Career advice (take the promotion or not)

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28fe6
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Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:11 pm

I'm struggling to choose between two philosophies that I have heard:

1--take any opportunity for advancement that comes along, even if it's not perfect, because a bird in the hand, etc.

2--never accept additional responsibility without an appropriate advancement in title and/or compensation, because you will undersell yourself


Background:
I'm 33; I have a Master's degree in materials science, and I worked at Megacorp for 3 years out of grad school in an engineering role, with good reviews. I moved to minicorp for a more or less lateral role but with a better location, more growth and opportunity (so I thought). Fast forward, I have been at minicorp for about 5 years. I still love the location, like the work and I'm very good at it, but I hate the start-up culture more every day as I seek to actually advance my career. I have worked for 2 direct bosses in 5 years but the next bosses up have been fired 5 times in 5 years, so there is no stability. There have also been mergers and spinoffs. Due to turnover from the aforementioned instability and culture, I am the most experienced engineer on the staff now. I have moved up a job grade, and I have moved around laterally and gained a lot of marketable skills, but I have not advanced in title because there's nowhere to advance to due to turnover and management churn. The closest thing to a promotion I've got is I negotiated a better shift of Tuesday-Saturday which pays a 5% "weekend shift differential". With the differential, my salary is about $110k, which I think is a pathetic number, but I do have a very low COL and amazing commute.

I make it known to management that I'm looking for opportunities to advance and that I find such opportunities limited. My company has no career progression "track". I interview people who work for competitors who have been "promoted" multiple times in a few years just for doing their job well and following their company's standard career track. In contrast although I have done very well for the company and have done very well with growing my marketable skills, on my resume it looks like I have not advanced at all in 5 years because my title has not changed. I have tried to transfer internally before but have not been successful, I believe not due to qualifications, but due to my department always being short-staffed and my being valuable/critical to where I am. I'm happy with my work and due to my reputation I have had my pick of high-impact projects, so in terms of professional experience I have not stagnated and I have several years before I would run out of skill growth, but I have decided I will probably need to move to another company to monetize that. I'm just concerned I won't be able to do that if I can't show career growth on my resume.

Fast forward, business is booming and we are doubling every couple years. My boss has created "lead engineer" roles. Basically in this role you are supposed to do your normal engineering job (in a very hectic start-up environment with too much workload and no resources), but also do a side helping (~25% of your time) of project management, additional meeting attendance, and reporting out. The intent is to create a more advanced role, but note the title does not contain "manager". There are no direct reports, and these lead engineers would not hire people or perform performance reviews, or receive any additional resources. They would not be back-filled in their engineering work in any way. As far as I can tell, there is no increase in real power to the position, only increase in "visibility". The kicker is whoever volunteers for the "lead engineer" must work Monday-Friday, and gets a 10% salary "role differential". Because of my seniority and broad experience I am an obvious shoo-in. Everyone assumes I will be a lead engineer.

I'm leaning toward turning it down because I don't want to go back to Monday-Friday shift, and doing so for only 5% gross increase isn't that compelling. What's worse, if the lead engineer role does not work out, I will find myself on Monday-Friday at a 5% decrease, which I really want to avoid. The role itself would involve more meetings and put me in even more of a bind regarding workload, which will look bad on me if it impacts business growth. I have seen other talented engineers fired for "performance" when they failed to avoid getting saddled with a workload that would crush anybody.

On the other hand, if I turn the lead engineer role down I can probably ride out my Tuesday-Saturday shift for quite a while more, hopefully attend even fewer meetings than now (due to the new lead engineers picking up some of that), and continue building my technical skills and relationships. I just won't be mitigating my "lack of resume advancement" problem. And when a better career track does open up, I won't have that small leg up that the lead engineer role would give me. What should I do?

Personally, due to the number of critical projects we are all working on, I think we would do far better by hiring a project manager rather than try to tap engineering to do more administrative/management tasks, and pretend it won't impact productivity. However I'm sure on the books it looks better to pay a few $10k differentials than request a $60k headcount addition for a project manager.

Afty
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by Afty » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:52 pm

This “lead engineer” role sounds like what we call a “tech lead” in software development. Typically this role is a stepping stone to a larger role, either in management or as a tech lead for a larger team or multiple teams. Typically you’d drop some of your day-to-day work to allow you to take on the leadership work. Otherwise, you’d be set up for burnout or failure.

I would have an honest discussion with your manager about expectations for the role, and how it is not a good idea to expect you to shoulder both your current individual contributor workload and this new leadership workload. I would try to negotiate expectations in a way that sets you up for success — giving you some protected time to focus on your new responsibilities. Leadership work is hard, and if you neglect it, it hurts your whole team. If you can’t come to an agreement on this, I would pass on the opportunity as it seems to set you up for burnout or failure.

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Pajamas
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:57 pm

Advanced positions where you work currently are apparently limited for you and when that is combined with being underpaid, your best hope for career advancement is to look for a job elsewhere. In the meantime, the new position doesn't seem like it is worth taking to you but not taking it may hinder your future there, so if you keep it you should definitely look for a position elsewhere. Since it seems like you are between a rock and a hard place, maybe you should be frank with management about your frustration. You have nothing much to lose and something good may come from it.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by sport » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:04 pm

There is a third possibility. Look for a new employer. You state that this one does not pay well enough and the opportunities for advancement are very limited. You have been there 5 years. "Lack of opportunity for advancement" is a legitimate reason to look for a new job, and the lack of progression in your job title confirms that. Since your professional skills have grown, a new employer should not hesitate to consider you when you explain the situation the way you have here.

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Tamarind
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by Tamarind » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:19 am

I find it hilarious when established high-growth companies with Megacorp-style frills like "pay grades" pretend to still be startups so that they can blame all their cultural and process failings on being a startup. In my experience, actual startups are much more chaotic, but also much more flexible. There's no shame in a non-managing "lead" position, in my view. Think of it as a test of your ability to manage by influence. The problem is the inadequacy of pay and expectation that you will keep all your current work too.

If your current employer truly plays like a startup, you should be able to have a candid discussion with your boss. Explain that you want to grow with the company, but the options currently on the table don't make sense. You need a larger pay increase because of the schedule change (be clear about how much is enough), and you need the opportunity to hand some of your engineering work off to others who you are happy to train and coach as needed to make sure it gets done right. You'd like boss's help in creating a win-win, because if the company can't work with you on this you'll be looking for opportunities elsewhere.

If they can't spare you for an internal transfer, they also won't want to let you go and should work with you.

If you are certain you can't have this conversation, just quietly look for another job.

28fe6
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:47 am

Having these types of conversations is not something that scares me. I have done it before and it's a key reason I'm still here. I have already tried to negotiate a small pay bump so I would at least get 10% bump for moving my shift, but the company is not flexible. "That is the offer". This is part of the reason this company has the worst Glassdoor ratings in the industry. Not one of the worst. Specifically the worst ranking, with a healthy margin. Since I started, 8 other engineers have been hired and all of them have run screaming to other companies. I want to make this location work so I negotiated a better shift and if I hadn't negotiated a pay raise aggressively I would still be in 90k range.

I've decided already that the only way to advance will be to go to a different company, so I am keeping my eyes open. This would almost certainly require a relocation to another state and COL would go up so that's why I have stayed so far. Many others who are more mobile have not stayed. I should have mentioned that I have 3 children and working 60 hour weeks is something I have done and am not willing to do. If you work 60 they expect 70 and it's just as likely to end up getting you fired as promoted.

I have to emphasize that I truly love my work and I have been able to make sure i am still gaining new marketable skills. If that were not the case this show would have been over long ago. I have at least a 2 year run in my current role before I will feel stagnated in technical growth.

Since I have already tested the waters with regards to negotiating the terms of the Lead Engineer role, I think I will quietly bow out and say it's not a good time for me due to the shift change requirements and given how seriously I take the leadership responsibility, and I just don't think I can give it the resources needed for success given my current workload, which involves multiple projects which are critical to support business growth. This will either cause a second round of negotiation (I would take it for a true 10% raise, including a base pay raise to ensure I can't end up going backwards in compensation, and at least one primary or dedicated technician resource for backfill). Or not, and it may stifle my prospects further, or else it will just show that I can smell a bad deal, and if I continue bringing engineering wins I don't think I really lose much either way. The next candidates in line are very green but I would not have a problem working with them if they became the lead.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:04 am

I think you really need to look for a new job.

I assume you're either civil or mechanical MS. My son is currently doing a summer internship in a structural group of a major corporation that builds stuff. It's located in a medium cost area and indications are that he'll be offered a job at graduation from a great engineering college with just a BS at about $80k to start. With your MS, I'd think $110k would be a starting salary, not a lead engineer salary. I think you're way under paid. You may have to move, but there's the choice. It sounds like you're not going to be paid fairly where you are. Jobs that are labeled "management" or "lead" can sometimes mean they're simply giving you all the crap jobs. I've turned down jobs like this myself and watched others turn them down because they know that those jobs will go away when business has a downturn.
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jharkin
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by jharkin » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:31 am

Tamarind wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:19 am
I find it hilarious when established high-growth companies with Megacorp-style frills like "pay grades" pretend to still be startups so that they can blame all their cultural and process failings on being a startup. In my experience, actual startups are much more chaotic, but also much more flexible. There's no shame in a non-managing "lead" position, in my view. Think of it as a test of your ability to manage by influence. The problem is the inadequacy of pay and expectation that you will keep all your current work too.
+1 .. and I've never heard the word "shift" used in the context of a salaried technical role. Are you punching a time card OP? :twisted:

28fe6 wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:47 am
Having these types of conversations is not something that scares me. I have done it before and it's a key reason I'm still here. I have already tried to negotiate a small pay bump so I would at least get 10% bump for moving my shift, but the company is not flexible. "That is the offer". This is part of the reason this company has the worst Glassdoor ratings in the industry. Not one of the worst. Specifically the worst ranking, with a healthy margin. Since I started, 8 other engineers have been hired and all of them have run screaming to other companies. I want to make this location work so I negotiated a better shift and if I hadn't negotiated a pay raise aggressively I would still be in 90k range.
Frankly I would be looking for the door. My last company had around 3.5/5 ratings on Glassdoor and I found the place intolerable at the end.... There are so many bogus positive reviews in there I wouldn't want to work at anywhere ranking less than 4 stars now........

28fe6
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:44 am

I work in the semiconductor industry which apparently has low wages. I think this is due to years of consolidation and offshoring which has left a glut of experienced and underemployed engineers. Those guys are now retiring and at Megacorp they knew this and had initiatives to retain younger engineers, but of course in my case it didn't work. It's not like they offered me the same pension and benefits those older guys had when they were starting out.

It is foregone that I am looking for a new job while milking my current one for experience while being choosy about the next. I'm also sitting on about $60k of RSUs which will bump my yearly up a bit for the next few years. Therefore I'm not overly concerned about limiting my ability to advance here. My main concern is that lack of career advancement will cancel out the achievement and experience when I do go to another company.

And I actually do have to fill out a timecard due to government regulations regarding defense contracts. My salary is fixed, and my hourly rate on my timecard fluctuates based on how many hour per week I work. There is no overtime. I like to say I work "0th shift" because I do what needs done to support 24/7 production, but I nominally work Tues-Sat and I get a 5% shift differential for working a weekend. This is similar to the shift differential that hourly employees get for working night shift. I prefer the shift anyway because I get a lot of technical work done on Saturday.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by kskih » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:10 pm

Just wanted to jump in - I work as well in the semiconductor industry, and you are quite underpaid, assuming you have 8-10 years experience.

You should talk the lead role, update your resume, and look for another job.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by AlwaysWannaLearn » Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:50 pm

.....
Last edited by AlwaysWannaLearn on Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

28fe6
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:03 am

I would love to talk more about my being underpaid. I live in NC.

Accounting for my living costs and excellent commute, I have priced myself at a bare minimum of $140k in order to move to upstate NY, MD, VT, or TX, and practically infinity to move to California. This limits my opportunities. I have interviewed in MD, NV, and OR. They are impressed but they want to pay mid-level process engineers $120k even in these mid-COL states. There seems to be a price point for non-managers. For context 9 years ago I was paid $75k right out of grad school for an entry level engineering position at a fortune 500 company with reputation for fair pay (no wonder they can't keep young people). Samsung offered me $85k a couple years ago for a mid-level process engineer job in Austin (waste of time). A company in Oregon was impressed at the interview stage and the role was an experienced strategic role, and they dropped me like a hot potato when I said I couldn't make Portland work for less than $140k. When I interviewed in NV the salary comparison tools said $140k to match my current salary of then-105k. They offered me $115k and a big signon bonus. The bonus was big but I declined due to the base salary. In the current job market perhaps wages will correct but right now I feel it is not a well-paying industry. I believe petroleum engineers for example would be paid well North of $100k out of college.

It's just not worth it for me to move out of NC for $10k or even $20k per year that will quickly be consumed by mortgage interest, property taxes, commuting costs, and the "hidden tax" of harsh winters. I am payed below "market", but I have to admit that my current employer seems to be paying "competitive" wages for the geographic location. They have a major problem convincing engineers from industry to come here and stay, but that's the company's challenge; I have my own challenge of how to exit and actually make it a net gain.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by JuniorBH » Sat Jun 16, 2018 1:40 pm

It sounds the most obvious path to "career advancement" is to leave the current company and look elsewhere.

That said, most of your posts indicate that quality of life might be more important (i.e. short commute, preferred schedule, low COL, etc). So, if these items are more important than career advancement, you may already have the right gig for you.

As for this change in role, from what you've said, it doesn't seem like the salary justifies the additional workload (5% on $110K, after taxes, would be insignificant in the grand scheme) and probably doesn't lead to a higher role (i.e. I haven't seen you mention what the next step would be). So, i'd probably stay where you are.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by stoptothink » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:29 pm

28fe6 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 8:03 am
I would love to talk more about my being underpaid. I live in NC.

Accounting for my living costs and excellent commute, I have priced myself at a bare minimum of $140k in order to move to upstate NY, MD, VT, or TX, and practically infinity to move to California. This limits my opportunities. I have interviewed in MD, NV, and OR. They are impressed but they want to pay mid-level process engineers $120k even in these mid-COL states. There seems to be a price point for non-managers. For context 9 years ago I was paid $75k right out of grad school for an entry level engineering position at a fortune 500 company with reputation for fair pay (no wonder they can't keep young people). Samsung offered me $85k a couple years ago for a mid-level process engineer job in Austin (waste of time). A company in Oregon was impressed at the interview stage and the role was an experienced strategic role, and they dropped me like a hot potato when I said I couldn't make Portland work for less than $140k. When I interviewed in NV the salary comparison tools said $140k to match my current salary of then-105k. They offered me $115k and a big signon bonus. The bonus was big but I declined due to the base salary. In the current job market perhaps wages will correct but right now I feel it is not a well-paying industry. I believe petroleum engineers for example would be paid well North of $100k out of college.

It's just not worth it for me to move out of NC for $10k or even $20k per year that will quickly be consumed by mortgage interest, property taxes, commuting costs, and the "hidden tax" of harsh winters. I am payed below "market", but I have to admit that my current employer seems to be paying "competitive" wages for the geographic location. They have a major problem convincing engineers from industry to come here and stay, but that's the company's challenge; I have my own challenge of how to exit and actually make it a net gain.
In a similar position, in as much that I have been told countless times how underpaid I am for my role. Fact is, I am not underpaid for the role in my area and chasing the money elsewhere would ruin my current very cushy work/life balance. It may be frustrating that you feel you have hit the ceiling (compensation-wise) in the current environment, but looking at the full picture, the alternatives aren't better. Kind of comes down to how much you want to move up the ladder. If you aren't interested in upper management, turn down the "promotion", stay put, and just accept that the pretty cushy current overall situation comes with that glass compensation ceiling. If you are, you're going to have to move and, at least for a time, take what is probably a relative compensation decrease. Nobody can make that decision but you (and your family).

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by harrychan » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:20 pm

I think you are approaching this too much like a math equation. Finding a career is not a matter of finding the perfect balance between COL and compensation. In any HCOL area, you can adapt and live below your means and get ahead if the company has a huge potential. In your situation, you need to ask yourself what is your career goal. For me, I knew I had to get away from being a pure IT specialty as I didn't have the appetite to continuously learn the latest and greatest so I switched over to management. This helped me become marketable across different sectors and I successfully transitioned from a network engineer manager and now to a program manager in healthcare.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

28fe6
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:56 pm

Thanks everyone. I was chosen for the role, but said that I could not accept the role as-offered at this time, citing "a variety of factors both personal and professional". A key factor was talking to mentors with engineering and management experience in the industry and also with this particular company. Mentors without experience with this company were lukewarm or positive. Those with more direct experience with the personalities involved, said run away fast.

Several things could happen.

If this triggers any negotiation opportunity, I will push for a deal that seems like more of a win-win, be that in the form of keeping my preferred schedule, more compensation bump than 5%, compensation bump in the form of base salary rather than easily-reversed "pay differential", more concrete plans for role definition or resource back-fill, or whatever.

If nothing happens and they go with a different candidate, I will be content.

I don't think it's justified that turning down the role should cause any backlash or retaliation, but knowing the company, there is some chance that will happen. That's just the risk that I took.

I could get conscripted into the role against my wishes. If that happens at least I will have the mental benefit of knowing I tried to negotiate.
Last edited by 28fe6 on Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by gunn_show » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:39 pm

kskih wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:10 pm
Just wanted to jump in - I work as well in the semiconductor industry, and you are quite underpaid, assuming you have 8-10 years experience.

You should talk the lead role, update your resume, and look for another job.
This. Me too. Top semiconductor megacorp, but not an engineer. But you are way underpaid for experience and education. There are several big firms in this space and most have alternative locations to silicon valley - oregon, arizona, folsom, etc etc. Look around. Now.

The megafirm in Oregon is in Hillsboro, not Portland, and $140k would be a ton of money to live in that area. Would give it another consideration.

Given all your add-on datapoints, that you seemingly oddly left out of your original post, it sounds like you have many other quirks and concerns and personal life roadblocks/needs than just the career block you mentioned in said original post. Bit misleading IMHO. Living in LCOL NC with 3 kids paints a much different situation to be in than how you wrote the original post (I was figuring you were a young single guy who could be mobile).
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

28fe6
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:48 pm

The post wasn't originally about being underpaid, just looking for advice on how to approach this odd role offer situation.

I fully understand that you can't have everything in life and companies don't plan around my needs, so I can't complain about my salary when I am being picky. I wish my salary were higher of course, but if I had a better alternative I would take it. I'm relatively happy with how I have played my cards; the current job has been tremendous for skill growth. Now it's about engineering an exit strategy.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by greg24 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:56 pm

I feel like you're all over the place. Complaints of $110k as "pathetic". But you're living in a LCOL area with what sounds like zero commute, and are showing major resistance to moving to a higher COL area.

Complaints of lack of career growth, but an opportunity finally appears, and you turn it down.

If you want to make more money, find a new job with a new company. Yes, there are some negatives you will have to accept.

If you want to remain at your current company, but progress your career, take the lead opportunity. Yes, there are some negatives you will have to accept.

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by Bacchus01 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:44 pm

kskih wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:10 pm
Just wanted to jump in - I work as well in the semiconductor industry, and you are quite underpaid, assuming you have 8-10 years experience.

You should talk the lead role, update your resume, and look for another job.

This, X10000

Just some advice, however. Make sure you can define what experiences you want at the next role. What things are you lacking? For example, doing performance reviews is NOT an experience that builds your leadership. But mentoring and developing team members (directly or indirectly) IS a leadership trait. Frankly, the administration side of managing people that you reference is a beauracratic pain in the rearend. Mentoring, growing, coaching, rewarding, etc is the good part.

What is it you really want to do?

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by gunn_show » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:42 pm

greg24 wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:56 pm
I feel like you're all over the place.

If you want to make more money, find a new job with a new company.

Yes, there are some negatives you will have to accept.
greg24 is spot on with what I was trying to point out in my response above. Between the original post and his subsequent responses, it is hard to tell what he really wants. A bit all over the place as this thread bears out.

"Engineering an exit strategy" sounds like you are trying too hard. Spend the week maximizing your linkedin, every tech engineer I know gets hit up many times a week by recruiters. Get the resume up to par. Change your internal setting on LinkedIn that tells recruiters you are looking (it blocks your current firm from seeing this). Not sure what "exit strategy" you really need. Get out there, network, talk to recruiters, and sell yourself to find whatever it is you are looking for. Really not that hard.
"The best life hack of all is to just put the work in and never give up." Bas Rutten

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by mountains » Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:38 pm

You should also decide what your long-term career plan is. If you like your location and work-life balance there is nothing wrong with staying. But what happens if the company goes under? Can you find another comparable job where you are? Would you be willing to take a pay-cut then? Move? Change industries? If you stay in your current position without much advancement and you want to change in 5 or 10 years will other employers still take you or would they reject you for a lack of career progress?

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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:03 pm

mountains wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 7:38 pm
You should also decide what your long-term career plan is. If you like your location and work-life balance there is nothing wrong with staying. But what happens if the company goes under? Can you find another comparable job where you are?
I probably cannot find a comparable job without moving. That's the gig; you have to live where the fabs are. If my company went south and I had to get an equivalent engineering job with another company I would be packing it to TX, AZ, CA, NY, or at any rate some other state.
Would you be willing to take a pay-cut then?
Well, I'm not quite FIRE yet, so willing or not, I would probably have to take what I was offered at that point. The way people talk here, I will be getting a pay-raise most likely, at least in terms of base salary.
Move?
In that situation I would be forced to move if I wanted to keep doing what I'm doing. The other option would be do something totally different in this location. I know a guy who said he sold cars when he was between engineering jobs and did pretty well, but who knows. The closer I get to FIRE the more options, of course. If I got some investment properties going here or something I might be able to stick it out here for quite a while while I come up with a plan B. In my current situation I only have a small EF and would need to get another job fairly quickly.
Change industries?
I would be interested in changing industries even now, however it's getting harder as I get older. There is a lot of biomedical industry in this area and there are a lot of skill cross-overs between semiconductor manufacturing and biomed. I feel my job security would be better if I could transition to biomedical industry, but they don't have much interest in mid-level engineers from other industries. If you don't have experience in the particular sub-type of manufacturing they are doing, and require training, they would rather hire a new college grad, which is understandable. So even if I were willing to take a pay cut and take an entry-level job in biomed in order to change industries, I don't think I would be able to get one. It's not so much age-discrimination as a consequence of the level of specialization in both fields.
If you stay in your current position without much advancement and you want to change in 5 or 10 years will other employers still take you or would they reject you for a lack of career progress?
If I want to keep doing what I'm doing at the level that I'm at, then I think I will be able to find work. Time spent doing the same thing is not necessarily a negative thing if you want to keep doing that thing. To some extent, it does keep increasing your value in the eyes of potential employers.

If I want to advance to higher, more strategic engineering roles, and/or transition into management, then doing the same thing for too long may be a limiter. Because the perception is that if you did the same thing for that long, then you must not have potential to advance. I can point out that my my current company does not have the same type of career advancement track as most other companies in the industry, but explaining that to prospective employers may be challenging. Perception is reality when it comes to marketing.

Pay may be flat in the industry, but it's unlikely the industry will fundamentally change to the point where my skills won't be in demand anymore. There are plenty of people who have been doing the same type of semiconductor engineering work for their whole career, but typically they have moved every 5-10 years because manufacturing facilities don't have a lifespan much more than that. The industry is subject to cycles and even financially stable companies shut down and re-tool fabs every so often. There also is not as much age discrimination as software engineering for example, and older engineers are not discriminated against as badly, if at all, in terms of their hire-ability. So I'm not worried about starving, so much as I don't want to still be making $110k in 10 years, or worse yet having to move across the country for that much because it's my only option. In order to grow my salary I need to go to a company that has a better career track for technical people (my current company is particularly bad in this regard), or I need to transition into engineering management which opens up new opportunities. The "engineering lead" role that inspired this thread would seem to be a way to do that, but I came to understand it as a trap, a really bad role that I have bad feelings about working out in a positive way. Even though I need opportunities for advancement, at this time I do not regret turning it down one bit. I may one day regret not taking it anyway and toughing it out, but at this time I took the "live to fight another day" option. This could be hard to understand without understanding how it is at this specific company. I have seen engineers who were good performers with many years at the company who made a wrong step with their roles and were fired for highly suspect reasons. And others with strong backgrounds from other top-tier semiconductor companies, some that I worked with at those companies, who found it intolerable here and threw in the towel as soon as their relocation vested. So yeah, I'm sure "engineering an exit strategy" sounds like over-thinking things, but not if you consider I'm basically the Darwinianism-selected residue that is still here because I have learned how to survive. But yeah the commute is awesome and I actually like my work a lot lol.
Last edited by 28fe6 on Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bling
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by bling » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:11 pm

if another firm offered you more money for the same work but with a lower title, would you take it?

28fe6
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:16 pm

Other things being equal, most likely I would.
bling wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:11 pm
if another firm offered you more money for the same work but with a lower title, would you take it?
Other things being equal, most likely I would. If the work were equally appealing, and the compensation were higher, then it seems like an easy choice. Titles vary between companies after all.

What is the correct answer? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Nathan Drake
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by Nathan Drake » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:20 pm

Sounds like you're being well compensated, given the other offers you mentioned.
Last edited by Nathan Drake on Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tamarind
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by Tamarind » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:48 am

This is taking an odd turn. I live in NC and even know process engineers here, though I'm in IT. I would be very surprised if you couldn't get a better paying job in the field right here in NC. Are you out in a rural area of the state?

It really needn't be such a big deal to change jobs. Engage with recruiters, secure an offer you like, give notice. All the employers in the area understand that the market for highly skilled people is tight, and if your employer doesn't act like they understand that you should have many options.

sd323232
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by sd323232 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:41 pm

You made right choice by not taking this lead engineer role. If you are chasing higher pay, you dont need to be a manager. Grow your tech skills and you will be compensated way more than managers. Technical knowledge is money.

chrisjul
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by chrisjul » Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:11 pm

My organization loved to see the upward mobile "pay dues" in terms of taking unappealing assignments, travel, relocation, etc.

BUT, they were very good about "rewarding" such dues paying with significant advancement and pay increases after you demonstrated you are a good soldier.

Play the game or not.....your choice.

Worked out very well for me.

28fe6
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Re: Career advice (take the promotion or not)

Post by 28fe6 » Sat Jun 23, 2018 6:47 pm

chrisjul wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:11 pm
My organization loved to see the upward mobile "pay dues" in terms of taking unappealing assignments, travel, relocation, etc.

BUT, they were very good about "rewarding" such dues paying with significant advancement and pay increases after you demonstrated you are a good soldier
My previous Megacorp was a similar dynamic. Right before I left they were going to plop me overseas for two quarters, and I would have done it. But I have seen zero evidence that the same rules apply at Minicorp in any way.

Just finished my Saturday shift, and regretting turning it down ZERO percent so far.

And I landed an interview with a Fortune 200 Megacorp in a different state. Should be good practice, anyway.

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