Life advice

Microsoft / Eng
SwaggyP

Microsoft Eng

PRE
Microsoft
SwaggyPmore
Jul 11 12 Comments

Hey everyone. I’d like to get some carrer and life advice. I’m currently working as a SWE and I’m bored out of my mind. I come into work, see some problems and voice my intuition but no one acts on it. I don’t act on it myself because I have no time or motivation for it (more on this later). A few weeks later, someone more senior on the team pulls some data and figures out that we should do X and it turns out that X is what I said before but I don’t get credit for it. In the end it bothers me, but I haven’t done anything because I still get stellar perf reviews and still write code like a good junior/mid level monkey.

The reason why I don’t do anything extra at work because I spend my free time working on Embedded Systems and ML research. In 2 years, I have gotten accepted to a conference, a journal, and some more. Since I left school, I have been fortunate enough to keep in contact with my professors and former classmates and we have made great progress on this front.

I’m torn on what to do with my career. I have expensive taste so I love getting paid. It’s even more enticing because I have to put so little effort, and I get a paycheck that pays my expenses, traveling, and great food. I’m a driven person in general and I feel like my desire to continue research outside of academia is a indicator that I would kill it doing my own startup (never give up attitude). At the same time, I have been doing research so maybe going back to school to do a PhD would be good for me. It’ll buy me a few years but then I don’t know what I would do after. Professorships and industry research positions are few and far between so I would hate to spend all that time broke and stressed just to end up in the same role or doing a startup that I could have started now. Another option that I thought about was applying for a research engineer role from now. But without multiple top tier conferences and a PhD I haven’t been able to get a single interview.

All I know is that I shouldn’t stay in my current role. I get paid but my interest level is so low that it’s obvious I don’t want to be there. The only reason why I’m still here is because I still churn lines of codes regardless of my interest.

I know that no one can answer this for me but what are some recommendations people have? Maybe there is a certain role I’ve over looked that I can get into? Maybe there’s some points about each path I’ve overlooked or misunderstand? Or maybe even someone reads this and went through the same conundrum and has a personal story that they’d like to share?

YoE: 2
TC: 185k

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TOP 12 Comments
  • Microsoft / Eng 36C
    Life advice: most people don't read anything between the first and last paragraphs.
    Jul 11 0
  • Google / Eng Bergey Sin
    Couple pieces of advice:

    1) Don't do a PhD without a clear justification for the (enormous) loss of income. It's okay to do it if you want to become a researcher, most other reasons will lead to regret later.

    2) Without solid evidence (data) that the problems you're pointing are more important that the least important thing your team is working on, you won't get very far. Intuition for what problems are important comes from experience, but a general rule of thumb is: does that issue impact people outside of my team who depend on my team (e.g. the company's users)? If not, it's probably not as important as you think. There are important exceptions to this rule, but that's a good place to start.

    3) Be careful about tying your wellbeing to your job, be it a SWE position or PhD student lest you be perpetually dissatisfied. Find meaning in your life outside of work: friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, hobbies, travel, etc. and view work as a means to support you financially in enjoying your life. That's not to say you should do something you hate (this will damage your mental health) but be very careful about tying your identity to your work.

    Hope that helps. Best of luck to you OP, you're in a very enviable position and remember that whatever you choose, nothing terrible will come out of it.
    Jul 11 2
    • Microsoft / Eng
      SwaggyP

      Microsoft Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      SwaggyPmore
      OP
      Thank you Bergey :)
      Jul 11
    • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
      The work is meaning of life apart from procreation
      Jul 11
  • Oracle / Consultant
    LarryzBalz

    Oracle Consultant

    PRE
    Booz Allen Hamilton, Microsoft
    LarryzBalzmore
    Also proofread your stuff… Spell career correctly on your resume.
    Jul 11 0
  • Nutanix saneep
    Life advice... In a forum such as blind with lots of stuffs to read on.. Be succinct as possible.
    Jul 11 0
  • Microsoft HsvIidb
    Find a better team
    Jul 11 2
    • Microsoft / Eng
      SwaggyP

      Microsoft Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      SwaggyPmore
      OP
      Wdym and how do you go about doing that?
      Jul 11
    • Microsoft / Eng
      SwaggyP

      Microsoft Eng

      PRE
      Microsoft
      SwaggyPmore
      OP
      For example. When you interview at other companies, all you do is leetcode, get an offer and barely get an idea of what they are working on or the team culture.
      Jul 11
  • Adobe / R&D Spidey🕸️
    SwaggyP >SpicyP?
    Jul 23 0
  • New / R&D aVFF43
    Work on a side project my friend- get paid while you build your own company; that is what I’m doing at least. It’s not as much about expensive tastes as it is about not wanting to go back to ramen
    Jul 12 0
  • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
    PhD is for science, unless you see yourself as a scientist don’t do PhD.

    Also it would help if you could see yourself not coding but contributing to the firms business and mission. That’s a tough one when at the bottom of .org chart
    Jul 11 0