“It’s A Hot Job Market. Do You Stay or Do You Leave?”: Panel (Video + Transcript)

March 8, 2022

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Angie Chang: So our next session, I want to bring up a panel of three mid-to-senior technologists who changed jobs for a bigger role at another company. And they’re here to talk about how it’s a hot job market and how to know when it’s time to leave. This is very timely with the great resignation, or great reshuffling, you all hear about. And so now let’s welcome Aliza, Rocio and Sharon! And I’ll let you introduce yourselves.

Aliza Carpio: Hello everyone, and welcome to our session. I’d like to take a moment to recognize that we are all in challenging times. And for those of you out there with family, friends, and loved ones who are impacted by the conflict in Ukraine, our hearts and our thoughts are with all of you.

Aliza Carpio: Now, we hope that our story and the tips we’re going to share are helpful for you and we’ll inspire you as well. But before that let’s do some intros. We’ll start with Sharon.

Sharon Hunt: Hey everybody, my name is Sharon Hunt. I am the Head of Product at a company called Clovers. We’re fairly new. I’ve had a pretty, I would say eclectic career journey.

Sharon Hunt: So I’ve done everything from selling cars and bartending to spending the last 10 years in product management and in technology where I had the good fortune of meeting these two ladies, add into it first hand. Rocio, tell us about you.

Rocio Montes: Hi everyone. My name is Rocio Montes. I am a Senior Engineering Manager at GitHub. My team, that compute engine team powers, all the runners that provide the compute power to all of the actions workflows.

Rocio Montes: Like Sharon said, I have also recently switched jobs from Intuit to GitHub. And it was definitely a challenging decision and an emotional rollercoaster to really make that jump. But you grow and you challenge yourself. So here I am very happy with that. So we’re here to tell you all of about it.

Aliza Carpio: Rocio, what’s your fun fact?

Rocio Montes: My fun fact, you always get me on this one Aliza, I can lay on the beat for eight hours straight.

Aliza Carpio: That’s a good one. Hey, everyone, I’m Aliza Carpio, Director, Technology Evangelist at Autodesk. In my role, I get to work with teams and leaders from across the globe to amplify the engineering magic that’s happening at Autodesk and help build our tech story.

Aliza Carpio: Now my fun fact is that, and I think these ladies know, my favorite song to sing in karaoke, if you can get me to sing is Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. So for those of you out there that are Britney fan, I’m definitely with you. So we chose the title. It’s a hot market – do you stay or do you leave?

Aliza Carpio: Because as Rocio mentioned, each of us were faced with this question and the opportunity last year and the year before during the height of the pandemic. Now this pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, eCommerce and automation. And many as you all may have heard, even from Angie may have heard the term passive recruitment or job search because for technologists like yourselves, you probably are not having to pour too much energy in searching for that next opportunity.

Aliza Carpio: And I’m sure many of you out there, the opportunity is already knocking at your door. Sharon, let’s start with you.

Sharon Hunt: Yeah, it’s such an interesting time right now. In fact, that’s why we started Clovers because it’s such a candidate’s market. And a lot of companies just don’t know how to create a great candidate experience and that bleeds into creating a great culture, creating a great place where people feel like they can grow. A

Sharon Hunt: And if you really look at what’s going on right now, this whole era of the great resignation, it’s really highest among people between 30 and 45 years old, right in that middle career. And there’s a lot of theories about this. Now that there’s been some really definitive, causal factors there, but there are certainly some indicators. So the fact that it’s, mid-career definitely is a big indicator.

Sharon Hunt: And I think the fact that so much of technology now has opened up to remote work. It really just blew up the landscape of opportunities for people. Because you don’t have to think about, “Hey…” Especially for people with families, “Where can I travel? What’s close by? What’s convenient? How can I grow my career at a place that also lets me live my life?” A lot of that is now way more…

Sharon Hunt: There’s so many more opportunities to do that across the country and even across the world. So one thing I read it in Bloomberg recently actually, is that the number one factor for people, even companies is culture 12 times more likely than compensation? Which is really interesting, especially for us ladies out there.

Sharon Hunt: So I think there’s a lot of… I look around and look at my colleagues. I see the career shifts that people are making and I think there’s a lot of women, other folks as well, but especially women who feel like maybe they’ve reached a little bit of a ceiling at their current roles.

Sharon Hunt: And that’s baked into the culture to a certain degree. And company who are attracting that talent are going to win in the long run. And I really believe that’s a big driver for especially people are leaving. It’s that culture? It’s that feeling you want to grow? And finding that all of a sudden you’ve got way more opportunities than you’ve ever had before because of the nature of remote work. Rocio, what are some things that you’re seeing in the job market?

Rocio Montes: Oh man, Sharon, definitely. These are significant shifts. I also read that as many as 25% of workers may need to switch occupations than before the pandemic. Also saw an article from Hack Reactor where the demand of engineers will continue to increase due to these shifts, right? So it’s definitely a hot market out there. Things are changing.

Rocio Montes: And I have some friends and past colleagues like YouTube who are lending new opportunities, sometimes bigger ones, sometimes different ones. As for me, I recently moved to GitHub from Intuit. And this happened after eight years of being with the Intuit family.

Rocio Montes: And it was definitely a very big decision to make. Some of the things, and I’ll walk you through some of those motivators for me to switch, was that in the last road Intuit, I was reporting to the chief architect with Aliza focusing a lot on development productivity. We founded the open source office and started to kick off the inner source initiative.

Rocio Montes: And GitHub was at the center of both of those things. So for me, it was more of a natural, transition, because I started to get very passionate about all of the features that GitHub was releasing, getting involved with, GitHub as a maintainer, et cetera.

Rocio Montes: And when I saw the opportunity at GitHub as an engineering manager, it just made sense for me as the continuation of my career growth, the continuation of the journey I had been as an engineer.

Rocio Montes: So that was for me, right? Aliza and Sharon, what shifts did you make? And what elements do you think we need to consider when planning your next move?

Aliza Carpio: So you probably all heard that we all kind of came from Intuit. I also made a shift last year. I actually started at Autodesk late August of last year and I actually was seeking growth and learning.

Aliza Carpio: I had been in the company for a long time, started off as an engineer and did a lot of different roles, including product management, dev manager, and even marketing and what I ended up doing, and we’ll talk a little bit about, this is I did write my job description and I’ll tell you all about that.

Aliza Carpio: But my big thing that I’m going to say out there is a principle that I learned from a mutual manager that Rocio and I had, which was the chief architect. Where he always gave people the same advice, “When you were looking for that next role, make sure you are running to somewhere or to something versus away from something.” And it’s a big principle. Hey Sharon, I want to ask you what about you?

Sharon Hunt: Yeah, that’s a great principle, reflecting back on my own career journey for the last few years. When I left into it both of you were there as well. And I was really looking for more ownership as a product manager, those of you and the audience might commiserate with we’re a little bit of control freaks.

Sharon Hunt: We like to be in control of things. And I really wanted to own more strategy, more of the roadmap. And I just realized at a really large company like Intuit, that was going to be much harder to do in the time period that I was looking to get it done at. So I moved to a company called Housecall Pro really exciting, well established startup that was doing field service management work. Spoke to my soul because I come from a family of painters and landscapers and tree climbers and the whole blue collar scene.

Sharon Hunt: So I was building software for people that I love, but really, then was quickly promoted into director at that role and got to fully lead and owning the roadmap and realize what it meant to experiment in the product led space. And I fully felt like I realized what I was looking for in that position. Then I hit another little bit of a, I would say, not a ceiling, but the company shifted.

Sharon Hunt: We went into more operational mode we had product market fit. It was time to scale. And at that point we had been running very lean and we brought in more product management talent and the company wanted to bring in a VP that had gone through a period of massive growth before. Because there are certain lessons that you learn when you go through that if you haven’t been through it before you can’t bring to the table, which was quite fair.

Sharon Hunt: And I actually had a one-on-one with Aliza, because at that same time, my current opportunity fell into my lap as the Head of Product that a new startup. And I said, “Aliza, what should I do? How do I even navigate through this?”

Sharon Hunt: And she really encouraged me to write down all the things that I was looking for in my new role. And why I thought that, I was qualified to do it at Housecall Pro and really be transparent with my manager that time around what I wanted and why I thought I was a good fit.

Sharon Hunt: And he heard me, but I think he had already made his choice. But the exercise of doing that, just writing down what I wanted really codified in my mind what that was. And it helped me make that decision between, “Okay, do I stay here? And I’m going to learn going to continue to grow through a product position. That’s going to go through crazy growth or do I go back over here into a new opportunity to really build something from scratch, to establish processes, to establish leadership principles that I’ve sometimes felt were a gap in previous companies?”

Sharon Hunt: So writing it down really helped and what it made me realize, and this kind of goes to I think what you’re saying Aliza about running to versus away from something is, “What are your hygiene factors? Are you feeling like you’re not appreciated or you’re not paid well enough or you’re being mistreated in some way. If that’s the case, then you might be running away from a position – and that’s probably not a bad thing.

Sharon Hunt: Maybe that’s a toxic position for you and you deserve and belong to something new. But don’t let that make you underestimate or under serve yourself when you go to the next position, because you might not fully bake and understand what truly motivates you, what you really want out of your next role.

Sharon Hunt: And you might just jump on the next thing that at least meets your basic criteria. So it really helped me kind of codify what are my hygiene factors at my last position I felt like I was getting that. But what did, what did I want on top of that was going to help me to grow?

Sharon Hunt: So I would say a principle here is make sure that if you’re leaving your current role, because your basic needs aren’t being met either monetarily or from a respect position, don’t move to your next role just because if they meet those baseline criteria. Still understand, what on top of that you want, and then still aim for getting that full package in your next role.

Rocio Montes: Yeah, I think I would add again, I would go back to what, “What are you passionate about? What excites you in the morning?” To me, it was really clear year about what are some of the things and the features that I wanted to work with and how I was always trying to pull in GitHub features and trying to onboard to all the new features that you know were coming out and it was just that what motivate me…

Rocio Montes: What I realized that I was very passionate about that drove me to really find and to make the leap, to changing roles.

Aliza Carpio: Folks, this is really golden. Let me share a couple of things here. I love what you all are sharing and Sharon and Rocio please do add if I miss anything. But in that question around what elements do you need to think about or consider when planning their next move? Do you want to take that first one, Sharon, and I’ll take the second one?

Sharon Hunt: This is your journey. Take a moment to self reflect. Yeah, I think this kind of pairs with the last one, honestly. What is it that motivates you? It’s all kind of boils down to that. Are you motivated by trying to escape or are you motivated by trying to grow?

Sharon Hunt: Sometimes it’s a combination of the two, but don’t just escape if that’s what you’re trying to do, escape and grow at the same time. Why are you looking? What is it that is driving you out of your current position? Fully understand that.

Sharon Hunt: And then a click deeper really is once you understand what is driving you… Do you understand where that driver comes from? Is this something that you really want? You yourself as a fully formed human, or is it what you were told that you should want by your parents or by society, or by your significant other or your church or your religion?

Sharon Hunt: There’s so much of that influence that is imposed upon us from the outside, that it takes some really deep thinking to truly know what it is that’s driving you so that you can make sure that the next thing that you pick is going to really check those boxes in a deep way, in terms of motivation. So I’d say Aliza, that kind of combines…

Aliza Carpio: The one and three?

Sharon Hunt: Yeah.

Aliza Carpio: That second one I mentioned already around making sure that you don’t do a couple of things. That you avoid running away from something, but shift your mind to running to something thing. And then there’s this second one, which I actually got from Shannon Lietz. She’s VP of Security at Adobe. And I really love it when she asks me, “Are you letting your current job interfere with your career aspirations?”

Aliza Carpio: You might love what it is that you do, but you really need to also think about the fact that you own the destiny of your career. So think about what is it that you are aspiring to do or want to achieve and not let the current job interfere with that. There’s a lot more potentially that you could be doing to be more impactful. So thanks for that. I’m going to stop sharing and get back to our chat. Rocio, I know you were going to maybe have a story about a friend who reached out to you.

Rocio Montes: I wanted to share that I recently had a friend reach out to me because she was contacted by a recruiter and she wanted my advice about what are some of the things that she should consider when switching jobs? And I’m sure that both of you have advise that you could give us, right?

Rocio Montes: What are some thoughtful techniques in searching for the next role or your next organization? What are those things that we should take into account? I can start with one and obviously we all have a great value, a great worth. So look out for compensation. You want to grow, you want to make sure that all of your skills are getting compensated correctly.

Rocio Montes: Think about when you’re asking for your new offer, why are you leaving behind? If you have stocks that you’re leaving behind, really try to think about that monetary aspect, because obviously yes, we need to follow our passion, but we don’t leave out of love. There are bills to pay and things to buy. So it’s really good to sit down, look at numbers. And if you need advice on that, always try and find someone that could give you that advice for those calculations. Sharon, what do you think?

Sharon Hunt: Yeah, I think it got two pieces of advice. One goes back to what we were just talking about around really understanding your motivations. Actually came across a really great article a while back called How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) by a fantastic writer named Tim Urban. He runs a blog called Wait But Why. I highly recommend, its hysterical. But the article is really about deeply understanding what motivates you.

Sharon Hunt: And he has this concept called the yearning octopus, where sometimes you can have conflicting needs. Sometimes we want social status, but we also want to give back to humanity, but we also need to support our parents. So sometimes these things are really in conflict with each other. So really diving deep and articulating all those disparate needs. He breaks this down in a really wonderful framework. The blogs called Wait But Why? And the article is called How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) by Tim Urban.

Sharon Hunt: I really recommend it. It’s a bit of a read, but he actually provides a series of exercises to go through. I actually did it myself and it was one of the things that made me choose to lead my position at Intuit and really helped me understand what it was that drove me, which person was doing work that was more aligned with helping people that I loved, which is why I picked Housecall Pro, which built software, or like I said, for people that I care about.

Sharon Hunt: The other tip that I have is if you are thinking about doing something that is a little bit new, definitely go find someone that does that job and just if you’re able to shadow them, literally sit with them and see what their job is like.

Sharon Hunt: That might be a little tricky, but in lieu of that, at least have a deep conversation. Actually tell them to walk you through what their day was like. “Tell me what you did yesterday.”

Sharon Hunt: Ask them what their favorite parts about their job is and what their least favorite job parts are. And really do that a few times with folks that are in that position to get a deeper understanding of what the role is because your assumptions about the role might not actually be the reality. And so really getting that ethnographic connection with the person who’s doing the role might really have help you understand whether or not it’s going to meet those motivations that we just chatted about. So my [crosstalk].

Aliza Carpio: Sorry, I know we’re running at overload time because we have one more minute, but let me just squeeze this in.

Aliza Carpio: I do recommend that everyone write your own job description. What is it that you want to see in your own reality in what you want to become? And I will tell you right now that I have my role because I wrote my job description and I presented it to a couple of VPs in Autodesk. I also did the same exact thing in my last role at Intuit. And it will actually help you also find your ideal, not only target state, but your ideal job out there.

Aliza Carpio: Whether you’re looking at LinkedIn or just looking around and talking to people. And so we hope that these tips are great. We’d love for you all to connect with us. We’re out of time, but please to connect with us and let us know how we can help you.

Angie Chang: Thank you for sharing job search experience and strategies.

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