For what purpose would a happy programmer leave a stable job??? To risk your
health for 10k more??
The basic answer is that they wouldn't (assuming that we're ignoring
the "10k more" general direction). And that implies that the
programmer who leaves is no longer "happy".
Lots of things can cut happiness until it's gone and is replaced by
I left one job because it became clear that the CISC system
environment was never going to be upgraded to RISC. You can coast
for quite a while at V3R2; there was a _lot_ to investigate in
version 3, but it eventually fades.
I left another job specifically because a department manager
overruled a decision of mine; a particularly disruptive service
problem was a direct result over the next weekend and I was
particularly pleased as I laid the logs and traces on his desk and
told him why it was his responsibility to fix. That was actually a
'final straw'; a few other troubling elements had arisen in prior
months having to do with management-staff trust.
My first real job in this industry was with a multi-billion-dollar,
multi-national, Dow-Jones 50 Industrials company. It was as "stable"
as any job ever could be and I could have maintained "financial
health" for as long as I wanted. (You can always find positions to
move in to in companies that size.)
I'd been there, doing well, for near five years when a friend asked
if I'd consider coming in to a little start-up he'd been running. It
was an obvious major risk.
Around the same time, the corporate V-P responsible for our division
had been making speeches from headquarters on the east coast to
employees, telling us all that minor restructuring was coming to
realign various units in little ways that wouldn't be much noticed
by any of us. As I watched tapes of him (before The Internet and
what have you) and listened to how he talked, I kept getting the
uneasy feeling that he resembled the U.S. Attorney General a while
earlier saying 'all is well; no one has done anything criminal' in
the months before Nixon resigned.
My thoughts were tumbling around the concept of 'financial security'
and it was obvious that sticking with my current job was where that
'security' was. But somewhere during that weekend of decision, the
thought came to me "*I* am my security!" And it has never left my
mind since then. I realized that I _never_ should assign my own
security to anyone else. And I turned in my resignation the next
week and haven't regretted it one bit.
Life was tough at a number of points for years after.
OTOH, within a year, the local previous-employer site had closed
down and the data center had moved to Portland, OR, some 50 miles
south. Most of the developers spent quite a while scrambling to find
new jobs while I'd been building relationships in the area for over
a year. Those who moved with the data center got another surprise
some 18 months later when there was a second move to Dallas, TX.
I could've had "financial health" in an unbroken string. I chose
physical and mental health instead.
It took a lot of time and effort, but "financial health" came out of
the relationships I formed. It doesn't come from a "stable job". It
comes from being a stable individual regardless of the job.
This is the U.S.A. It _is_ the 'land of opportunity'. It is what you
make of it. It never should be how much you make in a job; it's what
you _do_ with what you make.