Career Advice : Mid level Management

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I have been presented with a opportunity to move into a mid level management position in a fortune 500 company. I am currently working as a consultant in a different department with the same company for the past 5+ years.

Good:
1.The benefits here are things I never had as a consultant.
2.Potential for job growth is immense.
3.I will be moving from a department with many IT experts to a department where I would be the most knowledgeable IT guy.
4.Although title is Project Manager, my role would be sr. developer/architect until the department builds up a team ( probably few years)

Bad:
1.I'll most probably be taking a cut. From the inside info, it looks like a 20% cut but it is up for negotiation.
2.Different culture. Fear it would be too slow and might involve some red tape stuff that I never had to deal with.
3.Project Manager title which I fear would put me into a management position. Ideally I want to be called as a Solutions Architect.
4.I have been thinking of returning back to my country in 2013-2015 but am now presented with this. I want to be a Architect then and hence the title dilemma.

Hiring manager is luring with me bonus (max of 15%), yearly raise (1-3%), benefits ( 401K match, pension, other benefits, day care etc) although some are truly realized only upon retirement (or at least 5 years of working there). Wife says we've lived with out benefits for many years, so why can't we live few more years until we return back to home country.

Background Info: Early 30's with a toddler and expecting a child next year. Wife would take a break after next child (might look for work after 6 months of birth of child if stars align). Have built fair amount of RE back in home country.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Continuing the saga ...

In the last few weeks after turning that down offer, I started interviewing and now have two off... (more)

jdToPM (Jan. 14, 2012 @ 11:11a) |

I decided to go with Company 2.

jdToPM (Jan. 25, 2012 @ 4:15p) |

Congrats to new and better things. Let us know if you hit the jackpot with the options. Or if the CEO wants to claw back... (more)

jkimcpa (Jan. 25, 2012 @ 4:44p) |

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Seems like the hiring manager is just trying to make his own job easy by trying to talk you into taking the job. If the company really thinks it is in their best interest to have you in a different department, they will offer you a raise to move, not a 20% PAY CUT.


Make it clear that you like your job now, but you are open to other opportunities if there is a good enough offer on the table. This one isn't even close. If there was a 20% increase in pay, that might be a different story.

Since you are planning on relocating to a different country in a few years anyway, I would focus on salary/benefits and quality of your day to day life at your job rather than "job growth".

I wouldn't take a pay cut to move into a questionable environment. Maybe talk to recruiters about taking a pay raise to move to a whole different company where things are unquestionably better if you dislike where you are now. Companies are often more generous when hiring outside the company than in internal transfer.

Even though Project Management has the word "manage" in the title, it does not imply "management of people". There are lots of project management jobs that are mind numbing scheduling drone jobs with meetings galore so make sure you know what you are getting into. If you want to be an Architect, make sure thats what this company means by "project management". At my company the two roles couldn't be farther apart.

I'll be moving from consultant position in department 'A' to Manager position in department 'B'. Manager in Dept. B does not know my pay details but the inside info I got suggests a 20% cut.

The applications I will be building in dept. B would be along the lines that I have built for dept. A and in some cases will be a direct competition to them. So on the outside it might look like poaching. Of course the people at the top would have to bless for this move to happen

wait, are you moving from a contract to a full time job?

What is stopping you from returning to being a consultant in a year if you aren't happy?

If you don't have benefits now, how much are the benefits costing you? Close to the 20% difference in pay?

Yes. I'll be moving from a contract position (which generally pays high) to a full time position ( which pays low but has benefits).

Nothing stopping me from being a consultant except the bad taste it might leave with my employer.

Some benefits that they tout ( pension and retirement) would not be useful to me as I might leave for my home country. So I would be taking some hit on the income side.


Spac3d said:   What is stopping you from returning to being a consultant in a year if you aren't happy?

If you don't have benefits now, how much are the benefits costing you? Close to the 20% difference in pay?

Don't worry about the job title. Just be clear what the responsibilities are and whether those fit with what you want to do.
Most large companies will have red tape, mind numbing list of things that everyone is supposed to do to be part of the organization (annual/quarterly performance reviews, business conduct training, approval for this and that, etc).
Part of the compensation is the retirement package (employer match or contribution to retirement account), subsidized health/dental/life insurance during employment and in retirement, vac, sick leave, and so on. therefore it is not a surprise for consulting jobs to pay more at each paycheck if benefits are nil.
If all you care about is accumulating cash (salary) before going back to your country in a short few years, just do the basic math.
The HR speak about annual increase, job growth is just a sales speech. They need to fill the job as much as someone looking wants to land a job. If the job is ok for you, negotiate the salary and get it close to your current pay. At the end of the day, just do the math. And it doesn't hurt to turn it down if you don't make out financially better.

jdToPM said:   
Hiring manager is luring with me bonus (max of 15%), yearly raise (1-3%), benefits ( 401K match, pension, other benefits, day care etc) although some are truly realized only upon retirement (or at least 5 years of working there).


1-3% annual raise is peanuts. This is a real world pay cut over time if the yearly raises are always going to be this. Has your contract pay rate changed over the past 5 years?

I wouldn't do it... you might not work long enough to get the pension or they might reneg or change the terms. 1-3% pay raise is less than the inflation rate. PM jobs can be very stressful(they get chewed out whenever someone else screws up) and not very rewarding(glorified status reporter). Not worth a 20% pay cut.

One other point to consider:
Chances are, as a contractor, you have set hours (or at least get paid for putting in more than the typical hours during crunch time). For a regular salaried position, depending on the situation, you may be required to put in long hours for the same fixed salary.

jdToPM said:   
2.Potential for job growth is immense.

Wife says we've lived with out benefits for many years, so why can't we live few more years until we return back to home country.
...Have built fair amount of RE back in home country.
I would go for it because of the upward potential. I can assure you that in a F500 company the potential can be multiple of what you make as a consultant.

HOWEVER, your plan of returning to home countty renders the most important positive item useless.

Your actually not taking that big of a "paycut" since you mentioned you never had benefits before, I'm assuming your wife has benefits that helps cover the entire family or else its a no-brainer.

brettdoyle said:   PM jobs can be ..... not very rewarding(glorified status reporter). Not worth a 20% pay cut.

Product management varies incredibly widely amongst companies and profession. At Microsoft, for example, from what I have seen they are practically architects. At many other places they are what you described (scheduler/status reporter). So whenever applying for a job of that title it is critical to find out precisely what the job entails. Looking at what your predecessor did (maybe even looking them up and asking them) can also be helpful.

Even in the long run (say 10 yrs from now) I want to stay on the technical side of things. I was told ( and I agree) that having experience in businesses like Wireless, Finance, Health care ( where IT is generating value) is more valuable than numbers of years of experience ( or for that matter title).

Based on the above single point, I am thinking of leaving that contract position and look for something new. All these options are making my head spin

The grass is always greener on the other side and big-ish change in job position will bring on added stress for the first few months, which is never preferred esp. with little ones around

But that being said, in this knowledge economy that we are in, success goes to those that are always learning (if you stop learning your career dies, and so does your soul IMHO) so if you feel like you've plateaued at your current spot then I'd make the change, but don't deceive yourself that it is better for the terms you originally listed which other posters have pointed out.

Beyond all of that, I simply plea to make sure you are spending enough time with your family, when they are little they grow up so fast and you don't want to be like everyone else I know who laments this reality instead of doing something about it by spending as much time as possible with your kids while they are young.

Remain a consultant as long as you possibly can. Don't let rosey promises affect your judgement.

I was in the same boat years ago. The company I was consulting for kept begging me year after year to become a full timer. Benefits, sign-on bonus, 401k match, blah blah blah. The career path was to become an IT director within 2 years for a specific location.

After years of this begging, I finally gave in. Took a big pay cut and became a full-timer. Dumbest move of my career. The original location closed down shortly after I took the job and I was transferred to a different location. Have been stuck in the same position for 8 years already. No promotions, mediocre raises, benefits are getting worse and worse, 401k match has been reduced. And, on top of everything else, I have to deal with BS politics every single day.

There is no substitute for being independent and being in charge of your own career path.

Stay a consultant. Using a compound interest formula, you can calculate how long it will take you to regain that 20% you lost with a 3% raise every year. And that's assuming you would get no raise as a consultant:

(LOG(10)-LOG(8))/LOG(1.03) = 7.55 years

sfchris said:   brettdoyle said:   PM jobs can be ..... not very rewarding(glorified status reporter). Not worth a 20% pay cut.

Product management varies incredibly widely amongst companies and profession. At Microsoft, for example, from what I have seen they are practically architects. At many other places they are what you described (scheduler/status reporter). So whenever applying for a job of that title it is critical to find out precisely what the job entails. Looking at what your predecessor did (maybe even looking them up and asking them) can also be helpful.


He is moving to project management, not product management. They are actually quite different, with a product manager being responsible for a specific solution, much like an architect, where a project manager is more of the design the project plan, shop it around, conduct periodic status meetings, and yell at people for not getting their stuff done.

Bobalude said:   jdToPM said:   
Hiring manager is luring with me bonus (max of 15%), yearly raise (1-3%), benefits ( 401K match, pension, other benefits, day care etc) although some are truly realized only upon retirement (or at least 5 years of working there).


1-3% annual raise is peanuts. This is a real world pay cut over time if the yearly raises are always going to be this. Has your contract pay rate changed over the past 5 years?


Good question. I'm interested to hear the answer as well. I used to be an IT consultant and 10-20%+ raises were commonplace. One year it was 24%. A full-time position with your client won't match that. Every time a client tried to poach me, they offered me more money than I was making as a consultant, not less. Less makes no sense. They are trying to sucker you.

nullterm said:   Bobalude said:   jdToPM said:   
Hiring manager is luring with me bonus (max of 15%), yearly raise (1-3%), benefits ( 401K match, pension, other benefits, day care etc) although some are truly realized only upon retirement (or at least 5 years of working there).


1-3% annual raise is peanuts. This is a real world pay cut over time if the yearly raises are always going to be this. Has your contract pay rate changed over the past 5 years?


Good question. I'm interested to hear the answer as well. I used to be an IT consultant and 10-20%+ raises were commonplace. One year it was 24%. A full-time position with your client won't match that. Every time a client tried to poach me, they offered me more money than I was making as a consultant, not less. Less makes no sense. They are trying to sucker you.


Might just be that person not wanting to make false promises. But then again it is a F500 company...

your pros/cons analysis is incomplete. you need to look at the total compensation package. typically there are no paid vacation or sick days when you are a contractor. also, there are no benefits. you would need to know the cost of the benefit package to fully evaluate the offer. some companies state the benefits are 25%-50% additional.

why work for a F500 company? (some would tell you they lay folks off all the time)
what are the benefits to you and your resume if you work there?
would it be viewed as prestigious and would he help you land your next job?
look beyond the dollars and benefits.
will this experience boost your career and improve your lifestyle? how?

I think staying technical is a good approach to your career. would taking this position with the F500 company be a stepping stone to what you ultimately want to do in your career? if not, what would it take to make it so? if you are seriously considering this offer then you need to make the role more of a match to what you want to accomplish.

BADADVICE said:   Seems like the hiring manager is just trying to make his own job easy by trying to talk you into taking the job. If the company really thinks it is in their best interest to have you in a different department, they will offer you a raise to move, not a 20% PAY CUT.


Make it clear that you like your job now, but you are open to other opportunities if there is a good enough offer on the table. This one isn't even close. If there was a 20% increase in pay, that might be a different story.


However in this case he is moving from a contractor to a full time employee. Of course the hourly rate will be reduced, but you need to factor in the cost of benefits. As a contractor, was there paid vacation, holidays, or sick days? What about medical coverage, 401k, etc? We can't assume the total compensation package is lower based on this information.

Thank you all. I've decided not to pursue this opportunity.

Continuing the saga ...

In the last few weeks after turning that down offer, I started interviewing and now have two offers in hand with almost similar salary.

Company 1: A medium sized company ( 100 people) who is into Data integration and follows a SaaS Model. I would be a senior software engineer working on their health care product.

Pros:

1)Well defined clients and revenue
2)Potential for growth seems higher as I felt the other senior developers were much less experienced than me
3)401K/Benefits/Work-Line Balance

Cons:

a)Seems to me I would be doing a lot of grunt work with data.
b)Do not see using latest and greatest technologies ( I would be talking to a manager this weekend and would have a better idea)


Company 2: A small "post-start'up" company who is into WMS/Supply-Chain and follows a SaaS Model. I would be a senior software developer working on their WMS product.

Pros:
1) Cutting-edge technology
2) The vibe around a start-up where every one competes with other promoting healthy competition
3) Stock options based on Performance.

Cons:
a) Less Benefits
b) Director said almost everybody works there 10hr a day. With a second baby due, I do not know if I can devote that many hours.

On the benefits side I think company 1 wins. On the innovation side, company 2 wins.

Any suggestions?

I decided to go with Company 2.

jdToPM said:   I decided to go with Company 2.Congrats to new and better things. Let us know if you hit the jackpot with the options. Or if the CEO wants to claw back your shares.



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