At the beginning of 2019 Babylon was going through a restructure, and I couldn’t see where my role would fit. I was managing roughly 30 people with two managers under me. These engineers were scattered across more than 15 squads, in 5 different tribes. The optics seemed good, but I felt my career was stagnating. I wanted a different set of challenges, instead of just accumulating humans under me. So I did exactly what wouldn’t solve the problem: asked for a salary bump. I haven’t had one in two years. Despite great reviews and a good track record, my raise was denied. This was frustrating. Especially because upper-management kept boasting about new customers and revenue going up.

I started interviewing.

After talking with a few companies, I landed an offer paying me 10k per year more. Plus a more manageable amount of direct reports in a well defined vertical. I had a meeting with my manager explaining the situation. I got a 15k raise approved in less than 24h. I was naive and accepted it. Six months later I joined another company.

This situation taught me that there are problems that money can’t fix. Above a certain threshold, money stops being the main driver for happiness and job satisfaction. What I wanted was ownership and being challenged. I wanted to own something, rather than managing individuals in unrelated teams. Adding more direct reports might look good on the paper, but at some point you are doing them a disservice. Someone cheering about more sales did little for my happiness - and to a given extent still doesn’t. What motivates me is a customer saying how awesome the feature we released is. Going to an interview with someone that is excited to use a service I helped build is what brings me joy. Making money and being financially successful is a side effect of a job well done. Perhaps too idealistic, but I prefer to focus on the latter.