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Stability v/s Skillset

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After pondering a while, I decided to post this message and see things from the point of view of others. I have around 8 years experience in the software industry in RDBMS,OO(Java etc). My career seemed to be going fine till 3 years ago. I lost my job 3 times. First was a company closure, the other 2 were because of outsourcing. I had a permanent position in the last 3 companies.
Finally, last month I got an offer from a Consulting firm. The client is a big one. Before I accepted the offer, the client told me that they were skeptical of my staying long there. But since I was in a dire need, I assured them I would be there as long as they needed me. So the client asked me to stay there for at least 1 year. The work is not very interesting with little coding/development. The role is more on a technical support and liasoning level. Technically, I am not learning much but I feel that the position is stable at least for 1 year (maybe longer). My thoughts alternate between disappointment at not being able to do core development/analysis and relief for at least getting a stable job in these difficult times after going through 3 layoffs. I got a couple of calls the other day from some recruiters who were trying to secure me permanent positions and that had good job descriptions. But somehow after 3 layoffs, I decided to stick around here only for the stability part. Now my mind is at work again. I am getting slightly apprehensive and wonder if I will get outdated soon if and once the market picks up. Any thoughts???
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Are you doing any work on the side to keep your skills polished? As everyone says, you can always climb aboard an open-source project or two. I'm in a similar boat though; a full-time position as an instructor at a technical school. It's fun at times, but usually boring. I mainly teach networking, which is at least remotely related, but I am not gaining any hardcore industry experience (ie, j2ee). I've taken it upon myself to stay up to date by doing some manageable projects in my spare time on a contract basis. This way I keep the stability of my day job while still building up some resume fodder, a little bit of supplemental income, and some potentially useful contacts. Time management can be a beast at times, but I think it will pay off down the road.
Ranch Hand
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Hi Chitra,
I think you are suffering from post-trauma disorder. That's based on PSY310 way back in college days.
First of all, build your contacts. Second, have project on the side, but making sure it is not in conflict with your consulting firm policies.
If the client could diagnose you based upon your attitude or whatever, be concerned. If you already give a timeline of your commitment and the time is fast approaching, be very delicate. The most important thing is not creating wave. You definitely do not want your contacts spreading words about you, specially negative words. Eventhought, you already have recruiters promised you the moon.
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I think the O/S idea's a good one. I also think that staying with a dull employer 1 year is probably not a bad idea. That's fully half as long as good employers are reputed to keep people around here, and a steady paycheck is a good thing to have while waiting out the job slump (trust me, I know!).
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