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When to quit your product management job

Not sure whether to leave your current product management job? In my opinion one of the worst things you can do is stay too long if you are unhappy. If you do then  you may become branded as being jaded or negative, which can hurt your career for years to come. I have personally stayed in a few positions for too long only to realize once I moved on that it was a huge relief.

With that as the background here are the top ten reasons why you might just want to brush up that resume and start looking:

  1. You have an engineering group that has no desire to be part of a team
  2. You are no longer passionate about the product(s) you are working on
  3. You have been passed over or denied promotions far too many times (likely you will never break out of this at your current company or job)
  4. Your team is doing agile development and you are not the product owner
  5. Your company has no appreciation for why product management is a critical function
  6. Your company views your product as a “dog” or a “cash cow” in the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) matrix and refuses to fund the development and marketing you need to succeed
  7. You don’t believe in the company’s strategy
  8. You don’t believe in your company’s management and leadership
  9. You aren’t in a growing market (your career will advance much more rapidly and you will have many more opportunities if your market is growing and vice versa)
  10. You simply have the wrong personality to be doing product management (this may be hard to admit, but if it is true you will never be happy or successful)

If the timing is wrong for you to move (bad economy, spouse is changing jobs at the same time, you just bought a house or are having a child) then what you should do is come up with a plan to move on in a longer time period. While you are waiting for the right time further your product management education – take a training course or become a certified product manager. Read books on product management and get involved in a product management association. Just having a plan and knowing you will move on at some point may make your job easier and more fun in the meantime.


4 Responses to When to quit your product management job

  1. Thierry Roullier Nov 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm #

    Great post. I wish I wrote it myself.

  2. JT Nov 17, 2009 at 6:03 pm #

    Excellent post, and very true. I left my job as a senior product manager this past year. Wish I would have seen this list sooner–answering yes to questions 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 would have given me a strong hint to leave sooner.

    PS, I found your site thru April Dunford, for what it’s worth. Looking forward to reading more.

  3. Greg Strosaker Dec 1, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    All these are very valid reasons to leave, and I’m sure there is a high correlation between their occurrence, so it is likely you will see more than one sign when it is time to move on.

    Not having passion for your products is a particular concern, tough to see any product manager succeeding in such a situation. Remaining too long could also damage your prospects elsewhere as your performance suffers.

  4. david grubman Dec 18, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    Brian, would like to hear your thoughts on how to leave. When is it not appropriate to leave. When is it a good time? How to manage your departure. I have seen great resources blow their relationships by a messy departure.

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