Am I really unlucky or have bad company-picking skills during interviews?

I have been a Product Manager for almost five years and have experienced job turnover in three different companies. The first company was a large corporation where they grew tired of office politics and eventually left. Then I joined a startup, but it only lasted six months before layoffs occurred due to funding issues. Then, I am now at a medium-sized public company for seven months, but there are rumors of potential layoffs. I speculate that my experiences might be due to a combination of bad luck, bad timing, and possibly not asking the right questions during job interviews.


You might want to consider the fact that changing jobs frequently is more common and pays better all around. Having said that, you must have held a PM position for at least a year for me to think you had a big impact. Frequent job changes are increasingly prevalent in today’s dynamic job market, driven by various factors such as career growth opportunities and higher compensation.

However, it is crucial to note that while changing jobs frequently may offer financial benefits and diverse experiences, it is essential to demonstrate stability and longevity in a Product Manager (PM) role to prove significant impact. Holding a PM position for at least a year showcases your ability to navigate complex projects successfully and make substantial contributions to the organization.


@BobbyDuncan, I have obviously benefited from it in terms of total income increases. In comparison to my first PM job, I now make $20,000 more in base pay plus a 10% incentive. But if I do get laid off, my job security is wrecked, and I now have to re-explain why I have a gap in my résumé after only 7-8 months. Are there any recommendations from a recruiting manager, or is my resume doomed indefinitely?

  • If the company was to blame, be truthful but upbeat in your assessment. As an illustration, say, “The company is going through a period of change that doesn’t align well with the projects I want to deliver.”
  • Since I’m the family’s main provider, I took a temporary job to pay the bills while I concentrated on finding a better fit, like your company.
  • I wished to gain some expertise in an alternative field. Pay attention to your newfound knowledge and abilities.
  • It was a temporary position.

Say you’re looking for a chance to stay and improve, and make it apparent that you understand why someone might be apprehensive about job-hopping.

If it’s incredibly brief, just exclude it from the resume.


The phrase “my team got laid off” is a completely acceptable excuse for being unemployed. Kind of OK. From the recruiting manager’s perspective, it’s neutral to favorable because it’s a simple victory if we succeed in bringing good people onto the team. Additionally, it shows that the individual was part of a team and had experience working collaboratively. However, it is important for the candidate to also highlight their individual contributions and achievements during their time with the team to further impress the recruiting manager.


@WhitneyChard, make sure you can explain what you would have done to make a profitable pivot with sufficient resources. A good story can turn it into a positive, as someone with a 6-week employment record on my résumé can attest. In order to make a profitable pivot with sufficient resources, I would have conducted a thorough market analysis to identify emerging trends and potential gaps in the market. This would have allowed me to align my skills and experience with the demands of the industry, increasing my chances of success. Additionally, I would have networked extensively with professionals in the field, seeking mentorship and guidance to gain valuable insights and advice on navigating the new venture. By leveraging these resources effectively, I could have developed a solid business plan and implemented it successfully.


Mention the company’s recent financial difficulties or reorganization and how you are attempting to take proactive measures to address the situation. They shouldn’t or can’t criticize you for wanting job security.


Due to the epidemic and the unstable economy, the last two to three years have been very crazy. You have spent the majority of your working life in that context.

Prior to this time, the majority of businesses, especially startups, were traditionally more stable.

Most likely, it will eventually balance out.

In a smaller company, you are frequently the first person laid off if you are a younger employee.

Although nothing is guaranteed, working for bigger organizations and adding more concrete value to the organization will help mitigate some of this instability. And being a PM has nothing to do with this. It all comes down to discipline.


@KaranTrivedi, even though Jim-Bob is useless and was given a product in maintenance mode that essentially runs itself, it appears that the younger employees are let go first so that the higher-ups don’t have to fire him along with his stay-at-home wife and five children.


It’s unrelated to Jim-Bob’s private life. Everything to do with Jim-Bob’s value in comparison to someone else.

If Jim-Bob is in the middle of his career, he likely earns more money while giving the organization significantly greater output.

To reduce operational costs while maintaining the highest level of output, the corporation looks to lay off employees.

This explains why you may occasionally see some older, more experienced individuals leaving. These are frequently the workers who receive high salaries relative to their deemed output.

It’s business, not personal. Don’t blame Jim-Bob; rather, place the blame for bad planning first on the executives and then on yourself for not doing enough to demonstrate your value.


I only hold Jim-bob responsible for his good fortune in receiving the golden goose product, which now practically runs itself because of his leadership. I would undoubtedly have a tougher time demonstrating the importance of our product when layoffs were being considered if I (along with my UX designers and developers who were also laid off) were assigned to a product that is not profitable and is viewed as the problem kid.

However, I do recognize your point that I should blame myself for not doing more to demonstrate my value. Just seems like it’s not always so simple in product management to prove our value in times of ambiguity.


I’ve been switching and skipping a lot more than I realized. I spent a year in each firm during the past few years, whether I was a Product Owner or a Scrum Master, which is what I am currently doing. My experience in both roles has given me a well-rounded understanding of the product development process. I have gained valuable insights into the challenges faced by both the product team and the development team, allowing me to effectively bridge any communication gaps and ensure smooth collaboration.


If it helps, I’ll tell you something. Since I’ve been working there for three years, no positions at the level above me have opened up due to the “hard economic times,” and those who do are the kind of employees who will stay with the company for the next 20.

I was told when I started that if I put in a lot of effort, I would get promoted in a year and a half. Now that I’m hearing that there isn’t any room for expansion because of our limited resources, I feel betrayed.

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My first two PM roles had apparent problems, but I performed well in them and enjoyed working with my coworkers and the immediate leadership team (which accounted for almost 6 years of PMing). The two previous employers were both terrible: my current position is at a real estate player that is comparatively well-known, and the previous employer was a high-growth startup that I willingly left after 8 months. I attribute both of these encounters to a combination of the epidemic and pure chance because I am aware that there are good product cultures out there.