Is this what we have been reduced to?

Microsoft tinkling
Apr 15, 2018 30 Comments

Early 40s. Worked hard at school (topped it, etc). Worked hard at grad school (also topped it summa cum laude, etc). Great career in last 20 years. Promo every other year (on avg). Last promo to 66 was last year so still got it.

I am not money minded. Sure, I like fine things in life but I am not greedy. I pull 300k per year and i think thats fair. I still have burning passion for all things tech (working on a full stack soln for my new team). But I have 2 kids and I like to spend time with them before they fly the coup to college in a few years.

So I have had this nagging feeling recently with the way things are that I cant survive like this. By that I mean my prospects as an engineer in this hyper competitive industry could come to an end anytime. One layoff and this hard worked balance could come crashing. Is this fair?

More info: my point is why should tech be such a cutthroat field past a certain point? I mean why isnt experience valued as much as some other fields? Is it because it is not regulated as much as other fields like say medical field.

Edit: since a few commented on my retirement-worthiness, I have a little over a 1M saved up not incl my home equity (i am sole bread earner). Not planning to retire for anpther 10 years at least.

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TOP 30 Comments
  • Amazon / Eng Cleaner
    If you’re pulling that kind of money and you’ve been in the industry for so many years, then you should have a big backbone. If at this point a layoff scares you, then what actually scares you is the way you’re managing your money. Go check that and get it in order so that you have peace of mind.
    Apr 15, 2018 0
  • Dropbox Juicefun
    Well thanks for the humble brag. I enjoyed reading about your accomplishments. Then I enjoyed your little day dream where you said “but feel sorry for me too”.
    Apr 15, 2018 0
  • Adobe beta
    No, nothing is. Grow a pair.
    Apr 15, 2018 0
  • Sapient Razorfish F4!LS4F3
    If you’re a lady, keep at it. You serve as a role model for young women.

    If you’re a guy, take some time off to be with your kids. Let your wife provide for the family. You took your turn. She has more career opportunities than you now.
    Apr 15, 2018 2
    • Google bosed
      What the fuck
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Microsoft tinkling
      OP
      I understand what u r saying F4!LS4F3
      Apr 15, 2018
  • Facebook / Eng
    ThisGuyFux

    Facebook Eng

    BIO
    Product Analyst
    ThisGuyFuxmore
    This is why most people your age have chosen the management track by now. It’s more stable than real work and you get to cut out early every day.
    Apr 15, 2018 0
  • Adobe Dasdfgex
    That’s how it is with tech. But with layoff, you can look for other roles in not so high flying companies. Things might not be as exciting and money might be less but you will get to spend quality time with your family and build memories.

    I am in my 40 too and making very good money at the moment. However, I feel like I have an FU money at this point and can walk out if it comes at a price of sacrificing family time. There are a lot of companies that pay well and not as cut throat/wlb. I am no longer at Adobe but I plan to get back to Adobe or similar companies down the road for wlb.
    Apr 15, 2018 4
    • Microsoft tinkling
      OP
      My hope was to keep doing what I do (which I love to btw) for as long as I can. And then switch to something lighter weight even if it pays less. As long as the house is paid off and the kid have flown the coup.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Adobe Dasdfgex
      My spouse and I are in our early 40. Spent the last few years raising our young family including traveling the world twice a year.

      Things to ponder is in the old age, will you cherish the memory of teaching your son/daughter how to swim in says...on the beach with their delight and laughters or you burning the midnight oil and being sought after by 2 VPs? Which one do you think will enrich your soul?
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Microsoft tinkling
      OP
      @Dasdfgex, without a doubt u r right. I will take the memories any day than the 2 VP seeking thing. Its also possible to do both as long as the tie breaker slides in the favor of the family side at least 75% of the time. Some years that balance has not happened for me but my kids were young so they likely didnt miss me as much (but my spouse did :l ). But no longer is that true though, kids are older and i got precious little time to create those memories. The worry that is reflected in my original post/questions is that the workplace dynamics in this industry seems to run contrary to such a sentiment overall. Everything is a curve so this shift in priority should be taken into account a bit more than it is currently I think. When u think about it this way, I guess In understand why some folks choose to stay in the same team and gain very deep expertise because then they have job guarantee without have to play the management game.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Adobe Dasdfgex
      At 40, it’s true that it’s best to have a domain expertise and exploit our experience. However, we are not that old to hang on to the same team and be anxious at the same time.

      Example, many embedded engineers from semiconductors, while they don’t pivot, some constantly job hop and add on to their domain (ie: semiconductor to self driving, add ML for AI chip set, etc). Many still work in their 40s and 50s, making 300k+ TC at Apple, nest, Tesla, roku etc.

      The pay might be slightly less than full stack engineers but this is highly specialized expertise where experience + learning new stuff will help without pivoting to management.

      So relax, seize and enjoy the moment. You will be fine :)
      Apr 16, 2018
  • Oracle vveY01
    midlife crisis...
    Apr 15, 2018 0
  • AT&T / Eng
    DDM2K

    AT&T Eng

    PRE
    Optum, Windstream, AT&T, Verizon
    DDM2Kmore
    You always want to have something to show for how long you’ve been in the game. Not just a degree, or growing family, or gray hairs, I mean financially.

    If I couldn’t have a paid off house and afford to save at least half my income after 20 years of working, I’d feel like I missed the message at some point earlier on.

    The tenacity that got you where you are now is what it takes to save you a seat at that desk. Once the urge to compete is gone, and previously welcome challenges turn into potential threats, that’s when it’s time to weigh your options. As much as people talk about Microsoft being a country club, I’m sure all departments are not like that.
    Apr 15, 2018 5
    • Microsoft tinkling
      OP
      You nailed my thoughts exactly. Before my current move to a new team within MS, I was highly sought after by both my prev team and my current team. I had VPs on both sides wooing me. And i am pretty happy with my contributions to the new team so far and so is my current mgr. I have been voluntarily burning the midnight candle after so many years because the new opportunities are super exciting to me. Not humble bragging like a poster said at all, it is what it is.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • AT&T / Eng
      DDM2K

      AT&T Eng

      PRE
      Optum, Windstream, AT&T, Verizon
      DDM2Kmore
      It sounds like you’ve worked hard for what you have and where you’re at. Definitely not a humble brag. Are you a SWE?

      Principal is the next rung on the ladder for me, my situation is sort of unique as engineer is basically a middleware application consulting engineer for our call processing platforms (Sonus, SBC, CS2K, the engine tier and how each piece queries the toll free number databases and adjacent systems.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Microsoft tinkling
      OP
      Yes, Principal SWE. Some years were harder than others but overall i can say i worked hard. Last year was especially hard and i almost burnt out. It helped me understand my limits and make some changes to restore happiness balance.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • AT&T / Eng
      DDM2K

      AT&T Eng

      PRE
      Optum, Windstream, AT&T, Verizon
      DDM2Kmore
      Once you assert your capabilities to the new team, you can dial back a little and sprinkle yourself where your actions are most visible. Seems like that’s what you’ve done.

      I think working this way will help you stay longer (by choice) and not burn out and run for the hills.

      Got any 30 year employees where you work?
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Microsoft tinkling
      OP
      You are reading my mind DDM2K. Yes thats exactly the plan. I have been working 70 hr weeks the last few, to establish and assert performance at my level. Team members are already feeling the impact which is great. I am hoping to slowly dial back once the same is felt at my mgr/skip/VP levels. Probably in 6 months to a year. Dial back means still killing it but not needing as many hours to do so.
      Apr 15, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng vqXq75
    Late 40s SDE here. The midlife crisis is a bitch. Mine started when I was 38. Ten years later, and I think I’m emerging from it. But with that comes acceptance that there are certain places you should no longer go. And one of those may be the office that will contain you from Monday through Friday, full day after full day, week after week. Take control of your time. Be a consultant, work when you want and take breaks. And do some teaching and mentoring. Take off those golden handcuffs, feel the pain of it for a while, feel worthless, exercise to deal with it. Then enjoy the phase where you can’t believe you ever worried about a lot of this useless shit. After some time of that, who knows, a million dollar job might fall in your lap that you’ll take for a while. Rinse and repeat.
    Apr 15, 2018 2
    • Microsoft takashiya
      Wow thanks for sharing that. Really appreciate the personal story and positivity.
      Apr 16, 2018
    • StubHub Stubber
      🙌🏻
      May 3, 2018
  • Apple Gg56fh
    If you were recently promoted, L67 likely won’t happen this year. Why not work fewer hours this year then push hard when a promotion is in sight?

    Take on slow projects, leave work at 4pm, spend more time with your kids, work on your physical fitness, travel to see friends, family. Consume all your accrued vacation and travel to new places.
    Apr 15, 2018 0
  • Oracle vveY01
    looks like you dont have a lot of savings bec you are afraid of layoff...start saving now...
    Apr 15, 2018 2
    • Microsoft tinkling
      OP
      Answered ur question in my original post edit. Donno if 1M is enough savings for someone in early 40s.
      Apr 15, 2018
    • Oracle vveY01
      1M to retire? Not enough at age 40 and your kids are not even in college..I spent around 300K+ for sending my kids to college.. but it is enough savings to get you through until you find another job if you are worried about layoffs...so I guess you shouldn't worry about layoffs. If you know your stuff...you can always find a better job that you like.
      Apr 15, 2018
  • Microsoft greek
    You should take a vacation with the husband and the kids. Someone at L66 shouldn't even be concerned about layoffs. It's clearly some deeper concern or worry that you're not talking about - likely personal or family. You should think hard and address that instead.
    Apr 15, 2018 1
    • Microsoft tinkling
      OP
      Good point! I find planning a vacation actually energizes me quite a bit. I will do that! Thanks.
      Apr 15, 2018
  • Facebook public
    You are nearing retirement so this is normal. Consider yourself lucky that you worked so hard early on and get to retire so early and switch careers entirely if you choose.
    Apr 15, 2018 0
  • Microsoft Allure
    Regardless of whether you are woman or guy, your story may not find a LOT of sympathizers... let alone relate to it. Besides a few, most of the folks are still busy chasing what you got.

    Not your fault, just the nature of us humans and the struggles of life all go through.

    Regarding your question: There is no magic wand to fairness in life. It has different meaning for different people, at different stages. What ever episode it turns in, STAY HUMBLE.
    Apr 15, 2018 0