So you’re a techie and you’re brilliant at your job...
You’re fully engaged, doing A+ work and everyone loves you. What does your boss do? Promotes you to a Manager. Now you get to do performance appraisals; have regular 1x1s where you get to listen to staff complaints; figure out how to motivate others; balance budgets; split pennies between people at annual compensation review time; figure out career development plans for other people; cut budgets and sometimes staff; and tell the boss who’s performing well and who isn’t. You get to do all that and the job you used to have (the one you love), in your spare time. And if you manage to do all that well enough for long enough, they’ll likely promote you to a Director! Then you might even get to do less of what you’re actually good at.
The Wake Up Call
This is what happens at most companies. One day EMC woke up and realized that this model isn’t always in the best interest of the star player or the company. What to do?
EMC created another career path for our technical professionals. We allowed them to be recognized for their amazing contributions and allowed them to keep making such contributions!
We created new titles – Distinguished Engineer and Fellow.
- "Fellow" is a VP equivalent within the technical individual contributor track. Fellows will be nominated and selected from EMC’s technology elite who have demonstrated not only deep technical knowledge but, even more importantly, the potential to broadly affect EMC’s global business.
- "Distinguished Engineer" is a Senior Director equivalent within the technical individual contributor track. Distinguished Engineers will be nominated and selected for demonstrating deep expertise in one or more technical domains of importance to EMC.
And Established a Gala Induction Ceremony, too
Last year I had the pleasure of being at (okay, I crashed it) the Gala where our new Distinguished Engineers and Fellows were announced and showered with love. The CEO was there. All of the Chief Technology Officers from across business units were there. EMC’s SVP and Uber CTO, Jeff Nick, hosted the affair. The newly inducted were flown in from around the world along with their spouses. We dined in the penthouse of a Boston establishment while live music played and Beef Wellington was served. Photos were taken. Elegant awards given. Coffee table books containing the DE and Fellow bios and the names of all the EMC patent holders with 5 or more to their name were handed out.
PHOTO: EMC's 2007 Induction Gala Honorees. Newly inducted Distinguished Engineers and Fellows pictured with Jeff Nick, EMC CTO, and Joe Tucci, EMC CEO, center front as well as Jack Mollen, EVP of HR front row far right.
EMC Uber CTO Jeff Nick just announced this year’s DE and Fellow program. Here is what he sent out (Jeff, hope you don’t mind my sharing this. I thought the external technical talent might like to know about this cool program too … just in case they’re interested in working at a company that cherishes what makes them tick while making it easy for them to do more of it):
“EMC's well deserved and global reputation as a top-tier technology company has been years in the making. It's the direct result of having tremendously talented engineers around the world who develop innovative technology, products, and solutions that contribute substantial value to our customers and set the standard for the industry.
To help us continue to fully engage our engineering stars from across EMC's global business, while attracting even more technical talent to EMC, we're announcing the rollout of this year’s EMC Fellow & Distinguished Engineer Program.
The EMC Fellow and Distinguished Engineer Program provides formal recognition and an extended career path for EMC’s top technical talent through two prestigious positions: Fellow and Distinguished Engineer.
Through the community of Fellows and Distinguished Engineers, EMC can more fully leverage the ideas, inventions, and development efforts of our technical leaders and spur the creation of more cross-domain solutions for customers.
We anticipate selecting the 2008 Fellows and Distinguished Engineers by the end of August and formally recognizing them in October at EMC’s second annual Innovation Conference.
It's our great fortune to have many talented people with innovative ideas and the ability to execute—not only within our engineering organizations, but across our company in every function. The EMC Fellow and Distinguished Engineer positions are one way we salute the importance of talent to EMC's growth and future prosperity.
How cool is that?