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When is the right time to switch to a different team?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [E4] at Metaa year ago

Hey folks,

I’ve been on my current team for almost 1.5 years now. My hope is to get a promotion sometime this year which might require a higher performance review (Exceeds Expectations). But if I get an average performance review (Meets All), does it make sense for me to roll the dice and switch to a different team in the hopes of faster growth there?

I know there are significant costs to switching teams, and I want to make a well-informed decision if I do decide to switch teams internally.

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    Staff SWE at Google, ex-Meta, ex-Amazon
    a year ago

    How well you perform at your current level is (or should be) tangential to your readiness for promotion. The “obvious” case is someone overperforming at current level tasks, while also performing on-level at next-level tasks. That’s not the only formula, though.

    Getting promoted requires doing two jobs anywhere that promotions are trailing (promoted once you’re doing the new job). Being excellent at your old job and good at your new job is hard. Sometimes you have to be good at your old job (solid delivery, but not changing lives) to have the time and energy to be good at your new job (doing things that aren’t measured or required in your current job).

    That’s a bit of a tangent, but if your manager has said to get promoted you need a high rating I would be puzzled.

    Anyway! Most people get promoted then leave a team once it’s locked. It feels “safer”. The problem I see is a team that is unable to provide the scope needed for everyone to move up, so waiting around may actually delay promotion for some members. I would strive to understand what the gaps are between your current body of work and the next level. Is your manager supporting the promo and do you have work that fills the gaps in the immediate future?

    You should have any next level work you’ve done clearly documented and supported by managers and next level peers. That should be portable. The question is just the gaps, and if it’s faster to fill them on your current team, or if you could move, ramp up, and fill them elsewhere.

    This shouldn’t be mysterious. You and your manager should know the gaps and strategy to fill them, half they intend to promote you (or you apply? I can’t remember how Meta does it), and so on. If none of this is clear, you are not on track to promotion. When you talk to new potential managers you should be laying out gaps to promo and getting their opinion on your ability to fill them and possible timelines.

    If your current team has the work and your manager supports your promotion, sticking around will likely be quicker. If not, leaving might be better. If there’s outside factors like you hate your team, manager, work, etc then leave and don’t worry about promo impact.