I feel someone like us might work towards 2 goals simultaneously —
1) I like your tip on “keep interviewing” so as to keep ourselves marketable. Aim for 4 interviews a year?
2) move up in some wall street firm. Perhaps more achievable by job-hopping.
More developers seem to follow the 2nd goal than the 1st goal. (Doesn’t necessarily mean 1st goal is less practical.) Perhaps such a corporate guy is an ostrich hiding her head in the sand, or a villager building a home below the huge Huang-He levee, where river bed is above her roof level
My wife doesn’t understand why I keep interviewing. She feels I should focus on my job and try to meet manager’s expectation.
I agree promotion is primarily decided by immediate manager. Still, some leadership track record and deliverable is often needed. Manager could give you such a project (as happened to me in 2009), or you might be lucky to get such an opportunity, which might happen to a consultant. If you delivery but don’t get promotion, you could change job (internally or quit) to move up.
Sometimes I like the opportunity to coordinate a complex joint effort with users and external teams. I did it in GS and quickly earned some trust and reputation. If you happen to know a system better than others, then you could play that role — Leadership track record in the simplest form.
Actually this track record might be more _visible_ than leading a team of developers on a small implementation. Managers, users and other teams may not really appreciate the challenges of implementations, but if they participate in your “joint effort” they sure understand its complexity. It’s probably unfair that some people do a bit but get lots of visibility; others do a lot but behind the scenes.