I work in a european country branch for an international company with thousands of employees globally. My job is to administer the network and infrastructure. Actually what I am doing is:

I am responsible for everything hardware and software related for 150 people working inside a multi level building: format computers, install software, tweak settings, call on-site support from third party vendors, maintain, backup and make sure everything is healthy and working I am responsible for IT related projects like new IT features migrations and deployments I am supporting the users in whatever IT related - from Outlook to restore data from the file server and their AVAYA telephone centre lines. I am something between an IT Systems administrator, an IT Manager, Support technician, IT consultant, Network administrator and Infrastructure administrator at the same time. I am doing a lot of non-productive work, however there are "good times" where I learn new things and be happy. But at the most part it's depressing.

I am almost 32 and working professionally for 4 years. I have no prior experience to that and I was at the right spot the right time to get this job. Many people could say I am lucky because I have the benefit to work in a huge international company. My problem is that I do not know where I am going from there. In parallel with my 9to5 job, I work for personal and limited clients' projects in the field of web developent: this is what I have graduated from university (a programmer). I have been progressing and did good job in php/sql/js - recently I started creating stuff in python and django. I could easily fit in a junior developer job.

What path should I follow from here ? To be more specific, do you believe that my job as an IT systems & network administrator has something to offer to my profession ? Should I abandon and risk my job now to be a junior developer with less money and by working from the beginning more hours with less professional benefits ? Or should I stay where am I and try to "fit" my development work with IT ? I created an assets-users database and a ticketing system for issue statistics and reports - could I sell it to the company ?

In simple words, how could I "use" my current position to benefit the most I can ? I am thursty to listen to your opinion however "hard" should it be !

My own opinion, which may or may not mean much is this; you are doing too much! Even your 9 to 5 job there is just too much for one person. Depression over one's work is a field of study on its own but without going into that too much I'd like to know, what is your working title at the 9 to 5?

Another thing I would like to know so that I don't presume is what is your education background? You stated you were in the right spot at the right time and was therefore "lucky" to get that position but it's my opinion that the educated person is not "lucky", they work for theirs. If not formally educated then I would say that you've fallen into one of those work traps where an employer feels they do dump anything on you and you won't say no because you are "lucky" to have that job anyways. I've been there, won't do that again.

Anyhow, I think you are depressed about your jobs because you are burnt out, which happens to many who work too much. If I was you, I would reduce some of my 9 to 5 duties by delegation or some other means and I would get rid of the after hours work. Or, do the after hours work instead of the 9 to 5. You really should pick one or the other. With some free hours outside of work, enjoy yourself. You have just this one life and while we've been told we should work to get those $$, that doesn't mean you should be putting yourself under those kinds of stresses, unless you HAVE to.

Or, I'm completely off my own rocker, which can sincerely be the case.

My 3.5 pennies.

I own a BSc in Computer Science and my degree has more to do with programming. I was "lucky" because they were looking for an Master degree and at least 5 years of experience. I had 0 years and a BSc. But I strongly agree with you as I believe in big companies the role of office politics is HUGE - spoken with other people too that were hired like me, they told me that the HR congratulated them because they had the opportunity to be the one among hundrends of people that had their CVs sent.

I had been burnt out for the last year because several things occured in my life (outside work). The thing is that in my opinion, this situation is a problem and every problem must be analyzed and solutions must be found. I pay my rent with my 9to5 salary and can't just walk away of this situation. Also, there is a jungle out there because of the unemployement rates and the economic crisis - it would be hard to get another job like this one.

So I am asking in a matter of "what is the best path I should take" ? My title in work is "IT systems administrator". What I really love is to code, especially for the web in PHP/SQL/JS/Python/Linux and right now I am doing paper work and deleting users from Active Directory. Do you think I can "get somewhere" from the path I have choosen or should I abandon the ship and get something else immediately, even If it's for less money and more hours of work ?

Well if you're not doing what you love, like coding, and you can accept a temporary reduction in pay; then yes, move on as it will no doubt do your mind some good. As far as getting somewhere with the path you've chosen, I think you can but you may not like the journey which may make the end of the journey feel bitter.

I'm not sure how long I could go from doing what I love to do (coding, analysis, stuff like that) to just paper work or data-entry. Work like data-entry is blah in my opinion but it is necessary, it just shouldn't be done by programmers (unless it's for testing).

and what If there are no good developer jobs in the place you live ? what If your budget does not allow you to risk the possibility of left unemployed for a long time ?

I'll add some comments to this discussion. I beleive that there are many people in your same situation, or worse. In your situation, while your current position is not the exciting job you wish to have, at least its in the same field of study. However, I am a firm beleiver that you should do what makes you happy. I was also stuck in a position about a decade ago in a job (within the same field) that did not make me very excited or happy to wake up and go to, but it paid the bills.

Rather than just quiting and move on, I came up with a plan that took about a year to execute. I was patient, but worked hard to move into the position that i really wanted.

You, or anyone else out there can do the same. It may be hard and difficult, but that's life. If you want a change in your life, you have to work hard for it. no one is going to save you from your current state.

If you want to be a programmer/developer full time, then figure out what the steps are to get there. Since you are already in the field of IT, it may be as simple as expanding your social network. Where do you want to work? meet people in that circle that can help you get in. Do some development for them even if its free. Go to social events with them (lunch, dinner, etc...). Meet the people that are responsible for hiring those people, etc...

If these positions are within your same orgnization, express to your management the interest in cross-training, during work, after-hours, etc... If your manager is not willing to help you, speak to his manager. If your organization is not friendly in that manner, be patient until you make those connections with another organization.

The point here is that yes, you should move on. how quickly you can move will depend on the risk you are willing to take based on your finicial situation, and the work you are willing to put into it.

I assure you that it will pay off for you if you do this in a planned and organized manner.

the alternative is to do nothing, continue in your present situation and ponder every day on what could have been.

Hope this helps..

First of all thanks for taking the time to reply.

There are no development jobs inside the organization, so I've got noone to speak to about my concerns. Taking to my manager will only fill him will insecurity about my position and at the same time all the management, because I am the only one doing these things. Their reputation could just fall apart If I was about to leave tomorrow. I have an ace card, I can blackmail them "give me a salary raise or I'll leave" and get it 99% but the next day they would start planning for my replacement. This is how international companies work: cold and heartless when it comes to protect their "closed" circuit of managers.

I have been working for almost 4 years here and since the first days I started thinking and planning to make a move and leave. I have been going to interviews in development companies, but their approach seems much more depressive than I've imagined: They always want someone that would be fast and create a website in 2 days - they don't care about quality work, just money. The small local software houses do not function with the quality that an international one with 100k of employees does. So I am coming again down to my point.

I could use them. In a strategical kind of thinking, making the right moves to make money. Like finishing the issue ticketing system I've started and trying to pass this to the sales department as a trial product. Getting used to it and adopting it to their needs, I could make this necessary for them to work. And then ask for licence money.

I feel like I am not using the company benefits 100%. And I feel depressed to go in a miserous little office with 2 developers that work 14hrs/day to make some money. The decision is much complicated and as an analyst I am trying to over-analyze this to weigh pros and cons and make the right decision.

No one has a crystal ball so you have to go with your gut sometimes. You definately dont want to get out of your situation and into a new one that isnt right for you either.

If you like to develop on your own and you already have a project you are working on that can help your current employer, then you may be on to something. It sounds reasonable to stay where you are at right now and finish the product. Your organization may find that you are more useful to them development and supporting an application than to continue in your current job role. They may try to get the most out of you, but that is where you would have to negotiate terms. It comes down to who needs who more.

Also, you have to be careful with your development. If you do it on their time, I beleive that they may have the ownership rights to it. So get some clarity on that. You wouldnt want them to own your product.

If the app works out, and this app can be useful for other orgs, then let your org be the first to run this in production. Rather than getting paid for it, you may be able to negotiate the ability to reference them as a customer if you find that you can license it to other companies.

Just some ideas. You have to keep in mind that creating the perfect scenario for yourself may not actually ever occur. There are too many things out of your control. Try to make the best of it and work your way towards your goals. There is no reason why you cant continue interviewing, you may find another opportinity out there. Or stay where you are and you may find that eventually you can go out on your own developing your own software.

Thanks for the reply man. Sometimes I feel like I have a serious problem with my mind. I believe that human behaviour is 95% predictable like chess moves, so I analyse the situation and choose path. I could say "let's take some risk" but this doesn't seem very mature way of thinking to me, especially when you have bills to pay and no other source of income. Especially in 2014 where the unemployment rate in Europe is tremendous.

As you said, I am trying to create the perfect scenario. I see the years go by and I do not have time to take risks that will possibly lead me to sudden financial death. So it's like "make the right move, asap".

Developing for small software houses for 75% of the salary I am receiving now (and it's already low) might not be the solution. I am starting to think seriously about the possibility to create software solutions for the people IN the company. I could use the brand's name (and it's VERY strong and popular) to advertise to other businesses. The problem is that I need more time and usually off-work time. The good thing is that If a small sales department (5 people) begins to use my software as a trial for 3 months, chances are that they'll get used to it and it will become standard to them, so I can ask for license costs or just credit? as you said.

What future may a local branch have in the IT department where everything is decentralized and almost all resources except sales outsourced ? It is the brand that always matters.

I could say "let's take some risk" but this doesn't seem very mature way of thinking to me, especially when you have bills to pay and no other source of income. Especially in 2014 where the unemployment rate in Europe is tremendous.

Yes of course, very understandable. As you get deeper into your life with living expenses, spouse, kids, etc... it gets harder and harder to take risks.

chances are that they'll get used to it and it will become standard to them, so I can ask for license costs or just credit? as you said.

If you have a good relationship with your employer and you develop the software on your own time, naturally, they would be very appreciative and be compelled to give you something in return. Unless the culture there doesnt support that type of relationship. They may not be willing to pay you since they didnt ask for this and its human nature to take advantage of people. we do it every day knowingly and unknowligny to family and friends. So you should expect that they may not jump to the idea to give you a bunch a money for your software. You will have to negotiate that with them. Before they use your software, you may want to layout some type of plan & expectations. Whether it be extra money, pay your for licenses, or agree to use the software and not complain/work with you through the debugging process. This gives you experience with your software and it also can lead to your first reference and if your company has brand recognition... how much is that worth to you? it could be worth more than just paying you for a license. think about that for a moment.

It is the brand that always matters.

that is very true.

You may need to step out of your "IT" box for a moment and get into the "business" box. if developing software is your passion, figure a way to make it work for you. Make it a real managed project, rather than something open-ended, un-planned, etc.. If the project is a success repeat. if it fails, do a lessons-learned activity and decide whether to repeat or move on to something else.

I wish you the best, good luck.

thank you very much. The truth is that two people from the sales department saw me accidentally using a ticketing system and asked me how could they get this. I replied back that I have developed it and they asked me "how much do you sell it". I told them that it's not finished, but If they'd like we could speak and I could write down their requirements and come up with an offer. Of course an employee could ask for a spaceship but chances are that he won't buy it because it need several clarifications and approvals from the management. But... I might have hit an oil bonanza !