an apartment kind of near work, but anything remotely near work on the MO side is extremely dangerous....
You're suggesting people on the Kansas side are generally more "sophisticated" than those on the Missouri side. I'm not trying to say you're wrong, but I'm hoping you will explain to help me understand. How are you and your common Kansas counterpart more sophisticated than those on the Missouri side?

Also, what part of KCMO is your workplace located that is dangerous? I'm just curious because I want to see if we share the same opinion.

BTW, I grew up and have lived on the Kansas side most of my life, but now live on the Missouri side. I'd rather live elsewhere than my specific part of town and most of the places on my list are on the Kansas side.

I'm not familiar with IT and I'm sorry I can't help you much with your issues. The only advice I can give is to communicate and figure out what's going on at work rather than speculating and assuming. I'm not sure it would be a good idea to leave your current job until you have more experience, unless you have another job lined up. You may need to bite the bullet and take on more responsibilities, even if they're not favorable. Are you sure you can't handle the responsibilities you said you feel uncomfortable with? Or are you just fearful or just flat out don't want to do it? I can understand not wanting to get in over your head, but if that's not really the case, you need to probably take the opportunities you have because you otherwise may find yourself in a worse situation and wished you had just had more balls when you had the opportunities you have now.
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Old 08-29-2012, 08:11 AM
 
268 posts, read 518,592 times
Reputation: 230
Holy crap I think I overranted.

I straight up told my boss that I like the networking and Linux stuff better. I don't think he took that all too well, but I did make it known my situation and I may be able to get some help as a result.

I still need to figure out what/how to specialize with these things, as there's something seriously wrong if I have to master an insane amount of programming languages just to do one job.
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Old 08-29-2012, 11:17 AM
 
4,762 posts, read 11,671,942 times
Reputation: 7878
I don't know if many businesses use Linux?

I know many ISP's use BSD UNIX like this one...
pair Networks - World Class Web HostingĀ® - Jobs - Open Positions

And most UNIX types I have known also know Perl, C, and UNIX shell programming.

Then Java does seem to be the thing of the future. Google Android which is programmed in Java, is going gang busters. Microchip, a large microcontroller manufacturer, recently came out with a new IDE programmed in Java. The old one was written in C.

And these computer types typically teach themselves - learn on their own. It is a "passion". They program in their free time for fun, so also a hobby. And necessary to constantly learn new things as everything changes so rapidly.

If you really know your stuff, you don't need to be certified - if you can get past the HR types and talk directly to a technical type manager.

Anyway if you just know LINUX/UNIX, that would be a plus to some ISP's which have thousands of servers running BSD UNIX I should think? They need care and feeding! Might want to call the company at the above link and enquire about various career opportunities...
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Old 08-31-2012, 06:42 AM
 
5,239 posts, read 6,966,313 times
Reputation: 11340
If I were you I would be actively looking for another position, as it seems its not a good fit for you and staying long term will continue to increase your stress level. You feel you are aging and not moving fast enough, I understand that one, but the most important thing is take some time and develop a plan of what you want to do, and where you hope to be in a few years. It seems you don't have time for taking any classes on the side, but the in house training you mentioned is a good thing that will benefit you later on. I would try and show your bosses that you are anxious to learn all you can. Get all you can get from them in the way of extra training. It will help both your resume and your knowledge base. Look at this as a short term situation, much like school, the more you master, the bigger asset you will be to them and to the next potential employer.

I lived in KC for a time and while some seemed to have a bias against those from Johnson county, as the years have gone by more people have crossed the border to these safer bedroom communities. It doesn't mean you hate Missouri or Kansas. My God, this isn't some high school rivalry here. Be an adult don't even play that game. You are there to work and to learn. Don't get hung up on thinking this will be your life forever, it won't. Good Luck.
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