Moving to company with lower title and pay?

New RXDe10
Sep 18 13 Comments

Hello Blind, I could really appreciate some honest career advice.

I have been at a startup since its early days, and the startup is now pretty successful (late stage enterprise-focused startup in the bay with 300+ employees).

I started as SWE writing a lot of code and systems from scratch, productively. After successfully leading several projects for ~3 years, I've been promoted from SWE to "Chief Technical Director" (I know, super BS title). It's basically one step below the CTO, to whom I report. I don't have any direct reports and my role is an advisory one, I work with different teams when they are in need to execute some critical projects.

This is how I spend my day:

- 25%: Reading up on new technology and keeping up with what the teams in the company are doing.
- 25%: Do code reviews (but I don't write code!).
- 25%: Meetings where I try to constantly simplify the technical agenda of projects by working with tech leads and managers.
- 25%: Meetings where I offer technical advice to teams on how to architect systems for the project they are working on.

The role is complete bullshit as you can see and I'm burning out because of it. I write no code, I don't feel productive at all, I don't own anything, all I do is "suggesting" people what to do. I am very envious of the engineers in the trenches who get to stay focused and work on real problems, bringing them to production, while my skills rot. I feel so miserable!

I tried to interview outside the company and got E5 FB offer for 380k TC (base + equity) for a pure SWE role.

My current comp:

Cash: 300k (base + bonus)
Equity: it is currently roughly ~0.7% of the company after dilutions, or $5M nominal value, but there is no plan at the moment for the company to sell, and I'm aware it could go to $0 easily. But, last year I sold some on the secondary market for ~1M, so it's not just complete paper value.
Yoe: 8

What would you do?

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TOP 13 Comments
  • Pivotal phewchild
    It doesn't sound like complete bullshit, it sounds more like you've become senior (more strategic, less tactical) without realizing that you're in that position now.

    If you want to be more tactical I doubt you'll find that in your current role. You've risen to to the top, and the top does a lot more talking and telling people what to do than doing it themselves. This is natural in most hierarchies
    Sep 18 2
    • New RXDe10
      OP
      I understand the senior part, but the stuff I'm doing won't help me when I need to move to another employer. When I leave, I'll be one of those "directors" with rotten skills looking to find a place in the market, much much harder than studying leetcode and landing a 400k gig at FAANG.
      Sep 18
    • Pivotal phewchild
      The way you're writing is expressing that you're feeling a bit restless. Personally it sounds like you have a great position and are not as cornered in as you might think. These skills you're developing are supppper valuable in the long term and will help take you to the next level. But it does sound like you're in need of more tactical work so I think LC and meeting regularly with people in the market to keep up with what's new/relevant will be 🗝 here.
      Sep 18
  • Facebook / Retail bookfacer
    Stay at your current company, no hesitation. E5 at Facebook writes a lot of code but to be promoted you must do a lot of the kind of work you’re currently doing.

    Why not try to change the scope of your current role? Identify a difficult project, then ask to be invited on to get the project off the ground.
    Sep 18 2
    • New RXDe10
      OP
      Do you think I would have problems performing at FB considering that I’ve been doing all this BS tasks for a while now and so my coding skills (no LC, real skills I mean) might be weak?
      Sep 18
    • Facebook / Retail bookfacer
      Perhaps, but he’s a secret my dude: working at FB also dulls your interview skills. Facebook makes basic apps using extremely advanced tools. Unless you work on vanishingly rare teams you will not have to think about hashmaps or binary search trees.

      Interviewing is a mostly separate skillet than coding.
      Sep 18
  • Cisco blie
    How come you pass swe role at FB if you dont write code. It seems you are LC star and its LC fatigue causing you to think about code at your current role. ?

    If you can save months of engg effort by reviewing design upfront so that it dont fall during code acceptance/delivery time or with certain usecase. Its ✌. If you can catch a nasty bug (example corner case race condition hard to reproduce and find). Its✌. If you can leapfrog suggestions on architectures that can provide matket competitive edge. Its ✌.
    If you are the role.model for rest of engineering team then Its ✌. In all these scenarios you are demonstarting that you are at senior level power and with that power comes spiderman rule. so why you want to run away. Just do a different domain project to keep your curiosity level satisfied and be more prowerful.
    Sep 18 1
    • New RXDe10
      OP
      Yeah, I’ve been spending time off work doing some LC, to not totally let my coding skills rot.
      Sep 18
  • New IvYF66
    Get a mentor, CTO or similar level who can give you some perspective. Look like you hit your upper level of “comfort zone” and can not get out, due to lack of experience and knowledge. Therefore - want to escape back to be SWE.
    My advice:
    - pick open source project, start contribute, ideally could be useful in your company, so you can sped some time inside company
    - start your own open source project
    - ask CTO for some ownership in the new projects
    Sep 18 0
  • Symantec spy hunter
    I think you’d be crazy to leave the job you have for a SWE role
    Sep 18 1
    • New RXDe10
      OP
      As I said in another comment: this won’t last forever, and if I don’t act now I’ll be basically unhireable. How would I even apply to another company?
      Sep 18
  • Salesforce ahrinf
    i swear you post the same story every few months going back over a year now. started when you were 30 and now you are 32. still havent taken the plunge and left yet? how long is that FB offer good for anyway. such a wuss.
    Sep 30 0
  • PayPal brainalpha
    You’ve reached a point of seniority where your technical experience is much more valuable as an architect and strategist as the company grows and adds new products and systems. This is a natural development as you grow as a developer.

    Overall, if you have the desire to make individual contributions, pick up a side project or maybe find new ways to contribute to the codebase at work apart from code reviews.
    Sep 18 0