Why L62 to L63 promotion is such a big deal at Microsoft?

Microsoft Goval
Jan 11 29 Comments

Pay gets bump up by just 5% on average (bonus and stock increase a few percents, but depending on perf). So why 62 to 63 is hard? Why is it a big deal?

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TOP 29 Comments
  • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
    63 is a level you can retire at. "Up and out" mainly only applies to 59-62. So senior should be the min goal of every employee. Beyond that, senior is the level where people start listening to you, where you're allowed to own more of your career, deciding what to work on instead of being told by your manager. In theory, you're at a point where you start to matter instead of just being a butt in a seat. That's why it's important.

    In practice, most of that stuff above doesn't actually become a reality until 65, but it's nice in theory.
    Jan 11 9
    • Google vqsx26
      This is a better, less cynical answer than mine.
      Jan 11
    • Microsoft / Eng Dr. 13
      Oh I thought that happened at lvl 64, not 63
      Jan 11
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      64 is an in-band promo. If you can make 63, you surely will make 64 eventually. You may never make 65, and that's okay. There are plenty of seniors who have been around 20+ years and aren't being run out of the company.
      Jan 11
    • Microsoft msboy
      Good post. 65 is the level when most are actually working at a senior level. Senior meaning you don't need hand holding and you drive many things. Other places like Netflix have just senior title to represent basically the ms 65 and above levels.
      Jan 11
    • SAP dppd
      @bebk16 I thought microsoft regularly managed people out or people who stay too long at 62, 63 were asked to leave.
      Jan 13
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      62 definitively. 63, maybe. 64, almost certainly not. 63 -> 64 is in-band where the in-band promo is still relatively easy (aka, not 65 -> 66). If you can make 63, you should be able to make 64, and if you can make 64 you're safe from "lack of progression" firing. You can of course be laid off or fired for other reasons, so it's not a "rest and vest" position, but it's as close as most people will get.
      Jan 13
    • SAP dppd
      Why is 62 a definitive for being laid off?
      Jan 13
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      Not laid off. Managed out for not progressing. 59 to 62 are "up or out levels", because you can't be a junior your entire career.

      Anybody is at risk for layoffs.
      Jan 13
    • SAP dppd
      So joining at 62 with a very high comp is a bad idea then, assumption being, the higher you lr comp, the sooner you need to move to lev. 63????
      Jan 13
  • Google vqsx26
    New title
    Jan 11 0
  • Microsoft Goval
    OP
    So what are you going to do if you become a senior, but can’t make it to principal? Stay at senior till retirement? Jump ship to try your luck (even when you are old)? Wait other principals to leave so you could have a chance?
    Jan 11 3
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      Principal isn't like Partner, where there's a set amount. If there's a business justification and you've demonstrated the skills, you can make principal even if your org is already principal heavy. It just may be harder to justify or get the opportunities.

      But yes, there are plenty of seniors-for-life. Even after you max out your salary band and thus get 0% merit, you'll still get cost of living adjustments when appropriate, stock, and bonus.
      Jan 11
    • Microsoft Goval
      OP
      That sounds like a sad life in tech though, but appreciate your post!
      Jan 11
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      Not everybody is cut out for higher levels, either here or anywhere else. You can bounce around a bit and increase your TC that way, but at the end of the day if you're someone who will max out at senior you'll max out at the senior equivalent at Facebook, Google, or Amazon, too.
      Jan 11
  • EMC bahhe
    I guess at 63 you will start seeing the balls, at 64 you can feel them, at 65 you will start feeling from others etc etc.,
    Jan 11 0
  • Microsoft oAaS36
    Managing out can happen at any level. You just need to be read the signs of the org, plan your moves, and make sure you have a strong network
    Jan 12 3
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      There's a difference between being managed out for lack of growth vs being managed out because the whole org is on its deathbed or because you got on the wrong side of someone important.
      Jan 12
    • Microsoft Goval
      OP
      Can you elaborate on the difference? The end outcome is that you are managed out
      Jan 12
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      You can be in an otherwise healthy org and get managed out if you're too long in level below 63. There's no "too long in level" for 63+. If you're getting managed out at 63, either you're not performing up to level or your whole org is in its way out.

      Yes, either results in you having no job, but the reason why you have no job is different.
      Jan 12
  • Amazon Plzhlp
    That’s interesting. I’ve heard from some that 63-64 was terminal but then from others that it’s up or out to 65.
    Jan 11 3
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      I know personally several 25+ year 64s (and at least one 19 year 62, but I don't know the full story behind that one ...). It's certainly possible to end your career positively in the senior band.
      Jan 11
    • Microsoft Goval
      OP
      I guess it depends on how you define “positively” :-)
      Jan 11
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      Not fired for lack of progression, while still having responsibilities and interesting tasks. Not everybody is trying to be the next Bill Gates. Some people are happy with a well-paying but low-stress meaningful job that allows then to actually spend time with their family and/or doing the things they love.
      Jan 11
  • Gusto zkPS58
    What's with the levels being in the ~60 range instead of typical L1, L2 etc?
    Jan 11 2
    • Microsoft / Eng bebK16
      Historical reasons. Back in the 80s and 90s, levels were more normal. Not sure why they changed, but the change happened before I got here.
      Jan 11
    • Microsoft / Other
      Negan

      Microsoft Other

      PRE
      Blackbaud
      BIO
      I like bats
      Neganmore
      It was changed in 98-99 time frame to give more spread.
      Jan 11
  • SAP dppd
    Okay, this is interesting, I have a level 62 offer from IDC India for MSIT, seems to be towards the higher end of the Comp Ratio. I am really sleptical as I thought not making it to 63 in couple of years would definitely get me managed out, is that not the case if you dont progress to the next level soon, why so much hue and cry about microsoft laying off people continuously then?
    Jan 12 0
  • Oracle chaining/
    Microsoft people hold their titles too dearly. Ten years ago being senior was like “making it”. It’s a terminal state.

    But nowadays principal is the new senior. But old habits die hard. That’s why the drama with 63.
    Jan 11 0

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