Some Computer Science Career Advise?

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Topic Author
bouncyboglehead
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Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by bouncyboglehead » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:38 am

Hi,

I'm at an interesting crossroads in my career. I asked some people on reddit, but I think reddit has a tendency of hating whomever you're engaged to at the moment, and it's hard to know if there's bias there. I find people here are a bit more level-headed.

I just got a competing job offer and want some advise on what to do.

I've been at megacorp for a little over nine years as an engineer. I came here straight out of college. For about seven years, I'd been on a particular project, and I'd gotten kind of bored of it. In my last year on it, I started doing some skunkworks projects to be prepared to foundationally change the data model if the opportunity ever arose.

The opportunity arose about a year and a half ago, I got put onto a new project as the only developer on it. It was new languages, new technologies, new everything, and programming was really magical. It's been a boatload of fun.

My project is *very* high-profile. To give you an idea, there's over 10,000 employees at my company, and the CEO is getting personally involved in the progress lately. A couple of months ago, they formed a team around the ingestion process that I'd created and assigned some people around my team to help. Just recently, they said that we were going to release and "freeze the market" on this new product I've been making in October / November and schedule a release. It's going to be mostly vaporware, since we haven't had time to harden it, but whatever. I'm by far the number one most important person on this project. I spend a lot of time helping to train the other few guys that they put in a few months ago to help me. I also come up with new breakthrough solutions whenever seemingly insurmountable hurdles come up.

Backtrack a little bit, I'd had my (prior, remember that they organized a team around this product) manager submit me from promotion from Senior to Staff Engineer at the beginning of the year. I started working with the director on some materials to support that. I heard in May that it wasn't going to happen at that point, though. :(

I was a bit upset since I'd felt that I'd been performing at that level for a good while. So, I interviewed at just one other company. After a lengthy interview process, they gave me an offer for a staff position.

All during this time (the last couple of months), I'd been very open with my (new) manager about my disappointment and that I wanted to find my market value. We both agreed that I'd been performing at the higher level for quite some time and it's disappointing that the promotion didn't come through. He understood and seemed a little scared at the time.

My offer from this other company finally came through. They were a smaller company that just got acquired by a megacorp and are looking to expand very rapidly from the looks of it. I'd be making $60-$70k more on top of my existing pay of about $275k. I'd be joining an individual contributor team, and I think that they want me to have a focus on profiling and optimizing their existing codebase. So, less new development like I'm doing now. I've done a ton of optimization in the past and am really good at it.

I told my manager on Thursday when my offer came through. He says that he's extremely scared and wants to know what to do to make me stay. He told me that he understood my situation and would probably feel similarly given similar events. They had me talk to the senior director on Friday (boss's boss's boss). He said that they were planning on promoting me to staff this winter in the next round of promotions. He also seemed like he didn't want to see me go and wanted to know what to do to make me stay (seemed like he wanted me to know that he was willing to negotiate with me).

At this point, I don't know what to do. I love working at my megacorp, but it's a little stale at times and I wish that there were a new environment. I also appreciate the faith that this new company has put out to me. The recruiter says that he's made only one other Staff Engineer offer in the last 9 months, so they really went out on a limb. One thing that matters more to me than I'd like is that I'd have to move to be closer to the new place to avoid a long commute. I could move, but it's just annoying. There are also not as nice mountain bike trails near where there than where I live and work now.

One thing I've talked about a lot is that I don't want megacorp to feel like I'm holding a gun to their head. If I do choose to stay, and I've held a gun to their head, it feels like it spoils the relationship. I'd rather just leave in that case. But, they really can't afford to lose me, and it would probably go up to the CEO one way or another if I left since these guys have no other option at this point to release on time.

One thing that keeps coming back to my mind is that nearly half my pay right now is in the form of equity grants every year. I'm afraid that if I spoil the situation here that there would be retaliation at equity grant time. So, I feel like I have a high incentive to play nice if I do decide to stay.

What would you do in my situation? Have I already spoiled the situation here?

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:47 am

Decide first what YOU want to do. Although the move sounds like a con, it brings a better location. The new job is more money. The new job values you enough to give you the proper title for the job you'll do.

The old job is secure, comfortable, tolerable. Is tolerable a key word here? The description sounds like a lot of Megacorps who simply decide that the workers should simply get things done and we don't need to promote anyone nor give raises. You didn't say, but are raises generally in the toilet or zero? If they are, you're in good company. My 50 person group allows 2 people a year to get a raise of no more than 3%. The rest get zero. That's just what Megacorp does. Do NOT expect to get a promotion and raise. They will absolutely invent an excuse why they can't do that if you decide to stay.

I guess typing this out....if it were me, I'd give 2 week notice today and start looking for a new place and craigslisting crap I don't need to make the move easier.
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bouncyboglehead
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by bouncyboglehead » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:53 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:47 am
You didn't say, but are raises generally in the toilet or zero?
I think my raises have been very good. I've been at 7% or so the last 4 years or so. They've said that the average for employees is about 3%. I also exceed my AIP percentage by a good 10-20% above average.

yohac
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by yohac » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:56 am

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:38 am
He said that they were planning on promoting me to staff this winter in the next round of promotions.
To me, that would mean exactly nothing.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:59 am

while I don't know "Jack".... i'd have to agree

They've already burned you once, and may feel that you are a "flight risk" in the future anyways.... and may not dangle future important projects your way (to avoid similar issues later). I would have considered that the time to promote you would have been when they assembled a team around your project, especially if the "higher ups" were carefully following the project. That they didn't shows that they might not come through, even now; ideally they would have dropped more incentive options to you as well (to further keep you on board). That they didn't do either may give you insight as to your likely progression. (JMO)

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tc101
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by tc101 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:07 am

Do more interviewing. Maybe you will find something even better than the current offer, or something similar but in a better location. Now is the time to take some time looking for the best thing you can find.

I do agree with other posters that you should eventually leave your current position, but there is no hurry to do that.
Last edited by tc101 on Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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dbr
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by dbr » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:08 am

You can certainly take a chance on moving on and moving up. If you are feeling ambitious that is probably the choice strategy. It is also a choice of more risk for more reward.

I suspect you are already overpaid and possibly overpromoted as far as the system you are in sees you. Megacorps employing 10,000 people don't have employees that are actually indispensible even if your manager is "scared." You may be overestimating the potential in your new project even if the CEO is interested in it and you may be overestimating your role in the project even if it is a blazing success. I have seen that scenario a lot of times in a big company.

What does apply in a big company is patience. Not getting a promotion just now does not mean anything, at least not in a technical job. If everything is going as well as you say the rewards will be there in time. That leads to the other choice, which is to pay attention to business, be sure the project succeeds, and be patient.

medic
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by medic » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:29 am

When I've faced career decisions, I've always looked at what's next after this position. What do I want to do next and is there a position for growth.
What happens after this current project - it will either launch and have amazing acceptance, launch with poo-pah and then plod along, or launch and sink. In those cases, how does the work change and what happens to you/the work you do?

For the "we'll promote you on the next cycle", that's BS. If a megacorp wants to, they can promote and raise at any time. I've done that before for myself and for employees of mine when their work and sustained performance merit the change.

Also, if they only see value in you after you have another option, then that's a big red flag for me. Will this be the only way forward? Can your boss provide you with specifics on why you were not promoted on the last cycle? Words mean little if the actions don't warrant it.

If you take the promo at megacorp, are their comparable peers? That is, if everyone else at that level is a manager with a team of 10 and you're an IC, that's going to be a problem in the future as there's no comparison for annual reviews and no baseline criteria for evaluation.

And, if you do decide to negotiate, be very clear with yourself on what are must haves and what are negotiable options. Money is a tangible portion and companies/HR will often focus on that, but in reality, most moves are triggered by something else. Figure out what that is for you so ensure that your current job can fulfil that. Ensure your new job will as well. If you know people at the new company you could speak with about the environment there, that may help. I wouldn't worry too much about burning bridges here as long as you're speaking in good faith. The only employees we've said never again to in my team are 1) dishonest or 2) those that used us to counter a higher offer elsewhere. For the rest, the door was always open. Many people in our megacorp (100K+) go through a revolving door. Often, you leave for 1-2 years and you come back into the company at 1-2levels higher.

Fianlly, agree with others, you're not indispensable despite the air management and others are blowing at you. As a manager, I've done the same and had the same done to me many times. Just remember Steve Jobs died, the stock didn't blip, and the company continued. Highly doubtful that any of us here are as vital to our company as Jobs was for apple.

Goal33
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Goal33 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:39 am

Company of your current size has data and processes in place. They know if you already told them you have a competing offer that you are out the door. I don't think this is going to work out for you in your current organization.

That said, we don't know if the opportunity you received at the new place is the right one.
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Beehave
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Beehave » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:56 am

Obviously there are huge portions of the situation I do not understand. But here's my take, and it is largely based on this snippet of your post:

"At this point, I don't know what to do. I love working at my megacorp, but it's a little stale at times."

You are working in a place where you have a degree of mobility to work on skunkworks ops that actually gain traction. However, you can get about a 25% raise in pay by going to a smaller company that's been acquired by a larger company to do some optimization of their code. (My question - - is the "optimization" really integration into megacorp's product suite???)

I'd be really worried (1) about losing freedom and intellectual stimulation in the new job and (2) about being hired in to a new place only to be on a project which, after it terminates, what is the future? Will you be sky high off the charts on their pay scale (i.e., the payscale of th megacorp that acquired the startup) and in peril because of that in a year or two when there's a reorg there?

Things go slowly at your megacorp but they do at almost every megacorp. Managers eventually get to be able to do right by you and it sounds as if that's what they want to do. They did not do right by you because your mgmt had to do right by someone else who was suffering a delay - - same as will happen to someone else when you finally get your promotion and raise (which probably still will be less than the competing offer). I'd suggest being very careful about jumping ship. Sounds as if you are on the radar for bigger and better things where you are. But again - - this is based on my partial understanding of incomplete info.

On the other hand, if the salary and stock options at the new place are within the norms for your job position and if the money means a lot to you then jumping might not be unreasonable. Will the new company give you moving and living? Will they compensate for stock options you'll be giving up by leaving? If the answers to the M and L and options questions are "No" then my antenna would be up. There are lots of moving parts here.

Often it is the case that to get ahead requires moving from company to company. I'm just not so sure that this is one of those cases.

Best wishes. You sound very highly skilled and I'm sure you'll do well no matter what you choose in this instance.

Inframan4712
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Inframan4712 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:20 pm

Almost always, take the new position. Never in my career did I regret it. You'll only regret staying, wondering "what if?"

And your current employer isn't likely treat you any better, and probably worse.

HornedToad
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by HornedToad » Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:33 pm

It’s time to leave. You went and got competing offer and it’s much better. Your company had the chance to retain you and chose not to.

Of course your manager is scared you’ll leave, but he couldn’t get it done and the firm didn’t value promotion

Once you’ve actually got the other offer, it’s time to go. Before that there’s flexibility IMO, but they won’t remember your loyalty, they’ll remember you almost left and need to create a succession plan for you

bgatze
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by bgatze » Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:40 pm

HornedToad wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:33 pm
It’s time to leave. You went and got competing offer and it’s much better. Your company had the chance to retain you and chose not to.

Of course your manager is scared you’ll leave, but he couldn’t get it done and the firm didn’t value promotion

Once you’ve actually got the other offer, it’s time to go. Before that there’s flexibility IMO, but they won’t remember your loyalty, they’ll remember you almost left and need to create a succession plan for you
+1 I totally agree with HornedToad. I made the incorrect decision to stay in a nearly identical scenario; however, my employer increased my pay beyond my offer. I accepted and even though they displayed value in my role they implemented a succession plan to ensure they had the leverage moving forward over my position. Time to go and roll the dice on the new company.
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stan1
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by stan1 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:47 pm

I think you should move on. It's in most people's nature to want to grow and do something different after 9 years. Not sure the new offer you have is the best you can get though. What comes after the optimization? What project will you be working on? Do you want to be doing something new and innovative that lets you grow and how would you get involved in that now, while you are also working on optimization?

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Watty
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Watty » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:24 pm

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:38 am
I came here straight out of college. For about seven years,.....
I am a retired software developer

1) There is a phrase then I have heard occasionally over the years. "Technically inbred". You can learn a lot by just working in different environments and if you stay at the same company too long there is a risk they future potential employers will wonder how well you will be able to work in a different environment.

2) If you stay then one of your managers major goals will be to make you very replaceable so they will not be in a bind if you leave next year. If there is a layoff or reorganization then there is an increased risk that you will be laid off once they know how to replace you.

3) It is very rare for it to work out well when someone stays at a job because they got a counteroffer. More money is always nice but that is rarely the main reason that they looked for a different job.

Beehave
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Beehave » Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:08 pm

I'm a bit disturbed by the number of people willing to provide such cock-sure recommendations that the OP should definitely leave. Just because some people leave and never regret it, it's not a reason that the OP should leave, because the opposite happens too.

What is clear from the OP's post is that OP has been able at his or her discretion been able to work on skunk works projects at a megacorp that have gained traction and now have the attention of the CEO. In my experience at two MEGACORPs (deliberately in caps) in IT and finance, skunkworks projects get pooped on by the big boys and girls who have budgets and vested interests in their own plans and projects and view you and your skunkworks effort as exceedingly unwelcome intrusions.

If you are creative, leaving a place where you actually have respect and traction for your creativity is taking a big risk - - especially if you are already earning good money. The better money elsewhere is great, but if the work is less secure and less interesting or if your truly innovative ideas are going to be squashed by the "not-invented-here' mentality of others with more power, then the trade-off will be a very, very bad one. Moreover, I see nothing in the OP's post indicating whether or not the project he/she is being hired into in the new corporation has legs beyond implementation or is actually intellectually stimulating or that the pay grade in the new job will not place the OP in peril because off being off the pay chart for their individual contributor position when there is the near-inevitable reorg that will take place when the startup that was acquired gets rolled into the acquiring megacorp.

I have no idea about what the OP's actual situation will be and whether these concerns are or are not likely outcomes. But that's enough to make me question the proposed move to the new company, and there's also enough in there to make me feel like the OP has possibly or even probably not burned his/her bridges in the current place of work. OP needs to be very careful about both sides of whether to stay or go. But from personal experience, being creative in a workplace where your creativity is valued and you have a degree of control is wonderful and being creative in an environment where your better ideas are squashed by more powerful people with worse ideas is very unpleasant, regardless of the dough. Beware of leaving the former unless you are really certain it is not for the latter.

Best wishes.

simas
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by simas » Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:28 pm

Beehave wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:08 pm
I'm a bit disturbed by the number of people willing to provide such cock-sure recommendations that the OP should definitely leave. Just because some people leave and never regret it, it's not a reason that the OP should leave, because the opposite happens too.

I do not know if OP made a typo (275k in comp for 7 years out of college is far beyond exceptional ) but assume he/she didn't
- attention of CEO may or may not mean anything
- company either wants to keep you enough to make things happen, or does not make things happen which tells you everything you want to know. Many ways to do so from restricted grants that vest over time that are sizable enough to outweigh comp differences to other ways to 'make you whole'. Going with 'we will deal with it in next review cycle' is very weak..

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pointyhairedboss
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by pointyhairedboss » Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:51 pm

Another software developer here. Here are my axioms to having a good CS career.
  • Companies do not always notice when an entry level dev has moved up to the next level. You sometimes have to job hop to be viewed and paid as something other than a junior dev
  • Focus on maintaining a marketable skill set. This is the key to job security and salaries in the long run. Job hopping to a positions that don't help your skill set - either because of a higher salary and better job security at your current employer - is a short term gain and long term loss.
  • If you don't have a marketable skill set as a senior dev, it can be very difficult to catch up.
    1) Companies are less willing to train senior devs than junior devs. They won't give you the opportunities to catch up. They will instead find and train a junior dev at less cost.
    2) The older you get, the less free time you'll have outside of work to catch up on your skill set. You'll likely have spouse and family commitments.
  • Whether it be through job hopping or switching projects, it is wise to get exposure to different projects. You don't want to be the dev with 1 years experience repeated 15 times.
  • Don't be so eager to leave a project if you are a) getting good experience with marketable skills and b) working with smart people that treat you with respect and value your skills, particularly your boss

rich126
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by rich126 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:13 pm

I'm probably in the minority but in my 30+ years of working in the tech world (although a chunk of it was in government), I've never asked a manager for more money. I've asked to do different work, asked for more work because I'm bored, etc. but never for a promotion or money.

I kind of figure if someone thinks I deserve more then I will get it, and if they don't but I do, then it is in my best interest to look elsewhere. If I have to ask for more money I just think in the long run things won't work out.

I find it strange that a large company is reluctant to give you a promotion if your work is that important. The salary already seems pretty high but that may be because of location or I'm just out of touch with salaries.

I would say if you are happy where you are, and don't need the money/promotion it may be wiser to stay where you are. Getting stuck in a bad position is pure torture and I've mostly avoided that but there is a year or two that I didn't and it was tough. Days seem to never end.

Good luck.

an_asker
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by an_asker » Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:33 pm

Beehave wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:08 pm
I'm a bit disturbed by the number of people willing to provide such cock-sure recommendations that the OP should definitely leave. Just because some people leave and never regret it, it's not a reason that the OP should leave, because the opposite happens too.

What is clear from the OP's post is that OP has been able at his or her discretion been able to work on skunk works projects at a megacorp that have gained traction and now have the attention of the CEO. In my experience at two MEGACORPs (deliberately in caps) in IT and finance, skunkworks projects get pooped on by the big boys and girls who have budgets and vested interests in their own plans and projects and view you and your skunkworks effort as exceedingly unwelcome intrusions.

If you are creative, leaving a place where you actually have respect and traction for your creativity is taking a big risk - - especially if you are already earning good money. The better money elsewhere is great, but if the work is less secure and less interesting or if your truly innovative ideas are going to be squashed by the "not-invented-here' mentality of others with more power, then the trade-off will be a very, very bad one. Moreover, I see nothing in the OP's post indicating whether or not the project he/she is being hired into in the new corporation has legs beyond implementation or is actually intellectually stimulating or that the pay grade in the new job will not place the OP in peril because off being off the pay chart for their individual contributor position when there is the near-inevitable reorg that will take place when the startup that was acquired gets rolled into the acquiring megacorp.

I have no idea about what the OP's actual situation will be and whether these concerns are or are not likely outcomes. But that's enough to make me question the proposed move to the new company, and there's also enough in there to make me feel like the OP has possibly or even probably not burned his/her bridges in the current place of work. OP needs to be very careful about both sides of whether to stay or go. But from personal experience, being creative in a workplace where your creativity is valued and you have a degree of control is wonderful and being creative in an environment where your better ideas are squashed by more powerful people with worse ideas is very unpleasant, regardless of the dough. Beware of leaving the former unless you are really certain it is not for the latter.

Best wishes.
You might well be right in everything you say. However, here is what I am reading (correct me if I am wrong, OP):

- OP has informed folks in his company that he has actively been seeking an alternative position and that he/she has got one

- OP has already informed upper management in his company about his desire for better position/pay and that there have only been promises until now - when he finally announced that he has an alternative position - that he's seeing some traction BUT STILL no action

- what you refer to as OP's creative side can always be performed outside of the company as what folks here refer to as a "side hustle" (which might end up being the big thing one of these days)

PS: I appreciate the fact that OP would even consider my opinion because a) I don't make much more than a third of what OP makes and am way older than OP and b) folks I know wouldn't care for my opinion (most of them make more than I do and I have observed that - in real life - folks don't care for the opinions of those who make less than they do)

mountain-lion
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by mountain-lion » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:11 pm

Also a software developer here, with more decades of experience than I care to mention.
pointyhairedboss wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:51 pm
  • Companies do not always notice when an entry level dev has moved up to the next level. You sometimes have to job hop to be viewed and paid as something other than a junior dev
This happens a lot with "entry-level" developers, but it happens a lot with the other levels too. For me, every single significant change in compensation, level, and responsibilities came from switching companies--except one, where I switched to a dramatically different part of a giant company--so different that it may as well have been a different company. The problem is endemic to the industry. I call such switches "diagonal promotions", and diagonal promotions are far more common than normal ones. For whatever reason, tech companies are eager to hire someone at a high level, but reluctant to promote people to a high level.
  • Whether it be through job hopping or switching projects, it is wise to get exposure to different projects. You don't want to be the dev with 1 years experience repeated 15 times.
Very sage advice.
  • Don't be so eager to leave a project if you are a) getting good experience with marketable skills and b) working with smart people that treat you with respect and value your skills, particularly your boss
There is no substitute for working with smart, respectful colleagues. No substitute at all--it is worth a hit financially and other ways as well.

All that said, I think switching jobs in this case makes some sense. For that much more money and a new outlook on life, you can do very well. Check the team you are going to extremely closely.

I have friends who have switched companies, then switched back a year or two later at a higher level. Those folks are almost certainly better off than had they stayed at the first, or the second, companies.

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bouncyboglehead
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by bouncyboglehead » Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm

Thanks so much for the responses!

I had another talk with the senior director today. He says that he's had four people in the last nine months that have wanted to quit, and I'm the first one that he's offered to talk to (implying that he likes me). He said that the VP and Senior VP (reports to CEO) knew about my situation and were ready to talk to me if it would help. I asked for feedback at the end, and he said that being completely honest that I have a self-image problem. I see myself as less than I should, or at least think other people perceive me as less than where I am. He told me that others respect me highly, especially technically. I don't know what this means, but I thanked him for the feedback.

@simas $275k was not a mistake (I live in a MCOL city too). Nearly half of it is equity, though. My salary is $150k. Fair market value of my equity that will vest in Jan 2020 is $125k at the moment along with a 7% salary AIP bonus. I have about $250k in unvested equity. The new offer includes a salary of $175k, a 20% bonus, and $250k in equity. I am actually 9 years out of college, though. Not 7.

He said that we could go through HR and get a counteroffer. He had no hesitation to do that. He said that HR would likely not exactly match the other offer since they generally don't have to because they don't need to most of the time to make people want to stay.

My understanding is I'd be put onto an existing product at the new company. I'm spearheading and creating a new product where I am now. In terms of my career, there's a part of me that wants to bring this new product all the way to success. That would be a terrific feather in my cap. I have a lot of respect where I am now. Moving to the new company, it'd be harder for awhile to be able to demonstrate the difference that I'd make. I would be able to come with different perspectives than they perhaps have, but it'd probably take some time for them to trust me enough to listen.

I guess that option 3 could be early retirement? I have $2MM net worth saved up, and my wife and I can live on $40k/year pretty easily ... :) We're both in our early 30s.

@Inframan4712 I don't know if they'll just treat me worse. It might take a year or two to normalize again. But, if I get a promotion now, then I'll be five years out from a major change after that anyway. I was in a much worse situation five years ago or so and much more disgruntled with my employer. I went out and got another offer and eventually stayed. My pay has essentially doubled since then with the additional equity I've been granted since then and the generous raises. My raise was only 3% that year, though, since they said that I'd already been given a raise as part of the counteroffer. It also was not until the year after that one that they started granting me a lot more equity.

Just writing that -- perhaps Sr. Director is right and I do have a self-image problem. Knowing myself, I think he's probably right. There's some stuff to work through that might be easier to work through in a new environment, but might not be.

I wonder if I should just not even ask them to counteroffer and just stay with the under-the-table agreement from the sr. director that he'd do as well as he could this winter when promotions come around. That would be the least risky in terms of how they perceive me if I do stay. It means that I commit to staying with no change in status quo and they don't have to go to HR, but I did already raise some stink recently.

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Watty
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Watty » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:44 pm

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
I guess that option 3 could be early retirement? I have $2MM net worth saved up, and my wife and I can live on $40k/year pretty easily ... We're both in our early 30s.
In a tough situation you could do OK but even if you have a paid off house living on $40K a year would be pretty frugal after paying for things like health insurance.

I would put that day dream on the back burner for at least another 5-10 years.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by HornedToad » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:46 pm

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
Thanks so much for the responses!

I had another talk with the senior director today. He says that he's had four people in the last nine months that have wanted to quit, and I'm the first one that he's offered to talk to (implying that he likes me). He said that the VP and Senior VP (reports to CEO) knew about my situation and were ready to talk to me if it would help. I asked for feedback at the end, and he said that being completely honest that I have a self-image problem. I see myself as less than I should, or at least think other people perceive me as less than where I am. He told me that others respect me highly, especially technically. I don't know what this means, but I thanked him for the feedback.

He said that we could go through HR and get a counteroffer. He had no hesitation to do that. He said that HR would likely not exactly match the other offer since they generally don't have to because they don't need to most of the time to make people want to stay


Just writing that -- perhaps Sr. Director is right and I do have a self-image problem. Knowing myself, I think he's probably right. There's some stuff to work through that might be easier to work through in a new environment, but might not be.
Recognizing it’s always easier to give advice on someone else’s life, but here’s a few follow up thoughts

1. Are you searching for career satisfaction/advancement or life satisfaction? They may or may not be the same thing
2. You do have a self-image problem AND YOUR company is taking advantage of it. They don’t think you are willing to leave so can slow play promotions or raises/“compensation match” because they don’t have to. If they thought so highly of you, they should promote you. It’s not a self image problem to recognize you are worth more and apply elsewhere because you can’t trust when the company would ever act.
3. To my original question, switching will be you taking over ownership of career and market value and make you willing to leave again if needed. But if you want to retire in 5 years or so and you like current life it’s not bad to stay. I would lean to make them give you counteroffer for your self-worth/self-image but I’m not in your shoes

Best of luck. It’s always hard to leave the first employer if they treat you decently

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by rj342 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:53 pm

Aspects of your post gives me PTSD flashbacks.

Topic Author
bouncyboglehead
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by bouncyboglehead » Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:10 pm

rj342 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:53 pm
Aspects of your post gives me PTSD flashbacks.
PTSD flashbacks?

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by bmr12 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:51 pm

Software engineering director here—it’s time to go. If it doesn’t work out at the new place, the old place will likely take you back if you really want it.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by bluquark » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:15 pm

It's pretty rich for them to say you have a self-image problem in trying to justify that they kept you at a lower level but, I guess, "respect you as if" you are at the higher level, so you should be happy if you just had more self-respect (??).

Take the outside offer. In the worst case, you can bounce back to this company or, probably you will have no desire to come back and you can bounce to a third company. Either way taking the offer is a guaranteed way to get the Staff level to stick, whereas they are signaling quite clearly you are in for more dangling and lowballing if you stay (a policy of not matching exactly? what nonsense).

By the way, I'm more or less a lifer at my current megacorp, 11 years now and I still have no plans to leave. So my advice is not coming from a serial job hopper. But if they started treating me like yours is, I would leave.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:20 pm

Stay where you are, lock in the counteroffer, and then see the project through.

Then re-evaluate.

Outside options will always be there.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by bluquark » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:31 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:20 pm
Outside options will always be there.
Not necessarily at Staff. It's a hard lift to get to that level.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by phxjcc » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:32 pm

The only caution I would give is that going to LITLLE COMPANY now owned by BIG COMPANY may leave you vulnerable at the end of 6 to 18 months when BIG COMPANY decides to move all of LITTLE COMPANY's work to BIG COMPANY.

Worked for BIG COMPANY, we bought businesses in Memphis, Phoenix, Denver.
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, "we are not going to change a thing because you guys are great at what you do".

All remote offices closed and "integrated into our central location to create greater synergies" within 2 years.

Alternatively, BIG COMPANY's P&L tanks, and they sell LITTLE COMPANY to ANOTHER BIG COMPANY.

Saw that in an acquisition in Philly. ANOTHER BIG COMPANY shut down Philly within 6 months and offered relo to anyone willing to move to MS.

Net/net is you won't have any time in and your severance could therefore be small.

At your salary and net worth, I would still jump ship, just keep your eyes and ears open.
Last edited by phxjcc on Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by NoFred » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:10 am

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
Thanks so much for the responses!

I had another talk with the senior director today. He says that he's had four people in the last nine months that have wanted to quit, and I'm the first one that he's offered to talk to (implying that he likes me). He said that the VP and Senior VP (reports to CEO) knew about my situation and were ready to talk to me if it would help. I asked for feedback at the end, and he said that being completely honest that I have a self-image problem. I see myself as less than I should, or at least think other people perceive me as less than where I am. He told me that others respect me highly, especially technically. I don't know what this means, but I thanked him for the feedback.

@simas $275k was not a mistake (I live in a MCOL city too). Nearly half of it is equity, though. My salary is $150k. Fair market value of my equity that will vest in Jan 2020 is $125k at the moment along with a 7% salary AIP bonus. I have about $250k in unvested equity. The new offer includes a salary of $175k, a 20% bonus, and $250k in equity. I am actually 9 years out of college, though. Not 7.

He said that we could go through HR and get a counteroffer. He had no hesitation to do that. He said that HR would likely not exactly match the other offer since they generally don't have to because they don't need to most of the time to make people want to stay.

My understanding is I'd be put onto an existing product at the new company. I'm spearheading and creating a new product where I am now. In terms of my career, there's a part of me that wants to bring this new product all the way to success. That would be a terrific feather in my cap. I have a lot of respect where I am now. Moving to the new company, it'd be harder for awhile to be able to demonstrate the difference that I'd make. I would be able to come with different perspectives than they perhaps have, but it'd probably take some time for them to trust me enough to listen.

I guess that option 3 could be early retirement? I have $2MM net worth saved up, and my wife and I can live on $40k/year pretty easily ... :) We're both in our early 30s.

@Inframan4712 I don't know if they'll just treat me worse. It might take a year or two to normalize again. But, if I get a promotion now, then I'll be five years out from a major change after that anyway. I was in a much worse situation five years ago or so and much more disgruntled with my employer. I went out and got another offer and eventually stayed. My pay has essentially doubled since then with the additional equity I've been granted since then and the generous raises. My raise was only 3% that year, though, since they said that I'd already been given a raise as part of the counteroffer. It also was not until the year after that one that they started granting me a lot more equity.

Just writing that -- perhaps Sr. Director is right and I do have a self-image problem. Knowing myself, I think he's probably right. There's some stuff to work through that might be easier to work through in a new environment, but might not be.

I wonder if I should just not even ask them to counteroffer and just stay with the under-the-table agreement from the sr. director that he'd do as well as he could this winter when promotions come around. That would be the least risky in terms of how they perceive me if I do stay. It means that I commit to staying with no change in status quo and they don't have to go to HR, but I did already raise some stink recently.
Sr Director did a fantastic job of putting this on your shoulders in order to keep the counteroffer low. With your NW, apparent skills, and offer in hand please do not heed interpersonal feedback from someone that shouldn’t be giving it.

If you want to stay get the promotion now, so the new role is on your cv if you decide to leave later on.
-NoFred

Nathan Drake
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Nathan Drake » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:13 am

That compensation only 9 years out is insane especially for MCOL, and the NW even more crazy.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:31 am

You’re underpaid. Maybe the offer you have in hand isn’t the right one but I’d keep searching.

medic
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by medic » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:38 am

Assuming money is the primary reason to move. generally, you shouldn't switch firms for <20% increase in compensation. There's a tax to moving into a new firm with new politics and networks to build which means your initial movement/raises will likely be muted. The 20% compensates you for that. Before you accept the new offer, I'd push them for more. HR rarely gives top offers as the initial offer. Worse they say is no, but upside is a permanent boost to your compensation.

As far as your manager is concerned, they're totally trying to keep you for less. Remember, your managers and HR work for the company, not you or your interests. As a manager in MEGACORP (100K+ employees), we can push HR a lot of ways if we want a candidate or to keep an employee. The Sr Director telling you HR won't do something is either him trying to lower expectations so you're just happy they gave you something or admitting that he has absolutely no authority. HR tries to keep employees at each levels in certain compensation bands. Find out where you are in that band for your role and what the band is for the next level. If you're actually going to negotiate this, information is key and right now, you know very little beyond the flattery they're laying on you.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by medic » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:45 am

Nathan Drake wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:13 am
That compensation only 9 years out is insane especially for MCOL, and the NW even more crazy.
That compensation isn't far off. I'd venture even low. New hires in my MEGACORP (HCOL) are coming in at ~$100K midpoint salary, ~10-20% annual bonuses, and 5-10% equity. If they're moderately capable, they're promoted rapidly in the first few years(2-3 promos in ~5 years) and easily at 150K annually by then with greater portions of their overall compensation in bonus and equity.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by forgeblast » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:30 am

No experience in this field but I am a creative type.
I, myself would stay to see the project finished. I would also listen and see what HR can do, if its nothing then you know....
If your able to retire then the money is not the motivating factor and the motivation for moving is the title etc... Would you get a better title or position with a completed project that you can say you started and finished? or does that not matter...
I am not in the corporate world, I have no idea whats involved in that jungle.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by simas » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:52 am

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
@simas $275k was not a mistake (I live in a MCOL city too). Nearly half of it is equity, though. My salary is $150k. Fair market value of my equity that will vest in Jan 2020 is $125k at the moment along with a 7% salary AIP bonus. I have about $250k in unvested equity. The new offer includes a salary of $175k, a 20% bonus, and $250k in equity. I am actually 9 years out of college, though. Not 7.
ok, this makes much more sense. Reason I asked is that people read some number and get very confused/unrealistic 'but so-so said their salary as software engineer staff is 275k in blah-blah-blah, now I want the same without moving to SF or somewhere else and can't realize why I can not get any offers'... 150k is normal/on a higher side pay for your level, role description. the equity comp (which you have earned over multiple years) is also inline with what I have seen. I had engineering paid similar base as you (130-140), who had their bonuses annually (straight cash), and equity grants (RSU/options over 4 years typically). depending on the stock behavior , their package was from 150-300 as equity vested, and all of this not in California/Seattle/NYC/etc. normal MCOL locations across southwest, Midwest, etc. but good engineers knowing what they were doing.
bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
He said that we could go through HR and get a counteroffer. He had no hesitation to do that. He said that HR would likely not exactly match the other offer since they generally don't have to because they don't need to most of the time to make people want to stay.
And what I bolded does not make sense - person is either too low level to know or just not being truthful to you. HR decides nothing in this cases, they are support function whos job is to execute what your management wants, legally and properly. They have no say in what your management offers, how, etc. At most , they can advice on various considerations and beyond it all is 'management discretion'. Your management decides whether they are willing to spend political capital and pull money out of discretionary funds set specifically for this purposes, notify Finance/Accounting, etc. These are all items things that your managing director, VPs, officers handle routinely. Do not let anyone tell you of HR boogieman or some other nonsense - if they want to pay you X , they will make it pretty easily. if they do not want to pay you X, then you have your answer.

rj342
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by rj342 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:28 pm

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:10 pm
rj342 wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:53 pm
Aspects of your post gives me PTSD flashbacks.
PTSD flashbacks?
Terrible experience with one company I was at 8 years, a few years ago. Still get angry if I think about it too much.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by cashboy » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:31 pm

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 9:38 am
He said that they were planning on promoting me to staff this winter in the next round of promotions.

i was in IT. that promise means nothing. it is a classic 'react mode move' on the part of sleazy or bumbling managers. they promise you something in the future (which they might not even be able to deliver) and bs you by telling you that they planned to do this (to make you think they are looking out for you). so, why didn't they tell you before? because it is likely bs.

years ago one of my best friends found a job at a better company, megacorp-new, and gave notice to megacorp-old. the megacorp-old sleazy manager told my friend that megacorp-old was going to promote my friend within several months and increase his salary. so, my friend stayed at megacorp-old waiting for the promotion and salary increase - he got cut months later in a round of job eliminations before he saw either.

now, putting that aside, once you tell your current employer you found another job, and are considering it, your current employer will not look at you the same way (that is: you will be viewed poorly; as a 'runner' who if you do not leave now will leave in the future).
FSPSX - FXAIX - FXNAX - CD - CASH - canned beans - rice

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Watty
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Watty » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:58 pm

Just for some perspective in a medium cost of living area you may be making more than some directors or even VPs in other departments are making at your current company.

That can result in some weird dynamics.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Nathan Drake » Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:23 pm

simas wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:52 am
bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
@simas $275k was not a mistake (I live in a MCOL city too). Nearly half of it is equity, though. My salary is $150k. Fair market value of my equity that will vest in Jan 2020 is $125k at the moment along with a 7% salary AIP bonus. I have about $250k in unvested equity. The new offer includes a salary of $175k, a 20% bonus, and $250k in equity. I am actually 9 years out of college, though. Not 7.
ok, this makes much more sense. Reason I asked is that people read some number and get very confused/unrealistic 'but so-so said their salary as software engineer staff is 275k in blah-blah-blah, now I want the same without moving to SF or somewhere else and can't realize why I can not get any offers'... 150k is normal/on a higher side pay for your level, role description. the equity comp (which you have earned over multiple years) is also inline with what I have seen. I had engineering paid similar base as you (130-140), who had their bonuses annually (straight cash), and equity grants (RSU/options over 4 years typically). depending on the stock behavior , their package was from 150-300 as equity vested, and all of this not in California/Seattle/NYC/etc. normal MCOL locations across southwest, Midwest, etc. but good engineers knowing what they were doing.
bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
He said that we could go through HR and get a counteroffer. He had no hesitation to do that. He said that HR would likely not exactly match the other offer since they generally don't have to because they don't need to most of the time to make people want to stay.
And what I bolded does not make sense - person is either too low level to know or just not being truthful to you. HR decides nothing in this cases, they are support function whos job is to execute what your management wants, legally and properly. They have no say in what your management offers, how, etc. At most , they can advice on various considerations and beyond it all is 'management discretion'. Your management decides whether they are willing to spend political capital and pull money out of discretionary funds set specifically for this purposes, notify Finance/Accounting, etc. These are all items things that your managing director, VPs, officers handle routinely. Do not let anyone tell you of HR boogieman or some other nonsense - if they want to pay you X , they will make it pretty easily. if they do not want to pay you X, then you have your answer.
This is likely only somewhat normal in software engineering...I have same experience, slightly lower base, and my equity grants are nowhere even close. Less than 10% of base salary for a principal level role...not in software.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by jh » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:26 pm

bouncyboglehead,

I'm a paranoid and very cautious person. I don't blame you at all for looking for another offer and bringing that up as a negotiation tactic. Unfortunately, it didn't work. They balked. So, IMHO the die is cast, and you should leave. I hope you realized from the beginning that when you set things in motion it was a do or die situation.

You are too high profile for this to be forgotten about. They now know you are not enslaved to the company, and are willing to leave. So, they will never trust you again (well, depends on the turnover above you). It would be foolish for them to put you into such an important role again in the future. So, your career trajectory is now limited.

On the bright side, my observation is that the fastest way to advance now a days is by jumping ship every 5-10 years. The current generation of US management that has been in power the last few decades doesn't reward "loyalty". If you stay too long at a single employer your basically a patsy. It was inevitable that you would need to jump ship at some point.

I would suggest that you go into your next position planning to jump ship in 5+ years as well.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by KyleAAA » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:47 pm

Leaving is risky because, at the higher levels, success is as much about cultural fit as technical skill. If they are bringing you in at staff, they are expecting you to lead in one way or another and there are pitfalls there that have nothing to do with how good you are at optimizing code. That said, a 25% raise is significant and if you've only ever worked one place, you probably suffer from insular thinking without even recognizing it and you'd benefit in the long run from breaking free. In this situation I would and have taken the new job.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by GeoffD » Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:57 am

Nathan Drake wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:23 pm
simas wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:52 am
bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
@simas $275k was not a mistake (I live in a MCOL city too). Nearly half of it is equity, though. My salary is $150k. Fair market value of my equity that will vest in Jan 2020 is $125k at the moment along with a 7% salary AIP bonus. I have about $250k in unvested equity. The new offer includes a salary of $175k, a 20% bonus, and $250k in equity. I am actually 9 years out of college, though. Not 7.
ok, this makes much more sense. Reason I asked is that people read some number and get very confused/unrealistic 'but so-so said their salary as software engineer staff is 275k in blah-blah-blah, now I want the same without moving to SF or somewhere else and can't realize why I can not get any offers'... 150k is normal/on a higher side pay for your level, role description. the equity comp (which you have earned over multiple years) is also inline with what I have seen. I had engineering paid similar base as you (130-140), who had their bonuses annually (straight cash), and equity grants (RSU/options over 4 years typically). depending on the stock behavior , their package was from 150-300 as equity vested, and all of this not in California/Seattle/NYC/etc. normal MCOL locations across southwest, Midwest, etc. but good engineers knowing what they were doing.
bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
He said that we could go through HR and get a counteroffer. He had no hesitation to do that. He said that HR would likely not exactly match the other offer since they generally don't have to because they don't need to most of the time to make people want to stay.
And what I bolded does not make sense - person is either too low level to know or just not being truthful to you. HR decides nothing in this cases, they are support function whos job is to execute what your management wants, legally and properly. They have no say in what your management offers, how, etc. At most , they can advice on various considerations and beyond it all is 'management discretion'. Your management decides whether they are willing to spend political capital and pull money out of discretionary funds set specifically for this purposes, notify Finance/Accounting, etc. These are all items things that your managing director, VPs, officers handle routinely. Do not let anyone tell you of HR boogieman or some other nonsense - if they want to pay you X , they will make it pretty easily. if they do not want to pay you X, then you have your answer.
This is likely only somewhat normal in software engineering...I have same experience, slightly lower base, and my equity grants are nowhere even close. Less than 10% of base salary for a principal level role...not in software.
I’d presume the OP has options. The market is very inflated at the moment. Those options could become valueless overnight in a market correction. The thing to address is base pay. You can’t spend options that are underwater and it’s a classic mistake to count that before you vest. A strong principal engineer in the Boston market makes $175 base and around $185 if they walk on water. The only people making more are people getting recruited out of Google/Facebook. Get that base number up from $150 and make sure the bonus plan is tied to individual metrics. Options and bonus tied to company performance have a way of vaporizing.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by JeffAL » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:17 am

The moment you told them you had a competing offer is when you began to leave your current company.

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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by Pobre » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:10 am

bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
Thanks so much for the responses!

I had another talk with the senior director today. He says that he's had four people in the last nine months that have wanted to quit, and I'm the first one that he's offered to talk to (implying that he likes me). He said that the VP and Senior VP (reports to CEO) knew about my situation and were ready to talk to me if it would help. I asked for feedback at the end, and he said that being completely honest that I have a self-image problem. I see myself as less than I should, or at least think other people perceive me as less than where I am. He told me that others respect me highly, especially technically. I don't know what this means, but I thanked him for the feedback.

@simas $275k was not a mistake (I live in a MCOL city too). Nearly half of it is equity, though. My salary is $150k. Fair market value of my equity that will vest in Jan 2020 is $125k at the moment along with a 7% salary AIP bonus. I have about $250k in unvested equity. The new offer includes a salary of $175k, a 20% bonus, and $250k in equity. I am actually 9 years out of college, though. Not 7.

He said that we could go through HR and get a counteroffer. He had no hesitation to do that. He said that HR would likely not exactly match the other offer since they generally don't have to because they don't need to most of the time to make people want to stay.

My understanding is I'd be put onto an existing product at the new company. I'm spearheading and creating a new product where I am now. In terms of my career, there's a part of me that wants to bring this new product all the way to success. That would be a terrific feather in my cap. I have a lot of respect where I am now. Moving to the new company, it'd be harder for awhile to be able to demonstrate the difference that I'd make. I would be able to come with different perspectives than they perhaps have, but it'd probably take some time for them to trust me enough to listen.

I guess that option 3 could be early retirement? I have $2MM net worth saved up, and my wife and I can live on $40k/year pretty easily ... :) We're both in our early 30s.

@Inframan4712 I don't know if they'll just treat me worse. It might take a year or two to normalize again. But, if I get a promotion now, then I'll be five years out from a major change after that anyway. I was in a much worse situation five years ago or so and much more disgruntled with my employer. I went out and got another offer and eventually stayed. My pay has essentially doubled since then with the additional equity I've been granted since then and the generous raises. My raise was only 3% that year, though, since they said that I'd already been given a raise as part of the counteroffer. It also was not until the year after that one that they started granting me a lot more equity.

Just writing that -- perhaps Sr. Director is right and I do have a self-image problem. Knowing myself, I think he's probably right. There's some stuff to work through that might be easier to work through in a new environment, but might not be.

I wonder if I should just not even ask them to counteroffer and just stay with the under-the-table agreement from the sr. director that he'd do as well as he could this winter when promotions come around. That would be the least risky in terms of how they perceive me if I do stay. It means that I commit to staying with no change in status quo and they don't have to go to HR, but I did already raise some stink recently.
Based on what you wrote, your current employer seems to be toying with you and lying to you. If anything they said were true, they would have immediately matched or beat the offer you got from the other company. Leave, take the new job, without hesitation.

If retiring now is an option to you, then all the more reason to take the new job with more money, save and invest most if not all of it, then retire more comfortably in 5 years or so.

Good luck to you!

mountain-lion
Posts: 67
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by mountain-lion » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:55 am

jh wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:26 pm
You are too high profile for this to be forgotten about. They now know you are not enslaved to the company, and are willing to leave. So, they will never trust you again (well, depends on the turnover above you). It would be foolish for them to put you into such an important role again in the future. So, your career trajectory is now limited.
This is not my experience at all. And not many others' experience either. People bounce back and forth between a small group of companies all the time.

Take Ian Goodfellow (the AI researcher) for example:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ian-goodfellow-b7187213

Switched from Google to OpenAI, back to Google to Apple, and it has been no big deal. There are many people like him.

It may be harder to do in small companies, but most big companies know it is just business. If you switch, do good work for a while, and switch again, most companies won't have hard feelings. It's just business, and everyone knows it.

KyleAAA
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:02 pm

GeoffD wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 2:57 am
Nathan Drake wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 9:23 pm
simas wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:52 am
bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
@simas $275k was not a mistake (I live in a MCOL city too). Nearly half of it is equity, though. My salary is $150k. Fair market value of my equity that will vest in Jan 2020 is $125k at the moment along with a 7% salary AIP bonus. I have about $250k in unvested equity. The new offer includes a salary of $175k, a 20% bonus, and $250k in equity. I am actually 9 years out of college, though. Not 7.
ok, this makes much more sense. Reason I asked is that people read some number and get very confused/unrealistic 'but so-so said their salary as software engineer staff is 275k in blah-blah-blah, now I want the same without moving to SF or somewhere else and can't realize why I can not get any offers'... 150k is normal/on a higher side pay for your level, role description. the equity comp (which you have earned over multiple years) is also inline with what I have seen. I had engineering paid similar base as you (130-140), who had their bonuses annually (straight cash), and equity grants (RSU/options over 4 years typically). depending on the stock behavior , their package was from 150-300 as equity vested, and all of this not in California/Seattle/NYC/etc. normal MCOL locations across southwest, Midwest, etc. but good engineers knowing what they were doing.
bouncyboglehead wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:24 pm
He said that we could go through HR and get a counteroffer. He had no hesitation to do that. He said that HR would likely not exactly match the other offer since they generally don't have to because they don't need to most of the time to make people want to stay.
And what I bolded does not make sense - person is either too low level to know or just not being truthful to you. HR decides nothing in this cases, they are support function whos job is to execute what your management wants, legally and properly. They have no say in what your management offers, how, etc. At most , they can advice on various considerations and beyond it all is 'management discretion'. Your management decides whether they are willing to spend political capital and pull money out of discretionary funds set specifically for this purposes, notify Finance/Accounting, etc. These are all items things that your managing director, VPs, officers handle routinely. Do not let anyone tell you of HR boogieman or some other nonsense - if they want to pay you X , they will make it pretty easily. if they do not want to pay you X, then you have your answer.
This is likely only somewhat normal in software engineering...I have same experience, slightly lower base, and my equity grants are nowhere even close. Less than 10% of base salary for a principal level role...not in software.
I’d presume the OP has options. The market is very inflated at the moment. Those options could become valueless overnight in a market correction. The thing to address is base pay. You can’t spend options that are underwater and it’s a classic mistake to count that before you vest. A strong principal engineer in the Boston market makes $175 base and around $185 if they walk on water. The only people making more are people getting recruited out of Google/Facebook. Get that base number up from $150 and make sure the bonus plan is tied to individual metrics. Options and bonus tied to company performance have a way of vaporizing.
More likely RSUs since OP mentioned megacorp (assuming this implies a public company). Options are beginning to disappear from the tech landscape, with many startups even now issuing double trigger vesting RSUs instead of options. The great thing about RSUs is they are never worthless unless the company goes bankrupt.

rebellovw
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Re: Some Computer Science Career Advise?

Post by rebellovw » Thu Sep 05, 2019 12:34 pm

Skimmed through the OPs long opening.

I've been through I think - exactly this situation.

Out of college - CS degree - big Software company. Did 3 or so years - then had an offer with more money at a SF bank. At that time you were suppose to hop around to build your repertoire. Anyhow - it became known I was going to leave and the CEO had me come to his office and chat. I ended up staying with a matched pay raise and a much better and different role.

So for those that say - you have to leave - I think that is wrong as it can work out well especially in the software business

I was very happy with the new role and even did conferences based on experience in that role - along with a very high profile company wide project and tech.

Eventually I did leave for another software company that recruited me that was hugely stressful in comparison. Stress will come as you climb up and are given more responsibility and become a leader.

Best of luck.

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