Have you made the tough decision to leave product management? Why? And what did you do next?

Anami's profile thumbnail
smichalczuk's profile thumbnail
I'd love to ask you a few questions, and can share some stories of product managers I know who left for other paths. If you'd be open to a phone call, DM me!
tanmayisai's profile thumbnail
I'm a PM now and feeling the same way. Feel free to DM me if you'd like to chat! I've applied to a few other types of roles to try it out.
Thanks @tanmayisai, it's great to know other PMs feel the same way. I'll send you a DM to chat!
KatieDoran's profile thumbnail
I was a Program Manager at Microsoft (kind of a hybrid role between Product Manager and Technical Program Manager, Microsoft has historically had Product Management only as a Marketing role, not an Engineering discipline - though I think that's starting to shift). Then I joined Amazon as a Product Manager (because I thought PM = PM) and I *hated it*. I didn't care about the problems that were "mine" as a Product Manager (defining vision, looking at business metrics, arguing with people over UI elements) and the stuff I did care about (enabling the engineering team, driving alignment, ensuring clarity and transparency into program status) weren't actually my job. I transitioned to Technical Program Management, which I *love*...even if there's a wildly incorrect stigma that TPMs are just glorified project managers who couldn't cut it as Product Managers.Politics still exist...though they can vary wildly with specific teams. I find my current role in a research group to be far less political than the established product teams I've been a part of (research also removes the "ship faster" issue, since we don't ship anything!). Vision though...that's the thing for me. I've never wanted to be the idea person. I absolutely adore the behind-the-scenes roles where you enable other people's success. My work enables people who are passionate idea people to be successful and to have their visions realized. That, to me, is so much more fun than having a vision of my own for some future technology. Hopefully that's helpful! I'd be super happy to chat more if you think that would be interesting or useful :) Best of luck figuring out what's next for you! Also, there's a really, really long Wait But Why article on career paths that's pretty great. I especially like a point towards the end about how...careers are just individual dots on a timeline. Your story will probably make sense and be awesome in hindsight...and it's okay that in the current moment you're standing on one dot not sure where the next one is. There are also some great resources that might help inspire new ideas about what's next for you! https://waitbutwhy.com/2018/04/picking-career.html
Yemi's profile thumbnail
Wow, hearing about your experience has been really insightful! I especially love that you were able to discover the key elements of PM that you love and find a role which aligned with it.I'm started my first role as a Program Manager last year and thankfully it was a contract position, so I really got to learn how to manage my team and execute on an idea. Thanks for sharing the waitbuywhy article too. Can't wait to dive into it!
Thank you for your insights! "I've never wanted to be the idea person" was such a difficult realization for me to come to as a PM. It felt like a personal failing for a time, but now I realize it's just not one my strengths nor is it something that brings me joy! Also, fantastic article. I've been working with a career coach, and that article gets at a ton of what I'm discussing with her.
SarahVanBenschoten's profile thumbnail
Following as well! Super helpful thread for someone just charting out their career in product from the start! Such wonderful insight on the subtle role differences.