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Sep. 3rd, 2005

I had lunch with a friend of mine yesterday to talk about job searching, startups, etc. One thing she suggested is that I might be applying for the wrong types of jobs. She suggested that I apply for project management jobs, even though I've never had a project management title. I actually have applied for some jobs like that, but haven't gotten any interviews or even phone screens. I get more responses for software engineering jobs.

I think it will be somewhat of a stretch to make myself look like a strong candidate for a project management job. It's been a long time since I've had anything remotely resembling project management responsibility. I had some at SRI, a bit more at TIS (but I declined taking on the role formally because I didn't feel I could handle the politics and my technical responsibilities), and some at AV. (I might have been promoted and had people reporting to me who actually did the development of the log processing code, but the management that was interested in promoting me was replaced when Compaq took over. Shortly after, I was moved out of (what was) site ops into (what became) business ops, which is about the time I sensed that my career was starting to decline.)

My friend also suggested that I take some project management classes at Stanford. In general, I don't think this sort of thing is relevant to today's tech company. Maybe for very large (bureaucratic) companies, but not the fast-moving types of companies that are prominent today. She actually started getting agitated when I said that I would prefer to go to my chorus' first rehearsal instead of attending one of the fast track talks. Honestly, I don't think I would learn anything at the talks that I can't learn from reading about it in books or on the web. Furthermore, the first rehearsal is important because music is passed out that night, music dues are paid for, some Board-related business may be discussed, etc. It sets the tone for the quarter. And frankly, I just get a lot of satisfaction from participating in my chorus. I feel like my efforts are noticed and appreciated. I can see my efforts reflected in how many people turn out for the concerts; how appreciative our French guests are; how the chorus is improving, etc. So I feel justified in wanting to attend the rehearsal. Anyway, I was taken aback by how agitated she got; it wasn't as if I was demanding that she give me advice or solutions; in fact, I was just sort of looking for ideas. As it turns out, she has some issues with being out of work, feeling passed over, etc.

Maybe I have just hit the glass ceiling in my software engineering career. It's possible my friend has hit the glass ceiling as well, as a lot of what she says reminds me of women I have known who've expressed similar frustrations trying to take their careers beyond a certain point.

Comments

gregbo
Sep. 4th, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
To teach software engineering (in a university), one must have a PhD, and compete with lots of other PhDs for very few jobs. I looked (non-seriously) into teaching extension classes some time back. There were few openings. I just checked UCSC extension; no openings. I'm not qualified to teach the types of things taught at places like Heald or DeVry (computer tech schools) because that's not my background (that is more IT related).

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