Saturday, January 06, 2007
I Need Career Advice
(This is a non-chess post, but rather deals with certain matters concerning my own real-life career. Alas, no matter how I tell myself that I am a millionaire playboy, it is not so. I am an ordinary programmer working for a rather small japanese firm. A certain dillema is confronting me. One which eludes all my attempt for solution at the moment. So I am putting the question here, to get the collective wisdom of my peers so to speak. I realize, you might not answer as the last time I did this, only one left a comment, but I can only try)

The way things works for japanese firms is that as opposed to US companies who is comfortable hiring talent from overseas, and granting visa and stuff after one passed a telephone interview, Japanese firms are rather conservative. They want to see the person they're gonna hire. So it means you have to be present here to even get an interview. But in order to go here, you first need a valid visa. But this visa, you can only get if one is already employed, which of course I was not. A real catch-22. The only other alternative is to for someone to take a leap of faith. Fortunately I found this someone. Of course there's a catch. This "someone" will only give the minimum salary allowed. Far too low for someone who has near 10 years of programming experience.

But of course I jumped at the chance. I could live with having a low salary for a year, after that since my contract will expire, I can pass my resume and do interviews because I'm already here. This is just a stepping stone to the real money I said to myself.

[The problem]
That was the plan. Now the tricky part was when I arrived here. It turned out that they wanted to create a branch company back home. And that they are counting on me to help them in this endeavor. Imagine my surprise when I heard this. What? There was no talk of such stuff during the interview. I thought I was gonna be just another programmer. Sure I have experience doing supervisory work as I was a supervisor back then, but one of the "small" reasons I quit that job was because I got tired of people-related problems. I didnt want to be held accountable for things I didnt do. Not anymore. But this of itself isnt a deal breaker. I tell myself this might be a good experience. Creating a new company. Might be good, and I'll be back home to boot. But when I was asking about the compensation, it was still below the average japanese salary rate. Over $1000(US) dollars below. Now, I dont know about other folks, but for me that is a *lot* of money. A lot of money - and money, is a deal breaker.

So, I was thinking. Screw it. I'll resign after 1 year as planned, get hired somewhere with double the salary, and live it up with my family. There is no assurance of me finding such a job of course, but if everything goes according to normal circumstance, I should be able to find one. I aint asking for much. Just the market value after all.

But when I look at my boss, and hear him talk of this new company that will rake in the moolah. Everytime he tries to befriend me and treats me dinner and takes me to places and stuff, I grow a concience and get bothered. Now I dont particularly like going out with him, It even irks me that he makes plans without consulting me - I have plans too you know. But at least he tries, and thats more than I can say for my previous bosses (Anyone who has worked long enough, will understand that sinking feeling of just being a cog in the machine. Just a lonely pawn)

So I dont know what to do. You know, I can try to be like Tom Hagen from the Godfather and just treat this as business. And this is a business. Treat everything as just business and none should not take it personally where I to jump ship. I am not the first person to do this sort of thing, nor will I be the last. Carlos Boozer reneged on a handshake deal from Gordon Gund, and in the process created a new term for sleezebagginess. The term "Boozered" should be familiar to anyone watching the NBA. Heck, stuff like this happens everyday. Some people have done worst things for money. All I wanted to do was employ my talents and get paid accordingly.

But shoot I'm having a hard time just thinking about doing it. Maybe I just cant do it. I dont know. Maybe I'm too soft for these sort of things. The ill-will generated where I to go ahead and not help him is enormous. I'm someone who gets bothered if such negativity is directed towards me. But a thousand dollars is a thousand dollars. A lot of things I can do with that. It could cover the mortage of that house I've always dreamed of for example.

Can't decide, can't decide.


posted by Nezha at 6:44 AM | Permalink |


  • At 8:07 AM, Blogger BlunderProne

    Konichiwa Mr. Nez,
    I'm a HW engineer and have been in the high tech industry for over 20 years ( semiconductor manufacturers mainly). One thing I learned was that business is business. Companies all look out for their bottom line to please the stock holders or board of directors. They may placate the employee to some extend, offer incentives, wine and dine etc... but ultimately, YOU and only YOU are responsible for your destination.

    You've played the "opening" in you career and moving to a middle game with unclear results. If you don't have any clear targets strenghten your position. Translate this to the working world. Sounds like you current employer is offering you an interesting "start-up" opportunity with a low starting salary. The risk is high. You are also approaching your 1-year commitment and see the opportunity to make more money elsewhere. There is risk there too.

    I can't tell you what to do. I can merely suggest to "evaluate the position". List the pro's and con's of each choice and be honest. You may even want to ask yourself what direction you really want to take your career. Being a high paid "code monkey" ( Us HW guys have to take a dig with you SW guys in jest) or does taking a leadership role appeal to you? Questions only you can answer.

    I may still suck at chess... but I have managed my career rather well.

    BP ( aka George Duval)

  • At 2:33 PM, Blogger Temposchlucker

    As far as I can see from your posts, your boss is a much better chessplayer by far than you, in business that is. I get the impression he hasn't been honest with you. If I am right, I can only see one motive for him: money. So the question seems to be, can you accept that you are being used for the money you will get?

  • At 6:39 PM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight

    At the very least, I'd say I want more money. And a Geisha.

  • At 6:52 PM, Blogger Dwyane Corleone Fujiwara

    To whoever said that "money isn't everything" i'd like to see them live without it. -DJ
    But my advice to you: go home to your family and join your boss' startup business

  • At 6:10 PM, Blogger BlueLogic

    Opening: Nezha's Variation

    You were able to wade through the tough course on how to get there though not in the mainline and found yourself in a less desirable but playable position. You did like the way Petrosian plays some openings. You can consider yourself lucky for that because not everyone is given that chances like yours.


    According to your explanation you are in a complicated position with time trouble. If you could assure yourself that you could land in a better compensating job immediately after you resign then there is no problem. If it's not the case then you might as well consider playing a tenable position with you taking that 1000-offer because of the following assessment:

    An opportunity can arise for a tactical shot that might otherwise turn the tables in your favor such as finding a better job while your working on your current job or your present company might reward you through promotion later on because they found out that this decade old wizard could do a lot more for them that they could not afford to lose you thus increasing the compensation. The better player is always lucky (I forgot the master who quote that one).

    Working with people, specially managing them (for me) is nightmare. I feel the same way with you because of the same reason. It is possibly one reason why technical guys differ so much with managerial/marketing guys. But we are human and needs to interact. We can't avoid people. Fischer said you have to gave up something in order to gain something. In our case it's the supervisory square.

    "Everytime he tries to befriend me and treats me dinner and takes me to places and stuff, I grow a conscience and get bothered. Now I dont particularly like going out with him, It even irks me that he makes plans without consulting me - I have plans too you know." My view of your boss befriending you is that he trusts you and sees you as someone he can depend on his work and treating you is one way of telling you that. He does not consult you before he takes you out maybe because he's been used to it or you never told him or give some inkling notion that sometimes you want to say no. Have you tried it? To him you will be part of his work for a long time to come should you accept his offer so building a good relationship with you (as with any other business) is crucial for their success.


    You definitely have an endgame advantage. It's only a matter of what winning line you choose.


    My greatest satisfaction comes in a game full of speculative sacrifices and fireworks but mostly it turns out the other way around. It's your decision whether you want play for the win (with you and your family secured) no matter how you play it or go for your own satisfaction and play an enterprising game of life.