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Submitted by mustang707 on


I have been a manager in a Fortune 100 semicondutor company for about 5 years and I was an individual contributor for about 10 years before that. Lately I have been feeling burnt out and have tried get a job at other high tech companies but I haven't had any luck. This is when it dawned on me that my own organization has never hired an outsider for a manager role. All the managers that are there in my organization are internal candidates who were either an individual contributor or manager for some other team. Is my perception true that it is easier to change jobs (and hence get exposed to different corporate culture, processes, and products) as an individual contributor than a manager? Should I give up on my manager job search and go back to individual contributor role in my current organization for a few years and then try to transition to a different company? I just don't want to work in this job and organization until I am ready to retire.

jonathandursi's picture

I can't say what's best for you in your situation.  I willl say that going back between management and IC roles is becoming more common in tech (which increasingly has well developed, somewhat parallel career ladders for IC roles somewhat parallel to management roles).  In a tech-adjacent field I've done this myself - gone from management to IC and back - and will probably continue to do so as long as it's feasible.  After each switch back I have much more energy for the sort of tasks that used to drain me in the roles, and I've found that the combination of "big picture" and "on-the-ground" perspectives has been enormously useful in both roles.

angelicdoctor's picture

That depends on how you have been able to stay current on the tech in your field.  I was recently let go from my management position and have found it very difficult to find a new job as an IT manager in my field.  There seems to be an expectation that the manager should be an engineer as well meaning that his skills should be just as up to date as the senior engineer on the team.  In my experience, maintaining that level of proficiency as an engineer while managing people has been next to impossible due to the level of involvement I was obliged to engage in as the latter.  This has had the extra negative impact on my job search as an individual contributor as you can imagine.

mustang707's picture
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I hear you. Especially, if you have >6 direct reports, then the amount of time you get to do hands-on technical stuff if very limited.