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Difficult team: resign, transfer, or self-work?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community7 months ago

Hi folks,

I'm a mid-level engineer at a big tech company in the bay. While at my company, I haven't felt connected with the product, excited about the work I've been doing, or that connected with the team. I was interviewing for an internal transfer -- and I just had verbally accepted the offer. It was supposed to be a transfer to an acquired company I was excited about -- but I found out they just cut budget for the role. The role is to be remote. I'd have to move back home with my parents. I'm open to doing this, but it also comes with a 15% pay decrease, and I'm already out of and not refreshed on rsus. The transfer offer is a 15% reduction in salary.

The last option is I've been working on a side project with some friends to learn building a web-app end-to-end, so I could take some time off, recharge, and potentially work on my own thing. Overall, I'm quite burnt out and feeling tired of my job. Rather than working on large-scale infra, I'd like to get back to my roots (health-related technology). Any thoughts on this decision? I'm a US citizen, so no visa restrictions.



  • 5
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    Senior Software Engineer [IC3] at Nvidia
    7 months ago

    Firstly, if you can, try to reframe your view of the coaching plan. It could be a great way to get increased feedback, something that can be so helpful for your career if you iterate on it quickly. You can always look back later to see what was useful and what was not, but for now, I would take the feedback as a good thing and roll with it.

    The terms of your transfer offer changed, so I would not feel obligated to take it. From your post, it sounds like you would rather not. Is it possible to take a step back, get some distance, recharge (to ensure you are not making decisions while burnt out), and then make a decision? There is a great video on burnout and figuring out which variables are not working by the psychiatrist Dr. K (Healthy Gamer GG) here.

    A side project with friends can be fun. I would not leave your job to do it, especially if no one else on the team is. It is something you can do on evenings and weekends, especially if you find it exciting. Then you can see if it becomes profitable and stays exciting before your transition to doing it full-time. You can also interview for roles in health technology.

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    7 months ago

    Sorry to hear about the low job motivation - There are unfortunately far more bad teams than good ones, and the pandemic just made everything far worse.

    Everything David said is great. Here are my thoughts to augment his:

    1. Follow through on the coaching plan - Feedback is a gift, and it feels like it was done with good intent from your manager's end in that it wasn't a PIP. Pushing major errors to prod is obviously not a good thing, so hopefully you can come out of it with some new skills around solidifying your code. 1 month isn't too long either - Just do it and strive to be at least a little better engineer when you come out on the other side. We're rooting for you!
    2. The transfer could be worth it - At the end the day, the people around you dictate your quality of life, both inside and outside of work. So when it comes to choosing teams, I always say: Optimize for the people. If you're truly around world-class people who are nice, talented, honest, and warmly supportive, you will eventually rise to the level/pay that you want (treat it as a lagging indicator). If this other team is full of great people and exciting work, you should probably take it. I also see being near your parents as a big benefit - As someone who's now in his 30s, I'm now cherishing the time I spend with my parents more and more. Many people take them for granted in their early 20s (myself included), but then you get older (and hopefully wiser) and realize that nobody lives forever.
    3. Probably don't quit for the side project - A job is a job, especially in this economy. Even if you take the ~$150k TC transfer, that's not shabby at all in this awful market. I highly recommend figuring out the bare minimum to comfortably meet expectations at your job and diverting the remaining time/energy into side projects, spending time with family, and other things that genuinely bring you joy. After the economy improves (I'm bullish it will be in a good spot by mid to late 2024), you can jump ship to a much better job with higher pay, especially if you have Big Tech on your resume.

    Here are some resources I recommend as well:

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    7 months ago

    The decision should be based primarily on people.

    • How much do you see a path to growth and sponsorship on your current team? It sounds like not the best relationship with your manager, but I'd do some reflection on how it may evolve over the next 6 months.
    • Who would you interact with on the team switch? Since you'd have to be a non-major metro area (and living at home), it sounds like you won't get as much interaction with the other engineers on this team. So I wouldn't advocate for this.
    • Are any of the friends for the side project very talented or very committed (ideally both)? If not, I would not do the side project.

    Based on the 3 options above, I'd advocate for option #1 -- just stick it out or start the new job search. I wouldn't leave until you've tested the water in the market, though.