Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

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10xer
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Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by 10xer » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:30 pm

I'm considering leaving my current tech job at a small private consultancy and going to work for a subsidiary of a large public company. I have been with my current company for ~5 years, have been promoted a few times, but have likely gone as far as I can or want to (feeling pushed towards sales/management, especially if I want another promotion).

In contrast, the new job is a very high-level individual contributor software engineering position. I'd be working on a compelling product, learning a new tech stack, compensation will be substantially higher, and the job is fully remote (even during non-pandemic times). In normal times, I wouldn't have second thoughts, but these aren't normal times.

Essentially I want to make sure I'm understanding the risks and upsides (as best I can) given the massive amount of uncertainty in the coming months, and that I'm not making a foolish decision in leaving my current position.

Current job:
  • company has been profitable and growing throughout my time here
  • company is private, and received a private equity investment last year
  • lots of revenue from marketing/advertising/media, so we are losing some revenue, but no huge losses so far, and we continue to hire
  • has laid off engineers in the past, but I don't feel at risk as I'm highly valued and have a long tenure
  • not sure how much faith I place in our management as it takes them a long time and several attempts to learn from mistakes
  • compensation is more than enough
  • colleagues are good
  • if we ever go back to the office, I have a private office
  • company has no name recognition outside of our niche
  • technical work can be interesting, but ultimately I have very little personal interest in our products/services
  • probably topped out with promotions, still expect pay raises but only in the 5% annual range
  • consulting, so at least once per year my life is hellish for at least two months
New job:
  • company is a household name, about a century old
  • broader company (other subsidiaries) are being hit VERY hard by the pandemic
  • product I'd work on is well-known and interesting
  • this product is not yet profitable, but company is investing heavily in it, and is one of the few areas doing well during the pandemic
  • through my current job, I've had the opportunity to work closely with my potential boss and coworkers - experience has been good
  • substantial pay increase
  • likely substantial stock-based compensation
  • will learn a lot and increase the market value of my labor
  • entering at a high level, so unlikely to have much room for salary growth or promotion
  • 100% remote, so can live anywhere
Some of my concerns:
  • what if I take the new job, then they turn around and start furloughing/laying off people?
  • I don't want to burn bridges with my current job, but I would be going to work for a client of theirs, so it will be hard
For additional context:
  • I am married, mid-30s, one young kid, spouse works but may be laid off at some point in the next 6 months. Loss of spouse's income would simply reduce our savings rate, but otherwise not cause hardship.
  • no debt
  • currenly rent in a HCOL, unlikely to buy a house anytime soon
  • at least 12 month emergency fund, total net worth around $1 million
I'm inclined to take the job and accept the risks, but hoping to get feedback about benefits/risks that I may not be considering (either with current job or new one).

Olemiss540
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by Olemiss540 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:39 pm

Wow. TNW around 1Million? I'd say you have earned the ability to take any slight risk necessary to grow as an IC and learn a new stack at the same time.

Make the move!
I hold index funds because I do not overestimate my ability to pick stocks OR stock pickers.

fatFIRE
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by fatFIRE » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:53 pm

Take megacorp position. If it's FAANG, shame on your for asking, it's such an obvious choice!

Megacorps are more stable, and flush with cash reserves. Small companies will go first before the megacorps.

Also, you are under no obligation to tell your company who you are leaving them for. If you have non-compete type of contract (i.e. they can sue you if you work for their client), I think that will be a problem. Otherwise, give them no information, and only update LinkedIn a few months after you've stabilized in your new position.

JD2775
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by JD2775 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:56 pm

fatFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:53 pm
Take megacorp position. If it's FAANG, shame on your for asking, it's such an obvious choice!

Megacorps are more stable, and flush with cash reserves. Small companies will go first before the megacorps.
What FAANG company is a "century old"?

fatFIRE
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by fatFIRE » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:01 pm

JD2775 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:56 pm
fatFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:53 pm
Take megacorp position. If it's FAANG, shame on your for asking, it's such an obvious choice!

Megacorps are more stable, and flush with cash reserves. Small companies will go first before the megacorps.
What FAANG company is a "century old"?
Oh... missed that detail in the OP's post.

JD2775
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by JD2775 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:02 pm

fatFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:01 pm
JD2775 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:56 pm
fatFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:53 pm
Take megacorp position. If it's FAANG, shame on your for asking, it's such an obvious choice!

Megacorps are more stable, and flush with cash reserves. Small companies will go first before the megacorps.
What FAANG company is a "century old"?
Oh... missed that detail in the OP's post.
I agree with the rest of your reply though! :sharebeer

Normchad
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by Normchad » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:17 pm

You should very strongly consider going for it. Growth is important, and the best way to turbo charge your own growth is to go someplace new, and do something new. Sounds like thins't completely new to you, so that level of comfort and familiarity can be nice too.

Unless it completely blows up in your face, not a lot of down side. And a very good chance for a lot of upside.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:20 pm

I would not be moving now.

I work for a multi-Billion dollar public company. We had a number of req's locally and had offers out. They all got pulled and nobody's getting hired. The people who were counting on a first job or a better job are out of luck for the time being and I suspect at least 6 months. You don't want to join a part of a megacorp and have people 2000 miles away shut down your offer and send you on your way. Just wait this out.
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Stick5vw
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by Stick5vw » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:52 pm

Can you quantify the "significant pay increase" for us? How large is the jump?

If your learning curve is going flat, that's not a good sign. Big reason to leave, in and of itself. You also sound a bit tired of the company itself.

Do you want to work 100% remote / from hom? But this would mean you earn more, and then possibly be able to go to a lower COL area, so what you actually bank is significant. (if indeed you're open to moving - guess that depends on your wife's job?)

Yes, agree on checking re: non compete. However besides that, you don't really need to reveal too many details to current employer if/when you leave - "I've enjoyed my time here, but I have found a better opportunity outside the firm" etc. If the package is much more lucrative, I think they'll understand and if you do a thorough handover, probably won't burn bridges.

Only you can assess the stability of the new firm/role (worth having an honest, direct convo with the hiring manager about that) - but based on the above I would make the jump.

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Watty
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by Watty » Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:45 pm

10xer wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:30 pm
100% remote, so can live anywhere
.....
but hoping to get feedback about benefits/risks that I may not be considering (either with current job or new one).
It may be a minor thing but if you are getting health and dental insurance through your job then if you take the new job you may need to find new doctors and dentists that are under the new insurance. With many medical offices closed you might have a hard time finding new ones.

When things settle down with the new job you could not only move to a lower cost of living area but if you are in a high tax state you could move to a state with low or no state income tax.

If you are working remotely be sure to consider what the different time zones will mean. For a while I was on the west coast and I was working mostly with people in the east coast who were three hours ahead of me. Not only were the normal office hours different but not long after I started my normal work day they were about ready to go out to lunch. There were not a lot of hours during the day when we were in the office at the same time especially since some the the people in the east coast worked early hours and left the office at 4:00PM. In addition to the challenges of working remotely there were a some meetings that I was not invited to because of the time differences. Occasionally I would need to do things like be up at 5:00AM for a conference call that was scheduled at 8:00 AM east coast time. On the plus side a lot of the work I was doing involved user and customer support so my being available for an extra three hours gave our group a lot more coverage than if everyone was on the east coast.

fatFIRE
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by fatFIRE » Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:51 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:20 pm
I would not be moving now.

I work for a multi-Billion dollar public company. We had a number of req's locally and had offers out. They all got pulled and nobody's getting hired. The people who were counting on a first job or a better job are out of luck for the time being and I suspect at least 6 months. You don't want to join a part of a megacorp and have people 2000 miles away shut down your offer and send you on your way. Just wait this out.
Actually, coronavirus remote work open some interesting solutions.

Depending on how skilled OP is, you could start work at the new megacorp, before resigning from the old job, or even maybe stay on both payroll for a few weeks to figure out if the new job is what the OP wants. Just need to "balance both jobs".

phxjcc
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by phxjcc » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:01 pm

1. LIFO

2. Your present boss will be upset. Interviewing, pre-employment screening, etc I would guess has ground to a halt. So the bridge will be burnt.

3. You say that you cannot advance in your current company, and go on to say that you have doubts about advancement at the new company as well.

4. You have a lot saved, but need to look at the funds as a multiple of how many years expenses, not pure dollars. If your burn rate is $200k, that is only 5 years. If wifey gets laid off, you lose your job, what is your minimum burn rate? Beans and rice, sell the BMW, get a 20 year old Camry, etc How long can you survive? Once you KNOW this number, you will know your answer.

stocknoob4111
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by stocknoob4111 » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:38 am

phxjcc wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:01 pm
1. LIFO
This... it is why I'm not making any changes now.. jobs will still be there when the smoke clears.

DonIce
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by DonIce » Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:51 am

I would stay put for now. At a new company, new hires and unprofitable projects are among the first things that could be cut. The recovery may be fast, but it may also be long and slow. As a big public company, decisions to make cuts can be done at a very high impersonal level and you will easily be among them.

On the other hand, at a small company where you have been for many years, if you are a high performer and have good relationships with your bosses, they will likely make every effort possible to keep you on even if they have hard times.

If things look great by the summer or in a year or whatever, you will always still have the opportunity to switch jobs to a different company. On the other hand, once you quit and take the new job, it's unlikely that you can go back on the same terms.

bltn
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by bltn » Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:17 am

I would take the job.

My son in law made a job switch similar to yours when my daughter s job retired a move. Of course there was no pandemic. But his income doubled, and 6 months later he was promoted. He is happy with his move. I now realize that changing companies is very common among software engineers.

lakpr
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by lakpr » Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:05 am

fatFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:51 pm
Actually, coronavirus remote work open some interesting solutions.

Depending on how skilled OP is, you could start work at the new megacorp, before resigning from the old job, or even maybe stay on both payroll for a few weeks to figure out if the new job is what the OP wants. Just need to "balance both jobs".
Depending on the employment agreement, you could be both terminated and sued for damages if you do this. My employment agreement, and I am sure most such agreements with typical boiler plate language terms, require you to affirm that you will dedicate 100% of your time for the benefit of only this particular employer, any work you do while being employed will be the intellectual property of the company, etc. My MegaCorp even has a third party Compliance enforcement company, to which we affirm annually that we are still employed only by our MegaCorp with no other outside engagements.

Topic Author
10xer
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by 10xer » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:01 am

Thank you all so much for your thoughts. I've grouped some similar responses together and replied.
fatFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:53 pm
Take megacorp position. If it's FAANG, shame on your for asking, it's such an obvious choice!

Megacorps are more stable, and flush with cash reserves. Small companies will go first before the megacorps.
As someone else noted, it is not a FAANG. But this is pretty much where I landed. Although while I don't see the Megacorp going out of business, that means very little for my particular position.
Stick5vw wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:52 pm
Can you quantify the "significant pay increase" for us? How large is the jump?

If your learning curve is going flat, that's not a good sign. Big reason to leave, in and of itself. You also sound a bit tired of the company itself.

Do you want to work 100% remote / from hom? But this would mean you earn more, and then possibly be able to go to a lower COL area, so what you actually bank is significant. (if indeed you're open to moving - guess that depends on your wife's job?)
Watty wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:45 pm
It may be a minor thing but if you are getting health and dental insurance through your job then if you take the new job you may need to find new doctors and dentists that are under the new insurance. With many medical offices closed you might have a hard time finding new ones.

When things settle down with the new job you could not only move to a lower cost of living area but if you are in a high tax state you could move to a state with low or no state income tax.

If you are working remotely be sure to consider what the different time zones will mean.
I will probably ask for base compensation that would be a 40% to 50% increase after taxes, and after negotiation expect to receive something like a 25% to 40% increase after taxes.

Currently get insurance through my wife's job (though if she gets laid off that will change). Agree, would stink to have to find new doctors, but I'd be surprised if Megacorp's insurance weren't accepted where we go.

While I will miss my office at my current employer, it's something I'd be likely to find anywhere else. And yes, 100% remote means we might move closer to family (wife's job is also 100% remote), or (once the world opens) maybe work from somewhere like Puerto Rico or Québec for part of the year. We'd remain on the East coast as I would be expected to work East coast hours. But I will never live in Florida!
phxjcc wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:01 pm
1. LIFO

2. Your present boss will be upset. Interviewing, pre-employment screening, etc I would guess has ground to a halt. So the bridge will be burnt.

3. You say that you cannot advance in your current company, and go on to say that you have doubts about advancement at the new company as well.

4. You have a lot saved, but need to look at the funds as a multiple of how many years expenses, not pure dollars. If your burn rate is $200k, that is only 5 years. If wifey gets laid off, you lose your job, what is your minimum burn rate? Beans and rice, sell the BMW, get a 20 year old Camry, etc How long can you survive? Once you KNOW this number, you will know your answer.
I could advance at my current company if I were willing to change almost everything about who I am as a person, but I'm not :D

I say I'd be unlikely to advance at the new company mostly because I'd be coming it at such a high-level engineering rank. There's only one rank above it, no one at the company has that rank, and the idea is that it's kind of reserved for people who have been there a decade or something. Outside of engineering, I actively don't want to advance into management, which is part of the reason I'm thinking about this switch.

Re: burn rate, before the kid, it was $60k to $70k annually. With kid, probably more like $90k. If my wife loses her job, it would presumably go back down to $70k as we wouldn't need daycare. If we both lose our jobs, we'd cut back further. After unemployment benefits ran out (which are fairly generous in my state), we'd probably move to a LCOL and be able to get by on $45k annually or less. At that rate, our EF alone would last us 2 years.

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:20 pm
I would not be moving now.

I work for a multi-Billion dollar public company. We had a number of req's locally and had offers out. They all got pulled and nobody's getting hired. The people who were counting on a first job or a better job are out of luck for the time being and I suspect at least 6 months. You don't want to join a part of a megacorp and have people 2000 miles away shut down your offer and send you on your way. Just wait this out.
stocknoob4111 wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:38 am
phxjcc wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:01 pm
1. LIFO
This... it is why I'm not making any changes now.. jobs will still be there when the smoke clears.
DonIce wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:51 am
I would stay put for now. At a new company, new hires and unprofitable projects are among the first things that could be cut. The recovery may be fast, but it may also be long and slow. As a big public company, decisions to make cuts can be done at a very high impersonal level and you will easily be among them.

On the other hand, at a small company where you have been for many years, if you are a high performer and have good relationships with your bosses, they will likely make every effort possible to keep you on even if they have hard times.

If things look great by the summer or in a year or whatever, you will always still have the opportunity to switch jobs to a different company. On the other hand, once you quit and take the new job, it's unlikely that you can go back on the same terms.
This is pretty much my biggest concern. Even if my current employer suffers more, I'm fairly certain they'd do a lot to keep me in particular (thought it still might mean no bonuses, salary cuts, etc.).

On the other hand, there's no world in which this product (at the new company) will be eliminated anytime soon. It's key to the new company's future strategy, already has tens of millions of paying customers, and is growing faster than expected. None of that means that I in particular can't get laid off, but just context.

One helpful thing is that the new company wants to extend the offer soon, but doesn't expect me to start until early July. And I of course wouldn't give notice at my current company right away, so I'd have about two more months to see how things are playing out with the business effects of the pandemic.
lakpr wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:05 am
fatFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:51 pm
Actually, coronavirus remote work open some interesting solutions.

Depending on how skilled OP is, you could start work at the new megacorp, before resigning from the old job, or even maybe stay on both payroll for a few weeks to figure out if the new job is what the OP wants. Just need to "balance both jobs".
Depending on the employment agreement, you could be both terminated and sued for damages if you do this. My employment agreement, and I am sure most such agreements with typical boiler plate language terms, require you to affirm that you will dedicate 100% of your time for the benefit of only this particular employer, any work you do while being employed will be the intellectual property of the company, etc. My MegaCorp even has a third party Compliance enforcement company, to which we affirm annually that we are still employed only by our MegaCorp with no other outside engagements.
FWIW I will not be doing this regardless of whether it might be permissible. Too many other things in life going on.

---

A couple of people also suggested not revealing to my current employer where I would be going. I understand that this is never obligatory, but I also don't think it's practical (or wise) for a few reasons.
  • It will literally be the first question from my boss when I give notice
  • In my opinion, not answering makes it seem like I have something to hide
  • Even if I don't publicize it until later, the info would almost certainly find its way back through the grapevine
  • While I don't believe the non-compete applies in this situation (this client is not our competitor), not revealing where I'd be going suggests that I might think it does apply

bling
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by bling » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:27 am

read your contract. there's non-compete and then there's non-solicit, and a client poaching you clearly falls in the latter and is much more enforceable than the former.

tiburblium
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by tiburblium » Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:47 am

For me personally, another reason to leave would be that you are under a non-compete at your current job. I worked for a consultancy for a period of time, that was the only job I've ever had which had a non-compete and solicitation agreements. Personally, I feel much better now that those restrictive covenants have aged out, I will never again join a company which requires these. If a company wants to retain staff, they need to provide better working conditions and/or compensation to retain their people rather than bully them with litigation.

Before I joined that company and signed documents and when I left, I paid an attorney who specialized in employment contract law. While it may not be necessary, I found it very helpful for SWAN factor.

For what it's worth, my document had no restrictions on joining clients of our firm, the no poaching agreement was enforced betwtween the client and firm contracts. People from our firm regularly left to join clients, I am not sure if they were bought out or not, but it was a regular occurance.That said, my employment contact isn't your contract, hire a lawyer.

Regarding telling your current employer where you are going, I have never shared this on any job change. In other cases I never really had a good answer to tell people when they would ask, I just told them I didn't want to share it. However when I left the consulting firm I just said I wanted to be compliance with my non-solicit agreement, after I left the company I never updated my Linkedin profile and I cut off contact with everyone I worked with at that company.

fatFIRE
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by fatFIRE » Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:40 am

lakpr wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 5:05 am
fatFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:51 pm
Actually, coronavirus remote work open some interesting solutions.

Depending on how skilled OP is, you could start work at the new megacorp, before resigning from the old job, or even maybe stay on both payroll for a few weeks to figure out if the new job is what the OP wants. Just need to "balance both jobs".
Depending on the employment agreement, you could be both terminated and sued for damages if you do this. My employment agreement, and I am sure most such agreements with typical boiler plate language terms, require you to affirm that you will dedicate 100% of your time for the benefit of only this particular employer, any work you do while being employed will be the intellectual property of the company, etc. My MegaCorp even has a third party Compliance enforcement company, to which we affirm annually that we are still employed only by our MegaCorp with no other outside engagements.
Hmm.. ok... had not considered this angle.

fatFIRE
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by fatFIRE » Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:43 am

10xer wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:01 am

A couple of people also suggested not revealing to my current employer where I would be going. I understand that this is never obligatory, but I also don't think it's practical (or wise) for a few reasons.
  • It will literally be the first question from my boss when I give notice
  • In my opinion, not answering makes it seem like I have something to hide
  • Even if I don't publicize it until later, the info would almost certainly find its way back through the grapevine
  • While I don't believe the non-compete applies in this situation (this client is not our competitor), not revealing where I'd be going suggests that I might think it does apply
Went I last switched jobs, people (including my boss) ask. I said: "I'm still weighing a few options right now, thank you for asking". Yes it may be awkward. Maybe people will think "less of you", "get suspicious", etc... That's not relevant and ignore it.

Also, a true friend would be happy if you moved (usually it means you got a better offer/deal). If you find one of those, keep it.

medic
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by medic » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:51 am

First on the non-compete/non-poaching. You're not competing with them unless you're setting up a similar consultancy and trying to get clients. In your new job, I'm guessing the role is only very loosely related to the consulting that your company does for megacorp. Also, VERY unlikely that your current firm will sue megacorp for poaching. First, it's just bad business to sue clients - good luck shaking that reputation. Second, it's megacorps issue to worry about, not yours. There's probably a standard question HR asked you about if you have any legal restriction that would prevent you from taking the job. As long as you answered that properly, you're fine. Finally, if small co did sue megacorp who has the resources in that fight? That usually only happens for an executive move - e.g. Telsa poaching the director of Waymo.

Next on being the new guy during a downturn. I've been in various layoff situations all in tech meagcorps. Look at company behavior in past downturns. What did they do in 2008 and 2001? Who was let go? That's a pretty good signal of their directed behavior or how that's evolving. All the companies start with voluntary separations where they pay people to voluntarily leave usually targeted at specific business groups and/or level of employee, but occasionally open to everyone. If that doesn't yield the desired headcount reduction, they do non-disciminatory cuts to cull the bottom tiers - everyone under par performance with less than X years of employment; managers with less than some X:Y ratio of reports, etc. Rarely have I seen them give a haircut to each group without some guidance on who to cut since that's ripe for lawsuits(e.g. manager favoritism). Then, they start looking at cuts that will have least impact to their future - this is where you COULD be impacted since you're new and at the top of the org. They can grow mid-level engineer up, but do they need 3 architects? This last one depends on company culture. I've been in companies where they cut all the new college hires one year and others where they accelerated out the grey hairs.

For notifying your current firm, any idea what's the behavior with other departures? In one tech megacorp, there is a list of competitors that if you notify your boss you're working for, you're walked out right away. No going back to your desk, no saying bye to co-workers, you just disappear and your office content is mailed to you. As a result, people have learned not to share the company name unless they're sure it's not viewed as a competitor (e.g. going from Netflix to Redfin). It's understood, but HR is a bureaucratic mess so unless the boss pushes on it with HR, the system won't flag the person to be walked out. Usually that only happens if the boss thinks there's a high risk of poaching information or sabotage because the employee is disgruntled; otherwise they want you around for the transition. Everyone will eventually share the name - usually at the going away party.

Any sign on bonus or stock as part of your new compensation? Those can be sizeable and make a big difference in the risk factor. For your total compensation (minus the one-time payments) should be at least 10-15% higher with the move. Beyond just salary, look at the benefits. What's the 401k match, what about HSA contributions, ESPP, or other perks. Those can literally add several percentage to your salary. HR should be able to provide you all the details of these plans.

FWIW, I'm actually considering a company change as well right now. Role change in the firm preferred, but like a lot of companies at a senior level it's easier to move out than move internally.

novemberrain
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by novemberrain » Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:51 pm

bling wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:27 am
read your contract. there's non-compete and then there's non-solicit, and a client poaching you clearly falls in the latter and is much more enforceable than the former.
Software companies almost never enforce non-competes. Especially in the Bay Area. Massachussetts is the only state I know that enforces

madbrain
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by madbrain » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:23 pm

novemberrain wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:51 pm
Software companies almost never enforce non-competes. Especially in the Bay Area. Massachussetts is the only state I know that enforces
For good reason, since they are not legal in California, and thus not enforceable.

random_walker_77
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by random_walker_77 » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:27 pm

novemberrain wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:51 pm
bling wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:27 am
read your contract. there's non-compete and then there's non-solicit, and a client poaching you clearly falls in the latter and is much more enforceable than the former.
Software companies almost never enforce non-competes. Especially in the Bay Area. Massachussetts is the only state I know that enforces
There's a reason for this. California laws are very skeptical about non-competes (see https://www.upcounsel.com/non-compete-california), and the history of silicon valley is interwoven w/ employees leaving and competing. See The Traitorous Eight wiki article, or read this: https://www.vox.com/new-money/2017/2/13 ... oncompetes

bling
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by bling » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:41 am

novemberrain wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:51 pm
bling wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:27 am
read your contract. there's non-compete and then there's non-solicit, and a client poaching you clearly falls in the latter and is much more enforceable than the former.
Software companies almost never enforce non-competes. Especially in the Bay Area. Massachussetts is the only state I know that enforces
non-compete != non-solicit

Topic Author
10xer
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by 10xer » Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:02 pm

bling wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:27 am
read your contract. there's non-compete and then there's non-solicit, and a client poaching you clearly falls in the latter and is much more enforceable than the former.
tiburblium wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 7:47 am
For me personally, another reason to leave would be that you are under a non-compete at your current job. I worked for a consultancy for a period of time, that was the only job I've ever had which had a non-compete and solicitation agreements. Personally, I feel much better now that those restrictive covenants have aged out, I will never again join a company which requires these. If a company wants to retain staff, they need to provide better working conditions and/or compensation to retain their people rather than bully them with litigation.

Before I joined that company and signed documents and when I left, I paid an attorney who specialized in employment contract law. While it may not be necessary, I found it very helpful for SWAN factor.

For what it's worth, my document had no restrictions on joining clients of our firm, the no poaching agreement was enforced betwtween the client and firm contracts. People from our firm regularly left to join clients, I am not sure if they were bought out or not, but it was a regular occurance.That said, my employment contact isn't your contract, hire a lawyer.
medic wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:51 am
First on the non-compete/non-poaching. You're not competing with them unless you're setting up a similar consultancy and trying to get clients. In your new job, I'm guessing the role is only very loosely related to the consulting that your company does for megacorp. Also, VERY unlikely that your current firm will sue megacorp for poaching. First, it's just bad business to sue clients - good luck shaking that reputation. Second, it's megacorps issue to worry about, not yours. There's probably a standard question HR asked you about if you have any legal restriction that would prevent you from taking the job. As long as you answered that properly, you're fine. Finally, if small co did sue megacorp who has the resources in that fight? That usually only happens for an executive move - e.g. Telsa poaching the director of Waymo.
There is no non-poaching/non-solicitation agreement between my current employer and my potential new employer.

My employment agreement has both non-competition and non-solicitation clauses. These did not exist when I joined, but I was asked to sign these years later in order to participate in a faux-equity program (ugh, long story). At the time I assumed if I left, I'd be switching careers, but things change. Lesson learned.

I don't see how either clause can reasonably apply to me. I'm not setting up a competing firm, or even becoming an independent contractor and seeking business from a former client, or attempting to hire away my former co-workers. I'd be leaving one W-2 job at a consultancy to take another W-2 job at a new company that is in no way a competitor to my current company.

The broadest reading of these clauses could be taken to me I would be barred from working for most our current client list, which is a laundry list of large tech and media firms. Not only does that seem unenforceable, it seems like trying to enforce it would be terrible for engineering recruitment.

medic wrote:
Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:51 am
Next on being the new guy during a downturn. I've been in various layoff situations all in tech meagcorps. Look at company behavior in past downturns. What did they do in 2008 and 2001? Who was let go? That's a pretty good signal of their directed behavior or how that's evolving. All the companies start with voluntary separations where they pay people to voluntarily leave usually targeted at specific business groups and/or level of employee, but occasionally open to everyone. If that doesn't yield the desired headcount reduction, they do non-disciminatory cuts to cull the bottom tiers - everyone under par performance with less than X years of employment; managers with less than some X:Y ratio of reports, etc. Rarely have I seen them give a haircut to each group without some guidance on who to cut since that's ripe for lawsuits(e.g. manager favoritism). Then, they start looking at cuts that will have least impact to their future - this is where you COULD be impacted since you're new and at the top of the org. They can grow mid-level engineer up, but do they need 3 architects? This last one depends on company culture. I've been in companies where they cut all the new college hires one year and others where they accelerated out the grey hairs.

For notifying your current firm, any idea what's the behavior with other departures? In one tech megacorp, there is a list of competitors that if you notify your boss you're working for, you're walked out right away. No going back to your desk, no saying bye to co-workers, you just disappear and your office content is mailed to you. As a result, people have learned not to share the company name unless they're sure it's not viewed as a competitor (e.g. going from Netflix to Redfin). It's understood, but HR is a bureaucratic mess so unless the boss pushes on it with HR, the system won't flag the person to be walked out. Usually that only happens if the boss thinks there's a high risk of poaching information or sabotage because the employee is disgruntled; otherwise they want you around for the transition. Everyone will eventually share the name - usually at the going away party.

Any sign on bonus or stock as part of your new compensation? Those can be sizeable and make a big difference in the risk factor. For your total compensation (minus the one-time payments) should be at least 10-15% higher with the move. Beyond just salary, look at the benefits. What's the 401k match, what about HSA contributions, ESPP, or other perks. Those can literally add several percentage to your salary. HR should be able to provide you all the details of these plans.

FWIW, I'm actually considering a company change as well right now. Role change in the firm preferred, but like a lot of companies at a senior level it's easier to move out than move internally.
These are all good questions. I do know the company I'd be joining has already asked VP-level and above to take a 20% pay cut.

Re: current company, nothing like that. When they did layoffs, they did walk people out the door within a few minutes of delivering the news, but I think I could safely give 2 weeks notice and they'd want me working until the last minute.

There will likely be a signing bonus, I know there is an HSA, still learning the other details. Will definitely be considering the total package, but especially in these times I'd rather have more guaranteed base and less bonus even if the total amount appears less.

---

Thanks you again for all your feedback. I will update this thread with news for those who are curious.

bling
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by bling » Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:48 pm

10xer wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:02 pm
I don't see how either clause can reasonably apply to me. I'm not setting up a competing firm, or even becoming an independent contractor and seeking business from a former client, or attempting to hire away my former co-workers. I'd be leaving one W-2 job at a consultancy to take another W-2 job at a new company that is in no way a competitor to my current company.
you have experience with your potential new boss and coworkers as a result of your current role at your current job. this is clearly within the non-solicit clause. most contracts are two-way. it's not just you cannot solicit your colleagues to leave with you, but the clients you work for cannot solicit you either.

tread carefully. i've seen others try to do this and they both lost their old job and got the new one rescinded.

also, you're in one of the few industries not affected by the current pandemic. seriously, shop around and avoid this entire mess. you might even get a better offer elsewhere. you should be doing this anyway as a backup plan just in case everything else falls apart.

Topic Author
10xer
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by 10xer » Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:52 am

Update for anyone who is interested:

I retained an employment law firm to review my prior employment contracts. The non-compete clause was not relevant, but the non-solicitation clause was worded very broadly, to the point that my making this change could have been interpreted as a violation. It would have been a stretch, and clearly not what these clauses are designed to do, but possible. The firm essentially told me this would primarily hinge on my relationship with my previous employer.

I negotiated a very compelling offer with the new company. First year is about a 20% post-tax pay increase from previous job, and after one year a number of other incentives kick in that make it about a 50% post-tax pay increase. When giving notice, I was able to maintain a positive relationship with my prior employer and was told I'd be welcome back in the future.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback and advice!

lakpr
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by lakpr » Fri Jun 26, 2020 6:27 pm

10xer,

I am very glad to hear that! I am even more impressed that you took time to come back to this forum and update us, appreciate the effort!
Best of luck in your new job

Normchad
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by Normchad » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:30 pm

Congratulations! That is great news. Best of luck in your new job!

And yes, thanks so much for the follow up. I will benefit others in the future.

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geerhardusvos
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Re: Tech job switch during pandemic: benefits/risks?

Post by geerhardusvos » Sat Jun 27, 2020 12:27 am

10xer wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 11:52 am
Update for anyone who is interested:

I retained an employment law firm to review my prior employment contracts. The non-compete clause was not relevant, but the non-solicitation clause was worded very broadly, to the point that my making this change could have been interpreted as a violation. It would have been a stretch, and clearly not what these clauses are designed to do, but possible. The firm essentially told me this would primarily hinge on my relationship with my previous employer.

I negotiated a very compelling offer with the new company. First year is about a 20% post-tax pay increase from previous job, and after one year a number of other incentives kick in that make it about a 50% post-tax pay increase. When giving notice, I was able to maintain a positive relationship with my prior employer and was told I'd be welcome back in the future.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback and advice!
Nice work, best wishes on the new job! :beer

Maybe do another post in a year or so and letting us know how you like the new job compared to the previous
VTSAX and chill

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