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James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect20:10:32

As long as this is still on I have a question / poll for you How would you describe a corporate culture that requires you to actively cultivate and promote a "personal brand" in order to be recognized and rewarded for your achievements?

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)20:10:25

Is this a loaded question? It reads like a loaded question.

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)20:10:51

I happen to work for a company where speaking at conferences and having an active network is something an Expert/Principal Consultant would be expected to do to get to the peak of their technical track. So, the benign interpretation is that the company wants to tell us that on top of tech excellence, you should work on your skills in sales. I think that is not unfair. There is a lot to achieve before being considered on the top tier and reaching that is not a given nor something to expect everyone to want at some point. However, specialists who earn their keep with high multipliers who are stuck at a certain salary ceiling are honestly being abused. So, there should probably be a disconnect with titles and salaries in special cases (and usually there are)

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect20:10:39

Oh to clarify, I mean internal to the company, a sort of internal employee brand, to promote yourself to management and HR

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)20:10:41

Hmm... giving it an extreme benefit of a doubt, it could be a means to say: "Locking up into your chambers and coding all day while only grunting at people is not senior behaviour."

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect21:10:41

Fair, there are these profiles to keep updated though and training on how to affect how other people see you and how to promote yourself to managers in order to get promotions. It seems icky to me. Just wondering if it is my own hangup.

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)21:10:58

But is this a culture or a process? Kissing asses is an implicit process in some places. Sets the management's skills in identifying talent into a funny light.

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)21:10:38

However, the skills of getting noticed and influencing others strongly correlate with raises, so it could be a lame way of stating (and amplifying) statistical things about humans.

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect21:10:01

Interesting perspective. I guess I always wonder, if you don't know my value, why pay me? Just seems weird to me

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect21:10:00

Maybe the answer is we need to have conversations around this

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)21:10:58

Hard to guess what people have been thinking and not all my potential explanations are actively evil. Some are very.

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)21:10:32

At the end of the day, we are ourselves responsible for making our own good deeds known. And then we have a word for people who overdo it.

Craig Cook - IBM21:10:11

Is the intention to encourage folks to improve relationships (and your communication skills) with others in your company? also to help with other teams, other parts of your company, rather than keep yourself in your silo?

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect21:10:44

I am not certain of the intention But I know they want you to document your accomplishments, cheer lead yourself and use their trackable learning methods to demonstrate your qualifications

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect21:10:47

Beyond that, until we discuss it, I can't really say the intentions or unintended outcomes beyond myself. I won't be doing that, so I won't be getting promoted or raises

Craig Cook - IBM21:10:52

If your career progression may be connected to the intention, is there a way to safely ask questions about it?

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect21:10:19

Safety aside. I am going to find a way to have those conversations

Bryan Finster - Walmart (Speaker)23:10:59

@genek101 says it takes a certain level of not caring about consequences to do what we do @james.simon1

Cory Reid - Applications Engineer - Farm Credit Mid-America12:10:41

I'm a huge proponent of personal brand as a tool for understanding how you show up in your workplace and to your teammates. It's important to know what you bring to the table and how your strengths complement your team as well as the org as a whole. With what you've described, it almost sounds like overly standardizing "personal brand" as a tool, which I think misses the heart and misplaces the passion for personal growth with a passion for checking off professional development boxes. Definitely depends on how it's utilized/prioritized, but I think your concerns are valid with the information you currently have, and I hope there's room given to adapt to what works for each teammate!

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect12:10:32

Me too. I won't be maintaining some internal corp LinkedIn profile though. I have LinkedIn for that and there the whole world gets to see.


FWIW, I’ve been able to get a glimpse into the individual career track nomination and awarding processes for Distinguished Engineers and Technical Fellows for 10+ companies, and it’s so clear that part of the necessary criteria that need to be demonstrated include: • your skills are widely in demand within the company, and are influencing strategically important programs • your skills are widely recognized outside the company, and are influencing the industry • your skills are elevating the company’s profile outside of the company, and elevating the perception of engineering excellence within the company These help achieve company objectives, help with hiring and retention, etc. I got to ask @allspaw about why it was so important to him and top Etsy leadership that engineers speak at and attend conferences, write blog posts, and contribute to OSS. It was so fascinating. Ability to hire and retain great talent was a big part of it. I will try to record an interview of him — I think it would be of incredible interest to this community.

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Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)18:10:02

To me, what @james.simon1 is saying, could be a weird cargo cult version of the intent mimicked without an understanding of its purpose. I have been part of a few groups tasked with creating seniority models and career paths for companies. What @genek101 just said resonates with our intentions. There are two factors that we have tried our best to account for in the models: 1. There is enough room in the seniority ladder before the Distinguished/Fellow/Principal/Expert tier to allow for really really great people with little motivation to managerial tracks or "representation roles" to be appreciated for excelling at their specialist roles. 2. There is enough variance and interpretation in the ways the top tier of meeting the criterion. They can speak at conferences or have extensive networks or organize meetups or sit in a standardisation board somewhere or show exceptional care in mentoring absolutely everybody internally or taking care of accounts or participating in sales. It is counterintuitive to call anyone distinguished whilst expecting them to be from the same mold as anybody else.

Bryan Finster - Walmart (Speaker)18:10:02

I build my external brand to have something to point to when building my internal brand with a new area that hasn't worked with me. I'm pretty cynical about it. My ideas aren't better, but they are published on the internet so they are better ideas. Now, how can I help?

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)18:10:49

@bryan.finster haha. Public relations is indeed the best internal relations.

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James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect18:10:30

@ferrix imagine you are responsible and required to maintain a sort of internally visible LinkedIn and reach out to your manager and other managers to broadcast your accomplishments, ask them and co-workers how they perceive you and use personal promotion to shape that.

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)18:10:42

@james.simon1 Of course not. That would be silly. That doesn't serve the company or anyone for that matter.

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)18:10:39

I do however identify as the internal wine lottery host. That's just fun and games.

Bryan Finster - Walmart (Speaker)18:10:43

It's way easier than forming a relationship with the people who report to you though!

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect18:10:15

My thoughts too @bryan.finster

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)18:10:29

@james.simon1 My theory is that the way you are describing is to seniority models what daily reporting and reprimanding ceremony is to a scrum daily meeting.

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect18:10:53

This is how I feel. But, you made a very valid point about the conversation. I won't really know if I don't have it. And they won't know my discomfort if we don't talk about it

James Simon, FCA, Solution Architect18:10:07

I have initiated the conversation with my director

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)18:10:01

Step 2: Decide if you need or needn't take popcorn to the discussion.

Ferrix Hovi - Principal Engineering Avocado - SOK (S Group)18:10:39

@james.simon1 Depending on whether or not you have the time or energy to read a book in preparation, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss would be excellent. FBI hostage negotiations 101. 😄