Stick my experienced nose in other business
February 12, 2019 11:59 AM   Subscribe

I have been hired by a team at a company where a different team previously rejected me. Given the circumstances below the fold, should I/how do I approach the current director of the latter team to offer my experience?

Company A, a large, multinational firm I work for currently, enthusiastically hired me for a position in October. The role I filled is in my field of experience, but the area of interest this experience is currently being applied to is different from the area I gained my experience in.

Two years ago, a recruiter encouraged me to interview with another team (Team X) at this company working in the same area of interest I have experience in. The hiring manager at my phone interview was impressed with me, and everyone I interviewed with in person thereafter seemed to be so - except for the director of the team at the time. She was weirdly confrontational and challenged me on my experience, enough that I was caught off-guard and allowed my annoyance with her to influence my responses. At the end of that interview, the hiring manager (who presumably hadn't still solicited feedback from the director) seemed happy about the outcome of my interviews, mentioned that several of the interviewers had expressed positive feedback and that I'd hear back from them soon. Leaving that interview, I had zero interest in working for that team, and, unsurprisingly, never heard back from them. At the risk of sounding arrogant, although I certainly don't mean to be so, the hiring manager herself has fewer years of experience in this particular area than I do, and it didn't seem like a good career move for me to work for Team X.

Fast forward to now - I was hired by another team (Team Y) at the same company. Team Y respects my experience and values my contribution. Team Y allows me to broaden my own experience. The director of Team X is no longer with the company, and the current director of Team X is the hiring manager who met with me initially. From what I can tell, the position I interviewed for was filled internally.

During the course of a training about the area of interest I am most familiar with, several questions have come up from Team X as well as other internal groups. I have experience with many of these issues, and could help the team move forward on some projects. I chimed in during the online training with one response that the consultant Team X hired could not answer, but I don't want to be overbearing. Team X is the only team in this company that's working on this particular area, and Team Y would have no qualms about me moonlighting with another team as long as my current projects don't slip. Should I approach the new director of Team X, since she knows who I am, via email to offer my expertise? What would be the best approach - ask to catch up with her over coffee first, or offer my expertise casually right away? I don't have any long-term aspirations of joining Team X, but keeping abreast of what they're working on would still be an interesting and useful experience.
posted by Everydayville to Human Relations (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ask your supervisor if they think the other team would want your input/assistance and if it would be a good use of your time. Follow your supervisor's lead.

And don't let your leftover resentment from a crappy interview two years ago affect your professional decisions - try to do exactly what you would do if you'd never heard of this company in your life before you got this job. I know the director who was shitty to you isn't there anymore, but I'm picking up on an impulse to sort of rub this other department's face in how great you are and what they missed out on, even if it's subconscious on your part. Why else include any of that information in this question?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:43 PM on February 12, 2019 [11 favorites]

This is pretty vague so it's hard to be specific. We don't know much about your field, your role, or the structure of your new company—all of which matters a lot.

However, the fact that you once interviewed with Team X matters not at all, not one tiny bit one way or the other. What is appropriate re: your interactions with Team X is exactly the same as it would be if you had never even heard of them before. Forget you ever interviewed with them. Water under the bridge. You work on Team Y, and all of you work for Company A. That's all that matters.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:06 PM on February 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

Don't think of it as rejection; think of it as The liked somebody else a bit better. and that manager is gone. There's no issue for them, you should work on letting it go. Traditionally, you would go through your manager and say I have expertise in widget-calibrating and was wondering if X's team would be interested.
posted by theora55 at 4:50 PM on February 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

So you just want to help out and keep a hand in your old game?

Anything you do for Team X - it really should go through your Team Y director. If they think its of benefit to her team and to company, they can second you to Team X within a narrowly defined scope, or specific questions about a particular thing can go through your director, you respond, and they get back to Team X.

Or you can make friends with Team X just to keep your hand in the old game, but you really shouldn't be working for Team X. You're part of Team Y now!
posted by porpoise at 5:44 PM on February 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Why would you take on extra work? Be very clear with yourself about your motivations and what you're hoping to gain. Doesn't sound like there's any extra money on the table, just more stress and obligations. I ended up straddling two teams at a job, and it ultimately really burned me out. It meant having two supervisors (effectively), even though they were working through my actual manager. It meant that I had two teams that felt like when there was an urgent problem they could lean on me. I didn't gain anything from it except headaches. I realized later that I was doing it because it made my ego feel good to be useful to two teams. I felt indispensable! I wouldn't stroke my ego at the expense of a reasonable work/life balance again. Even if you aren't taking on extra hours, the extra stress does make a significant impact on the rest of your life.
posted by stoneweaver at 6:00 PM on February 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

Should I approach the new director of Team X, since she knows who I am

Are you sure she knows who you are? You said the new director of Team X was the hiring manager for this "large, multinational firm" and you interviewed two years ago. She may not remember you at all.

Generally agree with the sentiment that you should just act as though this never happened. I'm also sensing a subtle need to rub it back in their face - otherwise why would you be worrying so much about this other team, instead of the one you were just hired for? Just because you knew a few things that the consultant didn't doesn't mean Team X can't move these projects forward without you. If the director of Team X really does know who you are, she'll know your areas of expertise, and if she wants your assistance, she can approach you or your team director.
posted by unannihilated at 5:07 AM on February 13, 2019

You're making a lot of assumptions about the prior interview you did, the conclusions the prior team director might have drawn, and why you weren't hired. You're on a team now that you like, and it sounds like you aren't doing this with the intent of moving to Team X in the future. I can't tell if you're enthusiastic about the area Team X is working on and enjoy fielding questions -- in which case, there's no reason to make it formal unless you think your supervisor would approve of you helping them occasionally in a way that merits recognition or helps allocate your time -- or if this is a jilted lover scenario where you're valued by Team Y but want to show to Team X that they missed out.

I'd say to chill out and let things work out organically. If you have the opportunity to say "hey, I know about area X, hit me up if you run into issues and I'd love to help out as my schedule allows" when you run into a team member on X, then do that. Starting a new job and immediately putting your thumb in all the different pies gives a different impression than you may want to give off: people may think you got hired in order to get your foot in the door and aren't interested in sticking with your team.
posted by mikeh at 10:39 AM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all of this - definitely some food for thought here.

I’d like to clarify a couple things:

1. Team X could use some help. Not even MY help, but help from people who have experience in that field. When people at this company who’ve collaborated with Team X learn of my previous work experience (my former employer is the industry leader for the area Team X is working on for my current company), they encourage me to reach out to the director of Team X. If not for multiple suggestions that I do so, I most likely wouldn’t have even thought about it.

2. I don’t think I’m still resentful over the “rejection”, but I’ll confess to being surprised at the relative lack of experience the current director has. Again, this isn’t relative to me, it’s relative to similar positions I’ve seen in the field where folks heading up such groups have at least a decade of experience in this relatively new niche.

3. Technical expertise in this area is what most industry people would consider a niche skill. There aren’t a whole lot of us who have this particular combination of technical expertise and experience with the relevant government authorities. By no means am I an absolute expert, but I am confident that I can help with certain project issues Team X facing.

4. I freaking love this field of work. I left my previous job for family reasons, and there’s no way I would have if I didn’t absolutely have to. The work I do now is adjacent to my niche skills but it’s nowhere near as exciting as the work I used to do. As some of you have mentioned, I now work for Team Y, which is a great team, and my sole motivation in dabbling with Team X is to still be able to feel involved in an area of work I love. Team X wouldn’t be a growth opportunity for me right now (perhaps in a few years when they’ve caught up with the rest of the industry) but I sure as hell would love to use my experience to help out with something I get stupid excited about, plain and simple.
posted by Everydayville at 8:46 PM on February 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

If it helps; new fields offer new niches. Any chance doing Team Y stuff couldn't help make you lead for Team Z?
posted by porpoise at 10:19 PM on February 15, 2019

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