Important tips to help you choose the right next job, especially if it’s your first one. Don’t just optimize for culture, compensation, or manager. Instead, focus on things like growth rate, peacetime vs. wartime, and quality of peers to ensure your next job is the best one… for you.
This was a superb read full of pragmatic advice. I'd love a future take on mid-career individuals and how they should think about IC vs management roles.
Hi Nikhyl! I discovered your writings through Ken Norton's newsletter and immediately subscribed to yours.
Although I'm not a college graduate anymore, I found this to be a great read. I am currently 4 years out of college and I took a 'Josh-like' approach. I chose brand-name and compensation when I went to work for a Big4 company right after college. I found myself at odds with peace vs wartime, quality and background, and my true purpose. I ended up leaving after 2.5 years to pursue an entrepreneurial route in real estate by renovating old affordable homes with the money I had saved up. In the beginning, I found it challenging and rewarding, but I began to lose interest after a year and missed working in a company office setting. Mid 2020, I began researching what fields I would be interested in through Reddit, online articles, books, and talking to friends/past-coworkers. I fell head over heels for Product and began taking online courses on uDemy, reading Product books, and talking to friends who were PMs. Although I've been learning a lot, I have been having trouble finding a job (let alone an interview) for Product. Even smaller roles like Product Analyst, Associate PM, Junior PM, Growth Analyst, etc.
I was hoping to could share some insight into what you recommend people who are trying to transition in Product from an unrelated industry/field could do to stand out. Thank you for your writings and for reading my lengthy comment.
I'll always keep my head up and pushing forward. I know that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Thanks, Nikhyl!
This is great piece but it misses a whole bunch of variables that apply to non US settings. in APAC, the world is very different. The paygap between a US based tech company (FAANGs or high growth) vs. an Asian startup/ Chinese tech company is about 3-4x. The math of working for a startup that pays 50-70% lesser even after Series B with questionable liquidity on ESOPs (exits are rare/ non existent here) simply makes very little sense. Therefore one sees a two tier market on talent here. The ones who work for startups and the ones who work for MNCs. And so far, the talent gap in professionalism is super large. rarely do you see the crossing of the chasm. China has broken through this, and some parts of India have, but not so in many other apac markets.
Nikhyl, the thoughts you've shared here can be applied to folks across the career spectrum in my opinion. I wish I'd found you six months ago. This article would've saved me from what is now a sub-optimal working situation. I'm thinking very hard about your 'stay two years' principle and how I can leverage my employer's size into opportunities that may springboard me into a better fit down the road. All the best to you!
Great read! I particularly enjoyed the framework for years 1 - 5 (personally I'm in year 1.5 and found this to be very useful as I think through my career journey!) I've share this with a few college seniors as well. Thanks for writing this!
This was great again as usual Nikhyl! I agree with other sentiments about a future take on mid-career individuals.
Great article that hit on the right factors, especially the location one which was a very insightful "aha" moment.
One thing I'll add is to assign weights to each factor or stack rank to help resolve tie breaks and ambiguity between two options. Certainly wish I had this guidance 10 years back :)
Loved this piece, wish I had it earlier in my career :) Seems like Sherri also developed a unique set of skills that made her more valuable.
What do you think of the concept of a talent stack? Curious if you have recommendations on how to go about it.
I wrote about mine here: https://productlessons.substack.com/p/how-to-develop-your-talent-stack
Thanks for the detailed writeup and sharing these insights with the world. This will take me time to absorb. I will be back with questions :)