Quit my Job? Is this a Dumb Idea?

nicksaiz65

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I had a crazy idea, don’t know if I should go through with it.

I’m currently a junior software engineer, make about 65K a year. I live in a small town(and travel on the weekends for Game) so my living expenses aren’t crazy high. I’ve been working for a bit over a year now. I work remote, and don’t have to be in an office unless I want to. On top of that, my schedule is quite flexible. I work 6 AM - 2:30 PM. So I really can’t complain, work life is good.

However, I saw a new opening for a job that I would be interested in. Music has always been my hobby/passion. It’s unrelated to my field of Computer Science: it’s a symphony orchestra job that pays around $92K a year. And, it’s located in a much bigger city.

I know that even the senior engineers on my team don’t make that much. I had the hare-brained scheme of preparing for that audition. Then assuming I get the job, briefly quit programming and play in the symphony for a year or two with that higher salary. (Although that would stop my goal of working more on the customer/selling side of things.)

All while building my emergency fund and continuing to get certifications and build a programming portfolio. Then, transfer into another Programming job that pays over 100K, mainly to have more freedom to game. Plus, being a symphony musician(this would briefly make me a full time musician) is just a huge flex. And that job would literally be so much fun.

Assuming I got and took the symphony job, There are only three disadvantages I can think of to this plan:
1.) I would have a technical gap of 1-2 years on my resume and I’m not sure how that would impact my ability to get future jobs
2.) When I go back into Computer Science, I may not be able to get another job where I can work those flexible hours and work remote. I don’t want to work a job that makes a lot of money but also makes me want to kill myself lol.
3.) I’d be somewhat region locked for a year or two. Due to needing to meet for practices during the week, I couldn’t travel around as much. Now that I work remote, for instance I could stay in a different city for literally two weeks to game, and just do my work virtually. Money permitting of course.

Just wanted to bounce some ideas off you guys. Should I try to get this symphony job and consider quitting my current one? Or is this a silly idea?

Wanted to ask because if I want to attempt this plan, I need to start preparing for that audition NOW, as in tomorrow at the latest lol. Those auditions are no frigging joke.
 
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Murk

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There are too many assumptions you will get this job that you're not qualified for and most likely won't get. I'd interview for the experience and if offered, come back to us/me.

" 1.) I would have a technical gap of 1-2 years on my resume and I’m not sure how that would impact my ability to get future jobs "

That doesn't look good to employers when you're up against someone with solid continual experience, up to date with new updates and technology.

When asked in 3 years, "why did you decide to leave your programming job to play in an orchestra" - what will you say? Regardless what you answer, it shows programming isn't your passion, flight risk, immature spontaneous mentality, only in it for the money etc etc - another red flag for an employer faced with multiple candidates that didn't decide to completely change career direction.

You're black, so there may be some quota to fill as women and black men in tech is the in-thing, but believe me that is the only thing going for you.

Quit a good gig for temporary monetary gain, but ultimately those 2 years of career experience, are better served to learn your craft or better yet, change jobs once or twice or 10-20% pay raise each jump.

I'm not really seeing the benefits of this here, give me more details.
 

BackInTheGame78

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I wouldn't but only you can make that choice.

In our profession, you shouldn't be sitting around waiting for promotions to get raises, you should be actively in with local recruiters and/or actively looking at new opportunities to move up to a mid-level position every year or two until you reach senior developer, ideally within 5-7 years. So what your senior devs make really is irrelevant, because you shouldn't be looking to stay there long enough to ever see that.

Local IT recruiters will literally do all the grunt work for you and if you tell them what you are looking for, what your skills are, etc, they will present you with jobs that fit your criteria when they get them. They are invaluable to IT professionals.

When you switch jobs, you should be able to increase your salary by 15-20K each time until you reach senior at over 110+K and then you will need to be more selective with moves and they will slow down as it becomes harder to increase your salary that much anymore, so when you find a place you enjoy being at you tend to stay longer.

To put it in perspective, I have used this method to more than triple my salary in 7 years. Starting at 65K, that may be hard to do but you should be able to at least double it.

The reason why waiting to get promoted is a waste of time is because you are not going to get an equivalent raise to what you will get when you switch jobs. As a developer, the way we get big raises is to switch jobs, just how our industry is set up. Nobody bats an eye if they see you have a new job every year. Hell, I switched jobs after 8 months once and nobody even questioned it, it's just accepted. Take advantage of it.
 
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FlirtLife

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I think your crazy idea builds the worst of two resumes. With your hobby of music, you expect to out-compete people who focused on music for the past 10 years, where it was not just a hobby for them. They will have played with other symphonies and be moving up to a big city position. They'll have a college degree in music. Where do you expect to rank against qualifications like that?

Consider your other plan - to keep your day job, build up qualifications, and increase your salary. That seems more likely to succeed - and you already plan on getting a higher salary. I view this approach as building up your savings faster, with more certainty.

If you switch jobs every year, that will hurt your resume. Employers will think (1) you are going to leave your next job in 12 months and (2) you might have problems with co-workers that drive you to find another job. I would strongly discourage this.

When you look at junior software engineering jobs, do those require 2 years experience? That's my general impression, I could be wrong. I suggest you try and meet that minimum before looking for another job.
 

BackInTheGame78

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I think your crazy idea builds the worst of two resumes. With your hobby of music, you expect to out-compete people who focused on music for the past 10 years, where it was not just a hobby for them. They will have played with other symphonies and be moving up to a big city position. They'll have a college degree in music. Where do you expect to rank against qualifications like that?

Consider your other plan - to keep your day job, build up qualifications, and increase your salary. That seems more likely to succeed - and you already plan on getting a higher salary. I view this approach as building up your savings faster, with more certainty.

If you switch jobs every year, that will hurt your resume. Employers will think (1) you are going to leave your next job in 12 months and (2) you might have problems with co-workers that drive you to find another job. I would strongly discourage this.

When you look at junior software engineering jobs, do those require 2 years experience? That's my general impression, I could be wrong. I suggest you try and meet that minimum before looking for another job.
Switching jobs every year or two is common in the software industry. In no way does this hurt your resume. I switched jobs once after 8 months. You get ZERO questions about this as a developer, it's part of life in the industry.

Employers already KNOW that is likely to happen because that's the industry norm. Stick to talking about stuff that you are familiar with...the tech industry clearly isn't one of them.
 
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threeforfree

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You should be making double your current salary pretty quickly if you're improving yourself and moving jobs. Stick with computers and do music for fun.
 

jafman

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50% pay rise and an opportunity for a new and larger female population pool?

You will only regret not going for it.
 

BackInTheGame78

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I think what you will find out is how good you think you have to be to be in a professional orchestra and how good you actually have to be to be in a professional orchestra are likely two different things and likely far apart from each other.

In other words, I am willing to bet you are greatly underestimating how good you need to be to be in a professional orchestra.

Not much different from people who write code in their spare time thinking they are able to be a professional software engineer...the two are usually pretty far apart in terms of how good a person thinks they need to be versus how good they actually need to be.

If you want to try it go ahead...but I think you will find out the people playing and practicing 24/7 like their lives depended on it are going to be significantly ahead of you.
 

nicksaiz65

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There are too many assumptions you will get this job that you're not qualified for and most likely won't get. I'd interview for the experience and if offered, come back to us/me.

" 1.) I would have a technical gap of 1-2 years on my resume and I’m not sure how that would impact my ability to get future jobs "

That doesn't look good to employers when you're up against someone with solid continual experience, up to date with new updates and technology.

When asked in 3 years, "why did you decide to leave your programming job to play in an orchestra" - what will you say? Regardless what you answer, it shows programming isn't your passion, flight risk, immature spontaneous mentality, only in it for the money etc etc - another red flag for an employer faced with multiple candidates that didn't decide to completely change career direction.

You're black, so there may be some quota to fill as women and black men in tech is the in-thing, but believe me that is the only thing going for you.

Quit a good gig for temporary monetary gain, but ultimately those 2 years of career experience, are better served to learn your craft or better yet, change jobs once or twice or 10-20% pay raise each jump.

I'm not really seeing the benefits of this here, give me more details.
True, this whole thread hinges on the assumption that I were to get the symphony job in the first place. It’s more like a thought experiment, though.

For my goals, which are financial freedom, the ability to fly to a different city every weekend if desired, and a work environment that doesn’t make me want to end myself lol, it does make more sense to keep doing the SWE thing full time and not have any gaps in my resume. However, as a brief side tangent, I do think the corporate logic of a gap year making an employee undesirable is very flawed. If I can pass your interview and show that I’m up to date with the current technology and can do the job well, why does it matter if I have a gap or not? Have you seen those memes where it’s like “That gap year in my resume was the happiest time of my life?”:lol:

Hypothetically, if I were to be asked the question “Why did you quit your job for two years?” I’m not even sure how I would answer that tbh. That’s a really difficult interview question.

The job would really just be for my own enjoyment tbh. But after reading these replies I think I’ll stick with the OG plan and stick with the SWE.

The only problem with working 40 hours a week and trying to do music, is that it makes it very hard to pursue music as anything more than a pretty casual hobby. Even hobby orchestras often meet during the day. If you want to try and play in a band while doing 40 hours a week at a job, you and the band have to both be extremely organized, and it kind of nukes your social life because you can’t go out on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays.

I think for having two streams of income, with music being the second, I’d need to do primarily studio work and be like a session musician or something. That would be very viable because I could set my own hours. It becomes even more viable because I work 6 AM - 2:30 PM, M-F. That and weddings could generate a nice secondary income stream.

I think along with an emergency fund, having multiple streams of income(or a side hustle) is very important in this current corporate layoff culture.
 
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FlirtLife

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Switching jobs every year or two is common in the software industry. In no way does this hurt your resume. I switched jobs once after 8 months. You get ZERO questions about this as a developer, it's part of life in the industry.

Employers already KNOW that is likely to happen because that's the industry norm. Stick to talking about stuff that you are familiar with...the tech industry clearly isn't one of them.
You seem better at throwing insults than reading comprehension. I did not say "every year or two", I said "switch jobs every year" [1]. Your evidence for "the industry norm" is that you said the word "KNOW" in all caps? Is that your idea of evidence?

I haven't been a junior software engineer in a very long time, so maybe you're a better person to ask about that.

[1]
If you switch jobs every year, that will hurt your resume. Employers will think (1) you are going to leave your next job in 12 months and (2) you might have problems with co-workers that drive you to find another job. I would strongly discourage this.

When you look at junior software engineering jobs, do those require 2 years experience? That's my general impression, I could be wrong. I suggest you try and meet that minimum before looking for another job.
 

nicksaiz65

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Sorry guys, I’m writing these on my breaks. I’ll make sure to get back to everyone today.
 

Murk

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I do think the corporate logic of a gap year making an employee undesirable is very flawed. If I can pass your interview and show that I’m up to date with the current technology and can do the job well, why does it matter if I have a gap or not?
Because you're up against other candidates who chose to be dedicated and not take a year or two out. Many times when faced with multiple candidates very similar in experience, hiring managers take any little thing to weed you out. Unless you have a very niche tech skill that's in demand or have experience in a like-for-like sector or even better, a competitor of the company you're interviewing for, someone else will be chosen over you. It doesn't matter if you change jobs each year but you need to be making progress in the same field of work for it to look good to potential employers. There are some companies that value 3-4+ years in one company, not bouncing around, but that's a very dated outlook on the current employment market.

I've dealt with hiring managers for the last 10 years, a gap in employment, a gap year or whatever, a change of field, isn't a benefit and if offered, gets you a lower salary than if you hadn't done that. I'm not saying it's impossible to work out, it will just take you more attempts, time, and rejections to eventually secure the job/salary you're looking for.
 
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threeforfree

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As someone who has played in a rock band from the age of 15... I will say that your social life will NOT suffer if you are playing in front of people a few times a week especially on weekends. Quite the contrary.
 

SW15

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I think for having two streams of income, with music being the second, I’d need to do primarily studio work and be like a session musician or something. That would be very viable because I could set my own hours. It becomes even more viable because I work 6 AM - 2:30 PM, M-F. That and weddings could generate a nice secondary income stream.

I think along with an emergency fund, having multiple streams of income(or a side hustle) is very important in this current corporate layoff culture.
The best thing you can do is keeping your software engineering job. It is good that you're realizing this as well. Remember how difficult it was for you to get your STEM degree.

You could do session musician work and wedding/parties if you wanted, but you've already done the musician at weddings/parties path and it had mixed results in your life. It did cut into your time to attract-seduce women.
 

nicksaiz65

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I wouldn't but only you can make that choice.

In our profession, you shouldn't be sitting around waiting for promotions to get raises, you should be actively in with local recruiters and/or actively looking at new opportunities to move up to a mid-level position every year or two until you reach senior developer, ideally within 5-7 years. So what your senior devs make really is irrelevant, because you shouldn't be looking to stay there long enough to ever see that.

Local IT recruiters will literally do all the grunt work for you and if you tell them what you are looking for, what your skills are, etc, they will present you with jobs that fit your criteria when they get them. They are invaluable to IT professionals.

When you switch jobs, you should be able to increase your salary by 15-20K each time until you reach senior at over 110+K and then you will need to be more selective with moves and they will slow down as it becomes harder to increase your salary that much anymore, so when you find a place you enjoy being at you tend to stay longer.

To put it in perspective, I have used this method to more than triple my salary in 7 years. Starting at 65K, that may be hard to do but you should be able to at least double it.

The reason why waiting to get promoted is a waste of time is because you are not going to get an equivalent raise to what you will get when you switch jobs. As a developer, the way we get big raises is to switch jobs, just how our industry is set up. Nobody bats an eye if they see you have a new job every year. Hell, I switched jobs after 8 months once and nobody even questioned it, it's just accepted. Take advantage of it.
After having slept on it, I’m thinking that I agree with you all that the best way to reach my financial and life goals would be to focus on the Computer Science, and just do music as a pure hobby.

I also wanted to clarify exactly what it is that I do a little bit… so I do govt contract work, and I suppose I could call myself a fullstack developer. Though, these days, most of my work is done in React/JavaScript.

From the reading I’ve done, it seems that government contract work is more chill than other types of programming jobs, ESPECIALLY at at a FAANG.

I totally agree with you on the recruiters and job hopping. I’m beginning to polish up my resume, and get on LinkedIn again so I’m ready to play the game at any time. The only way for me to get above 100K(or double my salary like you said) is to polish my skills, resume, and job hop.

The only thing I’m worried about is, the Work-Life balance and hating my life once I transfer:lol: If that happens, it’s counterproductive towards my overall goals.

The work-life balance where I work is incredible, I’m not afraid to admit that I have it good. I work M -F, 6 AM - 2:30 PM. On top of that, I’m fully remote, plus floating holidays and whatever leave I have.

Im just worried that when I job hop, I might not be able to work that super flexible schedule, or I might have to be in the dang office all the time.

There’s also the question of if it’s worth it to give up remote work to make substantially more money, but that’s probably a separate thread.
 

BillyPilgrim

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OP, would playing the same classical music night in and night out really be all that fulfilling? With your current job, you can approach music any way you want.

Edit - just read above post. But the point stands, there's limited artistic freedom in professional music.
 

Young OG

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I had a crazy idea, don’t know if I should go through with it.

I’m currently a junior software engineer, make about 65K a year. I live in a small town(and travel on the weekends for Game) so my living expenses aren’t crazy high. I’ve been working for a bit over a year now. I work remote, and don’t have to be in an office unless I want to. On top of that, my schedule is quite flexible. I work 6 AM - 2:30 PM. So I really can’t complain, work life is good.

However, I saw a new opening for a job that I would be interested in. Music has always been my hobby/passion. It’s unrelated to my field of Computer Science: it’s a symphony orchestra job that pays around $92K a year. And, it’s located in a much bigger city.

I know that even the senior engineers on my team don’t make that much. I had the hare-brained scheme of preparing for that audition. Then assuming I get the job, briefly quit programming and play in the symphony for a year or two with that higher salary. (Although that would stop my goal of working more on the customer/selling side of things.)

All while building my emergency fund and continuing to get certifications and build a programming portfolio. Then, transfer into another Programming job that pays over 100K, mainly to have more freedom to game. Plus, being a symphony musician(this would briefly make me a full time musician) is just a huge flex. And that job would literally be so much fun.

Assuming I got and took the symphony job, There are only three disadvantages I can think of to this plan:
1.) I would have a technical gap of 1-2 years on my resume and I’m not sure how that would impact my ability to get future jobs
2.) When I go back into Computer Science, I may not be able to get another job where I can work those flexible hours and work remote. I don’t want to work a job that makes a lot of money but also makes me want to kill myself lol.
3.) I’d be somewhat region locked for a year or two. Due to needing to meet for practices during the week, I couldn’t travel around as much. Now that I work remote, for instance I could stay in a different city for literally two weeks to game, and just do my work virtually. Money permitting of course.

Just wanted to bounce some ideas off you guys. Should I try to get this symphony job and consider quitting my current one? Or is this a silly idea?

Wanted to ask because if I want to attempt this plan, I need to start preparing for that audition NOW, as in tomorrow at the latest lol. Those auditions are no frigging joke.
No bro. Do not quit your job
 

Stanley

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What makes you think you will get the job? what is the exact position? what do you play?

I am musician and have to supplement my work (like most) with teaching and offhand gigs. You know the saying 'dont quit your day job' is normally aimed at us right? That and music is arguably the most competitive field period and unless you've got the goods and the know how then you ain't getting ****. Many of my friends who are older than I and very experienced, talented, seasoned musicians struggle to make ends meet. I bailed on my music degree my senior year of college since it is literally useless (aside from mus ed) and swapped to something different. You know how many performance majors and top tier musicians are broke on their ass?

Keep music as a hobby, see if takes off into something more and don't quit your day job, unless you really think you can be successful and are willing to be broke for an unknown amount of time.
 
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