Coping with Megacorp rat race

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Annabel Lee
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:18 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Annabel Lee »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:57 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
You're probably right, but man, what a bunch of business jargon. The amount of value placed on these skills is ridiculous. It's mostly BS.
The best starting pitchers in baseball have low ERAs, are extremely efficient with their pitch count, and have an unreal ability to throw clutch pitches and get guys out.

I’m probably right, but what a bunch of jargon. The amount of value placed on those skills is ridiculous. It’s mostly BS.

See my point? If you don’t know how to play the game, and don’t value learning how to play it, you’re probably not going to like your results.
Annabel Lee
Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:18 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Annabel Lee »

Frugalbear wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:23 am I'm 32 working for a Megacorp and I'm feeling burned out. Kind of exhausted from all the smoke and mirrors... sleight of hand actions.

I've thought of getting a new job, but fear of the unknown and current compensation keeps me here. Then I have thoughts that I should be grateful to have a job.

How did or do you cope with it?
While I enjoy working for my MegaCorp and like the culture, I had similar feelings at your age.

So I kept working there, but I quit my boss. “It’s not you, it’s me.” Same firm, new job, new opportunity to learn, advanced my career.

So much of the value of working for a megacorp is the mega part - lots of offices, different businesses, plenty of leaders to align yourself with. So many people stick with the same field office, same crappy middle managers, same boring vertical career track.

Broaden your perspective. It helps with exactly what you are describing.
User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 1102
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Annabel Lee wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:33 am The best starting pitchers in baseball have low ERAs, are extremely efficient with their pitch count, and have an unreal ability to throw clutch pitches and get guys out.

I’m probably right, but what a bunch of jargon. The amount of value placed on those skills is ridiculous. It’s mostly BS.

See my point? If you don’t know how to play the game, and don’t value learning how to play it, you’re probably not going to like your results.
I agree that baseball players are also overpaid. It's a boring sport that I don't watch and in which I don't aspire to participate.
stoptothink
Posts: 8338
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by stoptothink »

beachairs wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:29 pm
stoptothink wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:09 pm
investingdad wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:49 pm
stoptothink wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:19 pm
S4C5 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:54 am

You might be right and I just needed to keep moving around, but I worked for two before I saw how the game was played and decided to move on.

I'm not talking about big tech. They are an exception. Most non-management professionals at places like GE aren't pulling down 250k or close to that. My father worked at megacorps his whole life and retired around 120k recently. It was always annoying when people said they are making tons of money at these places and you looked around at all your peers and your own salary potential and wondered what you and everyone else was doing wrong.
I wouldn't say I work for "mega-corp", but it is the world's largest company in the industry. I have 3 people over 50 working for me, 2 have PhDs; none of them are making 6-figures. Nobody here is making 6-figures unless they are in management, regardless of how long they've been around. 90th percentile for a 50yr old is ~$90k https://dqydj.com/income-percentile-by-age-calculator/; data would seem to suggest that there are likely a few employees of large companies making $80k (or less) in their 50's. That group would include my mom and my FIL who work for large tech companies (mom has been a project manager with the same company for ~20yrs).

Random compensation numbers thrown out on this board are always way above my experience, and the available data.
A PhD over 50 making under 100k? In what field? If technical, that's ridiculous.

I'm a bachelors chemE and 47. LCOL or maybe MCOL, I make 125k.
Health products. These are chemists and microbiologists; QA/QC, bench work, primary research, product substantiation, scientific technical writing, etc. I know exactly how much the competition pays because they've all recruited me. I have 27 on my staff, I'm the only member of the department making six-figures.

The data is pretty clear that the large majority of workers in their 50's are not making $100k+, so I always wonder where everybody else (on this board at least) is working? It clearly isn't where I do...or where my wife does (cybersecurity), or mom (healthcare software), or FIL (SAAS) or pretty much anybody I have intimate knowledge of compensation for.
I work with many chemists and biologists with PhDs (including myself). Everyone starts fresh out of grad school making >$100k. Heck, I'll be at almost $300k when 40.
Again, that's great, but you (and apparently everybody you know) are among the small fraction of PhD chemists and microbiologists making that type of income.

https://www.indeed.com/salaries/phd-res ... t-Salaries
https://www.payscale.com/research/US/De ... try/Salary
https://www.indeed.com/salaries/phd-mic ... t-Salaries
https://www.payscale.com/research/US/De ... ogy/Salary

...but let's just assume that everybody is in your situation. Sometimes this board is unbearable for those not living in California/NYC/Seattle and making $300k+.
Last edited by stoptothink on Thu Sep 17, 2020 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15190
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by HomerJ »

Frugalbear wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:23 am I'm 32 working for a Megacorp and I'm feeling burned out. Kind of exhausted from all the smoke and mirrors... sleight of hand actions.

I've thought of getting a new job, but fear of the unknown and current compensation keeps me here. Then I have thoughts that I should be grateful to have a job.

How did or do you cope with it?
I changed jobs every 5 years, almost like clockwork. Not intentionally, but that's how it worked out. Seems like I always got burned out after 5 years or so.

Going to a new job, you have new challenges, a fresh start. And usually a substantial raise. At least the first 2-3 times (first 10-15 years)
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
a
Posts: 296
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 1:00 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by a »

what a bunch of jargon It's mostly BS
I dont think EQ is a bunch of hooey. A lot of times when people
make enemies it's not because they really dislike the person they're
talking to/about it's because they (the talker) are feeling stressed
out. Thus a significant portion of EQ = (self) stress management.
Which is clearly an important skill in life.
new2bogle
Posts: 1599
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by new2bogle »

Annabel Lee wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:40 am
Frugalbear wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:23 am I'm 32 working for a Megacorp and I'm feeling burned out. Kind of exhausted from all the smoke and mirrors... sleight of hand actions.

I've thought of getting a new job, but fear of the unknown and current compensation keeps me here. Then I have thoughts that I should be grateful to have a job.

How did or do you cope with it?
While I enjoy working for my MegaCorp and like the culture, I had similar feelings at your age.

So I kept working there, but I quit my boss. “It’s not you, it’s me.” Same firm, new job, new opportunity to learn, advanced my career.

So much of the value of working for a megacorp is the mega part - lots of offices, different businesses, plenty of leaders to align yourself with. So many people stick with the same field office, same crappy middle managers, same boring vertical career track.

Broaden your perspective. It helps with exactly what you are describing.
Annabel's comment is spot-on. Because they are "mega", there are a lot of different opportunities available and in different cities across the U.S. (or world). I joined my current megacorp in one city, DW hated the city and I hated the megacorp. Through some ex-colleagues I learned of a group in said megacorp in a different city. I changed teams, DW loves the city and I have grown immensely in the new team. Same megacorp.
28fe6
Posts: 532
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:01 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by 28fe6 »

What always worked for me was to change my thinking to consider that I am the one exploiting the megacorp.

Exploit them to the greatest extent possible to your favor, ruthlessly, and that's ok, because that's business. Work as little as you can, while getting the most visibility for your work that you can. Work on the most interesting projects you can, get projects that will add to your resume or lead you to better things and don't spend time on things that will not translate into personal benefit for you. Don't fix problems that you aren't directly asked by management to fix; instead work on what will look impressive to management. Always be looking for the best exit, etc. Go to the gym and do your online shopping during work hours to make your life easier; everyone else is, especially the senior people. Join a work soccer club to make contacts, even if you are "busy" or "don't have time". Leverage business travel to conferences and then do fun things on the side. It's a game, that's all it is. There are a lot of benefits that can come from working for Megacorp. There is no physical danger just your own emotional reactions.

That said, I eventually cracked and moved to a smaller company in an even smaller office. It probably hurt my long-term career potential just by giving up the resources and potential of the megacorp, but I figure I added 5 years to my life and made the rest of them more pleasant.
User avatar
market timer
Posts: 6353
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by market timer »

AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Agree with this.

For a while, I was the "credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience" worker making $200-250K working 60 hours a week. It sucked.

Now I lead those types of people and make $700K/year working 30 hours a week. It required completely reframing my approach to work. You have to manage people's motivation, create a career narrative for your teams, barter with other teams, inspire people, delegate with control, set appropriate metrics, put your reputation on the line when you see projects with potential that require multi-million dollar investments, establish proper communication channels, lose the battle to win the war, etc. None of this came naturally to me, but I have enjoyed learning about it and thinking of it as an engineering problem.

The combination of good management with strong technical skills is exceedingly rare and highly valuable.
Afty
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Afty »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:57 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
You're probably right, but man, what a bunch of business jargon. The amount of value placed on these skills is ridiculous. It's mostly BS.
I disagree, I think those skills are critical. I've watched deeply technical projects with super smart people implode because of interpersonal conflicts, not getting the stakeholders to agree, etc. I've watched people do incredible technical work and not get rewarded for it because their manager didn't know how to effectively "sell" their work. I recently stepped in to manage a team that I think is at risk of disintegrating (i.e., several of them leaving at once) because they haven't had effective management helping them prioritize and, most critically, have their backs when they say no to incoming requests. They feel crushed by incoming requests and need someone to help them deal with the problem.

I thought the way you do when I first became a manager. I had never seen the work my manager was doing behind the scenes to clear the way for us. I failed to prioritize management work and made a bunch of mistakes, such as the ones above. I learned that my highest priority needs to be the management work, because if I don't do it, things can fall apart very quickly and they affect the whole team.
Afty
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Afty »

S4C5 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:31 am
notBobToo wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 9:58 am Having worked at a Megacorp for over 40 years, I always thought that if I had to do it over again, I would work like an [associate, intern, apprentice, dog, what have you] for five years, make as many contacts as I could, learn as much as I could (including having Megacorp pay for my Masters), and save as much as I could and then, quit and go private (or Federal) AND NEVER LOOK BACK.

Unless you are already way up in the food chain (or have a certain path there), you are kidding yourself if you think that your compensation and more importantly, you longevity at a Megacorp will substantially improve with age. If nothing changes, in ten years, you will be even more anxious.
Correct. In my early 20s I worked for 2 megacorps hired on with the strength and freshness of my bachelor's degree. I was hired with no work to do, never given any work, and never gained any skills at either. I made $60k/year + benefits for showing up basically. Occasionally I got chewed out by a boss for billing 40 hours a week to document review or something, so it basically became creative ways as to how to split up what projects to log your 40 hours to. All the young new hires felt the same way.

I looked around the enormous office and saw multiple people in their 50s and 60s falling asleep at their desks and playing solitaire. These people typically made around $80-90k. So interesting, you start off at age 22 and make $60k and by retirement you might be making 150-200% of what the entry level people are making if you're lucky. The low level managers had awful lives and usually were the ones who got blamed and fired for anything else going wrong. Making it beyond that to upper management seemed to require a certain type of sociopathic personality.

I realized fairly quickly that if the company were to ever have major financial problems and have to downside, I would risk perpetual unemployment without any skills I could market. By age 25-26 I was coming into work around 9:30 AM, taking 2 hour lunches, and leaving at 4.

So I went to medical school. The problem of not learning a useful skill and figuring out what to do with my time immediately disappeared.
10 years of schooling/training later, In my mid 30s, I now have an income many multiples of what I ever hoped to max out at the megacorps, and spend every second at work doing actual work and leave when it's done. No more idly killing time.
In retrospect, I made the right choice. However, I also realize that I could have also motivated myself to learn skills in my original industry and gone to work for a small company. Either way, I am sure that if I had stayed at the megacorps, I would still be doing a whole lot of nothing earning the same paycheck. $60k is a decent amount of money when you are 22. Not a lot, but you've got disposable income and your peers are still living with their parents working gig jobs. It's not a lot when you are 40 and your peers who went other routes are FIREing and you're worried about what you'll do if you have to find another job when your only skills are making spreadsheets.
I had a similar experience, but with a bunch of differences that would make me wary of drawing conclusions about "megacorps." Fresh out of college, I worked as a software engineer at a small (~100 person) software company that served the insurance industry. It was super boring in the way you described. I could complete my work for the day in maybe 2 hours, and then I would just sit around burning time. It felt like I was wasting my life; a friend described it as "feeling like you're getting dumber every day." I was learning some skills, but frankly they were skills that I didn't want to have -- e.g., expertise in a dead programming language.

I went back to grad school and got a PhD, then started working at a tech megacorp, one of the big ones known for treating employees well. It's been everything I could have hoped. I get to do really interesting work, am treated well by my manager and the company, and get paid incredibly well (literally 10x what I was paid at the small company). There's a lot of work, but it's interesting and I much prefer that to being bored.

I remember complaining to my mom about how much I hated that first job, and she told me, "What do you expect? That's why they call it work." I'm glad I didn't listen to her and got out of that job and into something better.
User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 1102
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Afty wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:17 am
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:57 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
You're probably right, but man, what a bunch of business jargon. The amount of value placed on these skills is ridiculous. It's mostly BS.
I disagree, I think those skills are critical. I've watched deeply technical projects with super smart people implode because of interpersonal conflicts, not getting the stakeholders to agree, etc. I've watched people do incredible technical work and not get rewarded for it because their manager didn't know how to effectively "sell" their work. I recently stepped in to manage a team that I think is at risk of disintegrating (i.e., several of them leaving at once) because they haven't had effective management helping them prioritize and, most critically, have their backs when they say no to incoming requests. They feel crushed by incoming requests and need someone to help them deal with the problem.

I thought the way you do when I first became a manager. I had never seen the work my manager was doing behind the scenes to clear the way for us. I failed to prioritize management work and made a bunch of mistakes, such as the ones above. I learned that my highest priority needs to be the management work, because if I don't do it, things can fall apart very quickly and they affect the whole team.
In the context of current reality, I'm inclined to agree with you.

However, the fact that these sorts of jobs are needed and highly compensated highlights fundamental flaws in corporate culture. You're describing one of the key functions of a manager as helping to deflect the stuff that shouldn't be there in the first place. Would rather see corporate cultures identify and attack the root of problems instead of hiring more middle managers to deal with their innate dysfunction. Once you are in the middle management track, there seems to be incentive to create more pointless positions for managers to advance. I guess what I'm saying is, I respect a streamlined approach with capable individual contributors who are self-motivated without all this fluff. Managers are a symptom of the problem. You need a vision from the top, and buy-in at contributory levels to realize that vision. Beyond that, cut the fat.

It's a pipe dream at a corporation, but I enjoy an occasional rail against convention.
Normchad
Posts: 1311
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Normchad »

market timer wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:12 am
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Agree with this.

For a while, I was the "credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience" worker making $200-250K working 60 hours a week. It sucked.

Now I lead those types of people and make $700K/year working 30 hours a week. It required completely reframing my approach to work. You have to manage people's motivation, create a career narrative for your teams, barter with other teams, inspire people, delegate with control, set appropriate metrics, put your reputation on the line when you see projects with potential that require multi-million dollar investments, establish proper communication channels, lose the battle to win the war, etc. None of this came naturally to me, but I have enjoyed learning about it and thinking of it as an engineering problem.

The combination of good management with strong technical skills is exceedingly rare and highly valuable.
You’re describing leadership here. And I agree, it is very valuable and in short supply.

If you don’t have it, it doesn’t matter how many smart guys you have in your team, they won’t accomplish anything. To succeed, you need a good team, and a good leader. And if you have a great leader, it is astounding how much the team can do.

And those other EQ type skills, they are essential for leadership.
Afty
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:31 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Afty »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:40 am
Afty wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:17 am
Cheez-It Guy wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:57 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
You're probably right, but man, what a bunch of business jargon. The amount of value placed on these skills is ridiculous. It's mostly BS.
I disagree, I think those skills are critical. I've watched deeply technical projects with super smart people implode because of interpersonal conflicts, not getting the stakeholders to agree, etc. I've watched people do incredible technical work and not get rewarded for it because their manager didn't know how to effectively "sell" their work. I recently stepped in to manage a team that I think is at risk of disintegrating (i.e., several of them leaving at once) because they haven't had effective management helping them prioritize and, most critically, have their backs when they say no to incoming requests. They feel crushed by incoming requests and need someone to help them deal with the problem.

I thought the way you do when I first became a manager. I had never seen the work my manager was doing behind the scenes to clear the way for us. I failed to prioritize management work and made a bunch of mistakes, such as the ones above. I learned that my highest priority needs to be the management work, because if I don't do it, things can fall apart very quickly and they affect the whole team.
In the context of current reality, I'm inclined to agree with you.

However, the fact that these sorts of jobs are needed and highly compensated highlights fundamental flaws in corporate culture. You're describing one of the key functions of a manager as helping to deflect the stuff that shouldn't be there in the first place. Would rather see corporate cultures identify and attack the root of problems instead of hiring more middle managers to deal with their innate dysfunction. Once you are in the middle management track, there seems to be incentive to create more pointless positions for managers to advance. I guess what I'm saying is, I respect a streamlined approach with capable individual contributors who are self-motivated without all this fluff. Managers are a symptom of the problem. You need a vision from the top, and buy-in at contributory levels to realize that vision. Beyond that, cut the fat.

It's a pipe dream at a corporation, but I enjoy an occasional rail against convention.
You can argue that this shouldn't be the case, but that's not reality. If you get enough human beings together in one place, you will naturally get interpersonal conflicts, differing priorities, etc. If there's no one whose job is is to do something about it, the law of entropy sets in and things fall apart.

Google famously tried having no managers. It was a complete failure. https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-google-sold ... management
User avatar
market timer
Posts: 6353
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by market timer »

Cheez-It Guy wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:40 amYou're describing one of the key functions of a manager as helping to deflect the stuff that shouldn't be there in the first place. Would rather see corporate cultures identify and attack the root of problems instead of hiring more middle managers to deal with their innate dysfunction.
I often felt the same way when I entered management. One thing that helped me was to interpret the limitations of people as feasibility constraints. For example, it would be great if you had an omniscient CEO with a 200+ IQ who could see through everyone's BS. It would be great if you could afford an army of computer science and stats PhDs to do your analysis. Reality is your CEO only gives you an hour every two weeks, so you better focus on the key topics and make it interesting to keep his attention. Your team doesn't quite have the technical chops to do the job, so you need to train, advise, or ask favors to get the project completed.

There is a whole field of economics devoted to principal-agent problems that I find quite helpful in management: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal–agent_problem

There is an outcome that would be best for everyone ("first-best"), but typically cannot be achieved due to imperfect information. So the challenge for the principal is to find a second-best solution that is optimal given these feasibility constraints. When I started to frame the challenge of management in this language, the solutions became much clearer for me.
pqwerty
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 5:54 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by pqwerty »

28fe6 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:32 am What always worked for me was to change my thinking to consider that I am the one exploiting the megacorp.

Exploit them to the greatest extent possible to your favor, ruthlessly, and that's ok, because that's business. Work as little as you can, while getting the most visibility for your work that you can. Work on the most interesting projects you can, get projects that will add to your resume or lead you to better things and don't spend time on things that will not translate into personal benefit for you. Don't fix problems that you aren't directly asked by management to fix; instead work on what will look impressive to management. Always be looking for the best exit, etc. Go to the gym and do your online shopping during work hours to make your life easier; everyone else is, especially the senior people. Join a work soccer club to make contacts, even if you are "busy" or "don't have time". Leverage business travel to conferences and then do fun things on the side. It's a game, that's all it is. There are a lot of benefits that can come from working for Megacorp. There is no physical danger just your own emotional reactions.

That said, I eventually cracked and moved to a smaller company in an even smaller office. It probably hurt my long-term career potential just by giving up the resources and potential of the megacorp, but I figure I added 5 years to my life and made the rest of them more pleasant.
I needed this.
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15190
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by HomerJ »

AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Quick question.

As a worker bee, should it be easy to spot someone who is an "excellent leader of people"?

I mean, shouldn't the people being led notice the difference between excellent leaders and non-excellent leaders?

Because I've had a few good bosses, and many bad bosses, and they all got paid about the same.

Are you sure being an excellent leader of people is the way to riches? Seems to me most people I've seen get promoted are able to work with the people ABOVE them fairly well. Being a great leader to the people below them has never appeared to be an important variable.

Dilbert comics have seemed pretty accurate most of my career (and I've worked in multiple large companies and two very small start-ups)
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
User avatar
epicahab
Posts: 203
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by epicahab »

It's easy to spot a great leader...are they empathetic?
Do they ask you how you're doing? Do they care that they're assigning you something you hate or that they're being personally mean and disrespectful to you?
Empathy is everything in this world. Those who don't possess it can be extremely successful but they can never be good people or good bosses.
User avatar
market timer
Posts: 6353
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by market timer »

HomerJ wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:33 pmAre you sure being an excellent leader of people is the way to riches? Seems to me most people I've seen get promoted are able to work with the people ABOVE them fairly well. Being a great leader to the people below them has never appeared to be an important variable.
Indeed, the reward for working well with the people above you is a promotion. The reward for working well with the people below you is impact on the company. Nobody says you have to play the promotion game. I prefer the impact game. Also, sometimes the reward for making an impact is getting poached.
Tingting1013
Posts: 429
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:44 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Tingting1013 »

HomerJ wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:33 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Quick question.

As a worker bee, should it be easy to spot someone who is an "excellent leader of people"?

I mean, shouldn't the people being led notice the difference between excellent leaders and non-excellent leaders?

Because I've had a few good bosses, and many bad bosses, and they all got paid about the same.

Are you sure being an excellent leader of people is the way to riches? Seems to me most people I've seen get promoted are able to work with the people ABOVE them fairly well. Being a great leader to the people below them has never appeared to be an important variable.

Dilbert comics have seemed pretty accurate most of my career (and I've worked in multiple large companies and two very small start-ups)
As a leader your people do all the work. If you are not an excellent leader they will find another leader (at least the good ones who have options will). Which leads to two possibilities: (1) you end up working more hours to compensate for your B/C players, and/or (2) your ability to impress your higher ups with your team’s work suffers.
MarkRoulo
Posts: 252
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:25 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by MarkRoulo »

HomerJ wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:33 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Quick question.

As a worker bee, should it be easy to spot someone who is an "excellent leader of people"?

I mean, shouldn't the people being led notice the difference between excellent leaders and non-excellent leaders?
There are a lot more adequate leaders than good leaders and a lot of not-quite-adequate leaders too.

There really aren't enough excellent leaders to go around. Which is one reason that excellent managers
get paid more than excellent technical folks. There are many more excellent technical folks.

The Peter Principle ("People rise to the level of their own incompetence") applies here, too, as does the
fact that very few people move INTO management and realize that there are a whole 'nuther set of
learnable skills that they need to master.

But also there are different management/leadership styles and strategies and finding a match between
the leaders and the led is important.

Which gives me the opportunity to tell a funny story about myself and my boss.
My group is kinda a staff group. We are not responsible for any products. But we DO develop and
evaluate technologies for use by other groups and part of what we have to do is to persuade the other
groups to adopt the technologies and/or solutions that we are pushing.

We've had enough (high visibility, high impact) successes in the past [one thing that we developed before
handing off is responsible for around $1 billion in revenue as an example] that we get listened to, but we still
need to persuade on a case-by-case basis.

In addition, because we are technology focused, part of our job is coordinating other groups --- sometimes two
groups won't realize that they are solving similar problems or evaluating the same technologies.

So ...

One of our product groups was developing a new product and my boss was not very happy about this.
He thought that it would be done poorly, catch on, and then we'd be stuck with it AND THE UNDERLYING
TECHNOLOGY THAT THEY SELECTED.

I knew (and liked!) the project manager leading the effort in the other group.

I *ALSO* knew that *my* group was working on some related technology development.

What *I* mostly wanted from the two groups (mine and the other one) was that we not ACCIDENTALLY pick
competing technologies. No point in one group to get good at Hondas and the other to get good at Toyotas
if both groups could use either without any problems. Basically, if we were going to diverge, I wanted it
to be intentional and not accidental. I spent some time keeping the two project managers talking to
each other about this.

At a weekly staff meeting the following conversation occurred:

Boss: Does anyone know what Nxxx is up to?
Me: Yes. I do.
Boss: How related are their technology choices to what we are doing?
Me: I've had Nxxx and Vxxx talking to each other. The technology stacks should be the same, so we shouldn't get stuck with something we don't want. It is under control.
Boss: Why isn't this in your weekly status report?
Me: Because you told me not to do it!
... pause ...
Boss: Next time put it in your status report.
This exchange is only a *little* bit surprising in my group. My boss expects a LOT of autonomy out of his reports (including his reports occasionally ignoring what he has told them). With other groups this would be a problem. And there are a lot of perfectly competent individual contributors that would fit poorly in our group.

Fit matters!
User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 1102
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

epicahab wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:36 pm It's easy to spot a great leader...are they empathetic?
Do they ask you how you're doing? Do they care that they're assigning you something you hate or that they're being personally mean and disrespectful to you?
Empathy is everything in this world. Those who don't possess it can be extremely successful but they can never be good people or good bosses.
I think that's just called being a good person.
regularguy455
Posts: 229
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:08 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by regularguy455 »

A leader provides a coherent vision of how things should be. They can backup the vision with skill (hard and soft) and experience. They make the lives of their reports, colleagues and upward management materially better.
skor99
Posts: 282
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:51 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by skor99 »

alfaspider wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:44 pm
Helo80 wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:16 pm What I learned in this thread --- FIRE whether you want to or not. Develop that nest egg that JL Collins calls "Something Something Money".

(Note: had to obscure JL Collins words, because I'm not allowed to even censor the cuss word).
I don't think that's unique to the Megacorp rat race. Being FI frees you from having to put up bad employment situations. Few people really want to retire to a beach at 45 for the rest of their life (well, they may think they do, but reality is that most will get bored and aimless). But everyone would likely be happier on their own terms. At the very least, it takes away the fear that you might be on the next layoff list.

FI is of course a spectrum. I like to think of it by the following steps:

1) Financial Autonomy: could go a few years without a job. You still have to worry about finding a new job if yours goes south, but it's not an acute emergency. You can afford to up and quit a truly toxic situation if need be.

2) Bug-out FI: you could do the "RE" thing by taking significant austerity measures. I'm at this spot. It would mean selling the house, cars, and purchasing a modest home in a LCOL area. It's not something I would do affirmatively, but something I could do if it really came down to it. A layoff or bad environment is still cause for significant concern, but it's not an immediate disaster, and you can bide your time for something better if need be.

3) Basic FI: You could do the "RE" thing with careful budgeting while maintaining a fairly equivalent standard of living and keep current residence. Hope to be here by my mid 40s. A lot of people who get let go in their 50s end up doing something like this. This is the level where you can breathe, but you still need to care about money.

4) Fat FI: This is the JL Collins level people really want. You can continue your current life style plus money for splurges and extra travel. Money isn't really important to your work life at all so you can do it on your own terms. I hope to get here by my early 50s.
Can you or Somebody put some real dollar numbers against all these levels ?
User avatar
bligh
Posts: 1316
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:13 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by bligh »

Escapevelocity wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:33 pm
squirm wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:26 pm my wife is a manager and she's tired of the politics. i told her she can retire in 4 years.
How did you guys come to the understanding that you are the gatekeeper to when she can retire?
Not the OP but as my wife and I have been having similar conversations - I'll speak for us. We combine our finances, and so as the person who will be taking on the responsibility for being the sole bread winner, or else having my spouse start pulling out from our shared financial pool, I do feel I have a say on when she gets to retire, (just as I am sure she would have an opinion on when I would get to retire) ... After all, it wouldn't work if we both decided to "retire" and let the other person figure out how to pay the bills. :D

Anyway, I do agree that if they have separate finances from their spouse, and the spouse can independently support themselves from their pension/investments/hobbies/whatever, then it is their decision to make. Once the finances are shared though, both should have a say/consent to such a major decision.
alfaspider
Posts: 3040
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by alfaspider »

skor99 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:50 pm
alfaspider wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:44 pm
Helo80 wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:16 pm What I learned in this thread --- FIRE whether you want to or not. Develop that nest egg that JL Collins calls "Something Something Money".

(Note: had to obscure JL Collins words, because I'm not allowed to even censor the cuss word).
I don't think that's unique to the Megacorp rat race. Being FI frees you from having to put up bad employment situations. Few people really want to retire to a beach at 45 for the rest of their life (well, they may think they do, but reality is that most will get bored and aimless). But everyone would likely be happier on their own terms. At the very least, it takes away the fear that you might be on the next layoff list.

FI is of course a spectrum. I like to think of it by the following steps:

1) Financial Autonomy: could go a few years without a job. You still have to worry about finding a new job if yours goes south, but it's not an acute emergency. You can afford to up and quit a truly toxic situation if need be.

2) Bug-out FI: you could do the "RE" thing by taking significant austerity measures. I'm at this spot. It would mean selling the house, cars, and purchasing a modest home in a LCOL area. It's not something I would do affirmatively, but something I could do if it really came down to it. A layoff or bad environment is still cause for significant concern, but it's not an immediate disaster, and you can bide your time for something better if need be.

3) Basic FI: You could do the "RE" thing with careful budgeting while maintaining a fairly equivalent standard of living and keep current residence. Hope to be here by my mid 40s. A lot of people who get let go in their 50s end up doing something like this. This is the level where you can breathe, but you still need to care about money.

4) Fat FI: This is the JL Collins level people really want. You can continue your current life style plus money for splurges and extra travel. Money isn't really important to your work life at all so you can do it on your own terms. I hope to get here by my early 50s.
Can you or Somebody put some real dollar numbers against all these levels ?
It will depend a lot on your cost structure (kids/dependents, regional cost of living). For me (two young kids, MCOL):

Financial autonomy: $100k liquid, $250k total net worth
Bug out FI: $1-1.5M net worth
Basic FI: $3M net worth
Fat FI: $5-6M net worth

I sure some will have significantly lower numbers and others higher. Numbers may also decline with age. You need more to be FI at 35 than you do at 55 (if for no other reason than your SS payout will be much lower if you stop working at 35). You can also toy with definitions. "Bug out FI" could involve a van down by the river or a modest suburban house (I chose the latter). Fat FI could be middle class living plus a few thrills or a private jet lifestyle (I chose the former).
Normchad
Posts: 1311
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:20 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Normchad »

HomerJ wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:33 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Quick question.

As a worker bee, should it be easy to spot someone who is an "excellent leader of people"?

I mean, shouldn't the people being led notice the difference between excellent leaders and non-excellent leaders?

Because I've had a few good bosses, and many bad bosses, and they all got paid about the same.

Are you sure being an excellent leader of people is the way to riches? Seems to me most people I've seen get promoted are able to work with the people ABOVE them fairly well. Being a great leader to the people below them has never appeared to be an important variable.

Dilbert comics have seemed pretty accurate most of my career (and I've worked in multiple large companies and two very small start-ups)
Yes, worker bees that are paying attention will absolutely be able to spot the excellent leaders. And they will be instinctively drawn to them. Think Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, for example.

In my view, there is a big difference between managers and leaders. There are a whole lot more managers than there are leaders.

I’ve know some excellent leaders. And it’s obvious to me that they have *something* in them, that I will never have. I’m envious of it.....

And a lot of times, there are people that are called leaders, or who are supposed to be leaders, and they just really aren’t. Between them, and role model managers, that is what is most common, and what most people react too.
User avatar
bligh
Posts: 1316
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:13 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by bligh »

skor99 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:50 pm
alfaspider wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:44 pm
Helo80 wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 1:16 pm What I learned in this thread --- FIRE whether you want to or not. Develop that nest egg that JL Collins calls "Something Something Money".

(Note: had to obscure JL Collins words, because I'm not allowed to even censor the cuss word).
I don't think that's unique to the Megacorp rat race. Being FI frees you from having to put up bad employment situations. Few people really want to retire to a beach at 45 for the rest of their life (well, they may think they do, but reality is that most will get bored and aimless). But everyone would likely be happier on their own terms. At the very least, it takes away the fear that you might be on the next layoff list.

FI is of course a spectrum. I like to think of it by the following steps:

1) Financial Autonomy: could go a few years without a job. You still have to worry about finding a new job if yours goes south, but it's not an acute emergency. You can afford to up and quit a truly toxic situation if need be.

2) Bug-out FI: you could do the "RE" thing by taking significant austerity measures. I'm at this spot. It would mean selling the house, cars, and purchasing a modest home in a LCOL area. It's not something I would do affirmatively, but something I could do if it really came down to it. A layoff or bad environment is still cause for significant concern, but it's not an immediate disaster, and you can bide your time for something better if need be.

3) Basic FI: You could do the "RE" thing with careful budgeting while maintaining a fairly equivalent standard of living and keep current residence. Hope to be here by my mid 40s. A lot of people who get let go in their 50s end up doing something like this. This is the level where you can breathe, but you still need to care about money.

4) Fat FI: This is the JL Collins level people really want. You can continue your current life style plus money for splurges and extra travel. Money isn't really important to your work life at all so you can do it on your own terms. I hope to get here by my early 50s.
Can you or Somebody put some real dollar numbers against all these levels ?


You can calculate this for yourself using 2 factors.

1. Your age at retirement. The younger you are, the lower your safe withdrawal rate should be. At 60-65 you are likely fine with a 4% withdrawal rate, at 40 you should probably be closer to 3%.
2. Your expenses at each of those levels. Depending on who you ask - Bug-out FI could be anywhere form 25K/year to 50k/year, Basic FI could be 50K/year to 150K/year, and Fat FI could be anywhere from 100K/year to 250k/year. Personally, I think past 250k/year you should call it "obese FI" and "morbidly obese FI". :D

--------------------


Either way any number for the above is a function of your annual expenses. Here is a stab at it assuming you are less than 55 years of age:

1) Financial Autonomy: You have this if you have 10-15 times your annual expenses invested in your portfolio.

2) Bug-out FI: You have this if you have between 15-25 times your annual expenses saved.

3) Basic FI: You have this if you have been 25-35 times your annual expenses saved

4) Fat FI: You have this if you have over 35 times your annual expenses saved.

One can argue about those numbers at the edges and that is fine since these stages are not discrete steps. It is a gradual curve from one end to the other, and you are just moving back and forth on the curve as you grow your portfolio. Also note that I calculated these numbers off of the portfolio, not off of net worth like many seem to do. You could have a $2 million net worth with $1 million of it stuck in your home equity.
UserFace
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2015 12:50 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by UserFace »

I felt similar at 33. I'd been with the same company since 23, done well become a manager and then a director. After a few years of that I got burned out, tired of the hours, the politics, the bureaucracy preventing me from accomplishing meaningful work. I had roughly 1 year's cash on hand, and extra in taxable index funds if I needed. So I just quit without a plan, knowing I couldn't do it anymore.

I spent the first few months detoxing (working out, eating well, meditating, etc), and reflecting on what I really wanted to do with my career. Explored other companies, but they didn't seem super compelling. Was offered multiple consulting jobs back at my old company. I accepted but as an independent contractor. I worked 2.5 days a week at higher hourly rate and still made good money, even though the gigs were boring at best and unpleasant at worst. But bearable at 2-3 days/week.

With my extra time,I was able to keep my eyes peeled for jobs aligned with what I really wanted to do. Eventually I found what seemed close to my dream job. I started a few weeks ago, and so far it's been as good as advertised.

To boil this down into some tangible advice, I would say:
  • If you're fortunate enough to be in the position, take some time off. Maybe a sabbatical or long vacation, and reflect on what you want to do.
  • If you're good at your job and have a pretty good network, chances are if you leave, you can negotiate working more on your own terms. I didn't realize how much leverage I had.
  • The grass isn't necessarily greener, but you also don't need to suffer. Some corporate gigs are fine. Don't settle for something that drains your soul.
Good luck!
jaqenhghar
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:24 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by jaqenhghar »

market timer wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:12 am
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Agree with this.

For a while, I was the "credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience" worker making $200-250K working 60 hours a week. It sucked.

Now I lead those types of people and make $700K/year working 30 hours a week. It required completely reframing my approach to work. You have to manage people's motivation, create a career narrative for your teams, barter with other teams, inspire people, delegate with control, set appropriate metrics, put your reputation on the line when you see projects with potential that require multi-million dollar investments, establish proper communication channels, lose the battle to win the war, etc. None of this came naturally to me, but I have enjoyed learning about it and thinking of it as an engineering problem.

The combination of good management with strong technical skills is exceedingly rare and highly valuable.
Market timer, are there any resources / books that helped you frame management as an engineering problem?

EDIT: I just saw your post with the Wikipedia link and additional explanation. Besides that, any other resources you'd recommend?
BV3273
Posts: 682
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:20 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by BV3273 »

pqwerty wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:22 pm
28fe6 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:32 am What always worked for me was to change my thinking to consider that I am the one exploiting the megacorp.

Exploit them to the greatest extent possible to your favor, ruthlessly, and that's ok, because that's business. Work as little as you can, while getting the most visibility for your work that you can. Work on the most interesting projects you can, get projects that will add to your resume or lead you to better things and don't spend time on things that will not translate into personal benefit for you. Don't fix problems that you aren't directly asked by management to fix; instead work on what will look impressive to management. Always be looking for the best exit, etc. Go to the gym and do your online shopping during work hours to make your life easier; everyone else is, especially the senior people. Join a work soccer club to make contacts, even if you are "busy" or "don't have time". Leverage business travel to conferences and then do fun things on the side. It's a game, that's all it is. There are a lot of benefits that can come from working for Megacorp. There is no physical danger just your own emotional reactions.

That said, I eventually cracked and moved to a smaller company in an even smaller office. It probably hurt my long-term career potential just by giving up the resources and potential of the megacorp, but I figure I added 5 years to my life and made the rest of them more pleasant.
I needed this.
You hit the nail on the head.
BV3273
Posts: 682
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:20 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by BV3273 »

UserFace wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:43 pm I felt similar at 33. I'd been with the same company since 23, done well become a manager and then a director. After a few years of that I got burned out, tired of the hours, the politics, the bureaucracy preventing me from accomplishing meaningful work. I had roughly 1 year's cash on hand, and extra in taxable index funds if I needed. So I just quit without a plan, knowing I couldn't do it anymore.

I spent the first few months detoxing (working out, eating well, meditating, etc), and reflecting on what I really wanted to do with my career. Explored other companies, but they didn't seem super compelling. Was offered multiple consulting jobs back at my old company. I accepted but as an independent contractor. I worked 2.5 days a week at higher hourly rate and still made good money, even though the gigs were boring at best and unpleasant at worst. But bearable at 2-3 days/week.

With my extra time,I was able to keep my eyes peeled for jobs aligned with what I really wanted to do. Eventually I found what seemed close to my dream job. I started a few weeks ago, and so far it's been as good as advertised.

To boil this down into some tangible advice, I would say:
  • If you're fortunate enough to be in the position, take some time off. Maybe a sabbatical or long vacation, and reflect on what you want to do.
  • If you're good at your job and have a pretty good network, chances are if you leave, you can negotiate working more on your own terms. I didn't realize how much leverage I had.
  • The grass isn't necessarily greener, but you also don't need to suffer. Some corporate gigs are fine. Don't settle for something that drains your soul.
Good luck!
Great advice!
gamboolman
Posts: 132
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2014 7:32 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by gamboolman »

Frugalbear,

My first thought when I read your post was that this has to be a troll thread.

I had typed a whole lot....but deleted it as I imagine I would get spanked.

32 and burned out......ha.... I have been in the oilpatch almost 43 year

You have been given some good advice in this thread.

Hang tuff at work. Work is after all a 4 letter word.

Enjoy the struggle of life pawdnaahhh....

All the best and looking forward to reading your update thread in 20 years....God willing I'm still kicking then....

gamboolman......
Image
Image
User avatar
market timer
Posts: 6353
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by market timer »

jaqenhghar wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:46 pm
market timer wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:12 am
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Agree with this.

For a while, I was the "credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience" worker making $200-250K working 60 hours a week. It sucked.

Now I lead those types of people and make $700K/year working 30 hours a week. It required completely reframing my approach to work. You have to manage people's motivation, create a career narrative for your teams, barter with other teams, inspire people, delegate with control, set appropriate metrics, put your reputation on the line when you see projects with potential that require multi-million dollar investments, establish proper communication channels, lose the battle to win the war, etc. None of this came naturally to me, but I have enjoyed learning about it and thinking of it as an engineering problem.

The combination of good management with strong technical skills is exceedingly rare and highly valuable.
Market timer, are there any resources / books that helped you frame management as an engineering problem?

EDIT: I just saw your post with the Wikipedia link and additional explanation. Besides that, any other resources you'd recommend?
I guess the classic in this field is Measure What Matters, by John Doerr.

In my case, I mostly draw on my background as an econ PhD to understand human interactions. Being on the autism spectrum, human interactions don't come naturally to me, so I usually have to translate every interaction into something like a game theory problem. It turns out, this process of abstraction is useful in designing systems to manage large numbers of people and in product development.
mancich
Posts: 885
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:05 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by mancich »

Try to look at it as a means to an end. I have been with the same company for 31 years, with only a few to go, and I look back on all the times I stressed out about different situations with work, the politics, nonsensical meetings where people talk just to hear themselves, the endless analysis paralysis, etc. As you get further along in your career you realize that it doesn't mean much. You're probably not curing cancer. Enjoy time outside of work with family, friends, and hobbies as much as possible. Take care of yourself physically with exercise and a good diet. Maybe find a way to relax, such as meditation. Life is short.
jaqenhghar
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:24 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by jaqenhghar »

market timer wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 11:17 pm
jaqenhghar wrote: Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:46 pm
market timer wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:12 am
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Agree with this.

For a while, I was the "credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience" worker making $200-250K working 60 hours a week. It sucked.

Now I lead those types of people and make $700K/year working 30 hours a week. It required completely reframing my approach to work. You have to manage people's motivation, create a career narrative for your teams, barter with other teams, inspire people, delegate with control, set appropriate metrics, put your reputation on the line when you see projects with potential that require multi-million dollar investments, establish proper communication channels, lose the battle to win the war, etc. None of this came naturally to me, but I have enjoyed learning about it and thinking of it as an engineering problem.

The combination of good management with strong technical skills is exceedingly rare and highly valuable.
Market timer, are there any resources / books that helped you frame management as an engineering problem?

EDIT: I just saw your post with the Wikipedia link and additional explanation. Besides that, any other resources you'd recommend?
I guess the classic in this field is Measure What Matters, by John Doerr.

In my case, I mostly draw on my background as an econ PhD to understand human interactions. Being on the autism spectrum, human interactions don't come naturally to me, so I usually have to translate every interaction into something like a game theory problem. It turns out, this process of abstraction is useful in designing systems to manage large numbers of people and in product development.
Thank you, much appreciated.
investingdad
Posts: 1786
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by investingdad »

mancich wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 5:11 am Try to look at it as a means to an end. I have been with the same company for 31 years, with only a few to go, and I look back on all the times I stressed out about different situations with work, the politics, nonsensical meetings where people talk just to hear themselves, the endless analysis paralysis, etc. As you get further along in your career you realize that it doesn't mean much. You're probably not curing cancer. Enjoy time outside of work with family, friends, and hobbies as much as possible. Take care of yourself physically with exercise and a good diet. Maybe find a way to relax, such as meditation. Life is short.
Bingo. Some folks take this stuff WAY too seriously. I like to do a good job and contribute positively, but in the end...I don't live and breathe the company.
AZAttorney11
Posts: 761
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 12:12 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by AZAttorney11 »

HomerJ wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:33 pm
AZAttorney11 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:47 pm Want to make a lot of money in the corporate world? Figure out how to be an excellent leader of people. Lots of posters in this thread are talking about their credentials, IQ, technical skills, and experience, but no mention of "EQ" or how they build and develop relationships with key stakeholders.
Quick question.

As a worker bee, should it be easy to spot someone who is an "excellent leader of people"?

I mean, shouldn't the people being led notice the difference between excellent leaders and non-excellent leaders?

Because I've had a few good bosses, and many bad bosses, and they all got paid about the same.

Are you sure being an excellent leader of people is the way to riches? Seems to me most people I've seen get promoted are able to work with the people ABOVE them fairly well. Being a great leader to the people below them has never appeared to be an important variable.

Dilbert comics have seemed pretty accurate most of my career (and I've worked in multiple large companies and two very small start-ups)
Yes, it should be easy to find the excellent people leaders. They get their projects funded most frequently, get visibility and access to the higher ups, give their direct reports a chance to present to their boss's boss, etc. The best people leaders are also talent magnets. The high potentials and up and comers in the company want to work for this person because this person has a reputation for making people better and elevating careers. These same people know how to develop their successors so they can be promoted and not leave their former org or team at risk. The best people leaders can take "C" talent and make them "B" talent (they also make the tough decisions to exit the "C" talent from the company when it's clear performance won't improve, rather than shifting them to another department). One of the key elements of leadership is making other better people. Find those people in your organization.
nydoc
Posts: 157
Joined: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:57 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by nydoc »

I work at a company because I want to stop working at a company.
User avatar
Cheez-It Guy
Posts: 1102
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:20 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

nydoc wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:55 am I work at a company because I want to stop working at a company.
Quoted for truth.
lostdog
Posts: 3177
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:15 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by lostdog »

Most people don't quit the job, they quit the boss.
Barkingsparrow
Posts: 276
Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:09 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Barkingsparrow »

S4C5 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:31 am Correct. In my early 20s I worked for 2 megacorps hired on with the strength and freshness of my bachelor's degree. I was hired with no work to do, never given any work, and never gained any skills at either. I made $60k/year + benefits for showing up basically. Occasionally I got chewed out by a boss for billing 40 hours a week to document review or something, so it basically became creative ways as to how to split up what projects to log your 40 hours to. All the young new hires felt the same way.

I looked around the enormous office and saw multiple people in their 50s and 60s falling asleep at their desks and playing solitaire. These people typically made around $80-90k. So interesting, you start off at age 22 and make $60k and by retirement you might be making 150-200% of what the entry level people are making if you're lucky. The low level managers had awful lives and usually were the ones who got blamed and fired for anything else going wrong. Making it beyond that to upper management seemed to require a certain type of sociopathic personality.
Out of curiosity, did the people who interviewed you call themselves "The Bobs"?
Firemenot
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2020 8:48 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Firemenot »

I’m 44. When I was mid-30s I felt much the same and was considering doing early retirement on similar amount. Glad I didn’t. In a new season of life now and enjoying it. And also really enjoying the added financial security and options. I’d recommend at least a change of scenery first job-wise before pulling the cord at such a young age. Don’t underestimate the change in attitude that can come with switching jobs.
Thegame14
Posts: 1614
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by Thegame14 »

I felt the same and left to work at small companies/startups, and they all just go bankrupt and then you end up looking for a new job and having to explain "gaps" on your resume for the rest of your life....
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15190
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by HomerJ »

AZAttorney11 wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:28 amThe best people leaders are also talent magnets. The high potentials and up and comers in the company want to work for this person because this person has a reputation for making people better and elevating careers.
Hmm... I'm in IT, with a particular skill-set.

I don't think I can easily switch from virtualization to programming web apps just because I heard the director of the app team is a great leader.

I think you're talking about managers wanting to work for the great leaders so they can follow them up the ladder.
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15190
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by HomerJ »

lostdog wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:08 am Most people don't quit the job, they quit the boss.
This. I've known a lot of bad bosses. A few good bosses. They all seem to get paid the same.
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
lostdog
Posts: 3177
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:15 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by lostdog »

HomerJ wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:09 am
lostdog wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:08 am Most people don't quit the job, they quit the boss.
This. I've known a lot of bad bosses. A few good bosses. They all seem to get paid the same.
+1

I've also learned it's almost impossible to change the ways of a bad boss. I've had colleagues go to upper management or HR to complain and it worked against them every time. Most of the time, you're stuck with a bad boss. It's even worse if you're in major debt with kids, mortgage and bills. Financial independence helps with mental health when dealing with a bad boss.
squirm
Posts: 2943
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by squirm »

28fe6 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 9:32 am What always worked for me was to change my thinking to consider that I am the one exploiting the megacorp.

Exploit them to the greatest extent possible to your favor, ruthlessly, and that's ok, because that's business. Work as little as you can, while getting the most visibility for your work that you can. Work on the most interesting projects you can, get projects that will add to your resume or lead you to better things and don't spend time on things that will not translate into personal benefit for you. Don't fix problems that you aren't directly asked by management to fix; instead work on what will look impressive to management. Always be looking for the best exit, etc. Go to the gym and do your online shopping during work hours to make your life easier; everyone else is, especially the senior people. Join a work soccer club to make contacts, even if you are "busy" or "don't have time". Leverage business travel to conferences and then do fun things on the side. It's a game, that's all it is. There are a lot of benefits that can come from working for Megacorp. There is no physical danger just your own emotional reactions.

That said, I eventually cracked and moved to a smaller company in an even smaller office. It probably hurt my long-term career potential just by giving up the resources and potential of the megacorp, but I figure I added 5 years to my life and made the rest of them more pleasant.
This is so very true. Unfortunately it takes many years of working to come to this conclusion.
squirm
Posts: 2943
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by squirm »

lostdog wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:29 am
HomerJ wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:09 am
lostdog wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:08 am Most people don't quit the job, they quit the boss.
This. I've known a lot of bad bosses. A few good bosses. They all seem to get paid the same.
+1

I've also learned it's almost impossible to change the ways of a bad boss. I've had colleagues go to upper management or HR to complain and it worked against them every time. Most of the time, you're stuck with a bad boss. It's even worse if you're in major debt with kids, mortgage and bills. Financial independence helps with mental health when dealing with a bad boss.
With so the vetting, interviews, checking etc and business still can't figure out how to promote/ hire the right people, it's sorta funny yet sad.
User avatar
HomerJ
Posts: 15190
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:50 pm

Re: Coping with Megacorp rat race

Post by HomerJ »

squirm wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 4:04 pm
lostdog wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:29 am
HomerJ wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 11:09 am
lostdog wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:08 am Most people don't quit the job, they quit the boss.
This. I've known a lot of bad bosses. A few good bosses. They all seem to get paid the same.
+1

I've also learned it's almost impossible to change the ways of a bad boss. I've had colleagues go to upper management or HR to complain and it worked against them every time. Most of the time, you're stuck with a bad boss. It's even worse if you're in major debt with kids, mortgage and bills. Financial independence helps with mental health when dealing with a bad boss.
With so the vetting, interviews, checking etc and business still can't figure out how to promote/ hire the right people, it's sorta funny yet sad.
There is a Dilbert where the boss says "We are going to get rid of the people who are no good"

Wally, Dilbert, and Alice all high-five each other. Wally says to the boss "When is your last day?"

Then Alice says "Oh no, they are no good at determining who is no good!"
A Goldman Sachs associate provided a variety of detailed explanations, but then offered a caveat, “If I’m being dead-### honest, though, nobody knows what’s really going on.”
Post Reply