Manulife: Director, Technical Leads and Architects

My access situation has gone from bad to worse.  An A/C adapter I ordered from arrived promptly, only to highlight that a case fan had died, leaving the system prone to regular overheating and abrupt shutdown.  Lovely.

Still, life goes on.  Speaking of life, Manulife is looking for a Director, Technical Leads and Architects:

The successful incumbent can expect to be involved with investigation of technology, working with technical teams to assess best practice needs and combining this information to deliver sound solutions that adhere to sound Architectural methodologies, and SOA standards and adhere to the compliance standards at Manulife.

The Good
Seems like a pretty senior role.  A ‘director’ position with this kind of responsibility in a big company like this could put you on a career path to VP and CTO positions in the long run, if that’s your bag.  It might also be an opportunity to make a bit of a difference in a company this size, although practically speaking, I think you should probably accept that ‘making a difference’ in a big company is the job of a patient employee.

What’s there seems reasonable, for the most part.  There’s a reference to “continual integration”, to Subversion and to refactoring, which might imply a reasonable toolset.

The position seems to be one of responsibility, where someone with experience could continue to grow and learn while sharing the knowledge they’ve already won.

The Bad
The role is well-defined, but the work is not.  What kinds of work does Manulife develop in-house, and what part of that are you likely to be directly involved with?  How much might one expect to get paid?  Where in Toronto is this position?  Is the process painful and convoluted, or does the reference to continual integration imply a bit of agility?  Is the WebSphere and SQL Server references a sign that they buy into vendor marketing a little too easily, or just a sign that they’re willing to pay for their software solutions?

They’re not a nimble startup ($200B assets under management!)  If you want to get things done, you may have to fire the paperwork in triplicate and wait for the quarterly board meeting where such things are decided.  But, then, some people are definitely more comfortable in the big-company environment, so that may be you.

In Summary
You’re going to have to accept that you’re a cog in the machine, although it may be a well-placed cog.  I’d like to imagine that they have their head screwed on straight with respect to compensation and benefits, but I have no first-hand knowledge of that, and they’ve obviously elected not to say.  That said, it’s a pretty senior role and there aren’t too many red flags in the posting, so it seems like a good opportunity for someone interested in a big-company ‘director’ position.


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