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I like the company I am currently with as a .NET Software Developer - high-tech, great atmosphere, great people and great cause. I also have a fair bit of flexibility and resposibility in that I try to keep us up to date with recent technologies and come up with the architecture for our desktop applications, when we have to design something new, a rare occassion. Overall, it is a great place, albiet with mediocre compensation.

It has been almost 4 years and things are getting stagnant in terms of growth and challenges. There is currently a good growth prospect with a previous employer that I am entertaining and will have a good chance with sufficient effort. But I have neither asked for a promotion nor thoroughly expressed my career ambitions to my current manager. So there is this feeling I am putting him at a disadvantage.

My current manager is a level headed guy which makes me think I can discusss this challenge with him. After all, he could act as a reference for me in the future. Also, I am sure there are good thing to be said about honesty and professionalism and trying to avoid using the other offer to gain internal promotion. I want to grow professionally but cannot affort to jeopardize relationships or burn any bridges.

Would you talk to your manager about entertaining a position somewhere else? If I were a manager, I sure would appreciate if one of my employees came up to me to talk about this. If he were one of my key guys, I sure would do what is neccessary to keep him around.

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closed as off topic by ChrisF Sep 2 '11 at 13:40

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This isn't a problem unique to Software Development. When you tell you manager you are leaving or if you are considering leaving is common to most jobs. –  ChrisF Sep 2 '11 at 13:36
    
If you have maintained a good relationship for years, then don't fear burning bridges. Most managers aren't stonecold business people without a soul. They'll understand, bid you farewell with the best wishes and tell you to comeback anytime when you don't like the new job. –  Falcon Sep 2 '11 at 13:50
    
Agreed, not unique to Software Development but I am currently a Software Developer. Is this not a forum for Software Developers to ask career related questions? –  e28Makaveli Sep 2 '11 at 14:05

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

From past experience, if you have any issues at all with your current company, it's best to just leave. If you bring it up that you're unhappy, you'll be marked as "not a team player" or similar. If you say you're looking elsewhere, you've just become a liability in all but the most fringe cases.

I wouldn't mention anything until I'm giving notice. Anything else is typically setting yourself up to be fired down the road. Even if the company turns around and does something to appease you now so you stay, chances are they're going to look to replace you ASAP because you indicated you aren't happy. That's sadly how it normally goes.

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Sounds like the inconvenient truth. –  e28Makaveli Sep 2 '11 at 14:07
    
@e28Makaveli: There're many truths. Don't worry, this is a very pessimistic perspective. You won't get any troubles for leaving if you don't have already troubles in your company. And if you have them already, they'll be glad if you leave. –  Falcon Sep 2 '11 at 14:13
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@Falcon maybe I've just been unlucky then but in five or so years I've net to see a company that wouldn't take it as a grave personal insult for an employee to "dare" have an issue with the way things are done (justified or not). And, in past experience unless your manager is a relative/longtime friend, saying "Hey I like it here except for X, so I'm looking at other offers. Can you fix X so I don't have to leave?" is going to put you on the chopping block. –  Wayne M Sep 2 '11 at 14:26
    
@Falcon, but I have no troubles here. All I am seeking is professional growth. Wayne M's response, though pessimistic, sounds a lot like reality but I am having trouble accepting it:) –  e28Makaveli Sep 2 '11 at 14:27
    
@Wayne M: I think it really depends on how you approach this. It is tricky hence the reason for my post but I believe if you have a level headed manager and approach this carefully, it can be a win-win. I am not threatening to leave per se, just expressing my state of mind. –  e28Makaveli Sep 2 '11 at 14:29

If you're considering leaving because your job isn't challenging you enough then definitely speak to your boss and explain the situation. If they're a decent boss they'll give you more engaging work or help you transition out. No one wants a bored employee, they'll just find any excuse to not be bored which kills their productivity.

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Sounds like what I need to do but it would be interesting to see what others have to say... –  e28Makaveli Sep 2 '11 at 14:32

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