She was much older than I was, but she wanted someone younger and probably more attractive than me. We were arguing and bickering all the time, not knowing the direction we wanted to go in the future.
She wanted to feel young again by taking part in young people's activities such as playing games with the Virtual Realty (VR) Headset, hanging out at Data Centers, and wearing Internet of Things. Good old fashioned PC activities weren't cool anymore to her or her friends.
The VR Headset would give me migraines, hanging-out at Data Centers was just too boring to me, and Internet of Things would give me blisters. I didn't know what else she had in mind for future activities, but I was at the end of my patience with all the wild stuff she was trying to do to impress the world.
Even though she assured me many times that she still loves me and doesn't want me to leave, I saw the writing on the wall. Sooner or later, she would dump me for the younger guy. No matter what she said, I knew she only cares about herself, and all the time we spent together didn't mean much to her.
After much consideration, I decided to break-up and left at my own terms. I didn't want to give her a chance to break my heart and push me out the door.
If you haven't figured out yet, I am talking about my engineering job that I recently quit. Mrs ATM and I are still happily married :)
My advice to anyone who is just starting out young in a high-tech career is to plan for an exit within the first 10-15 years. Spend no more than 5 years in any one job or company. Consider long-term commitment as a thing of the past. Negotiate hard for higher salary and bonuses as you have only so many years to make big bucks before you would become either obsolete or taken over by a younger talent with more up-to-date skills. Experience in engineering doesn't always translate into long-term job security, especially if the experience has been narrow.
Consider 45 as the new retirement age for high-tech engineers. Make it 40 for a hardware engineer as most companies are transitioning to software based designs, and where majority of the innovation is now taking place. Treat an engineering career as a sports career, you work hard when you are young, make lot of money, and then retire early.
Cisco just became the latest of high-tech companies to announce a 5500 job cut to focus on software based designs, a major shift from hardware based design strategies of the past. I suspect more layoffs to come next year as these companies continue to struggle with growth, and the only way they can please shareholders is by cutting cost through mass layoffs and moving jobs to low cost regions.
Remember, no matter how important we think we are, at the end we are just a headcount to these companies that can be reduced at a moment's notice. There is no such thing as love, loyalty, and long-term commitment when it comes to a job in a technology company. Therefore, use your time in job to your advantage, broaden your skills and experience, make lots of money, save and invest for the future, and be prepared to change career or retire early.
Clock is ticking my friends, so get going with your early retirement plan.
|Image: Creative Commons - Pixabay|