Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

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Badger1754
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Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:03 pm

Hi all, I’ve been struggling with a situation at work and decided that as a relatively youthful hothead, I would benefit some advice from the Bogleheads who have “been there, done that” (a nice way of saying, the “gray hair perspective”) — so I am asking from the standpoint of humility and interest.

Context is that I’m in professional services, the rung right below partner. My firm is up-or-out so I have a defined timeframe to be elected partner. I thought I was up this year, but just received bitterly disappointing news that I will not be put up for partner election this year. The feedback was very vague but was something along the lines of “not seen as partner material”.

Here’s where things get a bit weird. I am not a “traditional” path in my staid, old-school profession. About 3 years ago, I started developing an interest in using big data and advanced machine learning to leapfrog some of the issues with my clients and staid processes at my firm. It’s made huge impact, but also a lot of enemies (who saw their jobs become automated and obsolete). A “rabbi” of mine who was in the room for the discussion on my case pulled me aside and told me 1) the discussion was tightly framed along a very rigid definition of partner profile that dates back to the 1980s, 2) there was a lack of understanding and in one case “outright fear” from some of the “old school” partners about what I was doing and how it would affect them.

He suggested that I drop the data and analytics stuff and just do what I am supposed to do (the “path of least resistance”) and wait 2+ years to be elected partner along the traditional path. In addition to my rabbi, I also spoke to my priest and my imam, and got their takes as well.

It looks like I have three options:
  1. Do what I am supposed to do. Pay my dues. Drop the technology angle. Slowly work my way up. Partner election, best case scenario is 2 years out.
  2. Transfer to a different division of my firm that values technology and data. Continue doing what I am great at. Partner election is still possible, but less certain. It may be 2-5 years out. And the partners from that division are regarded as “second class citizens”.
  3. Leave. What I am doing is quite cutting edge in my field, and I have very high confidence that others will pay handsomely for it. There are three problems with this approach: a) I really do love the firm I am at, and more importantly, the people there, b) defecting to a competitor is very poorly looked upon and I fear I will lose the relationships I’ve built over the years, and c) given the staid nature of my profession, its likely that any competitors will exhibit the same “fear of the future” roadblocks I am encountering here.
Like I said, I am an admittedly hotheaded young guy. I would value your guidance and counsel. Thanks.
Last edited by Badger1754 on Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by livesoft » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:07 pm

I'd go to another firm or start my own firm. I don't know of any living dinosaurs. But people who know me know also that I am true to myself.
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:12 pm

Grey hair or no hair? :twisted:

The writing is on the wall - you are not partner material now, and you are going to get the same song and dance going forward unless by some stroke of genius you land a huge whale of a client that overrides any and all excuses made in the past.

If you leave, you are worried about burning bridges? Look in the mirror, do you think the higher ups care? They have the same “conversation” every year with all the other young bucks, some put up with it and stay in hopes of, the rest get the message and branch out. Of those you know who were passed up for partner, how many stayed and eventually made it into the partnership ranks? How long did it take?
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by KlangFool » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:13 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:07 pm
I'd go to another firm or start my own firm. I don't know of any living dinosaurs. But people who know me know also that I am true to myself.
+1,000.

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quantAndHold
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:19 pm

You’re not partner material at this firm.

The data analytics or whatever you’re doing. Does it have the potential to make gobs of money? Can you sell that potential to someone? Possibly at another firm?

That’s how you make partner someplace.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:20 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:12 pm
Grey hair or no hair? :twisted:

The writing is on the wall - you are not partner material now, and you are going to get the same song and dance going forward unless by some stroke of genius you land a huge whale of a client that overrides any and all excuses made in the past.

If you leave, you are worried about burning bridges? Look in the mirror, do you think the higher ups care? They have the same “conversation” every year with all the other young bucks, some put up with it and stay in hopes of, the rest get the message and branch out. Of those you know who were passed up for partner, how many stayed and eventually made it into the partnership ranks? How long did it take?
LOL! One thing that is pulling me to stay is that the Wife and I are thinking about having kids soon. And say what you will about the folks on the “second class citizen” track, but they have a much more manageable lifestyle and have to travel a lot less.

To answer your question — the ones that stay, about half eventually make it, the other half don’t.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:21 pm

quantAndHold wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:19 pm
You’re not partner material at this firm.

The data analytics or whatever you’re doing. Does it have the potential to make gobs of money? Can you sell that potential to someone? Possibly at another firm?

That’s how you make partner someplace.
Yes. Yes it does. More than gobs.

But is also threatens people horribly in my profession. There was one senior partner who built his career on doing a type of work that would take several months and a small army of lawyers to do. Over one weekend, I developed a method using Amazon Web Services that cut it down to 1 week and.. um.. me. He was very displeased with me when I rolled it out to another client, and his client caught wind of it, and then called him and angrily asked what else he was withholding from them.
Last edited by Badger1754 on Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RubyTuesday
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by RubyTuesday » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:25 pm

Ultimately leave, but stay employed and continue to hone your skills... I.e. stay true to yourself. That may mean the transfer initially (if viable to continue to work in data and analytics). For many reasons, more difficult to get next job if unemployed.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:34 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:20 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:12 pm
Grey hair or no hair? :twisted:

The writing is on the wall - you are not partner material now, and you are going to get the same song and dance going forward unless by some stroke of genius you land a huge whale of a client that overrides any and all excuses made in the past.

If you leave, you are worried about burning bridges? Look in the mirror, do you think the higher ups care? They have the same “conversation” every year with all the other young bucks, some put up with it and stay in hopes of, the rest get the message and branch out. Of those you know who were passed up for partner, how many stayed and eventually made it into the partnership ranks? How long did it take?
LOL! One thing that is pulling me to stay is that the Wife and I are thinking about having kids soon. And say what you will about the folks on the “second class citizen” track, but they have a much more manageable lifestyle and have to travel a lot less.

To answer your question — the ones that stay, about half eventually make it, the other half don’t.
You asked what those around the block think, I’ll be blunt: second class, first class, in the end unless you own your own company and destiny, someone else will be pulling the strings and determining when, where and who makes it to partner, who stays and who goes. You’re young, so my advice to you is to leave no stone unturned and explore what the demand or need for your particular experience and expertise is outside of your company- then go for it! Or don’t. But don’t make that decision until you’ve had the conversations.

Plan on having a family? Great! You think people outside of your firm don’t have them too?

Or wait two more years - we will see another post from you saying you made partner or you got the same song and dance again.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by KlangFool » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:36 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:21 pm
quantAndHold wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:19 pm
You’re not partner material at this firm.

The data analytics or whatever you’re doing. Does it have the potential to make gobs of money? Can you sell that potential to someone? Possibly at another firm?

That’s how you make partner someplace.
Yes. Yes it does. More than gobs.

But is also threatens people horribly in my profession. There was one senior partner who built his career on doing a type of work that would take several months and a small army of lawyers to do. Over one weekend, I developed a method using Amazon Web Services that cut it down to 1 week and.. um.. me. He was very displeased with me when I rolled it out to another client, and his client caught wind of it, and then called him and angrily asked what else he was withholding from them.
Badger1754,

You are destroying your employer's revenue stream. So, why would they make you a partner? You are the enemy.

KlangFool

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:41 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:36 pm
You are destroying your employer's revenue stream. So, why would they make you a partner? You are the enemy.
And that is the issue with a partnership. Some see it as an existential threat that must be eliminated. Others see it as getting us ahead of the curve of disruption and obsolescence, which is an even more dangerous existential threat.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by JTColton » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:42 pm

You're rocking the boat/gravy train and the partners don't like it, you are possibly PNG at partner level already.

Sounds like a perfect case study of starting your own firm, save your clients time and money.

If you were to leave can you bring clients with you or will you be subject to a non-compete?

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by RubyTuesday » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:43 pm

If the revenue stream is that vulnerable, he should be rewarded for “destroying it.” Being last to recognize your obsolescence is death knell.

livesoft
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by livesoft » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:45 pm

Rabbi, priest, imam, anonymous internet forum. Who wears the pants in this sequence of advisors?
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by GrowthSeeker » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:46 pm

Don’t do #1: if you do as you’re told, 2 years later you still won’t be partner material and you will be 2 years behind in what is your strength now.

Keep smiling while you plot your exit strategy in relative secrecy. Explore/research starting your own firm vs joining one that values your strengths.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:47 pm

Are we talking law or management consulting?

If the latter, there are plenty of firms that would love to have your expertise on staff.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:47 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:41 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:36 pm
You are destroying your employer's revenue stream. So, why would they make you a partner? You are the enemy.
And that is the issue with a partnership. Some see it as an existential threat that must be eliminated. Others see it as getting us ahead of the curve of disruption and obsolescence, which is an even more dangerous existential threat.
Get out!
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Morford » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:53 pm

Law firm partnership is wildly overrated - part of the ecosystem is associates convinced they can’t make that kind of money doing anything else. Nonsense. Find a business partner and go on your own or go to a firm that embraces technology - I can think of a few.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:56 pm

Tread water at work for a while until you can secure and protect your intellectual property and shop it around to a new group or start your own. Then leave when you are ready.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by boogiehead » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:03 pm

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:34 pm
Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:20 pm
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:12 pm
Grey hair or no hair? :twisted:

The writing is on the wall - you are not partner material now, and you are going to get the same song and dance going forward unless by some stroke of genius you land a huge whale of a client that overrides any and all excuses made in the past.

If you leave, you are worried about burning bridges? Look in the mirror, do you think the higher ups care? They have the same “conversation” every year with all the other young bucks, some put up with it and stay in hopes of, the rest get the message and branch out. Of those you know who were passed up for partner, how many stayed and eventually made it into the partnership ranks? How long did it take?
LOL! One thing that is pulling me to stay is that the Wife and I are thinking about having kids soon. And say what you will about the folks on the “second class citizen” track, but they have a much more manageable lifestyle and have to travel a lot less.

To answer your question — the ones that stay, about half eventually make it, the other half don’t.
You asked what those around the block think, I’ll be blunt: second class, first class, in the end unless you own your own company and destiny, someone else will be pulling the strings and determining when, where and who makes it to partner, who stays and who goes. You’re young, so my advice to you is to leave no stone unturned and explore what the demand or need for your particular experience and expertise is outside of your company- then go for it! Or don’t. But don’t make that decision until you’ve had the conversations.

Plan on having a family? Great! You think people outside of your firm don’t have them too?

Or wait two more years - we will see another post from you saying you made partner or you got the same song and dance again.
+1.... the promotion to partnership is like no others.... it becomes who you know game of throne style, not what you know and even if you do get promoted you'll be stuck with all the crappy clients unless you already have a solid book of business that a senior partner wants to hand to you.

You have one other option, not sure how good of relationship you have with your clients, but have you tried asking if your clients have any open position that would benefit from your skillset?

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:11 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career advice).
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:17 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:47 pm
Are we talking law or management consulting?

If the latter, there are plenty of firms that would love to have your expertise on staff.
That's interesting. Why do you say that? To answer your question, I guess it would fall more on the management consulting side of the spectrum, but most of us are lawyers (including me).

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:19 pm

livesoft wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:45 pm
Rabbi, priest, imam, anonymous internet forum. Who wears the pants in this sequence of advisors?
Why, the one who convinces me of truth through reasoned debate and probabilistic survey of outcomes, not dogma, of course :beer

That and whoever has the best food.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:21 pm

I've never seen going against the grain work out well with an employer. A colleague would always say to this, "Even if you're right, you're still wrong."

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:25 pm

ClevrChico wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:21 pm
I've never seen going against the grain work out well with an employer. A colleague would always say to this, "Even if you're right, you're still wrong."
I know. But I also know that groupthink is what leads to Kodak, and Blockbuster, and Xerox....

EDIT: what I am hearing from this is that if I think I am working for a Kodak or a Blockbuster... to stop doing that :D
Last edited by Badger1754 on Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:27 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:25 pm
ClevrChico wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:21 pm
I've never seen going against the grain work out well with an employer. A colleague would always say to this, "Even if you're right, you're still wrong."
I know. But I also know that groupthink is what leads to Kodak, and Blockbuster, and Xerox....
I agree completely. It's really hard to turn a ship!

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by LiveSimple » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:29 pm

How can the OP start on his own ? Just wondering !!!

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:40 pm

JTColton wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:42 pm
If you were to leave can you bring clients with you or will you be subject to a non-compete?
I don't know if I would have a non-compete were I to leave. I do know that my firm has a ton of support infrastructure (market data, research, etc.) that would be prohibitively expensive to duplicate individually.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by KlangFool » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:44 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:25 pm
ClevrChico wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:21 pm
I've never seen going against the grain work out well with an employer. A colleague would always say to this, "Even if you're right, you're still wrong."
I know. But I also know that groupthink is what leads to Kodak, and Blockbuster, and Xerox....
Badger1754,

You are wrong. You should read this book.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Innovator%27s_Dilemma

When someone's job is dependent on existing revenue, they could not do anything else.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:44 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:17 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:47 pm
Are we talking law or management consulting?

If the latter, there are plenty of firms that would love to have your expertise on staff.
That's interesting. Why do you say that? To answer your question, I guess it would fall more on the management consulting side of the spectrum, but most of us are lawyers (including me).
McKinsey, Bain, BCG all have thriving technology practices. You would most certainly not be a second class citizen there.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by scubadiver » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:53 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:41 pm
KlangFool wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:36 pm
You are destroying your employer's revenue stream. So, why would they make you a partner? You are the enemy.
And that is the issue with a partnership. Some see it as an existential threat that must be eliminated. Others see it as getting us ahead of the curve of disruption and obsolescence, which is an even more dangerous existential threat.
25 years ago there were people just like you at Eastman Kodak, pushing this new digital technology and getting resistance from their seniors because it would cannibalize film sales where the company made its money. Some of them may have eventually risen to a C-suite office, but it wasn't at Kodak. Business is harsh like that. Innovation or obsolescence.

If you were 20 years older and a couple of years out from retirement, I would say ride it out. I'm sure that's what some of the partners at your current firm are thinking. In your case though, I would say you should begin looking for other opportunities outside the firm.

EDIT: I just noticed that I missed a couple of Kodak references above. To be clear, it wasn't group think that was Kodak's problem. It was that implementation of the new technology posed a significant risk to the company's primary revenue stream. The firms that eventually overtook Kodak also had risks of revenue loss, but had more to gain from increased market share if the new technology was successful, and hence were more strongly motivated to innovate.
Last edited by scubadiver on Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by CurlyDave » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:59 pm

Mike Scott wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:56 pm
Tread water at work for a while until you can secure and protect your intellectual property and shop it around to a new group or start your own. Then leave when you are ready.
I don't think this works. The IP belongs to the firm that was signing the paychecks while the idea was conceived.

I would put my vote to the "leave promptly, but in an orderly manner" column.

Stop working on this idea using company resources -- this could be trouble later. Work on it on your own time and using your own equipment. No more company computers, databases or internet connections.

Set a time limit, I would say about a year -- just after the next partnership meeting. Spend the year working on conventional projects at work and your own ideas at home. This gives you 12 months to get your plans ready if there is no partnership invitation.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by CurlyDave » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:03 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:40 pm
JTColton wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:42 pm
If you were to leave can you bring clients with you or will you be subject to a non-compete?
I don't know if I would have a non-compete were I to leave. I do know that my firm has a ton of support infrastructure (market data, research, etc.) that would be prohibitively expensive to duplicate individually.
If you leave of your own volition, you will not have any non-compete you do not have now. You don't have to sign an agreements in order to leave.

In many cases, if there is a layoff, severance pay is conditioned on a non-compete agreement. But you are not going to be getting any severance pay.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by 123 » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:10 pm

You're not a good fit where you are. Just move on to somewhere else.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by vitaflo » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:29 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:03 pm
What I am doing is quite cutting edge in my field, and I have very high confidence that others will pay handsomely for it. There are three problems with this approach: a) I really do love the firm I am at, and more importantly, the people there, b) defecting to a competitor is very poorly looked upon and I fear I will lose the relationships I’ve built over the years, and c) given the staid nature of my profession, its likely that any competitors will exhibit the same “fear of the future” roadblocks I am encountering here.
[/list]

Like I said, I am an admittedly hotheaded young guy. I would value your guidance and counsel. Thanks.
I remember being the young hothead guy. If you are like me, much of what you envision for the future will come true but you'll be too blinded by your own "rightness" to handle it properly.

I'll just put it this way, if you're so sure that what you are doing is cutting edge, and is the future, start your own firm now while you can and put everyone else out of business. Staying at your current company (or any company that would be afraid of rocking the boat) is just going to frustrate you and get you even more irritated, it doesn't matter whatever fancy title they give you (ask me how I know). You're going to leave out of frustration either way, so plan on an exit strategy now.

You either end up right and own the market, or are wrong and learn you aren't as smart as you think you are. Both can be very beneficial lessons, and more than likely you'll end up with a bit of both.

Good luck.

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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:36 pm

Can't do a "gray hair perspective".
How about a "silver hair, thinning badly, perspective?


1. Give it 1-2 years. Calm down. Do a good job. Don't make waves.

2. If nothing pans out in 1-2 years, then either transfer or leave.

3. If transfer, then give it (set your definite time to re-evaluate) years, then stay if you are happy, or leave.

*Concurrently, while doing the above, start looking around at other employment options, other firms, etc, on the "down low".
It doesn't hurt to look and research your options.
And, if something fruitful should arise, you don't have to take it, you can reassess everything again.

*Always have an exit plan.

*Don't get taken by surprise. (layoff, etc).

j :happy
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3CT_Paddler
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:54 pm

You laid out an example where your firm charges a couple months of multiple lawyer's time to do the work, and you have it down to a week. That has to be on the order of $100,000 to $400,000 in savings. How often does a client need this service and how many clients are there for this type of work?

Any established company that is in a similar line of business will be equally terrified of what this means for their existing lines of business. You need an outside investor (or cashflow it yourself if possible). You already have two potential clients that are well aware of the savings you can provide.

blackholescion
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by blackholescion » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:47 am

3CT_Paddler wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:54 pm
You laid out an example where your firm charges a couple months of multiple lawyer's time to do the work, and you have it down to a week. That has to be on the order of $100,000 to $400,000 in savings. How often does a client need this service and how many clients are there for this type of work?

Any established company that is in a similar line of business will be equally terrified of what this means for their existing lines of business. You need an outside investor (or cashflow it yourself if possible). You already have two potential clients that are well aware of the savings you can provide.
In a perfect world, that savings can be parlayed into more clients than one would otherwise have. You can get the smaller fish because they can afford 100k vs 400k. Even the original client you can extend and olive branch to. “Hey we worked out a more efficient process and are cutting your costs down to 200k from 400k. Tell your friends.” Short term loss on the single client for the benefit of future business, especially if they start to become the Walmart of the (local) industry.

Dude2
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Dude2 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:52 am

The situation reminds me of my friend's brother -- a lawyer at one of those personal injury firms that advertises like crazy and seems to own all the lawyering. When I asked him how his brother was doing as a partner making all those big bucks, he said that basically now everything had been dumbed down using computers. People call in, their info is entered into a database. Software figures out what writs to file and appeals and habeus corpus. :happy I really don't see that these people can go against your mandate here. What you're doing is inevitable. Isn't it possible that in a few years, they may wake up with fresh eyes and realize they're damn lucky to have you? I would be more concerned with job satisfaction and level of compensation. Those should be good enough to keep you there.

Beehave
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Beehave » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:27 pm

My experience in two mega-corporations and one very small company (with 10 patents) - -

If you have the drive to create intellectual property and you want it to be employed on a wide-scale basis within the company (not just part of your personal bag of tricks) it will be a very, very difficult road if you ar not part of the research (or whatever) group that is officially tasked with R&D innovation within the company. Those folks will look down on the hoi-pollloi salespeople and tech workers and other customer-facing, customer-oriented staffs (you) and shoot down ideas (a) because not invented here (in R&D) or (b) conflicts with something being done in R&D, or (c) "We already looked at that and it won't work." And as you are already aware, anyone else feeling threatened or jealous will gladly egg on the murderers of your intellectual property.

So, a couple of thoughts. First, if you wish to create intellectual property while working for someone else, make sure your job description calls for this and your current objectives include this. Second, make a fully working copy that implements your idea that is user friendly that can actually be deployed by people other than you (if at all possible). Third, if this idea is really commercially viable and you really want to see it succeed in the marketplace, leave and start your own company. Fourth, if you ar not willing to leave and do not see a way to make it commercially successful where you are staying, consider shutting your mouth because it is very likely that any intellectual property you create at work belongs to your employer. If and when you leave that company, that intellectual property, which is the way you understand how to do your job in a way no one else can, belongs to them and there is a gray area I cannot competently advise you about regarding what you can and cannot do with that IP yourself in the future. I believe the status is something along the lines that you can use the IP for earning your own personal living (e.g., as part of your consulting or advising skill set) but you cannot productize it - - BUT you should ask a lawyer if this becomes relevant to your situation - - I am not offering legal advice because I am not an attorney - - so these are things to think and ask about based on this grey-haired's veteran of these wars experience.

Best wishes.

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Badger1754
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Badger1754 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:02 am

Hello friendly Internet strangers - an update on this.

It turns out that my supporters within my division (which included several partners) proactively reached out to the head my division (1 level down from CEO) to ask what could be done. The head of my division invited me to dinner last night and shared a few reflections.
  • There is genuine fear among some partners that what I am doing will replace their personnel-heavy gravy train with machines and disrupt their operating model.
  • This is a very culturally "old-school" place. There is resentment that some young hothead is rocking the boat, even if it is unspoken. "Bull in a china shop" was the phrase he used.
  • He thinks the partners who are fearful are plain wrong. He can talk to them, but he can't change hearts and minds, especially given this is a partnership.
  • He also doesn't think I shouldn't pull back and "do what I'm told" from the perspective of long-term stewardship of the firm and our clientele. "It wouldn't be the right thing to do."
  • He's really sorry this happened and doesn't want me to leave or God forbid, join a competitor.
  • Gave me a long list of reasons why I should stay and make my career here.
Tactically, he suggested I transfer to another division where this is valued, and he'll try to help me out on the back end.

KlangFool
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by KlangFool » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:55 am

Badger1754 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:02 am
Hello friendly Internet strangers - an update on this.

It turns out that my supporters within my division (which included several partners) proactively reached out to the head my division (1 level down from CEO) to ask what could be done. The head of my division invited me to dinner last night and shared a few reflections.
  • There is genuine fear among some partners that what I am doing will replace their personnel-heavy gravy train with machines and disrupt their operating model.
  • This is a very culturally "old-school" place. There is resentment that some young hothead is rocking the boat, even if it is unspoken. "Bull in a china shop" was the phrase he used.
  • He thinks the partners who are fearful are plain wrong. He can talk to them, but he can't change hearts and minds, especially given this is a partnership.
  • He also doesn't think I shouldn't pull back and "do what I'm told" from the perspective of long-term stewardship of the firm and our clientele. "It wouldn't be the right thing to do."
  • He's really sorry this happened and doesn't want me to leave or God forbid, join a competitor.
  • Gave me a long list of reasons why I should stay and make my career here.
Tactically, he suggested I transfer to another division where this is valued, and he'll try to help me out on the back end.
Badger1754,

Why would you stay when it is clearly told to you that you have no future with this employer?

KlangFool

willygreen
Posts: 36
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by willygreen » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:00 am

Leave and go to a company that values new technology. You have skills that are hard to find and highly valued by the right people. This technology will transform many companies and handsomely reward those with the skills to make it happen.

quantAndHold
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:00 am

Badger1754 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:02 am
Hello friendly Internet strangers - an update on this.

It turns out that my supporters within my division (which included several partners) proactively reached out to the head my division (1 level down from CEO) to ask what could be done. The head of my division invited me to dinner last night and shared a few reflections.
  • There is genuine fear among some partners that what I am doing will replace their personnel-heavy gravy train with machines and disrupt their operating model.
  • This is a very culturally "old-school" place. There is resentment that some young hothead is rocking the boat, even if it is unspoken. "Bull in a china shop" was the phrase he used.
  • He thinks the partners who are fearful are plain wrong. He can talk to them, but he can't change hearts and minds, especially given this is a partnership.
  • He also doesn't think I shouldn't pull back and "do what I'm told" from the perspective of long-term stewardship of the firm and our clientele. "It wouldn't be the right thing to do."
  • He's really sorry this happened and doesn't want me to leave or God forbid, join a competitor.
  • Gave me a long list of reasons why I should stay and make my career here.
Tactically, he suggested I transfer to another division where this is valued, and he'll try to help me out on the back end.
But you still weren’t made partner, and given how partnership is determined, you’re not likely to be made partner.

Cody6136
Posts: 263
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Cody6136 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:03 am

Mike Scott wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:56 pm
Tread water at work for a while until you can secure and protect your intellectual property and shop it around to a new group or start your own. Then leave when you are ready.
Wisdom!

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8foot7
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:05 am

Did you consult with the rabbi, priest, and imam in a bar?

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8foot7
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:07 am

quantAndHold wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:00 am
Badger1754 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:02 am
Hello friendly Internet strangers - an update on this.

It turns out that my supporters within my division (which included several partners) proactively reached out to the head my division (1 level down from CEO) to ask what could be done. The head of my division invited me to dinner last night and shared a few reflections.
  • There is genuine fear among some partners that what I am doing will replace their personnel-heavy gravy train with machines and disrupt their operating model.
  • This is a very culturally "old-school" place. There is resentment that some young hothead is rocking the boat, even if it is unspoken. "Bull in a china shop" was the phrase he used.
  • He thinks the partners who are fearful are plain wrong. He can talk to them, but he can't change hearts and minds, especially given this is a partnership.
  • He also doesn't think I shouldn't pull back and "do what I'm told" from the perspective of long-term stewardship of the firm and our clientele. "It wouldn't be the right thing to do."
  • He's really sorry this happened and doesn't want me to leave or God forbid, join a competitor.
  • Gave me a long list of reasons why I should stay and make my career here.
Tactically, he suggested I transfer to another division where this is valued, and he'll try to help me out on the back end.
But you still weren’t made partner, and given how partnership is determined, you’re not likely to be made partner.
Translation: he wants the revenue you and your methods will develop, because he sees a bright future for you where you will continue to build great things that turn into cash for him if you work there, but he can't convince his peers to admit you to the Finer Things club.

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vitaflo
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by vitaflo » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:21 am

Badger1754 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:02 am
Hello friendly Internet strangers - an update on this.

It turns out that my supporters within my division (which included several partners) proactively reached out to the head my division (1 level down from CEO) to ask what could be done. The head of my division invited me to dinner last night and shared a few reflections.
  • There is genuine fear among some partners that what I am doing will replace their personnel-heavy gravy train with machines and disrupt their operating model.
  • This is a very culturally "old-school" place. There is resentment that some young hothead is rocking the boat, even if it is unspoken. "Bull in a china shop" was the phrase he used.
  • He thinks the partners who are fearful are plain wrong. He can talk to them, but he can't change hearts and minds, especially given this is a partnership.
  • He also doesn't think I shouldn't pull back and "do what I'm told" from the perspective of long-term stewardship of the firm and our clientele. "It wouldn't be the right thing to do."
  • He's really sorry this happened and doesn't want me to leave or God forbid, join a competitor.
  • Gave me a long list of reasons why I should stay and make my career here.
Tactically, he suggested I transfer to another division where this is valued, and he'll try to help me out on the back end.
This throws up so many red flags. I had a conversation similar to this when I was younger. It made me feel good and made me feel like I could genuinely make a difference if I just kept pressing. It didn't work out that way, things only got worse. In hindsight this outcome was obvious, but at the time I couldn't see it because there were people telling me what I wanted to hear.

It's a waste of time to try and change the culture of a place that doesn't want to be changed. Having some people want to change and others not just makes it worse, because there is a lack of direction for the company. It's hard enough to do the right thing, it's even harder when everyone is fighting over what the right thing even is.

Find a firm where you're not the smartest person in the room. Quit wasting your time with these dinosaurs. Your division head buttering you up doesn't change anything. This company has dead weight it can't get rid of and they will be dragging you down for as long as you're there no matter what you do.

PeterParker
Posts: 126
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by PeterParker » Thu Jun 20, 2019 11:50 am

I have to admit.

Analytics and "machine learning" are far different from automation. One is automating repetitive tasks. The other is more of a luxury item that serves up (ideally very profitable) business patterns and angles of attack.

I'm not quite seeing the overlap. And analysts still need to wield these tools. Experts need to weigh in. A simple uninterpreted 'algorithm' can't just direct your firm where to go.

But back to the topic at hand.
You have to decide what's the best path for you. Pros and cons.

I've never one for the "pay your dues, keep quiet, obey authority" -- those are lies told to you, not to your benefit, but someone else's.

HOWEVER, there may be benefit for you making partner (I'm not in this world so can't say).
If there is and you need to play "Uncle Tom" or insert derogatory character, than so be it.

BUT --- here's the advice with this route. Frame your "technological analysis" repeatedly as NOT automation. (Again, machine learning is about extracting value from data assets, not necessarily automation). Frame it as a valuable business service, one you can potentially even resell to other firms or clients. We're all going to be millionaires! Or some other BS. Hint that they can take part in some of the projects. Say that any "freed up time" or resources can certainly be maintained in even MORE PROFITABLE activities and analysis, and there's no intent of staff reduction. Quell people's fears, in other words. If the dinosaurs still fear it, reframe it even further as a "side project" or even say you're "done with that" even if you secretly aren't. Depends on how valuable the "chance" at making partner is.

If it isn't?

Yeah ... open your own shop. Swing for the fences. Forget the dinosaurs. Beat them at their own game. YOLO. Go big or go home. I'm not gray haired but I've seen CEOS --- brilliant ones and terrible ones. The ones that fear progress and technology, or just don't have good business sense? No good. If you can't join 'em ... beat 'em!

Dottie57
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Re: Career advice — asking for the “gray hair perspective”

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:43 pm

Badger1754 wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:21 pm
quantAndHold wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:19 pm
You’re not partner material at this firm.

The data analytics or whatever you’re doing. Does it have the potential to make gobs of money? Can you sell that potential to someone? Possibly at another firm?

That’s how you make partner someplace.
Yes. Yes it does. More than gobs.

But is also threatens people horribly in my profession. There was one senior partner who built his career on doing a type of work that would take several months and a small army of lawyers to do. Over one weekend, I developed a method using Amazon Web Services that cut it down to 1 week and.. um.. me. He was very displeased with me when I rolled it out to another client, and his client caught wind of it, and then called him and angrily asked what else he was withholding from them.
How much did you cut the billables for the firm ? You have to have a strategy for increasing the billing for the company.

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