Job search update

I accepted a job. I’m going back to work January 7 as an Engineering Manager for a national software company with a large office in Indianapolis. If you live in the US and have children in school, you probably have used, or at least have heard of, the product I’m going to help build.

I had hoped to find another small company ready to scale. The company I’ll be working for is well established, with a mature product and thousands of employees. Smaller companies have been my “sweet spot” where I’ve found great satisfaction and delivered solid results. But I didn’t find such a company ready for a person like me on this job search. 

Yet I am relieved. And this company should provide a solid platform for growth.

When I found myself unemployed in 2015, I was in high demand. Several companies expressed strong interest in me, I picked up some side consulting, and I got to weigh two competing job offers.

But in 2015 I was selling myself as a Quality Assurance leader. (QA people test software to make sure it works as intended.) I have a great story to tell there, backed up with deep experience.

Since then I made the transition to Engineering leadership. It came not a moment too soon, for as I discussed in this post on my software blog QA leadership roles are drying up, and for good reason. 

But in Engineering I find myself in a much larger pool of competition. Frankly, it hurt me as a candidate that I haven’t coded in ten years and am only lightly familiar with modern development and infrastructure tools and frameworks.

I claim that this doesn’t matter. What I might lack in technical chops I more than make up in skilled leadership. I made a deliberate choice some years ago to double down on being an outstanding leader, and it had the natural consequence of letting my technical skills wither and age. But I get outstanding results anyway, because I know how to harness my teams for best engagement and best results.

This turned out not to be as compelling a pitch as I imagined. In two opportunities I was passed over for candidates with more recent technology experience. Maybe this is ego talking, but I would be surprised if they had anywhere near the leadership skill and experience I do.

But I have to take this as an important signal. In my new role, I need to learn the technologies we use. I must go deep enough that one day when I’m on the market again, I have a technology story to tell that removes any doubt about me.


38 responses to “Job search update”

  1. Michael McNeill Avatar

    That’s good news, Jim. Well done. Onwards &upwards!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Super happy to get back to work! Must economize through the rest of the year, but I’m kind of looking forward to the time off.

  2. DougD Avatar

    Good news Jim. I’ve thought of myself as a medium sized company sort of guy, but here I am working for a large company and that pays the bills just fine.

    I don’t envy you in the deep dive into technologies. We just had Enovia training and there were a whole roomful of mechanical engineers going “Wait, why do we have to do this? Wha? hold on, how did you get to that hidden menu? We have to approve the approval? That’s stupid… And so on for a whole week.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Paying the bills is not overrated.

      I’m confident in my ability to learn what I need to learn — short of actually delivering code into the codebase. But I don’t think that will be required.

  3. Dan James Avatar

    Well done Jim, and congratulations on getting right back on the horse.

    As you’ve said before, no reason you can’t keep an eye open for other opportunities even once you start your new role. In the meantime it sounds like it will give you some opportunities for new learning and growth along the way.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m going into this very open to what I will learn and be able to do. It should be a fine gig and I’m happy to get it!

  4. Gerald Avatar

    Congratulations Jim. Your reservations aside, this is great news, Hopefully this means you and your family can catch your breath and settle back for a really good Xmas with one less thing to worry about. All the best.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yeah, here’s hoping! I’m trying to decide whether to pick up some seasonal work to help pay the bills until I can get back to my career work — it’s tempting to just lay off until the New Year and rest!

  5. Richard Kraneis Avatar
    Richard Kraneis

    Congrats on the new job.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar


  6. Jahid Hassan Avatar

    i am a paltipath designer so you many work test

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m not sure I understand you.

  7. traveller858 Avatar

    Great news Jim. Enjoy the next few weeks and ready yourself for the next challenge.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks so much Barry!

  8. Nancy Stewart Avatar
    Nancy Stewart

    Good to hear Jim …. Should help you to enjoy the holidays without that worry lurking in the background.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Nancy! Money will be tight but we’ll be ok.

  9. Victor Villaseñor Avatar
    Victor Villaseñor

    Congrats on the new job! Welcome back to the world of flipping 1’s and 0’s in an orderly fashion.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m nothing if not orderly! :-)

  10. Maureen Sudlow Avatar

    hope this job goes really well for you

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Meeee toooooo!

  11. Heide Avatar

    YAY! What wonderful news, Jim … congratulations!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! Looking forward to getting back to work.

  12. Jim Grey Avatar
  13. M.B. Henry Avatar

    I’m so glad to hear you will soon be back to work! :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh good heavens me too. Not paying my bills makes me crabby.

  14. Tom in Phoenix Avatar
    Tom in Phoenix

    Congrats! I wish you the very best! (And Merry Christmas too!)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks, and same to you!

  15. lasousa2015 Avatar

    Congratulations Jim. Time to start buying more new old cameras! Very glad for you. Lou.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! I’ll buy new old cameras after I finish thinning the herd!

  16. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    Good news. Extended Holliday vacations are not all bad. :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Not at all!

  17. Kurt Ingham Avatar
    Kurt Ingham

    Glad to hear you found work that pays!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The paying kind is the most practical to be sure! ;-)

  18. Sam Avatar

    Jim I wonder if this would affect your ability to blog as often? I always had that issue when working a lot. Has unemployment issues too at points in my life. Congrats!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I get up early to blog, and have done that for years, so a new job shouldn’t affect my ability to post!

      1. Sam Avatar

        Jim you must sleep a lot earlier than I do! A good man and one of the most inspiring bloggers!! 😎👍🏻

  19. susanJOY Hosken Avatar
    susanJOY Hosken

    Jim, congrats on the new job and I have to agree with you about being up with technology as well. Even my being retired still finds me needing to stay up to date as possible with the technology that affects my life and others susanJOY

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m still far more technical than the average man on the street, but I can’t write code anymore and I don’t understand some of the latest tooling. I should be able to get my head wrapped around it all.

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