Pros and Cons

So the Weekly Recap that normally appears in this space is preempted by this important thinking out loud.

I was offered a job today.  A very good job with the ministry of SolGPS.  The issue is that I don’t know if I want to take it.

If any of my current co-workers are reading I want to say that I’m not out looking for other jobs.  I applied for this job way back in September during my first week of working for Telus.  I only applied then because it is a kick butt job and I was very new at Telus and didn’t yet even know anyone by name or have any assigned work.

Now it turns out that I quite like my current job.  Really I have no complaints.  It is also a kick butt job.

I’ve always said that three things make up a good job:  interesting and challenging work, a good team and a good boss.  Based on my recent years at Gov’t I need to add a fourth of corporate support for the work being done by your team.  I have all of this at Telus.  In fact, IPTV is key to their future growth plans in a way that no IT job will ever be key at the Gov’t.  At SOLGPS the first and fourth will be true, the third will largely be under my own control and the fourth is an unknown (no person currently in the role).  Regardless, those won’t be enough to make a solid decision.

Pros of saying with Telus:

  • Interesting work in a growing IT segment (video traffic on the Internet is forecasted to grow to be well over 50% of all Internet traffic within the next few years.)
  • The work is important to people – I’ve had more discussions with friends and strangers about the Telus service and comparisons with our competitors in four months than I really did during my over ten years with the Gov’t.)  There is also pretty immediate feedback on whether you are being successful or not.
  • There is good potential of advancement with Telus.

Pros of taking the SOLGPS job:

  • The work matters.  A successful deployment will actually have a positive benefit on the health and safety of Albertans.
  • Gov’t comes with benefits – notably a health plan (currently only qualify for a crappy plan instead of a good plan) and a gov’t pension with disability benefits (although private investment may have a greater return than the Gov’t plan).
  • I’m in on the second floor with SOLGPS (not quite the group, but pretty darn close).  I’ll get to mold my team and the architecture.
  • It is a technical architect position.  Under career goals this is where I’d like to go…
  • While not directly the thrust of the job, I will need to deal with the fastest growing segment in IT – namely data centre virtualization.  That will be a big bit of the job and balances the coolness of the IPTV factor above.

Cons of staying with Telus:

  • I’m only a contractor.  I want to be full-time.  I am pretty confident that is eventually coming, but it isn’t here now.  Note also that the Telus benefits are pretty good and might balance somewhat the Gov’t benefits above.
  • While it is a quickly growing IT segment, it is still a bit niche.  I’m not sure where I can go with IPTV skills in Edmonton…

Cons of going to SOLGPS:

  • Well I’ve been burned once with Gov’t already.  Once bitten twice shy.
  • From what I have heard of the project some of the governmenty nonsense that is annoying to deal with is already rampant within this new area at SolGPS.
  • I don’t know who my boss will be.  Depending on how that shakes out that could end up being a big negative.  (It is really just an unknown now.  Not really a con.)

My inkling right now is to stay with Telus.  But I’m worried that that is due to two factors: my own fear of change (quite substantial) and my sense of loyalty and indebtedness to Telus.  Both are really horrible reasons for staying and I’m trying to ignore them and examine this objectively.

So gah.  I’m not sleeping well tonight.  I can feel it already.


19 thoughts on “Pros and Cons

  1. Daniel.Cherrington says:

    Hey man.
    What ever your choice will be, at least you have choices!!
    sleep well.

  2. Suellen says:

    Honestly Todd, I think you should take the job. The next time more positions are advertised, I plan on applying. This is the job you’ve always dreamed of.

    What you have to remember is that Telus has regular culls of people. Their last cull was 6 months before we got cut. You got cut to prove a point. I really don’t think that’ll happen again. I mean, I could be wrong – I didn’t think I’d get cut and yet here I am. You will also be engaged
    day one.

    Don’t get me wrong. Everything I’ve heard points to this being a gong show. Furthermore, Telus sort of hired you after you were looking for a while. However, it will be your gong show to shape. Hopefully, someday, I’ll be there to help.

    Unless my willingness to follow you there is creeping you out. I mean, I’ll get that you don’t need the reminder of the douche baggery of SA and the neediness of an old team member.

  3. Brent Kamenka says:

    IMHO, I would go back to the gov. At Enbridge, there are a number of people that have come from Telus and all shared a common story of love / falling out of love with a job. In my mind, that is a cyclical theme to everyone in their career, but gov is often more forgiving than private sector.

    In SOLGPS, you would immediately be in the gov as an emp. If you talk tough to HR you should be able to get your LIRA rolled back into the pension and the ministry of SOLGPS should not be like SA. The writing on the wall for SA was there when it was formed, so no shocker.

    The point for that tips it is the career growth / passion. On one hand, you are looking at a very niche skill critical today, that may fall out of flavor (speaking in ignorance of IPTV (what,just put it together (duh))) and you are expressing doubt about portability/reuse of that skillset. Technical architecture is a highly sought after role in almost any company and is always a senior position. If you did decide to transfer later or go back and forth between gov and private sector ,this skillset will ensure that numerous doors stay open and will allow you to continue to shape your career.

    My thought: SOLGPS.

    • So some of my co-workers talked about the niche-ness today. All core Windows technologies, plus hardware and OS skills. And really nifty networking. Even if I can’t get an IPTV job with ATB (or whoever) those skills are still valuable.

      (Course we don’t really have any virtualization in my area…that is a skill that is quickly becoming mandatory.

  4. Craig says:

    I get the fear of change, I do not deal with it well. I realize that seems strange given the career/job changes that I seem to go through. I have found that it’s terrifying each time but I’ve decided that the fear should not control my life.

    Now if I could just get over my fear of spiders … and failure … I’m not fond of clowns either.

    • Against which is the ‘grass is greener’ syndrome.

      I did a speech about fear once… it is certainly a concern for me and something I have to try and not sway my decisions. The decisions you’ve made have been good and brave I think.

  5. Dano says:

    Gah. Being totally noIT savvy my opinion is based entirely upon other things. After watching you work for gov’t for years, dealing with political crap, donating 20 hours a week in unpaid overtime, watching money misspent then covered up, seeing the truth and watching politicians lie, and getting reamed out for not being a secretive asshole . . . well I say FLEE GOV’T.

    You face the perennial problem. Election time – everything changes, bad polls – everything changes, new minister – everything changes.

    Of course, private sector is also filled with evils. Watch the news on Bell and you can’t find a commentary that doesn’t say, “I hate rogers and telus too.”

    • I was mostly happy at Gov’t… but bureaucracy will follow me to any job. At least in big organizations. Since I want to work for big organizations that is an evil I’ll need to shoulder.

      But the difference in respect for IT between TELUS and Gov’t is substantial. Weighed against the TELUS recent tendency to outsource that Suellen had mentioned earlier.

  6. Suellen says:

    Work sucks. We need to win the lotto. And the unpaid 20 hours a week was his idea. Believe me when I say we all nagged and nagged…

  7. Matthew Ornawka says:

    Well my two cents…

    In every organization you will find a certain level of douchbaggery so that cannot be used as a tipping point for a decision unless the level is known to be high in whatever path that you are looking to pursue.

    The talents that you get at TELUS in the area of IPTV are not really just focused on the internet or video portion of things. It utilizes every major peice of Microsoft technology that it has in its aresenal, save Exchange. Knowing all of these aspects and getting good at them will make you an incredibly well rounded analyst, with no risk of pigeonholing yourself into a single subset of technology, which is one thing the government is good at. This does not include the possible experience you can garner from working with networking equipment, routing, and all the fun of keeping it all together in one cohesive group, all tasked to do one, and only one thing.

    IPTV is rapidly growing, and tearing huge chunks out of Shaw’s cornerstone… and this only is expected to accellerate as based on some of the projected market analysis has indicated. The product itself is award winning and clearly superior to the offings of CableCo’s. After having its ass handed to them in the area of telephony and internet providing, TELUS is fighting back and handily punching huge holes in the competition that has been eating its lunch for quite a while now.

    I see quite a long engagement here, and granted, it may not be for life (I have deftly abandoned that fallicy), however the skills earned in this role are very valuable. Todd has already earned the reputation as someone that gets things pulled together and organized and can be relied on to execute plans with skill and purpose.

    Now the downside is, he is a contractor, and there will not be any guarantees he will be brought on as an employee. From my understanding, I am more of an exception than a rule, but I believe that TELUS (in respects to IPTV) is also shifting its focus towards contractors to be short term work based, and long term engagements need to be done by employees.

    From the musings that I have heard, moving around within the organization is quite easy once you are an employee, if you wanted a job, and you had the qualifications.

    Like Todd, I am somewhat hurt by the actions of SA, but in the end, I know I am much better off here and has finally popped me out of the pigeonhole I was occupying within the government. And if my time with TELUS were ever to come to an end, I know that the experience I gain here will arm me with an enviable skillset that will have most employers clamoring to have me come on board…

    My two cents… where’s my change?

    • Unlike you I wasn’t as pigeonholed… (Sorry that is a lot my fault)… and the new job will allow me access to a large number of technologies.

      Look – I played Devil’s Advocate to all my commenters.

      Thanks to everyone!

      • Matthew Ornawka says:

        LOL yea, but you set the stage for me to get out of that role, and I cant say the roost I was in wasn’t entirely my own making… I had expressed a desire to expand, and was in the process of offloading my tasks to make it happen. I was probably only a month or two away from making Daniel the lead on alot of my functions when the cull happened…

        I think that you will do well wherever you go…

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