Career change from Product Mgmt

eBay / Product blitzer
Aug 29 26 Comments

I’ve been a PM for 12 years now. I’ve successfully launched Products that impacted millions of users in a positive way over the years, coached and inspired several scrum teams built on the foundation of Trust and relationships.

I’m at a point where I feel exhausted at the end of the day - customer research and feedback, vision, requirements, product design, stakeholder expectations, team leadership, aligning cross functional teams, building relationships, being patient with demanding Engineers who want everything handed to them, project roadmaps, measuring impact/analytics, deadlines and on top of all that investigating production issues, internal politics, team dynamics/issues.. it never ends. Its been a great ride but now in late 30s, don’t think I want to do this for rest of my life.

People think PM role is some fancy easy glorious job where you are the CEO of your product but in reality its dog shit thankless job where you get hit or yelled at from all sides for the most miniscule ridiculous things. Its the most under-appreciated role in Tech.

I’m thinking of changing career paths to:
- Product Strategy
- Business unit?
OR stay in Product but move up to people manager from IC. Does life get better as a manager of PMs? I want to get out of day-to-day trenches with scrum teams and focus on leading at a higher level.

Wanted to get feedback from other PMs who are in similar situation.

TC: $250k
YOE: 12 as PM

Thanks.

comments

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TOP 26 Comments
  • Facebook Pjeh33
    8 years as a PM. And cannot agree more. Everyone thinks this is a glamorous job. In reality, it is 80% being a punching bag and 20% all the cool shit in the job description (or is it 90/10)?

    Interested in the answer to this question as well. I’ve also thought about pursuing PM in smaller startups with a potential to grow into any role based on performance. Will be a pay cut, but might be more fun
    Aug 29 6
    • Facebook Pjeh33
      Kinda do. Depends on the team
      Aug 29
    • Facebook Pjeh33
      How is it at eBay ? Also which startups have you been in ?
      Aug 29
    • eBay / Product blitzer
      OP
      Teams don’t have project managers at eBay, they call the PM role Product Owner which is Product + Project. There are Program Managers however at large scale company wide initiatives.

      I’ve been at just 1 startup that I don’t feel comfortable disclosing, took a pay cut too, experience was so bad that I left within a year. I haven’t ventured into startups after that experience.
      Aug 29
    • Facebook Pjeh33
      Oh wow. Can I DM you to know more about the experience ? As I am seriously considering startup land in the future.
      Aug 29
    • eBay / Product blitzer
      OP
      Not saying all startups are bad, it depends. I’d venture again if I came across a mission that I’m very passionate about and if it had strong leadership. Yes feel free to DM me.
      Aug 30
  • Netflix aidjdn
    Ever considered Netflix? PMs get a lot of respect and pay.
    Aug 29 2
    • eBay / Product blitzer
      OP
      I haven’t tried Netflix, I believe you have Dir of Product innovation role which is IC. But can you share what day-to-day is like? And do you have project managers in scrum teams?
      Aug 30
    • Netflix aidjdn
      I don't know the answers to those questions. I'm not a PM. I just work with a number of PMs. I will say Netflix is the best job I've ever had. Others don't necessarily find it the right fit, but might be worth exploring.
      Aug 30
  • Microsoft / Product Letsdoitt
    I was a PM manager, shifted IC recently. There are pros and cons. Pros: You can spend more time on strategy, roadmaps, dealing with execs etc. Your team can manage the day to day execution like running scrums, managing schedule etc. Cons: you have to manage a team that you may have not hired, so you have to deal with people issues, lack of control over quality of deliverables etc. It just takes a little bit of time to get used to. Given a choice, I will move back to being a Manager.
    Aug 29 2
    • eBay / Product blitzer
      OP
      This is true about people issues from a team you haven’t hired and quality of the product. I also think that your relationship with your partner in Engineering is the most essential in launching successful Products. If PM and Engineering leads are not on same page, it’s the worst situation to be in.
      Aug 29
    • Microsoft / Product Letsdoitt
      This is so true.
      Aug 29
  • Expedia Group / Product PiedPipar
    Sounds like there is a universal agreement here on the plights of being a Product Manager especially in tech. As problem solvers, what are the solutions to this disdain on the product role which is increasingly becoming the norm? OP is right on the money, not forgetting that PMs are the first to let go should there be a lay off. I’m actually thinking of moving back to engineering or Data science
    Aug 30 0
  • Booking.com hajkeoaodi
    Everyone thinks the other position is better. Every position is thankless. PMs complaining it's a thankless job? That's the PM for most devs
    Aug 30 0
  • Cisco / Product U there
    Agreed... 😰
    Aug 29 0
  • Workday / Product tdf
    Agreed 100%. FB, exploring the option to move to a startup with more growth and more importantly freedom. But yeah needs a pay cut.

    Why not explore the option of people management within Product ?
    Aug 29 4
    • Facebook Pjeh33
      I can. But the opportunities to become people managers don’t come by and if they do, they require prior people management experience.

      Only way to break into that is to be at the right place at the right time TBH
      Aug 29
    • eBay / Product blitzer
      OP
      Does MBA help you become a PM manager in anyway?
      Aug 29
    • Facebook Pjeh33
      I wonder that too. But have not heard that so far. 150k is a steep price to pay, if I don’t get to even become a lead after that !
      Aug 29
    • Workday / Product tdf
      MBA will not help. Rather here are a couple of things that you can do

      1) Keep bringing up to your manager that you are keen on people management

      2) Try to take up some unofficial leadership tasks - coordinating activities, filling in for someone who is on long term PTO or something

      3) Being very proactive in staff/team meetings. Doesn’t mean you keep blabbering just for sake of it.

      All these, only if you are excelling in your current work. 😊
      Aug 30
  • PayPal / Product
    product@

    PayPal Product

    BIO
    I love apis
    product@more
    Managing SCRUM teams for a long time is a tiring role - I presume the challenge is that if you grow to be Head of Product that you don’t really have the same level of everyday challenge to work with
    Aug 31 0
  • New / Product
    WcBB32

    New Product

    PRE
    BNP Paribas
    WcBB32more
    3 years PM in a startup, 7 YOE total. Can’t agree more with OP. Anyone thought about the analytics/data analyst/scientist route?
    Aug 31 0
  • eBay / Product blitzer
    OP
    Also curious to hear from Hardware PMs if their experience is any different - PMs for iPhone, Watch, Nest, Google Home, Facebook Portal, PMs in Autonomous Vehicles space etc.
    Aug 30 0
  • eBay / Product blitzer
    OP
    Anyone else who have made a career change from Product to a business / General Manager career path?
    Aug 30 0
  • Amazon Dumps
    2 years PM, 8 YOE total. OP is spot on. It’s fun but demanding, and often 60-70 hrs/wk. Definitely becomes your life. It’s too meat grinder TBH. Am curious the replies for a better role, even if downshifting
    Aug 29 0