The dangling carrot...

ErtazErtaz Member Posts: 934 ■■■■■□□□□□
Another WWYD thread. I’ve been told that I’m waiting on another person’s retirement in order to progress in my career on a management track. That retirement is at least two years away. I’m getting burned out in the field I’m in. I’m well paid for the part of the country I’m in, but grossly underpaid compared to the major metros. There is also no other employer in a 150 mile radius that hires in my career specialization. If I stay long term, I’ll be managing technical staff and move into an office. If feel like I am here for two more years regardless, but at the end of that time I think I want to move to a more technical role with another company. I’m going to do another SANS course/certification next year and maybe that will help me figure out what technical track I want to end up on.

That being said, for those of you that have gone into management, was it what you wanted? For those of you who stayed technical, do you have any regrets?

Comments

  • tedjamestedjames Scruffy-looking nerfherdr Member Posts: 1,179 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I've intentionally stayed out of management, lo these many years, and I do not regret it. I've had some offers to move up, but I've declined them. The pay would've been great, but I don't mind. That's just not where I want to be - ever. I prefer to spend my time working and learning and digging deeper. Some people thrive on leadership, and that's great. We need good leaders, especially those who have come up through the ranks and understand the work that their employees do. I've seen other manager-only types who couldn't hack their way out of a paper bag. But somehow, they advance because they can talk the talk.

    If you're interested in management, give it a shot. You may be a natural leader. But if it's not for you, there's no shame in moving back to a technical role. Think about this, though. If you really enjoy working in a technical capacity, how are you going to feel when, once promoted into management, you have to sit back and watch other people do the job that you used to love? And since you are now in management, you don't get to do that fun work anymore.
  • thomas_thomas_ CompTIA N+/S+/L+ CCNA R&S CCNP R&S/Enterprise/Collab Member Posts: 998 ■■■■■■■□□□
    I'm not in management where I'm just managing and doing nothing technical, but more of tech lead. The only thing I can contribute is to make sure you are being adequately compensated for dealing with the headaches of managing people. I'd be a lot happier if a) I was given a pay increase when I started managing three other techs like they said they would "try" to get me when they gave me the "promotion. Over a year later no pay increase in site. b) I wasn't managing other people and I could just be an individual contributor. Without an increase in pay it's pretty crappy having to deal with personnel issue especially when I have an extremely strong work ethic and I know not everyone on my team has that work ethic. If I was an individual contributor I could just shrug my shoulders and not worry about it, but since I'm the lead I have to deal with the personnel issues without having the added pay to compensate me for the headache.

    If you're already planning on hanging around for two years anyways, then it doesn't seem like much of a decision. You can study up in those two years and maintain your technical chops. If the position opens up you can go into it. If it doesn't and you don't want to wait any longer, then you can start looking for another job if you are willing to move or you happen to find one in your area.
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    Ertaz wrote: »
    That being said, for those of you that have gone into management, was it what you wanted? For those of you who stayed technical, do you have any regrets?

    That's a tough question and I really had to think about it. I've been in management for a little over 25 years. It's difficult to answer because it's easy to fall into the trap that the grass is always greener doing something else.

    I entered management without really any preconceived notions. There were times where I wished that I had stayed more on a technical track and that I was still an individual contributor. Mostly because there are certain pressures and I always suffered from imposter syndrome. Although, I suspect that I would have felt the same pressure even if I was not in management.

    Some things to consider about technical management:
    1. Valuable technology managers are the ones that know the industry. So that means having to focus on particular business segments such as financial services, healthcare, media, adtech, etc. You will notice if that most technology managers tend to work in the same space during their careers.
    2. There are a lot less jobs in technical management. And at the higher levels, the competition is much higher.
    3. There is a bias with managers that want to return as an individual contributor unless there's a good story behind it.
    4. There's no free pass on keeping up with technology and business trends. Although knowledge needs to be broader vs deeper.
    5. Depending on the business and role, work-live balance can be more difficult to achieve.
    6. There's more of a need to deal directly with human nature and diverse personalities.
    7. Many managers don't realize their impact on people's lives and I think that a good leader needs to have decency and empathy as a core strength.
    Personally, I'm a bit burnt out but I was lucky to be able to choose a middle ground and I started a consulting business. Ultimately, for me, working for myself has greater rewards and I like the idea of building a business from scratch and trying to create jobs.

    Good luck.
  • ErtazErtaz Member Posts: 934 ■■■■■□□□□□
    A heart-felt thank you for the responses here. You've given me a lot to chew on.
  • TechGromitTechGromit GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 2,068 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Ertaz wrote: »
    I’m well paid for the part of the country I’m in, but grossly underpaid compared to the major metros. There is also no other employer in a 150 mile radius that hires in my career specialization.

    You really need to take a look at the cost of living the these other metros, before even considering relocating. Sure you can double your salary in a major city like Washington DC, but you'll pay 800k+ for row home in DC, where 300k+ can get you a big house on several acres of property where you live now. A leisurely 20 minute drive to work could turn into a hour+ grid lock commute from hell. There are advantages to living in a high cost of living area, after 30 years of work, if you survive that long, you can retire to a cheaper area and live like a king. :)
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
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