Should I take a low level role (in or out of tech) while looking for high level? Would this hurt me?

Jan 8 12 Comments

Hi Blinders. Happy new year! Hoping I can get some of your wisdom & insight.

Spent past 7+ years in startups abroad as a passion project founder, a co-founder at another startup & a Director PM role at another. (not in that order) Returning to the US after recently attending a few events and seeing what I'm missing out on like fat TC, compounding benefits amazing training resources, etc, overall I miss home.

I'm drawn to building and shipping products so PM & PMM have been my main responsibilities, leading teams and negotiating. I don't really like to code learned basic coding on the side. (Solely so I could be more in tune with my dev team needs, their insights. Helped us have optimal communication in getting ideas/tasks mapped out. Deliverables got knocked out as efficiently as possible with a happy team to boot).

So I'm looking at Sr Product management roles or higher. That's where I think I'll be a fit & be happiest. Not sure if I should shoot for Director PM roles or not. I think my job search may take some time since my current US network is not as strong.

Here's the dilemma, my liquid financial reserves are super low now (bootstrapped & illiquid equity & family).

When I hit the ground in the US, should I just take any gig (even if its not in tech and much lower paying). Contemplating doing this while I get re-established, to have some income coming in, while I job search. Expect to stay at this 'gig' until I land a suitable role with my actual experience level.
Or do you think taking that 'gig' hurt my higher level job search & hurt negotiations?

The do-whatever-it-takes to get to next goal, bootstrap scrappy founder mentality in me says take a gig. But, I think my distance away from the US job market (yrs) and from the typical US corporate level career progression track, has skewed how I think large companies & the hiring managers & recruiters may view this.

So basically,
Would taking a 'whatever gig with basic benefits' now hurt me in my higher level tech job search & salary negotiations?
How would I explain this decision to companies/recruiters? Do these type of gig type jobs get listed on more senior experience resume?
Should that lower level interim gig be in tech or is it better to pick a non-tech type gig? (see next part for reasoning)

I feel like if I take a quick, easier-to-get lower level tech role, that isn't what I'm looking for long-term to get me back on track, I feel like that would:
1) be leaving a tech company in the lurch, when I just came back from abroad
2) and also a lower exp tech role could hurt me because they might say 'you accepted a tech role at this low level, why would we pay you double TC or triple TC for a higher level role?'

Or would they potentially say why didn't you take any tech role to get your foot back in the door at a tech company?

How do large established tech companies, faang and otherwise, look at entrepreneurial tech founders coming back into the corporate level workforce?

I'm simply not sure how this would be viewed.

Would appreciate insight from people whom may have been in similar situations or have hiring experience or have had people join their team or have seen management accomplish something similar. Any advice on how to address it at interviews would be great.

YOE 15+ in 2 industries

#jobfit #jobsearch #product #productmanager #startup #productmanagement #hiring #hiringmanager #hiringcommittee #tc #interview #interviewprep #apple #google #dropbox #amazon #netflix #facebook #exec #leetcode #paypal #twitter #linkedin #linkedinhiring


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TOP 12 Comments
  • Pivotal / Product don’t be 😈
    Get the job to pay the bills.
    Don’t put it on your resume.
    Just say you are currently consulting. Continue the job search.
    Jan 8 3
    • Pivotal / Product don’t be 😈
      Nope. Background checks don’t uncover jobs you didn’t report.
      Jan 9
    • Unless a place specifically asks for ALL work history (as defense contractors often do) the expectation is that your resume is the most relevant work. Just as I don’t care about your high school job if it doesn’t fit on your resume, I don’t care about the 3 month stint working at the grocery store unless me knowing that serves a specific purpose.
      Jan 9
  • Axiom eOwpd34
    Do you have any vertical expertise? In ‘general’ roles you typically need to have recent or good experience. It’s better to try to find the Goldilocks role that values your experience.

    I’d try and make a target list of companies that match your interests and experience. Find ways to talk to them.

    The most interesting roles don’t get posted.

    Good luck.
    Jan 14 2
    • OP
      Hi what do you mean by Goldilocks role?
      Jan 14
    • Axiom eOwpd34
      I mean one where your specific industry knowledge and experiences make you one of the best people in the world for that role. For example if you have built coffee robot kiosk ordering products, look for the next coffee or tea robot ordering PM role. It’s not guaranteed to come but if it does you’ll be the best candidate by far.
      Jan 16
  • New Yrj360
    Look for good leadership roles in small startups where your experience and expertise comes handy. Pay will be usually less, but helps you explain better for next career move.
    Jan 8 1
    • OP
      That’s a pretty solid idea. The city I’m moving back to isn’t a startup eccentric city. Most founders I know moved to other cities pretty early on. Hence why I was open to the path that sent me overseas.

      This type of work might be an option if I move to the Bay Area or NYC before landing my ideal permanent role. Which I’m looking to land in SF or NYC. Just was thinking to keep living expenses low until I see no other choice but to move to one of those two cities. I’ll move sooner if I find it would make my landing interviews & a key job much more quicker.
      Jan 9
  • Ironclad / Legal ⌐(ಠ۾ಠ)¬
    Sounds like you haven't hit got rock bottom yet. You bank account is still above zero and credit card is at not negative yet. When you are desperate enough, even flipping burgers at MC Donald's is a good job.
    Jan 8 1
    • OP
      The reality is, I'm moving back to get back on a progressive trajectory. I don't want to make an uninformed decision that may set the process back significantly further. Re-entering the market is hard as it is. The corp job search in tech is competitive & is no joke and I respect the process.
      Jan 8
  • 1) You might get a non tech job and leave it off your resume.
    2) Explain it as an easy way to get healthcare while hunting down a real job?
    3) Make some of those assets liquid, or get good at living cheap.
    Jan 8 0


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