U.S.hiring managers may avoid bright young candidates

My colleague Alan pointed out that some hiring managers are cautious with young bright candidates.

Some companies have a policy to promote younger employee. In terms of competitive threat, the older candidates are perceived as "disarmed" weapons.

Some hiring managers may also want to protect his old loyal employees, who may be put under threat by a young bright newcomer.

big bright world behind that thick heavy door

(Was so hard to get over U.S. barriers in the form of h1b and later GC …)

Was so hard to overcome the English barrier … I struggled so very hard. Slowly I was able to express myself, with a big enough vocab…. Once the door crack opens, I got my first glimpse of a big, bright world[1] behind the door. Immediately I could see myself thriving in that world.

With a safe retreat always available, there’s no real risk [2] to me so I boldly jumped in as soon as possible.

So which items in the 5advantages post? Job pool !

[1] Some people don’t need English and can do well using Chinese as primary language … I’m different.
[2] there’s indeed some risk to wife and to kids…

5 thrusts/directions over next5Y in U.S.

1) buy 1st home as soon as financially feasible. Before that consider REITs.

2) shift more focus to academic parenting

3) start PhD if everything works out. Will pave the way to a research/teaching career till age 75

4) consider some Chinese-language-teaching business for wife

5) may need to change gear to a relaxed job, but maintain competitiveness on job market (I didn’t say “on the job”)

I feel my health and job market competitiveness (#5) are the foundation.

pyramid of wage levels, CN^SG^US

See also the similar post on NBA salary

Look at my brother-in-law. (I’m not too sure about his situation so I will use tentative statements.) He’s smart, dedicated. Rather long experience as a team lead. He has a masters from a top uni in Shanghai.

However, there are many people with similarly strong track record in China, so he can’t move up the pyramid to, say CNY 1000k. I guess 500k is also tough.

In Singapore I’m facing a similar challenge. A S$150k (after tax) tech job is rare and considered elite so you need to be rather strong to get it. In other words, the pyramid has a sharper tip than in the US pyramid, based on a sample of 5,000 IT jobs.

(I think the Shanghai salary distro is better than most China cities…)

The NBA post brings together other important factors — lifelong income; managerial skill; …

stable job4H1 guys#le2HenryWu

Hi Henry,

See if you can connect me to your H1 sponsor at your earliest convenience.

For most H1 immigrants, having a stable job is a top priority. We all worry about losing our job, losing the H1 status and Green card petition.

Therefore, many prefer a big, reputable employer. Some prefer a consulting firm that can help maintain our H1 status even when we change project from time to time. There are definitely risks of “gaps” between 2 jobs. In my experience, 1 to 3 months are tolerable. Beyond that, there are probably other solutions. It all depends on the last employer and the lawyer. Remember I’m not an immigration attorney.

In the Worst scenario the employer cancels the H1 right away. The USCIS regulation probably allows us (“the aliens”) to stay in the US for a few weeks looking for the next job. If we can’t find any, we should ask our lawyer when we have to leave the country. We would re-enter once we find a new employer.

The exit/reentry can (in my imagination) be a real hassle for someone with a big family, esp. if kids are in school. It might be best to avoid the exit/reentry. I guess this is one reason many H1 families are fearful of layoff and prefer a stable job even at a lower salary. (Overall, Singapore companies are less likely to layoff large number of staff.)

Therefore, if I were you I would prefer a stable job. As a risk taker, I will take a gamble that I could reduce the “gap” between jobs to 2 months, by being flexible on the salary.

why a Chinese geek prefers NY/Ldn over other financial centers

1) On Wall St, many Chinese techies lament about glass ceiling. Many in their mid 30’s can’t move to leadership. Even if you have talent beyond technical,  even if you invest in non-technical areas, you may hit that ceiling.

Even among those who rose to entry level VPs, there’s a dearth of further promotions. I could be wrong, but i feel 2nd promotion is harder than the first. Indian techies and locals seem to be luckier, causing complaints among the Chinese techies.
Reasons? Factors? Root causes? Many say that in any hierarchical command organization the majority race would dominate the upper echelon, though I notice many exceptions.

Many suggest “inner circle” or “old boy’s club”. Do you get invited for house parties? Are you a fan of Superbowl?

I hear many techies say they prefer non-manager, pure tech roles to people-management roles. Some say the latter is stressful. I guess the former is easier “control-wise”. You finish “your job” and can go home and sleep well.

Some geeks are not keen/ambitious about manager roles, so they don’t feel the pain or the ceiling. So Wall St is perfect for them.

In Asia, a non-manager geek often feels threatened for survival…

2) Wall St (and Si Valley) rewards tech specialists better than other financial centers. Respected, not by some vague gestures or lip service, but by hard cash. See http://bigblog.tanbin.com/2011/07/specialist-vs-generalistmanager-spore.html
Remember the 4 stages of Contribution? An individual expert is valued /to the extent that/ she can “contribute through others” — some form of (knowledge) leadership.

3) On Wall St a geek can remain hands-on till 55 or 60. Less age discrimination.
4) the valuable and tough, ground breaking, money-making, really important technical work takes place in the trading hubs like Ldn, NY, or Chicago — Trend setters. If you measure the financial impact of an engineer (outside Si Valley), the hedge funds probably come out top but they employe much smalller number of techies than big banks. Anyway, most of the important work is in the trading hubs — upstream.

Re-enter U.S. -inertia, fear of unknown, comfort zone

I told many of my Singapore techie friends about the US job opportunities. All of them are resistant. They aren’t sure if they can make it in the US.
Indeed among the Indians, Chinese etc, some did succeed and other didn’t.
It’s remarkable that in New York I came across much fewer Singaporeans than Malaysian Chinese, Taiwanese or Hongkongers (and Koreans too, but that’s too different a nation to compare). I feel Singaporeans favor Australia and Britain over US/Canada. I guess largely because of friends and family, the familiar vs. the unknown. Chinese and Indians often settle down in the US and bring over their relatives.
A related factor is the “comfort zone”. Singapore life is too comfortable, too convenient… US is like a buffet dinner – go get it yourself.
Change is uncertain, challenging, requires analysis, observations, opinions, bets … There’s no way to avoid it actually. Change happens to us. Some would say we can take advantage of changes…. think of big data, c++, west coast, python..
In a way, my recent discomfort and dissatisfaction in Singapore is a divine message, and breaks the comfort zone.
One of my growing discomforts in this “comfort zone” is the position/value of specialist vs generalist leader.

NY^SG fin IT market – resume is paramount@@

* On Wall St, the battlefield is  the tech IV.
* In Singapore financial IT, the battlefield is the resume. I feel 70% of the battle is on the resume.

In Singapore, I have tried 3 times (2011, 2014 and 2015). Much fewer “senior” roles (i.e. 150k+); much lower chance of shortlist. I believe the competitors are way too many for each role.

On Wall St, Many friends (XR, YH, Mithun etc) all get many interviews without too much effort.

speak freely, westerner, humor…

Sometimes you feel tired of paralanguage-monitoring and self-shrinking – it can feel tiring[4] (for the untrained) to be always on our toes and to avoid sticking-out. Quiet people are presumably more comfortable with that but I'm not a quiet person (though I'm rather introspective or “looki”)

Sometimes you just want to, for a moment, be yourself, express (not in a loud, in-your-face way, but in a Passive way) your individuality and leave the judgement to “them”. I seem to have many family members + colleagues/bosses having that tendency, though each of them decide when to show it and when to Control it.

Humour is a decisive part of it. Some would say “No humour, don't try it.” I'm not humorous even though I find many words I speak somewhat amusing.

99% of the time I decide to “let my hair down” and speak “freely”, it has been a (conscious or semi-conscious) gamble since I have no control over the situation [1]. I suspect a lot of times the negative reaction in the audience couldn't be completely offset by the positive. Let's face it, if there's any trace of negative reaction after you say something, it tends to last a long time, even if the positive is much more. Especially true if the negative is taken personally like a joke about age or weight. Showbiz people like to take on those sensitive topics… because they can, but it's foolhardy to “try it at home”. You also see people communicating rather directly in movies and in publications, but it's an exaggerated/distorted version of reality. In reality that kind of speak is rare, shocking. It's like playing with fire.

In my (somewhat biased) perception, I tend to see westerners as less restrained, more individualistic, speaking-for-own-self, carefree, less careful, less rule-bound… This long list of perceptions would eventually lead to the American ideal of individual “freedom”, but that word alone would be oversimplification.

Experience — In my first 5 years of working, I was often the youngest team member. I didn't have to “image-manage” myself as a future leader. I rarely had junior staff looking up to me.

[1] major exception is the last few days on any job.

[4] I suspect most of us can get used to it, just like children getting used to self-restraint once in school.