Should I apply to this other job?

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Anonymous User
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Should I apply to this other job?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:17 am

Long post ahead, so my questions are: What would you do in my shoes? Anything else I should consider when deciding to reach out to the other place?

I work for a patent boutique law firm as a patent prosecution attorney.

Right now, my position is pretty comfy. I make a decent salary with low quota requirements, both of which I negotiated. But lately, I've had this itch to change jobs after realizing my boss is a micromanager who takes all the "hard" jobs since he has the most experience and wants to deliver the best to the clients.

But that pigeonholes the rest of us into not getting a broad spectrum of experience. I refer to this as the "alpha-player problem." This also makes him super busy and moody sometimes, and that puts my work behind or suddenly hectic because he won't approve case strategies and such until the last minute. Big point of frustration for me.

Sometimes they just don't get out the door, like a big assignment that he said we should get done soon, which I did. It's still pending as a draft after months and he hasn't reviewed it. Everything that goes out the door has to be reviewed by him, which I understand, but he is denying the reality that there is only one of him.

Also, our infrastructure doesn't seem so stable or mature, evident by our attempt to go remote. Also, he's teased me for years with how I'd eventually have ownership over the firm, but I don't think it's happening anytime soon. I feel led on, and I don't want it to be dumped on me and the rest of us when he's finally done working. I have kept faith that things will turn out as I anticipate, but it's a slow process. I'm also worried that problems will never stop coming up.

Last year, I applied to a similar firm in a city close to home and my parents. The reason I applied was that I hated managing up and the bottleneck in the workflow (see above), with a different supervisor. The interview process didn't work out, a story for another time, but they said to hit them up if I ever wanted to make a move.

They posted an opening two weeks ago that seems interesting. The technologies they handle and the position itself sound like a potential fit. I could potentially "skip the line" and get considered immediately over the other candidates since they've interviewed me a few times already.

After thinking, here are my criteria, bolded the most important ones:

[*] Flexibility - I can WFH for either, location independent. Infrastructure of current place sucks, so idk how if I can continue to WFH. I may have to go back outside and to the office (30 min commute!)
[*] Compensation - dollar-wise, they are likely higher, but I'd probably have to work more
[*] Learning - new place would definitely give me this; one of my ex-supervisors said I will learn the most at my 2nd position
[*] Level of responsibility imposed - current place prob has more given trust built up
[*] Can be close to home (comes w/ flex) - new place is physically closer
[*] Free time - current position is chill. I have a side business, so I def need the free time
[*] Stability - I'm a pillar at current place. Current place would not fire me; I'm entrenched with a couple of our major clients. It would be a big L if I leave bc the boss and all the staff like me. On the other hand, seems like the other place is growing, consistently hiring new people. People will always want tech and entertainment I suppose
[*] Workflow (faster, less bottlenecking) - presumably the other place is better; I've had a couple test assignments, and they got back to discuss strategy and moved the case forward in days
[*] Autonomy - probably more in the current place for now, with less oversight over time in the new place
[*] Lack of alpha-player problem (future growth) - presumably the other place has less of this, seems like they hand out assignments and delegate the type of work I want more experience in; I have an embarrassingly low amount of xp in drafting patent apps for the # of yrs I have
[*] Dating options (come w/ flex) - other place def
[*] Novelty (new tech clients, new types of work, new approaches) - other place
[*] Good clients (pay well and on time, cooperative, well known) - other place has famous clients that sound more fun; I have some prestige clients now, but one is kind of a pain and is cutting the budget anyway with the current situation

TLDR: I like how chill my current position is, but I don't feel like I'm learning or going anywhere. I feel that I should force myself to learn more/different things while I'm still relatively early (almost 6 yrs) in my career. Also feels a bit suffocating with a micromanaging boss and an unstable system makes it hard to focus on work.

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trebekismyhero

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Re: Should I apply to this other job?

Post by trebekismyhero » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:44 pm

Your post was super long, but what is the harm in applying for the position? If you get an offer then you can make more in depth analysis of pros and cons

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Re: Should I apply to this other job?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:05 pm

trebekismyhero wrote:Your post was super long, but what is the harm in applying for the position? If you get an offer then you can make more in depth analysis of pros and cons
Yeah, sorry haha. I don't want to get an offer and then not move forward again. I already withdrew from consideration last year... I want to feel sure that moving is what I want to do.

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beepboopbeep

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Re: Should I apply to this other job?

Post by beepboopbeep » Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:19 pm

So you've bolded some of the pros/cons, but are those the actual most important ones to you? From an outside perspective, the ones that strike me as reflecting a harder choice are:

* Free time -- if the other place ends up being closer to biglaw hours, or just enough that you don't have time to run your own business, are you ok possibly giving up the side business? If not, that seems like a dealbreaker to any move.

* Level of responsibility -- you say "current place prob has more given trust built up," but also that the alpha-player takes all the hard or interesting work for himself and has to approve everything you do before it goes out the door. If that's not likely to change, then the other place could at least have higher potential responsibility after you've built up your cred. If you're always going to be the second player because alpha doesn't let you stretch, that seems pretty limiting in the long run. This sort of ties into the "lack of alpha-player problem" bolded item -- how sure are you that alpha wouldn't shift more meaty work your way if you approached him with this concern?

* Client situation -- you mention one major client at current gig cutting the budget. Regardless of whether the firm would fire you, is the firm itself going to be in a good place if that work goes away? If new places clients are bigger, they would seem to be on more stable footing in the event of a prolonged downturn.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Should I apply to this other job?

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:33 pm

beepboopbeep wrote:So you've bolded some of the pros/cons, but are those the actual most important ones to you? From an outside perspective, the ones that strike me as reflecting a harder choice are:

* Free time -- if the other place ends up being closer to biglaw hours, or just enough that you don't have time to run your own business, are you ok possibly giving up the side business? If not, that seems like a dealbreaker to any move.

* Level of responsibility -- you say "current place prob has more given trust built up," but also that the alpha-player takes all the hard or interesting work for himself and has to approve everything you do before it goes out the door. If that's not likely to change, then the other place could at least have higher potential responsibility after you've built up your cred. If you're always going to be the second player because alpha doesn't let you stretch, that seems pretty limiting in the long run. This sort of ties into the "lack of alpha-player problem" bolded item -- how sure are you that alpha wouldn't shift more meaty work your way if you approached him with this concern?

* Client situation -- you mention one major client at current gig cutting the budget. Regardless of whether the firm would fire you, is the firm itself going to be in a good place if that work goes away? If new places clients are bigger, they would seem to be on more stable footing in the event of a prolonged downturn.
Thanks for this! It's the kind of extra perspective I needed. Just some notes:

* Free time: I reviewed notes I took the last time I spoke with them. It doesn't say anything about this, but I seem to remember it wasn't going to be like biglaw hours. Will need to confirm if I do reach out. But I definitely don't want to give up on the side income. It may be an opportunity to learn to make my time more efficient.

* Responsibility: I could ask for more of the drafting work from the boss (alpha player). He'd certainly willing to give me some since he's already asked my bandwidth and mentioned that I should be taking on more of that type of work anyway. The other issue is that he wants perfection -- i.e., his way. Every product I turn in will need to be modified, which hurts efficiency (especially important in this business where it's volume work). From looking at the other place's published apps, I see fewer issues with this popping up for me (the apps are less comprehensive and require less specialized technical knowledge that my boss likes to include).

* Client situation: Great point. I think the firm itself will be in a good place since our biggest client is continuing to give us more or less the same amount of work. The issue is the clients I'm handling. The other place has more clients that are big. It would be interesting for me to work on their matters. And what you say makes sense about stability assuming they haven't also cut budgets (I don't think so as they are companies we're using MORE now).

I notice that I'm arguing for reaching out to the other firm. I even have an email drafted. It seems to be a psychological issue of simply taking a leap from my secure position and making the ask.

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