Slowing down the pace
October 5, 2013 9:11 AM   Subscribe

After a successful 20-year career in IT and hitting middle age, I find myself ready to slow down to a potentially unrelated job which has a more leisurely pace and does not require on-call work. While I've resisted burnout over the years, the late nights, bug fixes and fire drills inherent to many different types of DevOps positions like I've been in - spanning hands-on, project management and department management positions at different employers - have really started to get me down. I could afford to take a pay cut, and maybe, in a few years, move. If you've successfully moved from IT or software development into a job that guarantees your phone won't ring late at night, what have you done?
posted by I EAT TAPAS to Work & Money (8 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Sales engineering. All of the engineering, none of the on-call drama or nonsense. The money can also be pretty good. As a former ops person, you would be ideally suited for it. Hit me up on mefi mail if you want to chat about the ins and outs of transitioning to The Dark Side.
posted by jquinby at 9:21 AM on October 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

I switched from a high pressure corporate software development job to a similar position with a state university.

I took a moderate paycut, but the the work is practically stress free, the day ends at 5 o'clock, and my yearly vacation allotment nearly tripled.
posted by steinwald at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2013

There plenty of software development jobs where you don't have to be on call. You might not even have to take a drop in stated salary, just fewer hours. I am a contract programmer working for a company doing work for the feds, and the number of signatures required to get me to work more than 45 hours a week isn't worth the effort. I typically work 40. Only once in two years have I gotten called in to work on an emergency over the weekend.
posted by ubiquity at 9:33 AM on October 5, 2013

I switched from highly paid, highly stressful embedded systems programming to freelance PC support and working two days per week as a school netadmin/technician.

Massive pay cut; the school could absolutely not afford the hours I put in if I charged anything like standard rate.

Don't tell them, but I'd probably keep on doing it even if they stopped paying altogether. Time is better than money by at least an order of magnitude. So is working for a humane, caring and community-oriented employer on something that actually feels like it's making a worthwhile contribution.
posted by flabdablet at 9:59 AM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

As a project manager I found that when I started working for more organized companies that the after hours stuff became the domain of operations and release management. It may be that it is not the role that has to change but the employer...
posted by fingerbang at 2:24 PM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

I too was going to say work for better employers. Either so small that they don't care about fixing any problems until the morning, or large enough that there are other more junior people to deal with the on call bullshit.

Or work for a consulting / outsourcing firm.
posted by gjc at 7:50 PM on October 5, 2013

Seconding sales engineering. It's time to leverage your time in the trenches and start selling/consulting/etc to other people in the trenches.

Find a technical product that requires real engineering chops to demonstrate/show the best side of and then make sure your people and listening skills are up to snuff.

It's a really hard mix to find. Way too many people in operations don't want anything to do with it because of the "s" word. It's really the same amount of engineering and communication with generally better pay, no one call, and more time on the road.
posted by iamabot at 8:50 PM on October 5, 2013

I did exactly this, back in 2011. I am now a very contented and decently-paid train driver, and when I leave my last train of a shift every day I don't have to think about work until I sign on the next time. This is an indescribable joy. You have to be okay with shifts and varying free days but we get much more time off than office workers - it's a four day week, and my "weekends" vary between 1 and 6 consecutive days. Also having days (and mornings, and afternoons) off is not only useful for crowd-free shopping, doctor/dentist appointments etc, it's also fun watching the regular folk struggling through the rush hour. :-)
posted by Decani at 7:24 AM on October 6, 2013

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