Advice needed: Not sure if I should stay or leave

Hi Elpha,

I'm seeking some advice for a dilemma I've been thinking long and hard about.

I am currently 6+ months into my full time job. This is my first "big girl" ft job in tech, and as much as I appreciate my managers who hired me and taught me, there are some things that have been rubbing me the wrong way.

1. I am the company's only designer

2. I am to produce new designs every week (for every new feature, we're a very fast paced company)

3. There is a lack of collaboration and mentorship

3. Pay is not great (asked for a raise 2 months ago, it's in the works but not yet implemented)

4. Unorganized (definitely a lot better since I joined but it's still quite unorganized)

The pros are

1. Managers are all very well into their career (former high level people who worked in corporate tech)

2. First ft job so grateful

3. Manager is someone I can have honest converation with (though he's not someone in my field, so he can't help, he's just a good person to talk to)

Why I haven't left

1. I've grown the company in a very short amount of time with my designs which are the reason investments and partnerships are coming in so I take pride in it

2. If I leave now, it still counts as less than a year which means I do not receive any equity (and that thought makes me sad considering the impact I've made so far)

3. Exciting partnerships with big name companies are coming up

4. Executive members I work with have a good network. (Though I don't even know if I will utilize this, and/or they connecting me as an initiative since they are very busy)

Thank you in advance, really appreciate it!

Sharing a bunch of thoughts here :)1) re: being the only designer, do you know what the company's growth plans are for the design team? secondly, what are you looking for that is missing currently as the only designer? For example, if collaboration with OTHER team exists, would you be okay with being the only designer?2) collaboration and mentorship is crucial to day-to-day work and generally feeling supported in your role. Have you raised this to your manager, if so, have they made an effort in improving that?3) in terms of equity, I'm not sure what kind you will be assigned but a quite note that if you're receiving stock options, you still need to purchase them (which can be an insignifcant amount if your strike price is low, or it can be a hefty sum), so just something to keep in mind about!Lastly, I think while your gratitude towards your first full time job is super valid, I would also stress to not acquisce to big cons or your own non-negotiables, at this job or any other, just because you have one! :) There are many companies and roles out there and the landscape is quite competitive, so always know your worth and evaluate accordingly :) One thing that could also help you decide is starting conversations with other companies and see how other teams functions, what their pay is, and see if other roles are more exciting or inspiring to you than your current. It's a good way to zoom out from the environment that you've grown to know and expand your horizon to other companies who may (or may not!) be able to offer you a different or better opportunity!(and on that note, leaving you with a link to Elpha's talent pool that could be helpful when sussing out your personal values while job seeking)
Hi there, sorry to hear you're having conflicting thoughts about your job. I won't be able to tell you one way or another, but I really like the way you've laid out the pros and cons. To provide some perspective, the cons sound just like startups I've worked at. It is quite painful at the beginning especially as your first job but the learning and ownership are far better in a startup. If you wanted more structure and mentorship, a big company is potentially a better option for early career roles. That being said, leaving a job 6 months in is not bad as long as it's not a recurring pattern!
Hello,I think you are in a relatively good space to continue there and to keep growing. One of the most important things in a job (that you might not appreciate until you "lose" it) is a good manager - even if he isn't in your field. And, there are lots of pros (and potential pros) to staying. I would consider setting yourself some key objectives of things you want to accomplish while you are there (accomplishments, experiences, impact, connections) and set a timetable for trying to achieve each of them.By then (6 months to a year?), you will have gained much more experience, created a stronger network for yourself and be in a great position to leave to a bigger role with more responsibility and a larger team. Based on your description, it sounds like you are in a pretty typical start-up environment, so when it is time to leave, you should think about whether or not a small start-up is where you want to be or if you would prefer to be part of a larger organization and a bigger team.Best of luck!H
It sounds like your “pros” are pretty good reasons to stay a little longer, at least. But if the company is growing due to your designs, and you have data to back that up, I would make more noise about the raise. They won’t want to lose you, and now is the time at the beginning of your career to get comfortable asking for what you are worth. Get your manager on board in accelerating it. We’re in a new quarter now, and you need a commitment when it will kick in. Otherwise, it will drift.
As a career coach who supports women in tech to connect their careers to their True Nature I can tell you there are going to be a number of choice points in your career (and life for that matter) where there does not seem to be a clear “right” choice. That’s why it becomes so important to know what really matters to youso that when you are making choices it is less about having more or better pros than cons and more about what aligns most clearly with your True Nature- what matters (are you making the difference you want to make), what you enjoy and what you’re good at… then listen to your gut. Your mind can be a terrible master but your body/ gut always knows.
It's great that you are so connected to your thoughts and feelings towards this current role! Your points are very familiar to me, and it sounds like a somewhat safe space to be for the moment.My advice would be to start opening yourself up to interviews, if you're not feeling too stressed. They will help you gain perspective, experience, and create valuable connections for later. If the right thing comes up, you can take it, if not, you can be okay knowing you're growing your skills at your current place and keeping yourself open to new opportunities. Most people* are casually interviewing a few times a year.*From what I can tell from talking to friends, colleagues, old-coworkers.
The place you're describing sounds like a pretty typical startup and mix of some pros and some cons. If this is your first full time role, and you've only been there 6 months, I'd personally suggest staying for a while longer. I have a supposition that something is happening that I've seen in other people starting out, including myself. At the start of your career there will be this period where you're something like 4-6 months in a role and you'll feel like "I've got this" about the role and that you are already good to move on. At the time, this burst of confidence feels really good. But if you stick around it's usually followed by a revelation of "oh, I actually didn't know half as much as I thought I did". This is because the underlying forces driving an organisation and people are seldomly visible so early, especially to people who are still inexperienced in company politics. Sticking around a bit longer enables you to learn more not just about your role and the roles of those immediately around you, but about how organisations and teams change over time, and what challenges and opportunities that presents. Also "sticking it out" is a good skill to learn and necessary in any role - because there are tough times even in good companies.If the role was super toxic I'd definitely say to leave. But it doesn't sound that way, it sound more like you just want to see what else is out there. If you'd still like to explore that, by all means interview and discover what other opportunities are available to you. But unless you have something else lined up, I'd suggest not quitting and keeping an open mind about the fact that there are still many things to learn not just in this company but for you in your career as a whole as to how different collectives operate.
Hello! I agree with what's been said about typical start up culture. Another thing about startups is because they grow so fast, they tend to become a different company nearly every quarter. So if you can hang on, things may change in a way you like. It can be hard to see/ know that at the start of your career, but sometimes the company changes around you for the better and if you have a good manager, you can advocate for changes that will benefit you and your long term goals. The other piece I noted is you would like more collaboration and mentorship. Do you have a clear sense of what that might look like? If you can ask your manager for specific things like 1 meeting a month or quarter to be about mentoring you in your career or an intro to someone in their network or to form a cross-functional sync meeting with a few people you work with regularly, you may be able to move the needle on the collaboration or mentorship front. I've found when I can operationalize things I'd like into concrete requests, it really helps. Good luck in making your decision!
My initial gut is to suggest your staying until a year. You are building amazing skills that will be marketable in the next role. Plus, you will have a better story with a year's work. I think you're doing amazing given being your first ft job and being the only designer on board.However, if it is causing you physical or emotional health issues, then, I would say do all you can to interview, land your job, then quit this one.
Hi, I have a view but would rather support you to make up your own mind since you have come this far in your thinking laying out pros and cons. can you reflect on what makes you happy ? is this job giving you that or not ? if it is not what is the most challenging thing thats coming in your way ? what can you do about it ? what are your options ? do you want to try any of those first before quitting ? or are the challenges impacting your happiness so much that you must decide to leave now ? there is no right answer any one of us will have. let the wisdom come from inside you. the answer is with you. you just need to find it. good luck ! let us know what you finally decided.
I agree with the previous comments about interviewing. It's helpful to start opening up your opportunities and creating options for yourself. Whether you leave now or later, there are a few points that you want to address in this job and in future roles:1. Salary2. Mentorship/TeamAs the only designer you are getting excellent experience to create work and get exposed to different projects. These experiences will help you land the next role. I think having an environment where you can learn from others is important for career growth. Sounds like you might be approaching a point when mentorship and working with others in a team is a key element in your career growth, so you can look for this when looking for new roles. Finding a role that's fitting your lifestyle and financial goals can take some time, so you can start interviewing and have the comfort of time to only consider those offers that really stand out for you.
Hi,I agree with what has already been said. If your manager cannot help you I would suggest finding someone in a role in the company with some clout and who might be able to mentor you. Have a conversation about what you need with someone who could champion you and your ideas about collaboration/mentoring or even propose a program within the company. Make sure it is someone who can make things happen. Also, concur with sticking around for a while for the experience of helping to build something.Diane Malnekoff, Ph.D.