, 24 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
I had to report for jury duty this morning. I'll be sitting here for a while. So I might as well talk about what's been going on with me. This may be somewhat meandering. So apologies in advance.
The important thing to put out there is that I no longer work at Lever. I was Director of Product Engineering at Lever for almost a year and a half. I resigned before Christmas and my last day was Jan 4.
I haven't decided what I'm doing next. But I have made a pretty important decision. I'm probably going to take a step back from engineering management for a while. I need a break.
It feels difficult to say that. I could've said nothing and just got a different kind of job. But it's not a small thing. For the last several years of my life, I've put a lot of energy into building a career as an engineering leader. So I have to talk about it a bit.
A while back I starting talking about the myths that often get associated with being an eng manager. I wrote a popular Twitter thread and I even gave a few talks about it.
Okay I'm back. The judge walked in literally as I was finishing that last tweet.

(I always appear for jury duty. I want to serve even though the likelihood I'll be chosen is pretty low.)
Anyway, let's go back to this. I got a lot of good feedback about this content. Many people are interested in management, but they need more real information about what it is.
But the biggest question is I got from people wasn't about dispelling the myths. It was about what comes after. I talked about the wrong reasons to choose this job, but people wanted to know what I thought were the right reasons.
This is where I hit a wall. I wanted to answer that question for people. But when I searched my own personal motivations, I was having a hard time finding inspiration. This was a year ago. And at that time, I didn't find a message that I wanted to share with people.
I can give an objective answer to the question. As a manager, you get to have a real impact on people's careers; their compensation, their promotion, their personal growth. You get to have an impact on the policy and culture of the company.
But I can also talk a lot about what sucks about being an eng manager. And when I weighed a lot of things that were in my head and in my heart, I couldn't answer the real question. Why would anybody want to do this job when they could stay an engineer?
Y'all have heard me talk about this in some contexts. But it's worth making a clear statement. I believe that engineering management in many tech companies and as a discipline is pretty broken.
What do I mean by broken? In short, it means that the goals, incentives and expectations given to eng managers do not produce good outcomes for companies or for engineers. In my experience, both parties are pretty unhappy, and eng managers see a lot of the dysfunction play out.
For the last few years, my motivation has been to tackle that dysfunction head on. To live in it and try to understand it, and then figure out how to enact or influence change. I'm still motivated by that goal. But the road is a difficult one, and it takes a toll.
Being responsible for the growth and welfare of others is always hard. I take my responsibility to my team very seriously. Reconciling that with the needs of fast-moving startups is a huge challenge. But one that can be rewarding when you experience successes.
The thing that always saps my strength for this work is realizing that my values are not aligned with those of the people above me. That happens often. I have strong values, and exploiting employees in service of making bosses rich is not high on the list of things I care about.
This is where we get into dicey territory. Because as a manager, that's kind of part of the job. You're put in the position of getting employees to do things that benefit the company, even if the company isn't doing the right thing by those employees.
I recognized this reality and accepted it a long time ago. I always try to use my influence to get the company to do the right thing. And I have limits on how much bullshit I can tolerate from leadership. But in general, the dynamic won't change any time soon.
All that said, I've recently come to feel like I'm not making the right kind of progress in this role. I'm not able to have the impact I want to have without a serious shift in the incentives. And meanwhile, the stress of this job has been negatively impacting my well-being.
So I'm going to take a break from this career path and explore other ways to move towards my personal goals. And ideally during this time, I'll also be able to spend time on some things that recharge my personal energy.
The good thing about this hiatus is that I plan to talk more about eng management as a role and as a discipline. Believe it or not, I choose not to say a lot of things. When I have a team who trusts me, I don't believe in talking candidly about things that impact them.
Hm, that sounds weird. What I mean is I don't believe in airing things publicly that my team may assume is about them.

I think this is one of the reasons we don't get more concrete info about management. It's not fair to your current team to talk specifics.
I think that's all for right now. Back to our regularly scheduled program. Thanks for listening.
I intentionally didn't make any statements about my time at Lever. I know folks are always going to speculate. For the record, I left voluntarily and was not actively pushed out.
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