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Get into management or not?
Old 02-06-2011, 02:30 PM   #1
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Get into management or not?

Let's supposed that you receive an offer to get into an engineering management position with a start-up company, but the pay is similar. You are only a few years (< 5 yrs) from retirement, working for a mega-corp with a pension (albeit small) in a comfortable environment as a technical lead engineer. Would you make that switch? I would imagine that you probably think it's crazy to make such a transition unless the start-up offers more exciting work and a much better compensation package.
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:32 PM   #2
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Any stock options?
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:42 PM   #3
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Any stock options?
No, no stock options.
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:58 PM   #4
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Is the pension vested? Can you take it with you?
Do you want to do it?

If the answer to both is yes, I would go for it.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:01 PM   #5
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My experience in small start-up management position is one with lots of hectic schedules, long work hours, and a lot of young engineers who may not see eye to eye with a near-retire manager.

If you are mid-career, I would say yes since that could propel you into higher management positions in later jobs. But, I would not put myself into that if I only have few years left before retirement.

Stability and tranquility would be more important to me at this stage.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:30 PM   #6
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A couple of comments:

(1) In my opinion, since your kids are college or near college age it is a good time to consider such a move. I actually did the opposite. I moved from a start-up to a mega-corp when the kids were small for a better work-life balance.

(2) I really enjoyed my time with the two start ups that I was with but I had options with significant up side potential. If I were to go back to a start-up I would want options or a similar incentive especially since you appear to be ok with your current position.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:32 PM   #7
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I went from engineer to manager, did the mid-level management thing for ~7 years, and then went back to hands-on technical work. For me, management was too far removed from what I enjoyed about technology. Getting a team to accomplish something never equated to a personal sense of accomplishment for me.

I wouldn't work at a startup as an engineer, let alone as a manager, without some kind of potential payoff in the form of stock options, etc.

Of course, as with everything, YMMV.
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Old 02-06-2011, 03:38 PM   #8
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Do you need the potential stress? Will the management position offer you something prior to retirement? Can it delay retirement if you truly enjoy it?

Since it's a start-up, what is the current funding and burn rate as it may be risky to last 5 years?

To me start-up = much longer hours and stress. Without the reward of salary, stock options, better benefits, possible preferred travel, etc. it would not be worth it to me. However, if you get a personal satisfaction of "making it to management" before you retire, go for it.

It's really a personal value here, YMMV.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:15 PM   #9
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Is the pension vested? Can you take it with you?
Do you want to do it?

If the answer to both is yes, I would go for it.
Yes to the first two. I am sure about the third.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:18 PM   #10
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My experience in small start-up management position is one with lots of hectic schedules, long work hours, and a lot of young engineers who may not see eye to eye with a near-retire manager.

If you are mid-career, I would say yes since that could propel you into higher management positions in later jobs. But, I would not put myself into that if I only have few years left before retirement.

Stability and tranquility would be more important to me at this stage.
That's a good point. Stability, though not guaranteed, counts a lot at this stage of my career.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:21 PM   #11
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A couple of comments:

(1) In my opinion, since your kids are college or near college age it is a good time to consider such a move. I actually did the opposite. I moved from a start-up to a mega-corp when the kids were small for a better work-life balance.

(2) I really enjoyed my time with the two start ups that I was with but I had options with significant up side potential. If I were to go back to a start-up I would want options or a similar incentive especially since you appear to be ok with your current position.
Yes, start-up can both be fun and challenging but also risky. An attractive incentive is definitely needed to propel a change, however.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:25 PM   #12
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I went from engineer to manager, did the mid-level management thing for ~7 years, and then went back to hands-on technical work. For me, management was too far removed from what I enjoyed about technology. Getting a team to accomplish something never equated to a personal sense of accomplishment for me.

I wouldn't work at a startup as an engineer, let alone as a manager, without some kind of potential payoff in the form of stock options, etc.

Of course, as with everything, YMMV.
Technical work, in my opinion, is a lot more rewarding and interesting than managing people and playing the political game. That's probably the prime reason that I have resisted the temptation to get into management even though I hold an MBA from a prestigious university.
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Old 02-06-2011, 04:28 PM   #13
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Do you need the potential stress? Will the management position offer you something prior to retirement? Can it delay retirement if you truly enjoy it?

Since it's a start-up, what is the current funding and burn rate as it may be risky to last 5 years?

To me start-up = much longer hours and stress. Without the reward of salary, stock options, better benefits, possible preferred travel, etc. it would not be worth it to me. However, if you get a personal satisfaction of "making it to management" before you retire, go for it.

It's really a personal value here, YMMV.
No, I do not want additional stress. I have enough trying to meet project deadlines.

I have enough funding that I really do not need a higher paying job to retire.

Thanks.
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Old 02-06-2011, 05:10 PM   #14
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I assume you are over 55 so you do not have to worry about 10% penalty on the 401k at your current job.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:05 PM   #15
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I assume you are over 55 so you do not have to worry about 10% penalty on the 401k at your current job.
Yes, I hate to admit that I am getting old. It's time for retirement instead of worrying about career advancement.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:10 PM   #16
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It's time for retirement instead of worrying about career advancement.
For some of us retirement is the ultimate career advancement...
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:15 PM   #17
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For some of us retirement is the ultimate career advancement...
Ha, ha, that's a good one.
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Old 02-06-2011, 06:36 PM   #18
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You may want to push the start up offer for more $$ and stock options or other benefits. If you get whatever extra you ask for the decision will probably be easier. Nothing to loose.
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:02 PM   #19
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Why does the start up want you? Do you have some specific experience/talent they need? Do you know the other people in the startup? Would it be fun to work with them? Is it a cool product or service you would be proud to bring to market?
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Old 02-06-2011, 07:13 PM   #20
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If you are financially secure and close to retirement anyway, it may be a chance to do something different, to end your career with some excitement and a bang. Of course, I mean that if you are of the more adventurous type, and are getting bored with your current work.

Still, I would not get short-changed. The new work is very likely more demanding and stressful, and I would want to get properly compensated. If people say they appreciate your work, they will have to prove it with more than words.

PS. Rereading your posts, it looks like you see no reasons to take this job, and already make up your mind, it appears.
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