Note: this is an article forstaffeng.com, written for an audience of folks on cusp of reaching a Staff Engineer role.
相反，当你面试的新角色，你可以简单地继续面试，直到你找到一个公司，是能够授予的称号。在采访过程中经常给它带来了一个自动的赞助商 - 人事经理 - 他们的动机永远不会和你比在采访过程中更加一致。
技术访谈不一致和成功，这是不好的行业和坏公司的不可靠的预测，但对你有利，如果你设置工作在敷脸的工作人员加的角色，并愿意进行广泛搜索。访谈创造了机会，发挥“偏见套利，”发现不成比例重视您的特定品牌废话的公司。这可能是值乡亲会议上发言的知名度，你的经验设计的API的公司，或your PhD thesis on compilers。
如果你有一个糟糕的运行在一个公司,也许你的男人ager was a bully or maybe you were going through a challenging period in your own life, it can feel like a cloud poisoning your future prospects.That said, much like the interview process in general, references and backchannel reference checks are deeply random.If you need any further evidence of that, look to the serial harassers who continue to get hired job after job at prominent companies.
If you’re planning to leave due to lack of interest, excitement, support or opportunity, it’s worthwhile to at least explore the internal waters first.This lets you carry your internal network with you while still getting many of the advantages of switching companies.Depending on your company’s size and growth rate this might not be an option for you, but there are some folks who switch roles every two-to-three years within the same parent company, and find that an effective way to remain engaged and learning.
On the other hand, if you’re considering leaving due to burnout or exhaustion, it’s sometimes possible to negotiate a paid or unpaid sabbatical where you can take a few months recharging yourself, often in conjunction with switching internal roles.This is more common at larger companies.(In case you were wondering, no your coworkers taking parental leave is not “on sabbatical” or “on vacation.”)
Speaking of burnout, if you’reparticularlyburned out, it’s worth considering leaving your job without another job lined up.There’s a fairly simple checklist to determine if this is a good option for you:
If all of those are true, then I don’t know anyone whoregretstaking a sabbatical.However, bear in mind that it’s only the folks who took six-month-plus sabbaticals who felt reborn by the experience.Folks taking shorter stints have appreciated them but often come back only partially restored.
If you’re almost at the Staff promotion in your current company, there is absolutely another company out there who will give you the Staff title.Whether or not you’ll enjoy working there or be supported after getting there, that’s a lot harder to predetermine.If your internal reputation is damaged or if you’ve been repeatedly on the cusp of promotion but victim to a moving criteria line, then you should seriously consider switching roles if the title is important to you – at some point you have to hear what your current company is telling you.
Conversely, if you’re happy in your current role outside of the title, consider if you can be more intentional about pursuing your promotion rather than leaving.Many folks hit a rut in their promotion path to Staff-plus, and using techniques like thepromotion packetcan help you get unstuck.If you’ve used all the approaches, taken your self-development seriously, and still can’t get there – it’s probably time to change.
That said, it’s easy to overthink these things.Few folks tell their decade-past story of staying at or leaving some job.
In part "stuck away from friends due to pandemic" inspired, I've been wishing there was a tech writing community for semi-serious writers.As an experiment, I'm trying to spin up a Discord server to create such a community.
Read a bit more about the project attechwriters.dev。
My hope is this will become a healthy, positive place to talk about creating tech and tech-adjacent, particularly for folks who do it semi-seriously: frequently bloggers, book authors, public speakers and so on.Creating this sort of community is hard work, and not something I've done before, so I imagine it'll be a bit of a learning curve, and excited to add a few more administrators if there are folks with that experience who'd be interested in participating.
Alright, a few frequently asked questions.
Should I join?
Sure, if you're interested you should join.I'm not really sure what "semi-serious writer" or "semi-serious" content creator means, so if you think you'd enjoy being part of a creative community then you should definitely join.
Why Discord rather than Slack?
To be honest, I've never used Discord before, but a few folks mentioned it as preferable to Slack and figured it would be good to give it a try.
Why not join an existing community instead?
I reached out to a handful of folks and none had found a particularly good fit in an existing Slack or Discord, so decided to try spinning one up.It's totally possible there's already a great existing community that'll emerge from the woodwork and it'll make more sense to fold this effort into that preexisting one.
Can I be an admin?
Maybe!If you're empathetic, kind and engaged then send a note to
firstname.lastname@example.org和 we'll see what we can do.
Bert Fan’s best advice for those trying to reach a Staff-plus role was,
often reaching Staff is a combination of luck, timing, and work.
Timing is a particular sort of luck, so in some ways you can simplify this even further down to just luck and work.
If you’re fortunate, then you won’t have to pursue a deliberate path to a Staff-plus role..你已经在你的公司工作之前ities, have a well-positioned manager who cares about supporting your career, and are working from your company’s headquarters office.If you’re starting with none of those things, getting promoted is going to be quite a challenge, but don’t count yourself out: it’s easy to underestimate your own role in getting lucky.
One of the most effective ways to get luckier is to be more visible within your organization.There are of course very quick, very negative ways to increase your visibility, so I’ll refine the statement a bit.Your goal is to be known for good things while minimizing the organizational bandwidth you consume to do so.
Katie Sylor-Millerdescribes visibility as a key piece of getting promoted to Staff,
Something I haven’t talked about enough is communication and transparency.A big part of being promoted to Staff is making sure that your work is visible, that people know your name and you have a good reputation.
Staff-plus roles areleadershiproles, and by recognizing you with such a role the company is bringing you into its leadership team.The existing members of that team want to be comfortable that they’re expanding their ranks with folks they believe in, and they can’t believe in you if they don’t know you.
If you’re operating without much visibility within your company, this may likely come across as cliquey or gatekeeping behavior.Conversely, if you are well-known internally, this may feel like the necessary cost for maintaining a consistent set of expectations and criteria for folks taking on leadership roles – how could you maintain consistency if you are unfamiliar with their work?
It’s interesting to briefly reflect on how inclusive organizations mitigate the negative gatekeeping aspects of validating folks are appropriate additions to your leadership team.The answer is that they design mechanisms to ensure thefullswath of potential leaders get exposure to the folks who will evaluate them for leadership roles.Conversely, less inclusive organizations inadvertently center access on folks who most aggressively self-advertise.
The single best way to create internal visibility is towork on the things that matterto your company and company leadership.This path is also the most aligned with how a well-managed company will evaluate your contribution.
Sometimes that isn’t enough though, and some other strategies are:
Find the right mix of activities that leverage your strengths, aren’t already overburdened with volume, and feel authentic to you.If you’ve never done much communication of your work, it may feel awkward to self-promote your work.You never want to wholly lose that sense of awkwardness–restraint helps–but you will have to get comfortable with some of it.
It’s helpful to complement your internal visibility work with external visibility work.There are a huge number of successful Staff-plus engineers with no external presence, butmany find external visibility contributes to their career。
Compared to an exclusively internal focus, one advantage of building an external presence is that there’s a lot more room to create a niche and name for yourself.Internal efforts often end up competing for attention with your peers in a way that external efforts simply don’t.
In terms of how to create this sort of visibility for yourself and your work, it could be writing a blog post likeSilvia Botros, giving a conference talk likeKeavy麦克明要么Dan Na, going on a podcast likeMichelle Bu, turning a problem into a website and book likeKatie Sylor-Miller’sohshitgit, or creating a mailing list like Pat Kua’sLevel Up。
You can always have more visibility within your organization, but at some point increasing your visibility is likely reducing the opportunities for others to create visibility for themselves.Internal visibility is not strictly zero-sum, but it’s constrained by the attention of the folks you want to see your work.
My advice would be to use thepromotion packet exerciseto identify if lack of visibility is likely to hold you back in the promotion process.If so, work to clear that threshold, but not much further.Visibility is a transient currency, learning and developing yourself is a permanent one;focus on the later once you’ve done the minimum to clear the former’s cliff.
A popular recurring idea around reaching a Staff-plus role is that first you need to successfully complete a “Staff project.” A project that is considered complex and important enough that the person who completes it has proven themselves as a Staff engineer.However popular this idea is, if you’re pursuing a Staff-plus role it’s important to pierce the mythology of these projects and focus on the experiences of folks who’ve walked the path before you.
The short answer on Staff projects is that most engineers don’t complete one as part of reaching a Staff role, although a large minority do complete one, particularly folks who attain the role via promotion at a company they’ve grown up in.谁不完整的一个乡亲，通常有可能是因为他们积累的成功在一个较长时期的纪录没有一个单一的顶点，或者是因为他们改用公司达成的称号。
I'm instinctively a little bit wary of this sort of idea of a staff project, in part because one of the archetypes of Staff Engineers that I've seen are people who don't necessarily run grand projects themselves or do big things.But just are sort of incredibly effective gurus and routers who make the whole engineering organization run better.
I don't know if other engineers who are trying to get to Principal have had explicit “Staff Projects” where they had to complete this specific project to get promoted, but I did not have one.Most of my promotions have come from work that I’ve been doing for many months and we can see the results.
也有像乡亲Dan Na要么Damian Schenkelman谁把绕行通过工程管理达到的作用。达米安描述绕过项目的工作人员，
I did not.Because of how I grew at Auth0 I kind of "skipped that part".作为一个导演在启动时，我得到了机会，在技术上引领了很多大的，重要的举措，但没有具体的/明确的“员工/主项目”。
我从来没有听说过这一个名字，但我知道这个想法。我做了铅和建筑师该项目的类型 - 粗糙解决工程问题，与公司巨大的影响 - 几次，但遗憾的是他们并没有导致我被提升。他们没有导致我的职业发展虽然。这些项目给我的经验，知识和信心，对自己定位不同。即使给公众会议谈判或知道“我已经做了X和可能再次做X”。
的确,自己成为中央challe踱来踱去nge of a sustained, successful career: increasingly senior roles require that you accomplish more and more, and do it in less and less time.The ledge between these two constraints gets narrower the further you go, but it remains walkable if you take a deliberate approach.
First a discussion on a few common ways to get tripped up:吃零食,打扮, and追鬼。Then we’ll get into the good stuff: how做you work on what really matters?
Hunter Walk recommends that folks避免“吃零食”when they prioritize work.If you’re in a well-run organization, at some point you’re going to run out of things that are both high-impact and easy.This leaves you with a choice between shifting right to hard and high-impact or shifting down to easy and low-impact.The later choice–easy and low-impact–is what Walk refers to as吃零食。
When you’re busy, these snacks give a sense of accomplishment that makes them psychologically rewarding but you’re unlikely to learn much from doing them, others are likely equally capable of completing them (和for some of them it might be a good development opportunity), and there’s a tremendous opportunity cost versus doing something higher impact.
It’s ok to spend some of your time on snacks to keep yourself motivated between bigger accomplishments, but you have to keep yourself honest about how much time you’re spending on high-impact work versus low-impact work.In senior roles, you’re more likely to self-determine your work and if you’re not deliberately tracking your work, it’s easy to catch yourself doing little to no high-impact work.
Where “snacking” is the broad category of doing easy and low-impact work, there’s a particularly seductive subset of snacking that I call “preening.” Preening is doing low-impact, high-visibility work.Many companies conflate high-visibility and high-impact so strongly that they can’t distinguish between preening and impact, which is why it’s not uncommon to see some companies’ senior-most engineers spend the majority of their time doing work of dubious value but that is frequently recognized in company meetings.
If you’re taking a short-term look at职业成长, then optimizing for your current organization’s pathologies in evaluating impact is the optimal path: go forth and preen gloriously.However, if you’re thinking about developing yourself to succeed as your当前角色生长在复杂要么 across multiple organizations, then it’s far more important to strike a balance between valued work and self-growth.
This is also an important factor to consider when choosing a company to work at!Dig into what a company values and ensure it aligns with your intended personal growth.If a company’s leadership is entirely folks who focus their energy on performant urgency or acts of fealty, don’t be surprised when your success in the company depends on those activities.
Worse, to be a successful preener requires a near invulnerability to criticism of your actual impact, and your true work将suffer if your energy is diverted to preening.Typically this means you need to be a vanity hire of a senior leader or to present yourself in the way a company believes leaders look and act.If that isn’t you, then your attempt to exchange your good judgement for company success will end up failing anyway: you’ll get held accountability for the lack of true impact where others who match the company’s expectation of how a leader appears will somehow slip upward.
Many folks would assume that companies, rational optimizers that they are, avoid spending much time on low-impact high-effort projects.Unfortunately that isn’t consistently the case.It’s surprisingly common for a new senior leader to join a company and immediately drive一个战略转变，从根本上误解了挑战在眼前。The ghosts of their previous situation hold such a firm grasp on their understanding of the new company that they misjudge the familiar as the essential.
As a senior leader, you have to maintain a hold on your ego to avoid investing into meaningless work at a grand scale.This can be surprisingly challenging when during your hiring process you’ve been repeatedly told that you’ve been hired to fix something deeply broken – you’re the newly-hired savior, of course your instincts are right!Taking the time to understand the status quo before shifting it will always repay diligence with results.
I had a recent discussion with someone who argued that new senior leaders故意push for major changes even though they suspect the efforts will fail.Such changes make the organization increasingly dependent on the new leader, and also ensures anything that不go well gets attributed to the new leader directly rather than their team.If this is your approach to leadership, please know that you’re awful and take the time to work on yourself until the well-being and success of an entire company matters to you more than being perceived as essential.
现在你完成吃零食, preening and chasing ghosts, the first place to look for work that matters is exploring whether your company is experiencing an existential risk.Companies operate in an eternal迭代淘汰赛, balancing future success against surviving until that future becomes the present.If you’re about to lose one of those rounds, then always focus there.
Running out of money,就像我在Digg的经验, can be the most obvious issue, but not every existential issue is financial, likeTwitter的失败鲸稳定性的挑战要么 adapting to the shifts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
If something dire is happening at your company, then that’s the place to be engaged.Nothing else will matter if it doesn’t get addressed.
存在的问题 are usually不the most efficient place to add your efforts, but efficiency isn’t a priority when the walls are crashing down around you.You应该swarm to existential problems, but if a problem isn’t existential then you should be skeptical of adding your efforts where everyone’s already focused.Folks often chase leadership’s top priority, but with so many folks looking to make their impact there, it’s often challenging to have a meaningful impact.
Instead, the most effective places to work are those that matter to your company but still have enough room to actually do work.What are priorities that will become critical in the future, where you can do great work ahead of time?Where are areas that are doing好but could be doing大with your support?
Sometimes you’ll find work that’s值得of attention, but which an organization is incapable of paying attention to, usually because its leadership doesn’t value that work.In some companies this is developer tooling work, in others it’s inclusion work, and in most companies it’s胶工作。
There is almost always a great deal of room to do this sort of work that no one is paying attention to, so you’ll be able to make rapid initial progress on it, which感觉like a good opportunity to invest.At some point, though, you’ll find that the work needs support, and it’s quite challenging to get support for work that a company is built to ignore or devalue.Your early wins will slowly get eroded by indifference and misalignment, and your initial impact will be reclaimed by the sands of time.
Does this mean you shouldn’t do inclusion work?No, that’s not the conclusion I want you to take away from this.Sometimes an area that an organization doesn’t pay attention to is so important that you’re going to want to advocate for it to start paying attention.Teaching a company to value something it doesn’t care about is considerably the hardest sort of work you can do, and it often fails, so you should do as little of it as you can, but no less.As a senior leader, you have an ethical obligation that goes beyond maximizing your company-perceived impact, but it’s important to recognize what you’re up against and time our efforts accordingly.
One area that’s often underinvested in (e.g.lots of room to work in) while also being highly leveraged is growing the team around you.招聘has a lot of folks involved in it, usually in terms of optimizing the招聘渠道, but onboarding, mentoring and coaching are wholly neglected at many companies despite being至少作为有影响力的雇用你的公司的工程速度。
If you start dedicating even a couple hours a week to developing the team around you, it’s quite likely that will become your legacy long after your tech specs and pull requests are forgotten.
A surprising number of projects are one small change away from succeeding, one quick modification that unlocks a new opportunity, or one conversation away from consensus.I think of making those small changes, quick modifications and short conversations as编辑your team’s approach.
With your organizational privilege, relationships you’ve built across the company, and ability to see around corners derived from your experience, you can often shift a project outcomes by investing the smallest ounce of effort, and this is some of the most valuable work you can do.
It’s particularly valuable because it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s highly motivating for both you and the person you help, and it’s hugely impactful when done well.(Also, it’s highly demotivating when done poorly, so your approach matters!)
One special sort of editing is helping finish a project that just can’t quite close itself out.Often you’ll have a talented engineer earlier in their career who is already doing the work but can’t quite create buy-in or figure out how to rescope their project into finishable work.It’s surprisingly common that coaching a teammate on how to tweak a project into something finishable, and then lending them your privilege to budge the right friction points will transform a six month slog into a two week sprint with almost an identical impact.
We只能从整理项目价值, and getting a project over the finish line is the magical moment it goes from risk to leverage.时间总有时间我们完成工作ll spent.
The final category of work that matters is the sort that you’re uniquely capable of accomplishing.Sure there’s work that you’re faster at or better at than some other folks, but much more important is the sort of work that simply won’t happen if you don’t do it.
This work is an intersection of what you’re exceptionally good at and what you genuinely care about.It might be写你的公司的技术战略that folks实际上将跟随, it might be convincing a great candidate to join, it might be changing your CEO’s mind on how you pay down tech debt, it might要制作一个挑剔的API。
Whatever it is, things that simply won’t happen if you don’t do them are your biggest opportunity to work on something that matters, and it’s a category that will get both narrower and deeper the further you get into your career.
If you’re interviewing for a new role twenty years into your career, the folks interviewing you won’t know what your real impact was on any given project you worked on, nor will they know your true contribution to any of the companies you worked at.Instead you’ll find yourself judged by a series of surprisingly subjective measures: your prestige, the prestige of the titles you’ve had and companies you’ve worked at, your backchannel reputation, and how you present in your interview process.
If you spend your career snacking, preening or chasing ghosts, it’s possible but relatively unlikely that what you’ve done before will be valued at companies you interview with.Instead, the only viable long-term bet on your career is to do work that matters, work that develops your and to steer towards companies that value genuine expertise.