Previosly held an executive role but now getting approached about Manager level gigs?

New aEsa18
Jan 18 23 Comments

I was previously on the executive team for a well known company going through hyper-growth and stepped away a couple years ago to take a job as the first FT employee at a pre-product startup. The purpose of taking the risk was it provided me a different type of work experience and a completely new type of industry experience. I have since left the startup and now that I am back on the market feel like I’m getting lowballed by recruiters and my peers who claim to want to help. Mostly people are coming to me with independent contributor or manager level roles. Which while they’re good jobs, I know I have more to offer. I can’t tell if its because I am female, look young, or if its the conpetitive nature of VPs and Senior Directors to block peers out from achieving similar level career success.

Its discouraging since I worked incredibly hard to move past the Director level, and held Manager level jobs at a major tech company almost a decade ago. I’m wondering how do I get past the current roles I am being approached about, and expose myself to the types of roles I’m really after.

Does anyone at a similar point in their career (15-20 years) have experience dealing with this type of bias? Suggestions are welcome. #executivejobs #jobhunt #seniorleader


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TOP 23 Comments
  • Google slidgiz
    Consider also that "executive" and most other rank/title stuff is meaningless and very, very contextual (see: anyone working in a traditional bank). Not trying to put you down, I myself was a director and then a VP within first 10 years of my career and where I stand today 10 years later I would need two promotions to be a director again... But I have definitely, no doubt about it moved much higher on the chain than where I was as a director 10 years ago. Tbh looking at my job titles going back to the start of my career it reads like I started at the top and have continuously backslid with nearly every position since.
    My point is, look at the careers of some of the people who hold the position you're dismissing... You may be surprised just how "senior" they are.
    Jan 18 6
    • New aEsa18
      You have provided some helpful perspective. While I don’t agree across the board its useful to hear counter arguments.

      As for knowing who occupies manager level roles, and their skills/background, that is something that I am very well aware of and led to the writing of this post. Based on my extensive Linkedin analysis, I know I offer more than many of those people who are in those roles.
      Jan 18
    • Dell LUHV04
      Wouldn’t a higher TC ( double or triple of what one makes today ) much better even if you have to take an IC title as compared to the executive title one has today ?
      Jan 18
  • Sunrun pink tax
    I attended a talk by a female VC years ago who wanted to have a seat as a board member at a major company. Her approach was to network with people who had board seats, be friends with them, ask them valid questions, etc. It’s all about timing and who you know for these types of positions. So having a warm introduction from someone respected makes you an easier sell for the role you’re trying to get.
    Jan 18 0
  • I guess the higher you go on the ladder, the fewer jobs there are for those kinds of positions, so it's less likely to get those offers.
    Jan 18 0
  • Red Hat YcyX11
    Jobs at Director and Above are limited, you need to have good connections to be successful when you move out, what I have seen is the VP hiring his/her folks when they move out and boils down to managers as well, I have rarely seen Director and above make same role or above jump without any connections
    Jan 18 1
    • Dell LUHV04
      Is this applicable to FANG companies ?
      Jan 18
  • JPMorgan Chase wQPG76
    I think you need some perspective, it’s unlikely that this is because of your gender.

    I feel under leveled and underpaid; I’m a male crawling through the ranks though I have much more to offer. Ironically the last two roles I was offered leadership roles as an incentive to stay but at lower compensation than I had already negotiated for my new role (wtf)

    We’re all in the same boat, be nothing but grateful to your peers who are actually trying to help. It’s just that you walked backwards career wise and don’t have much leverage. Consider taking a role and keep looking anyway or moving to a less competitive location. Your competition are the people who continued to grow into their executive tenure while you joined a startup as IC
    Jan 18 0
  • Bank of America Tjbt20
    Are you being explicitly clear with your connections as to exactly what you're looking for?
    Jan 18 0
  • Google goongle
    I was a director at Amazon and am currently a director at Google. At Amazon I started as an L6 manager (2 levels below director). Prior to these roles I was a director, VP, etc., at smaller companies. Context there to show I have experienced what you are describing. I also have 20+ years of experience.

    I’ve also routinely hired execs from smaller companies in to manager roles at these FANGs.

    In looking back I often recognize the massive growth I’ve experienced in my journey through FANG companies, largely due to the scale and complexity of the businesses and roles. I would have not been prepared for an Amazon Director role if I went straight in to that from my previous VP-types of role. Despite having the capacity to operate in these FANG exec roles, I would have almost certainly failed as I hadn’t had the experience to back such a role.

    My strong recommendation is if you have the opportunity to get in and grow at a FANG, take the opportunity. You’ll grow in a new set of ways that will pay off in your future.
    Jan 20 1
    • Microsoft skyflyman
      Love this! Thank you
      Jan 20
  • Microsoft h.a.l.l.
    Could be WeWork effect. What are your VC connections saying? They may also have need for exec positions at other portfolio companies.
    Jan 18 0
  • Microsoft skyflyman
    Yes I am in a similar boat. I am also trying to get out of it and now lining up interviews.
    Jan 18 0
  • See if you can go back to the company where you used to work and held an executive position.
    Jan 18 0


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