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Hey everyone.

So here's my back story. I'm 28 and I'm working for a small (15 people) webdev company. I transitioned from web programmer to team lead about 2 years ago. Since then the team has grown from 2 (including me) to 5 and I've enjoyed the challenges of leading and managing. I started listening to the manager tools podcasts a while ago... and started one-on-ones right away! They were really beneficial. It gave me an opportunity to give feedback and let the quite folk talk up. I learnt a lot!

So about 3 weeks ago my boss, the CEO, tells me that he wants to relieve me of all the admin I'm doing so that I can concentrate on programming again. I said to him that I felt that was bad for my career; I want to be more involved in managing people not less. He said that he didn't think it was, that perhaps the opportunity would arise again some time in the future. I've been pretty dissapointed! So I've started looking for another job. The recruiter I contacted was more interested in the technology buzzwords I could come up with. We had long discussions about the kind of role I am looking for; I really want to do more management and it took me a long time to convince her of that. But she feels that I don't have enough experience, so she won't send me to interviews for the kind of position I want. Which makes me wonder, am I being naieve and overselling my abilities to myself?

So what I'm wondering, and what I would like to ask you folks is:
Am I trying for too much too quickly? Should I rather make a horizontal move to another company and try again from there? How DO I get enough applicable experience without the opportunity to earn it (the graduates dilemma)? My current position has been great in that I've had the freedom to experiment. But it's effectively been informal. Am I marketing myself badly or, like I wondering above, fooling myself?

thanks for taking the time to read this!

Gavin van Lelyveld

Mark's picture

Gavin-

Thanks for the kind words and great post.

The answer is, as far as I can tell, no, you're not trying for too much too soon. I don't think you're fooling yourself. 2 years as a team lead is a lot of time.

The BIG BIG BIG question is what happened to cause the CEO to take away your responsibilities 3 weeks ago. Does someone else now have the responsibilities? What feedback had you gotten along the way? What did your reviews say? What feedback were you given at the time? If you can't easily state what happened, I would go to great lengths to get that feedback from the CEO. I would schedule time with him, and ask specifically for what happened that caused the demotion. If you have allies elsewhere in the firm at levels higher than yours, ask them as well. CLEARLY, something important has happened and you don't know what it is.

All that said, I'm also not sure that I would necessarily leave where you are. It's hard to go from Level 1 at Company A to Level 2 at Company B in a job change. Usually, at lower levels, upward moves happen WITHIN a company. Unless you hear that it's not ever going to happen, or that the company is in trouble... I would wait before deciding to leave.

And, I would get rid of that recruiter. Even if she is right, if she's not serving your needs, talk to someone else.

Hope this helps.... let us know what you find out.

It's a privilege to serve you,

Mark