Career Advice Tuesday – “Am I Just ‘Changing Golf Shirts’?”
August 7, 2012
I am currently working as a penetration tester for a pretty large company. Prior to this, I worked for another large company, doing similar work. My current job is going well, I have a very good mentor, my company has been supportive of my professional development, and I like my hiring manager – as I feel that we have established an open line of communication.
I do have two complaints. First of all, I believe I can do more. Secondly, I believe that I travel way more than necessary to perform my duties.
I recently completed an interview process with a much smaller company that is in the middle of a growth spurt. Although they are much less structured, the people are very smart, and they have some focus in an area that interests me a great deal, Mobile Security. I believe that it is set up to enable me to take some leadership in this area. The position does not require a great deal of travel, and it will allow me more time to get involved in my local professional community.
The money for the position is very similar to my current role, however the position offers some stock, which is a exciting to me.
I have listened you’re your advice in the past about avoiding jobs that just provide the opportunity to “Change Golf Shirts”. Would like to know if you think I am doing this if I join the new company and accept the offer?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Based on your description above, I do not think you are “Changing Golf Shirts” at all, in fact, I think that these two opportunities are unique and very different.
Here are my thoughts:
1) First of all, the company you are joining appears to be a “Start-Up”, and it does not appear that you have any of that experience. Having the experience working at a “Start-Up” is unique, and I think that if you enter into that environment you will learn things about yourself that you would not have in the larger companies that you have worked for.
2) The new company appears to have some good alignment with your interests, which is great. Not saying that your current employer doesn’t, but it appears that you will be able to take more of a leadership role in this area in the new company. Smaller companies are great for this experience. Where in a larger company, there are more resources to compete with, a smaller company provides more opportunities to create more of a “Professional Brand.”
3) You are going to work with “Smart People”. Not that you do not already, but the only thing better than “Smart People” you know, is “Smart People” you do not know – because if you take this job, your “network of Smart People” just got much larger.
4) You have some earning potential with the stock options. No, you probably will not retire, but stock options provide some upside earning potential that you are not getting in your current role. As a “Pen Tester” there is a standard comp range that you are restricted to, based on the market – so compensation for a new job, is never going to be that significant of an increase, in that case, Stock Options provide you with a possible accelerator of you earnings. Even if they are worth nothing, there is no risk for you – as your compensation is going to be equivalent.
5) You can always go back to the big company. Even if your current company will not have you back, there will be another big company that will take you back, and they will probably be willing to pay you a little more money to go work there, again you do not have any risk.
My feeling to you is to take a shot on the new company, and see where it goes. Use the opportunity of not traveling to become more involved in your local community, become known to more people, and really sink your teeth into your interest in “Mobile Security” – and become more visible.
If you maximize this opportunity, it will be much better than trading for a “New Golf Shirt.”
Hope this helps,