Things are starting to move on the job change front. I had my first chat about a job opportunity today, with the prospective employer. The job in question turned out to be horribly boring, so I had to tell him after half an hour that it really wasn’t quite what I had in mind. It involved auditing and testing Excel templates for traders to enter structured trades – it sounded like I would mostly be reading through piles and piles of IF() formulas. Apparently the company has a backlog of these templates that they think would take about 18 months to work through, and they have been looking for someone for this role for the last 2 years now, off and on. I can see why.

My manager has now seen that I am actively looking for a new job, and is not at all happy about the prospect of me leaving, although he understands and accepts that I want to move after 16 months in temp contract limbo. But the team has more to do than we have resources for, and he wouldn’t like 1/5 of the team to disappear, so he is now trying to find out what he could do that would make me stay.

I have been here before… Things went the same way when I last tried to quit, in September 2004: the managers managed to entice me to stay (which is how I ended up on a temp contract). I’m not entirely happy with how this turned out – it feels like I haven’t achieved much at work since then – but not too dissatisfied either.

This time around I have a much clearer idea of what I want and what I don’t want. I’m also in less of a hurry to leave, which will hopefully lead to a more durable solution. Last time I just felt an urgent need to get out of where I was. This time it’s a longer-term desire to start moving in a good direction.

I’m also more relaxed about the idea of quitting my job. The second time is much easier. I’ve been on a temp contract with zero days’ notice for such a long time that I’ve gotten used to not having any job security, apart from being indispensable to the team. I’ve had to think from day one that this is not forever, and thought about what I could or would do when this finishes.

All this means that I’m in an excellent position to negotiate for a job. Over the next few days I’ll write down what I would want from my next job, and think about if and how this might be achieved within my current team (or perhaps by being loosely associated with the team).