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Turbonomic Blog

Making Lateral Career moves in R&D

Posted by Dallas DeMarr on Sep 14, 2017 3:00:42 PM

Manager: “So, what would you like to meet about, Dallas?”

Me: “I’d like to explore other career options.”

Was I quitting? Did I dislike my boss? Had I finally cracked? None of the above. This re-enactment of a real conversation I had with my manager and VP was simply an outcome of how comfortable I felt speaking to them.

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A week prior, I’d reached out to our lone Technical Writer, Chris Despopoulos and while I was perfectly happy as a QA Engineer, I’ve always had a soft spot for writing. While my dream to write, the next great American novel has yet to come to fruition, I felt that perhaps I could write the next great Installation Guide, instead.

At a previous QA position at a past company, I once expressed interest in Project Management, and the response to my inquisitiveness was a sternly-worded email that pointed out that if I were unhappy with what I was doing, I was welcome to seek employment elsewhere.

After speaking to Chris for a while, it was clear to him that I was of “trainable” quality, and clear to me that I would enjoy the position. A week later, I found myself nervous to the point of sweating, sitting in a room with the QA Director and his immediate superior, the VP of Architecture.

Quickly, I explained what had taken place- that I loved my current role, but felt like I would be more valuable to the company and happier with myself as a Technical Writer. I can’t recall now exactly what manner of eldritch horror I expected would manifest at my declaration, but what did occur was just as shocking… in a good way.

“Alright. We’ll need to transition you slowly, since we’ll have to redistribute your current workload. We have a new hire starting soon, perhaps they could…” I sat in stunned disbelief as the two went over the transition plan. As we finished up, I couldn’t help but ask, feeling like a child: “…you’re not upset?”

I’m paraphrasing, but the answer was essentially: “If you feel like this is the career move for you, and we can help - why wouldn’t we?”

The answer was marvelous in its simplicity. Turbonomic is truly a place where you can start, make, or even find your career. One of the benefits of working for a midsize company is that freedom to explore, and knowing that even people with “VP” in their title care enough about you as a person to listen to what your goals are, and help guide you through any transition you might need to get there.

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I’ve been a Technical Writer for almost a year now, and I can’t imagine doing anything else… but if I could, I know that my peers and managers would work with me to make it happen. It’s amazing to have that kind of comfort in a career. If you’re looking to find your career in tech, check out the many positions we have available and get started!

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