The Story of the New Job

I didn’t post a lot of details about this over the weekend, mostly because I was posting via my BlackBerry. But here is the whole sordid tale of my new job.

About two months ago, I got a cold-call from a recruiter about a position as a Senior Systems Administrator with Company*. The recruiter (who was internal, and not a headhunter) described the position to me, and it sounded very appealing – smaller company, chance to effect change, etc, etc. Then the subject of compensation came up. The salary they were looking to pay was only about $3,000 more than I make at the Bank. I told her that I did not want to waste anyone’s time, but I could not move for that money. She asked me what I was looking for, and I gave her a number. I told her the lowest I would be able to consider was actually about $5,000 more than they were talking about.

She was very cool about it, and said that she appreciated my candor, and that they’d already run into this situation (discovering that for the talent they wanted to hire, their salary was too low). She said she would go back to her folks and asked if I would be interested if they were able to scare up more money. I told her that sure, if the money could be right, it sounded like a very appealing position, but at that salary it wasn’t feasible for me.

A couple weeks later, she called me back saying that more money had become available (no number was given though) and was I still interested? I said sure, and she said she’d pass my resume on to the CTO. A few days later, I was contacted for a phone interview with the CTO.

The phone interview went well – I got a good understanding of what they were looking for, and figured out that a big part of why they were interested in me was that there is a lot of process improvement that the CTO wanted to effect, and since I have worked for world-class IT organizations, I could bring a lot to the table in that regard. After the phone interview, I was called a while later to come in for some in-person interviews.

I met with six different people at my interview (after the HR person tried to give me a developer’s exam, because she was confused who I was, and thought I was a different candidate…heh). The first person I met with was the current sysadmin, who would be my peer. The first thing he said to me was “nice blogs”. Fortunately, the night before I’d actually Googled myself just out of curiosity, so I knew nothing bad came up, and I made a joke with him about how I was not the “Matt Stratton” who was a college baseball player. I met with several other folks, including one who introduced himself by saying “You know, we’re one person apart on LinkedIn”. The interview went really well (in my opinion) and I liked everyone I met with.

Later the next week, the HR folks called me again to ask how I thought it went – I said I thought it went great, and they said it was the same impression from their side. The change was that in the meantime, the group was going through a reorg, and the position was being changed to a management role, and they wanted to know if I would still be interested. I told them I would be – they said that the CTO knew I did not have management experience, but she thought that I would be able to grow into that role.

Last Thursday I came in again to meet with two folks from corporate technology (the central group, who I would be working with) and the CTO again. The VP of Corporate Technology was actually a guy I’d worked with back in 1998, so that was a cool blast from the past (and luckily, he remembered me in a positive way, and we had a very frank conversation about the new company and how I would fit). The last person I talked to was the CTO again, and at the end of the conversation, I said that I thought this was a good fit, and she agreed. I asked what the next steps were, and she said she would have to talk to HR to find out what was next.

On the train on the way to the airport the next day, HR called me and formally offered me the position. The salary is what I originally had asked for back in our first conversation (which I think might be coincidental). It’s about a 25% pay increase from what I make now, and the bonus is much better than it has been here as well.

I gave my notice to my manager yesterday morning, and he was very disappointed. One thing I will say is that if you want to feel good about yourself, quit your job. I have gotten numerous emails and IMs from co-workers talking about how it will be such a loss to the team, etc. Whether they mean it or not, it sure is nice to hear. Here is what my team lead said in his announcement email to our team:

He was one of the implementation engineers that did not shy away from project work, at one point he was working on 8 projects simultaneously, typically the ratio is 5:1. I hate to lose a person of such fine talents and great technical abilities, for he will be dearly and greatly missed in our group, however I also wish him the very best in his new position. I can safely state that his departure is a brain drain to JPMorganChase, and a gain of talents at his new employment.

I’m very excited about my new position. It’s my first job as a manager, although I only will have one person reporting to me at first (the “nice blogs” guy) – but we’re going to hire another one early next year (hopefully). It’s going to be a LOT of work – my job will be about 75% technical (sys admin stuff, etc) and 25% managerial, including creating and implementing new process, and building new relationships and communications with the developer group. It’s a milestone in my career, and while it’s going to be stressful and crazy, it will be in a GOOD way.

* You may or may not know the name of the company I am going to be working for, and even though this is friends-locked, I’m keeping it confidential for the time being. So please, if you know the company, do not identify it in comments, etc. I’d just like to keep the company name out of it until I’ve been there for a while, etc, since you never know what is going on with the webbertubes.

~ by Matt Stratton on October 23, 2007.

15 Responses to “The Story of the New Job”

  1. where is the new job (as in city)?
    you alluded to the notion that you couldn’t move for the salary they were originally offering – is that move positions/companies or move geographies?

    congratulations by the way, it sounds great, you’ve come a long way 🙂

  2. Congrats, sounds like a great move.

  3. This sounds awesome – congratulations!

  4. warmest congratulations on both the raise and the affirmation! you deserve the best!

  5. The new office is three blocks away from my current one 🙂

    When I said I couldn’t move for the salary, I meant move positions. My job at the bank was a good one, so it would take a salary increase for me to leave (or a responsibility increase). Fortunately, it turned out that I got both.

  6. Congratulations 🙂

    One thing I will say is that if you want to feel good about yourself, quit your job. I have gotten numerous emails and IMs from co-workers talking about how it will be such a loss to the team, etc. Whether they mean it or not, it sure is nice to hear.

    They mean it. When you leave a place, what you find out is how people really felt about you. If they are sad to see you go, you will hear it, in proportion to how much they like & value you. If they don’t care much either way, a few people will say something friendly but brief to acknowledge your leaving. If they’re glad to see you go (it happens), people won’t say much of anything at all.

  7. You know, I think you’re right. I was being a little self-deprecating there for humor’s sake, but the more I look at it, the more I see evidence of exactly what you’re saying.

    There are a few people on my team that I’ve had less-than-optimal relationships with, and none of them have said anything to me yet. One of the project managers actually called me a little while ago (I’d sent out an email to him telling him that I was leaving and so-and-so was taking over the project). He called (which is odd in our company; we do everything via IM) and said “What? You’re leaving? Why? WHY!” and told me that he would miss working with me and that I always made his job a lot easier. That one I totally believe, because he went way out of his way to say that.

    It’s definitely interesting.

  8. Congradulations! May the chalenges and excytment of the new job keep you content and well paid for many moons to come.

  9. Congratulations again, that sounds really great for you. I love that you got everything that you wanted in the first place.

  10. Congrats! It sounds like a great career move for you. And that extra 25% ain’t bad either. 🙂

  11. Congratulations, man. A 25% salary increase is awesome – just what you need as you start your life with Carrie.

    You’re a more courageous man than I am. I don’t know the politics of things like this, but quitting a job to go work for a different company at a higher salary is a pretty big deal. Was no one really upset or anything, or were they just sad but understanding? Did anyone like thrash you for leaving? I’m just curious.

  12. It would be very unprofessional if anyone did that. Making a positive career move is always a respectable thing to do. A good company might try to get a good employee to stay by making a counter offer, but they would not want to burn bridges by allowing them to leave with hard feelings. The people he works with now can’t know for sure where they’ll be in 5 years. They could end up working with him again for one reason or another.

  13. Generally speaking, everyone’s been very amicable about it. There’s a certain amount of jealousy from some of my co-workers, but nobody’s said anything bad to me. My manager was (and still is) quite upset, although in some ways I made his life easier (now there’s a little more money to go around in the bonus pool, etc). But I think what is making people upset (those who are upset) is that, not to toot my own horn, but I’m very good at what I do here, and specifically am an easy person to work with and I think I’ve done a good job of making people’s life easier, so to speak.

    One of my project managers called me yesterday almost immediately after I emailed him to say I was leaving (so he knew I was leaving his project and who the new engineer would be) and he told me several times that I was his favorite SA to work with, and that I was easy to work with and made things run smoothly. So, like I said, if anything people will miss me, but everyone seems to understand that my new opportunity gives me a lot of growth that I just didn’t have the chance to pursue here.

  14. Wow! That’s awesome news! Looking forward to eventually hearing what the company is!

  15. Congrats on your new job with the company-who-must-not-be-named.

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