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I am switching teams and worried about being compensated properly

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Microsoft7 months ago

Hello everyone,

I am currently moving from one team to another. I had an external offer from TikTok but I decided not to take it because it wasn't the right position for me. I want to focus more on AI and Mobile Development which I will get to do on this new team at Microsoft. I tried to get Microsoft to match the offer from TikTok but they said that they won't do that for internal Transfers. My new hiring manager wanted to give me a promotion and match the offer but the leadership denied it.

My questions are:

  1. What can I do once I join the team to expedite my promotion and try to get exceeds expectations?
  2. Is there a way I can target an SSA(Special Stock Award)? I hear getting awarded SSA's are basically a black box. Wanted to see if Taro has any insights on this.
  3. Are there any other things that I am not considering?
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Discussion

(5 comments)
  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    7 months ago

    Special Stock Awards (SSA) are similar to Additional Equity (AE) at Meta: a one-off equity grant to retain top performers with additional compensation in the form of stock: https://www.jointaro.com/topic/microsoft/performance-review/.

    I got AE once at Meta, as I talk about in this YouTube video. I received it around the 3-year mark after the internal tool I built had a meaningful impact on the org. The AE grant was about half the size of my initial 4-year grant when I joined the company, and I know friends for whom it was even more significant.

    The time that you have the most leverage as an employee is when you have competing offers. If you have offer A and offer B from 2 different companies, you will turn down one company. However, when you're at a company, many (most) employees will choose the more comfortable option and stay where they are.

    Companies take advantage of this inertia and often won't change your numbers just because you have a competing offer (Meta has an official policy around this).

  • 2
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    7 months ago

    To answer your questions directly:

    What can I do once I join the team to expedite my promotion and try to get exceeds expectations?

    Ask the manager about their goals and how your work fits in. Since you're an internal transfer, you should be able to hit the ground running and start writing code quickly. Apply the talk & observe framework.

    Is there a way I can target an SSA(Special Stock Award)? I hear getting awarded SSA's are basically a black box. Wanted to see if Taro has any insights on this.

    As mentioned above, there's not much you can do. Microsoft should have a program for all engineers to get additional stock grants (it wouldn't make sense for people to stop vesting equity after the 4 year mark), but it may not be as substantial as SSA.

    Aside from being indispensable in the team, there's not much you can do.

    Perhaps you can lightly hint to the manager that "I've loved working on the team and my initial MSFT grant is running out, so I'm curious what the options are to remain vested in the growth of the company?" You want to communicate that you're a strong engineer, and you're at least mindful of the equity drop. This can be a kick in the pants for your manager to start advocating for you more.

  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    7 months ago

    What can I do once I join the team to expedite my promotion and try to get exceeds expectations?

    1. Onboard very rapidly and show high-quality of work: [Taro Top 10] Effective Onboarding
    2. Have that honest conversation with your manager to construct a promotion plan:
      1. Asking For A Promotion: The Wrong Way vs. The Right Way
      2. This Is What A Good Promotion Plan Looks Like
    3. Crush it as a mid-level engineer by following the advice/examples here: [Taro Top 10] Mid-Level Engineer To Senior Engineer (L4 To L5)

    I have mentored many engineers from mid-level to senior and the overall sequencing generally goes like this:

    1. Show stellar technical strength by submitting very clean PRs, leaving thorough code review comments, fixing bugs, refactoring code, and doing all the other responsible coding behaviors: [Taro Top 10] Becoming A Better Coder
    2. Once you have earned the respect of peers from Step #1, build up the non-technical skills for senior promotion by leading others, creating scope, and influencing the broader team
  • 1
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    7 months ago

    Is there a way I can target an SSA(Special Stock Award)? I hear getting awarded SSA's are basically a black box. Wanted to see if Taro has any insights on this.

    As Rahul mentioned, I imagine the process is similar to Meta's AE "system" where it's just rewarded (often unexpectedly) to extremely high-performers.

    I don't think there's anything extra you can do to get SSA on top of being an excellent performer (which you should just always be striving to do anyways).

    As a caveat, I imagine the bar for SSA will be much higher now given the macro-economic conditions and FAANG companies watching their budgets far more closely.

  • 2
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    Mid-Level Software Engineer [OP]
    Microsoft
    7 months ago

    Thanks @Alex and @Rahul for answering this question in detail. I will certainly revisit this post often and try to implement the advice given here. 🙂

Microsoft is an American technology corporation which produces computer software, consumer electronics, and personal computers. It developed the Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Microsoft is often credited for ushering in the modern PC era.
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