Take a new, more visible role with a struggling concern?

I’m not sure I’m even asking the right question here, but… I’ve been working on a product as a senior dev for a couple years which has just started producing revenue. However the company just cut payroll along wth a wave of layoffs because of some top line reversals. Now, they want me to shift to another product, which has been under development for four years and has yet to generate revenue, hoping I can help fix whatever’s wrong with it. Should I take it? The job market in my location is not exactly thriving.

  • Seems to me like they value your leadership and expertise. Otherwise, they would trust someone else to get that product producing revenue. They see that you’ve had success with the other one that you’re working on and they hope that you can do the same for this one.

  • If the product has been unsuccessful for four years I’d stay the fuck away, because that means they’re hellbent on selling it and you’ll probably hear a bunch of “we’re going to close The Big Deal any day now” for your entire tenure.

    On the other hand, if the product is a complete mess, you’ll be able to add a lot to your “accomplishments” on your resume. We literally have one dev who in the past year has overhauled huge portions of our infrastructure dramatically. It’s still a huge, gigantic mess that will never recover (because it’s fundamentally bad design) but his skill has increased dramatically and his resume would probably look hard to believe if you didn’t work there. He’s not a 10X ninja, he’s just a regular dude who’s been given a lot of challenges at his growth edge. Of course if you’re a senior dev you may have no interest in that.

    Lastly I’d be a bit worried about politics. If it’s a tar pit or a suicide project, well, stay away.

  • You would be switching just before your product takes off, and someone else would take the credit. If the other product does not recover, you have nowhere to go.

    Stay where you are, make yourself visible, and reap the successes if you can.

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