After a long period of deliberation, ups and downs, excitement and confusion, I've decided to move into a new position. The things that I enjoy most about being a director of software engineering are the things that could have made me great at the position but not destined to stay there - the ability to be involved in all aspects of the product, to comment on virtually every specification and product decision, to help set direction and provide vision, to be hands-on and technical, and to be patient yet firm.
That said, I didn't enjoy trying to mentor my direct reports, build an organization, rank people around me - essentially, all the aspects of management. Perhaps if I had a better mentor, or if my peers hadn't bailed on me, or if I would have had the control over the direction like I imagined, or if I would have just been more patient... I would have been able to weather through the uncertainty of my own growth - but the more I analyzed where I was and where I was heading, the more I had a hard time being able to picture myself in middle management for years to come.
Starting next week, I'll be moving into product marketing. I don't know what to expect! I'm a little anxious about my new team, my new role, my new boss... I have high hopes and expectations - that this move will give me a much broader view of the organization, the industry, and the technology. I'll be in a position where I can strongly shape the product but not spend my time on the factory floor. Of course, this comes with "drawbacks" as well - more travel, less technical conversations (with peers, partners, etc.), less pay...
The best thing about this move is that I won't be leaving behind the people I've spent the last 5.5 years with. They'll be on the same floor, right around the corner, in the same building - we'll still be working on the same product and in the same discussions. I'll be the same... but different.