Career Growth

Career Growth

It's "APG" time at my company.

I find myself clicking into this app, and I see the words "career growth"? Hmm.. what does that bring to mind?

I have one title 'click' above me to hit "principal engineer." Is that the end of the line?

Or I can move to management. Yuck. I could probably do it, but that's not the type of work I've trained for in the last 45 years. Am I more valuable to Corporate if I fill out a bunch of APG's and go to a bunch of meetings? Will they pay me more?

I want to make sure my pay stays lower than what Corporate thinks my value is. Is there any way I can increase my value to Corporate? What's the limit of what they might pay me? It's a hardware company that hasn't figured out how to sell software licenses. Hardware doesn't scale. And Corporate's software models don't scale either. Therefore Corporate will never pay me an obscene salary. That's fine. It promotes stability in my career, which I value. I'm not a software engineer and didn't go into that career for a reason. I wanted to build real things.

I could go to the high frequency trading firms downtown doing FPGA work and I understand the salaries are very lucrative. But what maybe 2x tops? And at what cost? All the hours of my day? Seeing my family? My soul?

In hind sight I should have been less conservative with my career and money starting back in 1999. I should have started my own side hustle early in my career and built my own stuff and maybe by now I wouldn't have to be working for the few very rich guys at the top such that they become a bit richer.

My last pay raise was one of the biggest in my life and it didn't keep up with inflation. I started my career in 1999. $200k today is only $110k in 1999 dollars. I made significantly more in the 2001-2003 time frame than I make today after adjustment. It's crazy that I haven't beat those first few years of income after 24 years.

Hockey is getting expensive, college is coming up in a few years. Oak Park taxes are a bit spendy. I'm driving two beat up old cars from 2006 that leak oil.

I've never asked for a pay raise in my life, and I'm not asking for one now. But maybe I can change something to suddenly have Corporate decide I'm worth a lot more after the change? Any ideas? Besides having people report to me, I shure can't think of anything.