Photo by tmaulle.

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for." - William G. T. Shedd

When we get a new job in, we reach out to Rails developers we know who might be a good fit to see if they’re interested in pursing this (or any of our other) new jobs. Sometimes they’re interested in chatting about details. But sometimes, they pass. Of course, there are lots of factors that lead to Rails developers being “on the market” or “off the market” at any given time.

But a recent interaction with a developer brought to mind a good point. I contacted a Rails developer (let’s call him Peter) about a new Rails gig in his city that seemed right up his alley. He politely declined explaining that he was “just too busy” at his current job and had just received a raise so his interest in exploring other options wasn’t particularly high. ”Cool,” I said, “no problem.”

But a few days later, Peter emailed me back saying, “You know, I just realized - it’s silly of me not to learn a little more about this new gig. Who knows? It could be a great opportunity for me. Can you fill me in on the details?”

I happily sent along the details, but this brief exchange stuck in my mind days later. Most people (unlike Peter) don’t have the self-awareness to realize that their disinterest in checking out a new job at a certain point in their career may actually be detrimental to their career in the long run.

There are plenty of reasons not to look at new jobs:

  • You’re just too busy with your current work.
  • You just got a raise!
  • You recently started at a new company.
  • Your comfortable where you’re at, and it’s a pain to change jobs.

All of these are valid reasons for choosing to stay put. But sometimes, our own aversion to risk can get in our way. You just got a raise? Maybe that job you’re passing over would come with a bigger raise. You recently started a new job? We’re all about giving that opportunity enough time - but why not see what else is out there for the future? It can’t hurt to keep yourself tuned into the market. You’re comfortable where you’re at? It’s so easy to fall into a pattern of thinking where we settle for “good enough.” It seems to make life much simpler, but in reality, it often leads to missing out on opportunities that would propel your career, or just make you happier with your day-to-day work.

So, what’s holding you back from checking out new jobs?

We’re not saying you should perpetually be “on the market,” but as coders ourselves, we know how easy it is to get caught in that head-down coding mentality. Every so often, it’s a good reminder to come up for air, take a look around, and see what’s happening outside your dual-screen monitors.