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Saying No To Promotions Away From Tech?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the and-none-of-my-ties-fit dept.

IT 410

lunchlady55 writes "I have been happily working for my current employer for five years. After moving up the ranks within my department from Intern to Technical Lead, a new manager essentially told me that I have to move into a different role, oriented toward 'administrative duties and management.' We are a 24x7 shop, and will now be required to work five 8-hour days rather than four 10-hour days and be on call during the other two days of the week. Every week. Including holidays. My question is: have any Slashdotters been forced into a non-technical role, and how did it work out? Has anyone said 'No thanks' to this kind of promotion and managed to keep their jobs?"

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Take it as long as they pay you an extra amount (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368070)

Take it if they are going to pay you extra to be on call.

Re:Take it as long as they pay you an extra amount (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368246)

I was forced out cause of MAH LEGGGSZZZ!!!

Re:Take it as long as they pay you an extra amount (5, Insightful)

unformed (225214) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368294)

Honestly, I'd rather get paid less than be on call.

Re:Take it as long as they pay you an extra amount (0, Redundant)

orsty3001 (1377575) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368794)

Amen Brother!

Negotiate (3, Interesting)

idiotnot (302133) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368476)

If you're being forcibly moved, try to negotiate for everything, including extra compensation for being on-call.

As for the managerial side, this is nothing new. If you show a) competence, and b) any signs you don't have a serious attitude problem, it's expected. Then, if you want to go back in a few years, it'll be based either on your job performance (or lack thereof), and whether you're okay with sacrificing larger salaries in the future.

Some people aren't cut out for management, for a variety of reasons, and they either go back to non-management, or transition careers. It's no big deal these days. 40 years ago, different story; there was a social stigma attached to switching companies more than a couple of times, or even worse, ending up in a completely new line of work.

Re:Negotiate (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368556)

As for the managerial side, this is nothing new. If you show a) competence, and b) any signs you don't have a serious attitude problem, it's expected.

I'm fairly sure you have this backwards.

You can't say NO (3, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368072)

Or you will be replaced by someone whome is currently a member of the 10+% unemployment group. So ya, your fucked with pager duty.

Re:You can't say NO (5, Insightful)

twilightzero (244291) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368114)

Unfortunately parent is correct, your chances of turning this down and keeping your current job are very slim. Did your boss give a reason you "have to" move into an administrative role? That sounds a bit fishy to me, and if I were you I might take it up with my 2nd line manager to verify the reasoning behind it.

Re:You can't say NO (5, Informative)

tarius8105 (683929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368180)

Some companies are doing this because they are either planning to do additional offshoring or outsourcing.

Re:You can't say NO (4, Insightful)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368470)

That's been my experience. They offer promotions up to line management (the lowest level) of people they want to keep, then move to a contract/outsource/offshore model and let the rest go. The 24/7 including holidays on call requirement sounds like something a company would do when they are expecting to have a lot of folk in India doing the technical work.

If that's the company's direction, then I would expect the OP to be let go at some point if he doesn't take the promotion. The company is expecting to be able to replace his technical role with someone cheaper.

Re:You can't say NO (5, Insightful)

JJBird (831418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368712)

I second this - it is exactly what happened to me. I was moved so that they could retain me post outsourcing. The wanted to keep senior technical knowledge, but the only slots they were allowed to keep on the org chart were managerial ones. It took 6 months for me to realize that I hated every second of my day in management and leave. I am back to a technical role in another company and loving it. You may be safest to accept the new role and start looking... After going up the ranks like that in one company you are probably comparitively underpaid anyway. Movement between companies, even in this market, is too often needed for equitable compensation increases.

Re:You can't say NO (5, Insightful)

mrrudge (1120279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368346)

Check that it's not an optional move, if it is, then smile, accept and start using those can't-really-sleep-can't-really-go-anywhere-can't-drink hours to look for another job where they hopefully won't do this to you. They should have explained already if they have any respect for you and what you do.

The step to management is barbed, it's very hard to go back once you've stepped out of the firing line for very long.

Re:You can't say NO (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368538)

start using those can't-really-sleep-can't-really-go-anywhere-can't-drink hours

Since when can't management drink - even on the job? What do you think those "business lunches" and "conventions" and "conferences" are for? Booze and swag.

Re:You can't say NO (1)

mrrudge (1120279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368716)

I'm pretty sure being on call requires being somewhere other than work, and unless you're within staggering distance or have excellent 24/7 public transport then that means no drinking just in case.

Re:You can't say NO (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368768)

When you're on-call, you're expected to be sober.

Re:You can't say NO (1)

WinterSolstice (223271) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368774)

This is what I did - I was forced to move to a mgmt type role, and after determining that there was no way to get out of it, I quit and left.

The last thing you want as a technical person is to be forced to deal with stuff like that. Most real tech types are that way by choice, not requirement.

Re:You can't say NO (2, Interesting)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368270)

Disagree. Presumably, they would need to fill the Tech Lead role once they promoted him, so his old job would need to be filled. Only a cartoonishly f'ed up company would bring in two outside hires just to spite a long-time employee who does not want to be a manager.

On the other hand, it would amount to constructing a ceiling over one's own progress within the organization.

Both of my parents moved up from teaching/tech work to managerial positions, and neither was particularly happy. My father eventually went back to teaching at a lower salary and is much happier in general.

Part of me thinks there is a serious problem when skilled labor is force-funneled into management. On the other hand, after a point it only makes sense that pay increasse would eventually taper off to cost-of-living adjustments if an employee is unwilling to move out of their current position.

Re:You can't say NO (5, Insightful)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368426)

It's due to management believing that if you make X amount of
money, you are supposed to be in management.

Which tells you that the management is bad, and you should
not be working for the losers anyway.

Re:You can't say NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368446)

>Presumably, they would need to fill the Tech Lead role once they promoted him, so his old job would need to be filled.
Presume away, but you're incorrect. What management is telling you is that you are going to now work 7 days a week 365 days a year so you can perform all your current duties and add pointless meetings and shufling of papers to the task list.

>Only a cartoonishly f'ed up company would bring in two outside hires just to spite a long-time employee who does not want to be a manager.
Oh naivete, you are hilarious yet frightening. Almost all American companies in the current age are the evil self-caricature you describe.

They want you to perform 2 jobs for hte price of one and join the Nervous Nellie I'm-A-Martyr ranks of mangement so they can use you as judas goat/corporate slave/target of blame. It's a time honored tradition in corporate America.
That doesn't mean you should refuse it. That does mean you should realize the company is trying to maximize their profit on their investment in you. And you should do the same. After all, your engagement with the company is on a business basis. They are trying to squeeze you for every cent, you need to start playing the game to work as little as possible and make maximum use of your benefits.

Re:You can't say NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368498)

You work for a U.S. Government entity, don't you!?!

Re:You can't say NO (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368448)

Disagree. Presumably, they would need to fill the Tech Lead role once they promoted him, so his old job would need to be filled. Only a cartoonishly f'ed up company would bring in two outside hires just to spite a long-time employee who does not want to be a manager.

It really depends. Particularly in the current environment, some companies are evaluating open positions on a case-by-case basis. They won't be laying people off but when a position is vacated they look long and hard at it to see if they can really make due without it. Sometimes they can, sometimes they can't, but it could very well be the case that the management position he's moving to is seen as essential while they may be looking at eliminating his old position entirely. I've seen quite a bit of that where I'm at actually. Things have slowed down to a point where some departments are overstaffed, and so most "promotions" and position changes are a nice way of them trying to move you somewhere useful rather than just getting rid of you entirely.

Re:You can't say NO (5, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368324)

Technical leads with good experience are employable even now (and probably more so than a few months ago). You might have to consider relocation, and/or a bit of a salary cut, but if the alternative is an unwelcome career shift it could be worth it. Go browse Monster/Dice/etc, see if anything seems to match your experience; don't assume you're trapped, even now.

The unemployment rate of people who have graduated college is still in the low single digits (3 or 4% last I checked) - still well above normal, but hardly devastatingly so. It's the non-college-educated crowd that's well into the double-digits of unemployment, something like 25%... crunch.

Re:You can't say NO (1, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368414)

Yep, experienced people with technical skills are still not that easy to find, so don't worry too much about these big unemployment numbers floating around. Those include all those unskilled or trades people who were working construction jobs or retail jobs who now can't find work because lots of crappy retail stores have closed and there isn't much new construction.

Starting looking for a new job right away, and when you leave, do NOT give any notice. Just leave that same day, to spite them. However, tell your new employer you need to give them 2 weeks' notice (because it looks bad to the new employer if you don't), so instead of working at the old place for 2 weeks, just screw them and take a 2-week vacation. Obviously, they have no respect for you, so you shouldn't show them any respect in return.

Re:You can't say NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368782)

This is what grown-ups call "sinking to their level". Man-up

Re:You can't say NO (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368698)

This has never been a problem for me. My response is always, "If you no longer have worthy technical assignments for me, I know where the door is. It is ok. We can still be friends."

To make this work, one has to be in the top third of the skills pyramid. It has been my experience (did my first consulting job in 1974) that, even in a bad job market like now, companies can not get and keep enough good people.

If they want to off-shore jobs so they can go cheap, just remember that cheap is cheap for a reason. Go with a company that does not do cheap. Keep your skills up and your personal economy stable so that you can make that decision.

Re:You can't say NO (1)

Desert Raven (52125) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368778)

It can happen anyway. I let myself get promoted into management, then when someone got a wild hair for a re-org, I got shown the door when the shuffle was over.

When I looked for a new job, I specifically stayed away from management jobs. Yeah, I'm making a little less, but my job is much more stable, and I'm a LOT happier.

Bottom line is, would you be happier doing the management position than the grunt work? If the answer is no, in the long run the money is not going to make up for it.

Try it! You could be the first! (Post?) (2, Interesting)

Chas (5144) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368090)

Honestly, I can't tell you.
At worst, it could kill any advancement (if such exists) in your company.
From the sound of it though, it's "get a soul-ectomy and become a manager" or you've hit a career plateau.

Re:Try it! You could be the first! (Post?) (3, Insightful)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368288)

Most managers are not on call. This sounds like his manager is delegating roles out to people so he can 'manage' better. Or why work hard your self when you can get someone else to do it for you. I would go over that managers head ad see what really is going on. Losing your 3 day week ends is going to suck. But working 5 days and being on call the other 2 for every week sounds wrong. Rotating on call weekends fine. Every weekend, sound like they are trying to get you to quit.

Does this new manager see you as a threat? This could be his (her?) way of getting you to quit. You quitting is better then them firing you. I would talk to your manager's boss to see what is going on. Your manager might be trying to get rid of you.

Re:Try it! You could be the first! (Post?) (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368296)

Before you do anything you should talk with your manager in-depth about you role and expectations, make sure to get those in writing. Being a manager will open you up to more benefits in the company, bonuses, profit sharing, faster PTO accrual, ... find out what benefits your company has and negotiate for them. Remember they are asking you so try to get as many perks as possible.

Worth taking. (2)

justicenfa (724341) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368116)

Most people are happy to just have a job right now. If it's getting away from tech, but giving you a better job title to put on your resume, it's worth it to give it some time and start looking for something new.

Just say no! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368122)

If your happy why change? You may also find that you aren't cut out for that type of job either. I know I'm not, I've been in a technical field at the same company for over 11 years and it hasn't impacted me in a negative way. I might make a little more money if I'd gone into management but I wouldn't be happy.

Re:Just say no! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368518)

Some companies have no trouble letting you stay in a non-managerial position for as long as you want, or even letting you move back to a technical job after trying out management and deciding you don't like it.

Other companies, however, aren't so nice. They force you into management whether you like it or not. It could also be a prelude to outsourcing a lot of the technical work.

Give it a go (2)

VTSV (1682748) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368128)

Had this "option" last year, said no thanks -- they found someone else and I'm still programming!

Idiot (4, Insightful)

moogied (1175879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368130)

Look, this is IT. If you are great at the technical stuff you will become irreplaceable as you develop unique one off solutions to problems. If you are just good at the technical stuff but having an amazing work ethic you will become a project lead and that is the 1st step into management. Its just how the tree branches out. The money is in management, you just need to understand thats how it works. If you want more money, you work in management.

Eventually all things become a "job", so take the most cash you can get and rest peacefully at night knowing you will only be woken up 20 times a year at 3am instead of 100.

Re:Idiot (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368444)

It's very true about the line of demarcation between a technical employee who get to roll up their sleeves and a non-technical employee who gets to manage those technical resources. I personally have been fortunate in that I've been able to fill both roles so I get to enjoy the title of manager while still being able to get involved with the nuts and bolts of my IT environment.

The one phrase I must beg to differ with in the parent's post is

you will become irreplaceable

. Sadly enough, post dot-com bust and post-Y2K the IT industry has slimmed down to the point where no one is truly irreplaceable. We who are fortunate enough to have steady work and income are easily offshoreable and easily replaceable. There are literally dozens of equally qualified candidates who are unemployed or are working out of the IT field and who are chomping at the bit to get back into the fold. Those who foolish believe they are irreplaceable are resting on their laurels due to a false sense of security.

Even for myself, essentially a one-man show at my company.

Re:Idiot (1)

Cederic (9623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368704)

Nobody ever was irreplaceable, in any company with more than a dozen or so employees.

Expensive to replace, sure, but ultimately..

(Yes, you can quote the seven known incidents that break the rule. All seven, in 60 years of commercial IT, worldwide.)

Assume you are replaceable, and add value by avoiding a key man dependency. Increase your skills, enjoy your job.

Re:Idiot (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368586)

If you are great at the technical stuff you will become irreplaceable as you develop unique one off solutions to problems.

Anyone who believes that they are irreplaceable will have a very rude awakening one day.

Re:Idiot (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368610)

Eventually all things become a "job", so take the most cash you can get and rest peacefully at night knowing you will only be woken up 20 times a year at 3am instead of 100.

1. More than a third of the year that you're awake you spend at work. It isn't worth doing work that isn't fun.

2. If you're being woken up at 3 am 20 times a year then you're doing something wrong.

Lateral Promotions (2)

KDEnut (1673932) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368134)

Are actually pretty common, and are rarely optional. If you plan to continue with this company as a career, your only response can be enthusiasm with a hope to promote up or out of "On Call Hell". Sorry.

Stay away from the dark side!! (3, Insightful)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368136)

If management is something that interests you then go for it. But if you're like me you wont want to.

The technical aspect of my job is what I enjoy, not ensuring we have adequate cover, or that Joe actually came in at 0900 and not 0905 again!!! Your technical role will slowly be reduced until you are more concerned about rota's, quota's and time management...*shudder*

Re:Stay away from the dark side!! (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368292)

If you care that Joe came in at 9:05 then you are a wanker manager! Seriously these are IT people, knowledge workers. They can work from basically anywhere, are not necessarily fully productive every hour of every day, and are basically never off work because their mind continues to work on problems (REM sleep is when a ton of creative ideas come up because that's basically when your brain does housecleaning on everything you were doing during the day) when they are not "at work". I came into work late a total of almost 3 hours last week but I also did about 40 hours of reading on a new technology we are implementing from home and my boss knows it. I'm a technical lead/manager and I don't give a toss if my reports ask to work from home a couple days one week because their kid is off from school as long as they get their work done.

Re:Stay away from the dark side!! (2, Insightful)

Foxxxy (217437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368572)

100% agree. I had a manager that questioned every time that i was 5 mins late. I tracked the number of hours I worked late, covering for others when their cars broke down etc. When my manager next pulled me aside I haded the sheet and said, dock my pay for the 30 mins I have been late this week, but please also process my 10 hours of overtime with documented badge in badge out times. They stopped bothering me.

As for the topic, I would say that if management doesn't have to be 100% non-technical. It is what you make it. I managed a team of people, did 10% management work, 90% technical and my boss was happy as they did little to no management of my team and we continued to out perform other groups so they let us be. You can make any position what you want it to be if there is a good higher level management above. So look far above, if you like what you see, take it. If there is micro management, run for the hills.

Please clarify... (3, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368146)

So, are you saying that, as a non-technical manager or administrator, you'll have to work more and be on call, compared to the technical people who work their 4/40 and are off the rest of the time?

Why would the managers be on call all the time and the tech people not? That seems backwards to me, or maybe I just misunderstood...

Either way, take a hike and find a better job. Companies are still hiring - but they're only hiring people who can earn their keep (i.e. you bring in more money than you cost). If you are a good leader, you will be able to sell yourself on that.

Re:Please clarify... (1)

BlueWaterBaboonFarm (1610709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368322)

Good post. Especially recognizing that companies are still hiring. I've been getting quite frustrated with the amount of people who think you just have to take whatever job you can get and be thankful for it. If the OP is experienced and moving up in the company then finding a new job shouldn't be a too much of a challenge.

Re:Please clarify... (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368706)

Why would the managers be on call all the time and the tech people not? Because managers are salaried, but tech people are hourly? Being on call 24/7 and not getting paid any extra for callouts is something I would avoid.

The correct way... (2, Insightful)

SlovakWakko (1025878) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368152) respond is to try to promote through this one (and possibly more) to a position high enough that you will be able to enforce your privacy and off-time. It's like with sharks - you either move or you die.

Only you can answer this (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368154)

Your the only person who can answer one simple question about this "Will this advance a career path that I wish to go down?". If this won't help advance a career path you want, than you should look for an alternative. Perhaps they want to groom you for management, and feel this is a good lead into it? Ask your manager how they see this with regards to your career path and go from there.

Been there done that (2, Insightful)

pdp1144 (599396) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368156)

I started to go that route with my old company. I decided I did not want to hear coworkers / direct reports wining about "He wore a pink shirt today -- he knows I hate pink -- he did that just to bug me". The other conversations about employee's personal hygiene I didn’t enjoy much either. During a round of layoffs I took a voluntary separation package -- I volunteered to be laid off. They paid me nicely and I took the summer off. Now I am doing tech work again with another company and much happier.

Where I need to be. (5, Insightful)

headkase (533448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368158)

Say no thanks, explain to them that you can best serve the company with your interests in the position you are already in for the moment. If they let you go this will demonstrate lack of wisdom on their part and you would be better served by someone new. Although, of course, the transition is never pleasant.

-OR- avoid being unemployed by (5, Insightful)

assertation (1255714) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368806)

Or, avoid being unemployed by telling them that you _strongly_ prefer your current job, but that you care about the company and want to do what is best for the company, even if it means doing another job.

If they decide to make you a manager anyway, at least you will be drawing a paycheck, instead of unemployment, while you look for a new job.

bad omen (3, Insightful)

Sprouticus (1503545) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368170)

take the promotion and start looking elsewhere. Any manager who does not ASK you if you want to do a job is bad, and things will only get worse.

As with all things, it depends. (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368204)

Well, IMO there's a certain point as an admin where you hit a compensation/challenge wall, and from there you either go into management or into consulting (or just get bored and rot in place, like me).

If you're being asked to do more shit for the same pay, then that's not a promotion, and I'd find another job if I could.

And like I said, it depends. Family? Mortgage? Mafia debts? All are factors that modify the put-up-with-this-shit meter.

Incidentally, I think the type/character of org you're in plays a role as well. If mgmt is a bunch of clubby, clueless fucks, far better to have a meat shield than be directly in contact with them, for everyone's safety and health.

Your manager should have asked (4, Insightful)

wren337 (182018) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368206)

An annual review, besides being a great opportunity to get a raise or some additional PTO, is when you should be discussing your plans and goals with your manager. Get this straight, you are not being "forced" to move into management. You can always leave. Your manager values your contribution, and possibly they are in a bind for some management help. If that's the case, offer to take on some management tasks while they interview for a new supervisor. Particularly if this is your first five years of employment, there's nothing wrong with wanting to stay technical, and they should be open to that.

Stay tech at all costs (2, Informative)

bmearns (1691628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368208)

I haven't had to face this directly, but I've seen several of my co-workers be "promoted" to managerial positions, and they pretty much universally hate it. Besides just the crazy increase in workload and responsibility, they barely get to do technical work anymore, which I think is the biggest downside for most of them. As an engineer, I've got 2, maybe 3 meetings on my calendar each week, the rest of the time is My supervisor's calendar, who is supposed to be a lead engineer, is chuck full of meetings, most are non-technical. There are weeks where he doesn't do any engineering at all because he's too busy being a manager.

Obviously, if your job is at stake, it's a tough call to make, especially in this economic climate. Depending on what kind of relationship you have with him, you might be able to just talk to your superior about it, tell them you'd really prefer to keep your old position, but explain that it's not worth your job (assuming that's the case).

Best of luck with it.

Re:Stay tech at all costs (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368666)

Problem is, you stop doing tech, you start to become obsolete, so as soon as you move to management, you start the "best-before due date" clock.

With the accelerating pace of change, a few years out and you'll never be able to get back in - and you'll be obsolete at managing the next big thing ...

there's a reason why so many old farts ^W^W people write "you can have my keyboard when you pry it from my cold dead hands".

Your work schedule reveals all (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368210)

As you mention in your question, your business runs 24/7 and you work 4 days a week, so this likely puts you into the IT department. With all due respect, it's unlikely that your experience to this point has prepared you for people-oriented work. Your managers are setting you up for failure.

Has someone else recently left? Has there been or does there appear to be a project that is destined to fail?

Sorry to say, in this economy, you're pretty much screwed. You'll be fired soon from your current job and there probably won't be another company hiring a sysadmin for a while yet. Good luck.

Ask yourself where you want to be in 3-5 years (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368216)

The real issue is if you want to be in a technical role for life, or if you would like to transition to management. The initial change from technical to managerial positions means a sacrifice, but long-term there are significant benefits.

In my field, people below the line get paid overtime, and above the line are pure salary. Many people get 10-15% overtime, and only a 5-7% pay increase for crossing the line, thus taking a pay cut in the process. Within a year or two they usually make up the gap and then some, as they are eligible for higher bonuses instead.

If you think you are just going to become a worthless PHB and that has no interest for you, by all means pass though...

Re:Ask yourself where you want to be in 3-5 years (2, Interesting)

Cederic (9623) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368828)

Technical staff in my country tend to be salary too.

However, the long term career path is the correct answer to this question. If a management career is desired then this may be a great opportunity. If management is the great evil then turn it down.

My experience is that employers welcome honest assessment of career opportunities and don't penalise people that choose not to pursue inappropriate paths. I've disappointed managers by turning down Project Management or other management roles, but highlighting the rationale for my choice has appeased them and overall I've enjoyed my work far more as a result.

It also hasn't stopped me getting promotions. My job titles, and the companies that I was with when I first got them:
- programmer (A)
- software engineer (B)
- senior software engineer (B)
- senior developer (C)
- technical specialist (C)
- architect (C)
- application architect (D)
- solutions architect (D)
- enterprise architect (D)
- enterprise architect (E)

Still at company E, doing a hell of a lot of management, but still not a manager, still technically a technical person (well, a specialist), but my role preferences have evolved as my skills have expanded and I've enjoyed the progression.

Each company move has been for different reasons, but each promotion has been within the same company thus far.

So a technical career path is available, there are many managerial (and a few technical) roles I chose not to do, but at each decision point I make sure I'm staying true to what I enjoy doing.

It's working so far..

Not forced, but decision is important (1)

OscarGunther (96736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368218)

I moved from a technical a more administrative role because it was the natural progression in the career path I've chosen. So one consideration for you is if you have a future in mind that requires a steady upward progression through the organizational hierarchy. Another consideration is how management would view a declination of additional responsibility. I've had some managers who were perfectly OK with having someone stop at a chosen point; others (in the same company) want only--or primarily--upwardly mobile people working for them.

Is the increased responsibility and availability sufficiently compensated? Will you be comfortable managing those who were until recently your peers? Other considerations aside--from a purely avocational perspective--which would you rather do: your current job or the one being offered?

Don't do it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368234)

Don't do it.

If you take it, you'll be miserable.

If you don't take it, you'll be blackballed for future promotions because you're not a "team player."

At least in the latter, you have your dignity intact.

depends on the company/job/management (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368238)

My dad managed to hang on at the top of the engineering ladder at a major oil/chemicals company for about 20 years after the first attempt to promote him, resisting an attempted promotion into the managerial ranks about every 2-4 years. A lot of companies, especially old-style companies, are set up with the assumption that everyone wants to climb out of the "working" ranks into the "management" ranks if they can, perhaps because that was more true when the working ranks involved more physical labor. It got a little easier to "stick" at his desired place when someone managed to dig up some sort of super-senior-engineer ranking that was rarely used, which let them give him a promotion without the usual promotion to management.

If the lower levels of management is okay with it, it can work, and they might even like it. Engineers who "should" be in management are essentially experienced enough to manage themselves, and maybe even de-facto manage a few of othe other team members, which can make the manager look good by making it easier for them to pretend they know what's going on--- at large companies, the lower level of management right above the engineers are often people who rotate in/out of jobs every 5 years or so, usually on a quest to move up the ranks to VP, so they honestly rarely have much idea what's going on or any historical perspective/experience.

Re:depends on the company/job/management (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368374)

I've always really hated this assumption. I currently work as a programmer, but even when I was schlepping boxes at a grocery store, I never tried to avoid physical labor. I actually enjoyed it and wish I could work in useful labor instead of useless exercise. I actually considered keeping both jobs for a while, but that wasn't working out.

Depends on your life direction (1)

lonestarw (1391573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368244)

Really your being given a chance to be a leader, but recognize that you can now be the bosses "fall guy" as well. So take that into account. But really the question is do you want to be a manager with all the benefits and problems versus doing what your doing? my father in an unrelated career has chosen to pass up promotions not because he wasn't capable (neither are you) but he loved what he is doing, plus he did not like the way his upper management runs things so he is staying where he is and is happy. You can say "No" and give them a reason "no right time in my life" or "want more experience first" but realize that when the position comes up again you may not be asked again.

The Peter Principle (4, Insightful)

ecotax (303198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368266)

Sounds like a nice example of the Peter Principle in action.
Can't you persuade management that (which i assume is part of your problem, apart from the working hours thing) you simply won't be the right person for this job, and that you'd rather keep doing something that you are good at?

Re:The Peter Principle (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368376)

The fact that he moved up from an intern position tells them that he has the ability to adapt. This is the most important aspect of an employee. Some peoply only know how to do as they are told, others are problem solvers and seek to answer the great "Why?". After experiencing the working world and seeing my mother's small business employees in action, I can tell you that a critical thinker is a rare thing indeed.

Lunchlady is now a tech position? (4, Funny)

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368274)

Wow, the future was never like this in my dreams! ;)

Get in touch with your inner PHB (3, Interesting)

Fritz T. Coyote (1087965) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368276)

It really depends on the situation.

If The New Manager is intent on making their fast-track bones by shaking things up, the entire tech level may soon be outsourced.

What is important is what you want.
Do you want to give management a try?
Do you want to learn The New Manager's style of managing?
Have you ever thought 'if I were running things we would not be doing X, we would do Y'?

I suggest you give it a shot, maybe you will like it.

If you turn it down, be sure to give The New Manager every reason to know that you are just too darn essential in the tech role to be moved out of it.

Either way: Get your resume out there, and start actively looking for a new job.

Good Luck!

My dad had something similar happen to him. (1, Informative)

BlueKitties (1541613) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368332)

My dad was a Tool Pusher for a drilling company, until one day he was offered a promotion to a desk job. He turned it down, and was "let go" in a matter of weeks. I'm not entirely sure why, but I imagine employers don't like it when people turn down promotions. I've had similar things happen to other friends as well.

Re:My dad had something similar happen to him. (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368502)

probably because he was originally a "tool pusher" which...cue the slap bass and wah-wah guitar...bow-chicka-wow-wow...

it's only money (3, Insightful)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368348)

say yes and that you are looking forward to the 50% increase in pay + 30% bonuses + 100k stock options with 2 year vesting.

if they blink, you know they aren't serious about having you in management.

Here's what you have to consider (3, Informative)

mzito (5482) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368358) this something that's good for your career? Is it a promotion? Is it a lateral move?

If it's a promotion you didn't ask for, and you turn it down for very clear reasons, AND you're doing a good job at your current role, there's a good chance you'll be fine. After all a valuable employee at Position X who turns down a promotion to X+1, is still valuable at X. However, it is likely that future promotions will be unavailable to you, at least for a while, as you'll be perceived as "happy where you are"

On the other hand, if you're being moved laterally to a non-technical position, there's a decent chance they say something like, "Well, lunchlady55 is smart, and very organized, good manager, but not really hands-on technical enough for what we need. We don't want to lose lunchlady55, but we're suffering because of L55's technical weaknesses. Why don't we move L55 laterally to a project manager-type role where we can leverage his/her strengths and backfill the technical position with someone who's very technical but requires lots of oversight"

In that situation, they're actually being good managers, by recognizing that they have a valuable employee who is just in the wrong position, and trying to rectify the situation. On the gripping hand, they're being bad managers, because if this is the case, it should really be explained to you.

If the latter situation is the case, you put them in a much rougher position, because they like you, but you're not meeting their needs in one area or another. In this case, you may lose your job.

The best way to handle this is to have an open and frank conversation with your manager. Talk about what the organizational chart looks like. Who will you be reporting to? Is there a raise or other compensation for being on-call? Be frank - are there concerns about your current job performance that led to this lateral move? Are they eliminating your position and they're just trying to protect you personally?

Based on all this, you can make an informed decision about what the situation is. You may want to try to negotiate yourself a better deal. For example, you're on call for the weekends, but whenever you have to do off-hours work while on-call, you get 2x that amount of time off your regular day during the week. Or you get paid for on-call time. Don't try to negotiate this until you understand why this is happening.

Didn't Work For Me (2, Informative)

BlindSpot (512363) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368368)

I wasn't pushed out of IT but about a year after starting my first job after grad I was pushed out of software development into a support role. At the time I went along, more out of fear of my job than anything else, but also because I didn't know any better. Ironically, I got so depressed in the support role that I eventually started looking for new work. And I loved the company I worked for too - good industry, respected company - so even thinking of leaving them was gut-wrenching.

They finally moved me back to my original development role at the last minute (I had another offer on the table) but it never did sit well with the management, who was unfortunately rather clueless about IT to begin with. A year later they outsourced their software development to India and I was told they "could not find a new role for me", which was very suspicious because there were numerous BA positions listed as vacant at the time I departed. However I did at least get severance.

So, to answer the question, no. If you resist, be prepared to start looking elsewhere. Also, be careful you aren't turning in your resignation by saying no: in many places if you turn down a promotion or lateral move you are deemed to have quit voluntarily and are thus not eligible for severance, options, or anything else. So one option might be to try it - it's possible you might like it, and if not at least it will buy you time to find something new.

P.S. That's the bad news of my story... the good news is I eventually realised that towing corporate lines wasn't for me, went into contracting, and now I make a whole lot more money exclusively doing something I really enjoy. I realise not everyone is that fortunate, but sometimes good things do come out of these situations.

Be Ready To Move On (1)

CognitiveFusion (602570) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368382)

I have ran into similar problems in the past. I hit the ceiling of the "technical" promotion track, stayed there for a few years and finally hit the max salary band. If I wanted another promotion/pay increase I would have been forced into a project management track. I finally chose the option that wasn't being offered - I gave my two weeks notice and left for a new employer.

Communicate with your employer - tell them where your interests are. Talk to your boss, dept director, HR to see if there are any options to shift the promotion into a technical position. At the same time, if you are committed to keeping a tech job, keep your options open by seriously looking for new job opportunities. If you find that you are out of options with your employer, its probably time to move on.

Intern to Technical Lead .. (2, Insightful)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368396)

"After moving up the ranks within my department from Intern to Technical Lead .. and will now be required to work 5 eight-hour days rather than 4 ten-hour days and be on call during the other two days of the week

If you still have to clock-on then you ain't a lead anything just another replaceable company drone. Time to move on. But don't tell them until you have the other job lined up. For your next job go for the donut downsizing [] executive position ..

I want to, but (1)

Prien715 (251944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368398)

"I'd really like to take this job, but I have family obligations that would prevent me from being on call during most weekends, is that OK?"

That should be your response. Come up with some good or BS reason why you can't work Friday or be on call during weekends. Then compromise

You know, you visit your parents in Timbuktu on weekends 3 hours away and can't be on call then since there's no reception. If he's OK with that, then just go home and turn your phone off on weekends...whether you visit your parents or not. And if you still have to work some weekends, OK, but at least now it's not the norm.

If he can't work with your needs, he'll probably keep you at your current post but at least here you're meeting him half-way.

Don't do that... (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368754)

Don't play the family card. Very, very few employers take kindly to that. If your work is valued and you trust your boss (you've worked with him or her for several years now, right?), tell them the truth. You really enjoy the technical parts of the job, feel it's your forte, and that - quite honestly - 4 tens is a big benefit for you personally. This may get them to tip their hand as to why they want you in management. Do they need a good tencnical lead, or are they just short handed. Do they feel you'd be better in a manag. position - i.e. your technical work isn't in line with their expectations but you're a good employee?

Making the move is more about why they're moving you than anything else. If you really like the tech support say so. Know that your financial advancement may slow or stop in the company, and that in a year or two you'll be looking for an advanced position somewhere else. Consulting isn't really a viable option if your allergic to management and 5x8 with a pager the other times - it's a combination of both of those. Then again, if they really need a tech guy in management, it might be your opportunity to keep climbing and make sure things run smoothly in the board room instead of the server closet.

Sign of the economic times (1)

thickdiick (1663057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368406)

Many "promotions" and "changes" issues by companies these days are designed to cut costs. You can view it as an euphemism for a demotion. Take it with a smile, because it's a nice way of saying that you're getting demoted instead of fired.

A lot of bad suggestions... (4, Interesting)

puppetman (131489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368420)

She clearly doesn't want the management job, which is why she's asking the question. The question is, "Will she be fired" if she turns down the promotion.

First - where are you? In the US, in an at-will state? They can let you go pretty easily. In Canada, with nothing but great reviews (ie no reason to fire you)? Well, you'd get a month of severance for every year you worked at the company, maybe more if you can show you would have a hard time finding an equivalent job, or you are getting on in years. Somewhere in between? YMMV. If it will cost the company 6 months of salary, they will give careful consideration about letting you go.

Have you moved up because you are indispensable? You're a unique snowflake of competence? Well, I doubt they'll let you walk out the door. Are there 10 people in your company that can do what you do? A cog in the machine? They can easily let you go.

If you don't want to take the job (and it sounds like you don't), then review how vital you are to the company, and what it would cost them to lose you (in severance and lost expertise). If you aren't vital, and they can replace you, then you have to be prepared to be let go.

If it will cost them a large severance package, and you are valued and needed, you won't be.

Re:A lot of bad suggestions... (1)

JJBird (831418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368756)

A month of severance per year? In Alberta you can terminate any employee as long as you give sufficient notice or pay in lieu. And for 5 years of service that is 4 weeks pay - the maximum is 8 weeks! That doesn't sound like a large severance package to me... (Full list at [] ) I don't that any of the other provinces vary too significantly. I'd still stand by taking the job if it is necessary and starting the search for the next technical job while still employed.

Run, quick! (1)

TrentTheThief (118302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368460)

It happened to me.

I quit and went elsewhere. Admin is a thankless job where you are doubly punished for every mistake or missed deadline. The people you used to work with will gradually fade away from your sphere of close acquaintances until you have no one left. NOt to mention the speed with which your technical skills will lag behind your peers and those of newbies out of school.

IMHO, it's time to polish up your resume and bail out.

The idea of "Up or Out" is a failed policy that steals useful people from any organization's roles. It's the brainchild of some gormless git of an MBA with marginal, if any, technical skills, but unfortunately, one who believes that anyone is capable of managing and that everyone wants to.

Tell them no. Simply and straight forward (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368484)

I was promoted to management against my will, and eventually had to arrange my own "demotion", which was not an easy thing to do.

The management position sucked. I hated trying to herd programmers. It was also right at the beginning of the tech bubble bursting, so I had to lay some people off. NOT fun.

I eventually got myself moved from Management to a Technical Advisor position that was at the same pay grade. That worked great until my next boss decided I needed to do the management stuff for all of the people on my teams, even though I wasn't their manager. That's when I applied for another job in the same company at a lower level. People thought I was insane, but I get to see my family, my weekends are mine for the most part and my current manager LOVES having me.

Do NOT get let them promote you above:
1. Level of competence (sucks)
2. Level of COMFORT! (more important.

Depends on the employer (1)

bobdehnhardt (18286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368490)

I made the transition from tech to management, but it was voluntary - I wanted to make the move. My employer recognizes that not all techies want that (or would be particularly good at it), and so we work pretty hard to make sure there are non-management or non-supervisory career paths for our technical staff.

That said, it's my understanding that we're somewhat rare in this. Most employers seem to have the mindset that if you're not interested in moving beyond your technical role, you have no ambition. My best advise would be to talk to your employer, tell them you're happy with your current role and would prefer to excel there than move into a role that doesn't fit your strengths and skill set. They may respond well to that, but it's likely that they won't.

Honestly assess yourself (2, Informative)

DigitalCrackPipe (626884) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368494)

Most techies don't want to move into management (myself included). Some can resist the push, while others are swept into it. I suggest that those who are truly technically excellent (beyond their peers, no matter how good those peers are) have a good argument to stay but must make the argument themselves. We need some pillars of technical capability. The rest are likely to become less interested/aware of newly evolving technology and eventually can be more capable as a manager using the experience learned. That's a natural transition, but can be jarring if done too soon or too fast.

Then there's the more common category, those whithout technical or leadership skills. Those folks often make the transition earlier because they're not motivated by quality or productivity. They languish in middle management.

So I suggest that you assess what career path best uses your skills and preferences (as you can see them now). Achieving that at your current employer may be difficult, but it's worth knowing if fighting to stay technical is really the right path for you.

Ask your boss..... (3, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368512)

It depends why you're getting "promoted."

If they feel you're incompetent, but a hard worker, then they might be trying to do you a favor by moving you into a different role where they feel you're better suited. Your chances of keeping your existing position in this case are not very good.

Otherwise, you should be asking your boss, not Slashdot. He's the only one who knows where he stands. Try to find a middle ground between being a pussy and being a dick. Tell him you appreciate the offer, but that you find a great deal of satisfaction in your current position. Tell him you'd prefer to remain in that role, and ASK HIM "hypothetically, how would you feel if I declined the offer?"

Just like people who are actually trying to get promotions, the odds of getting what you want are much better if you actually ask.

Nothing like a technical leader (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368528)

I had a similar experience and noticed that you can take very good decisions if you have a technical background. If you feel you can make a change for good from a higher position, take it as a challenge! Additionally, people in lower ranges like it when a technical manager surprises them with a low level solution.
From my point of view, whatever position you are at, if you are committed to your job, you are always on call and part of your job is having someone ready to catch bombs before they reach the manager. The best part is that you can always go back down one level.

promotion out of tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368540)

I had that happen to me once. I turned it down and was with the company for 7 more years. But when layoffs came up.... And forget any promotions after that. Still no regrets on turning it down.

Don't get comfortable. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368544)

Certainly, the prospect of being on-call is unappealing. That's the one big obstacle here. However, I say, for the sake of long term job security do it. For me, the logical progression of my career involves moving up into management at some point. Get stuck down in the trenches and down the road you run into a variety of problems. You get too comfortable and fail to move with the times or you price yourself out of the market. Companies will find someone cheaper, without your family commitments and thus more willing to work overtime, to replace you. It's either that or you start your own business.

While I don't follow this as much as I'd like, I do believe that you sometimes need to get outside your comfort zone if you want to ensure your success. Having experienced this personally, and seen it happen with friends, letting yourself get too comfortable can prove to be a mistake.

Now, that said, certainly there are other ways to approach your career. But either way, you're going to have to take measures to ensure long-term job security. And by long-term I don't mean 5-10 years... I mean 10-20 years and longer. You don't want to lose a job 10+ years from now and be unable to find a job because you're essentially too expensive and overqualified for the job you do, but under-qualified for higher level positions. And you lack the contacts necessary to make it easier to find another job.

I went "up" to management and back "down" to tech (2, Informative)

lazyforker (957705) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368546)

I was given a non-tech role, and I took it believing that I'd end up better paid etc. Nope. Not only did I hate the job but I wasn't good at it so knew there'd be no pay increases or bonuses worth mentioning. Two months into the role I told my manager that I was not being effectively utilized, that I was a bad fit for the job and that the best way to use me was in tech, etc. I was "demoted" to a tech role and couldn't be happier. The techs who took management roles are being crushed by red tape and bureaucracy and are not happy.

If you're fundamentally unsuited to the job and are not interested in it then you will fail. In that situation nobody wins!

As for the change in hours - presumably you'll be getting "on call" pay, overtime etc? Or are they just trying to piss you off and make you leave?

Make sure your resume is up to date and start looking elsewhere anyway.

Wow, where to start (4, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368578)

My question is, have any Slashdotters been forced into a non-technical role, and how did it work out?

Badly. I got pushed from the technical lead into a VP position managing that whole end of the business in a mid-cap company. In that role I got pulled into budget battles, which are normal, relationship management with partners, also normal and locked into the quarterly numbers game, which means a lot of meetings with the auditors. Too keep the technical aspects on track we had to bring in a new technical guy. You can see where this is going. I could have fired the new tech guy so I had a job to go back to when we streamlined after the initial development phase but it just didn't seem fair. I got a nice bonus and severance, plus my options were golden, but I essentially worked myself out of a job and was penalized for hiring competent people.

In that scenario you'll be unhappy if you do a bad job or if you do a really, really good job. You'll put in a lot of extra hours, do a lot of extra traveling. There were some perks I miss. The secretary, the expense account, the $1,800 bar tabs, meetings on the golf course, the membership at the club and the options I cashed in. Those eased the pain a bit. But it doesn't sound like you get any of those perks.

Has anyone said 'No thanks' to this kind of promotion and managed to keep their jobs?"

After getting burned the first time, the next gig I went back to being a head down developer and stayed in my office, only coming out for coffee, to urinate and to feed. I built three critical systems and was the only person the client wanted to work with. I was that guy in Office Space. I turned down promotions, turned in paperwork late, stood up mandatory meetings, re-wrote my performance eval when I didn't like it and just generally made the people dumb enough to accept the supervisor positions miserable. Sometimes because I genuinely didn't like them, other times out of a perverse sense of tradition and once because I was being a royal dick. Wish I had that one to do over. But I got away with it.

So all you have to decide is which job would you rather have? As a manager, at some point you're going to be in a position where you either have to dick someone or take a bullet. If you're okay with that decision, then go for it.

Have you reached incompetence level? (3, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368614)

Organizations sometimes like to promote good performers until they are out of their depth.

i'm kinda sorta joking here.

But as most people are saying here, it comes down to what do you want to do? Do you want your hands dirty or to wear a tie? Neither is good or bad unless you dislike which ever you are doing. Don't make the choice based on money. It might not be worth the raise.

If you want more money, get a financial education and get it that way. If you must work, strive to do something you enjoy (even if it doesn't pay as well).

TehPlannot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368622)

This sounds like SOP for ThePlanet.

I say no (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368680)

I make it clear to my management that I have no interest in going into management. Some of them are OK with it. Some of them are frustrated with it.

It is the good ones that are OK with it. They know that I know what I want.

There is some reason you are being offered this different job. Are you good at what you do? Does your management know you are? If that's the case, and you don't want to go, you say no. If you're good, they won't fire you

If you stink at what you do, maybe they are promoting you to take a fall at something you'll fail at miserably. It's possible.

The big picture (1)

ISurfTooMuch (1010305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368700)

Look, I don't know your situation, but you need to consider the future. Are you topped out in terms of salary in your current position? Also, what is your salary if you take the promotion, and where does that job's salary top out? And how old are you?

You may be thinking that your current salary is fine, but, as you get older and take on more responsibilities, that paycheck starts to look really inadequate. And I know you really love IT, but now you will have a chance to learn a whole new set of skills, skills that will look good on a resume should you end up hating the new job. You may end up finding a new employer that needs someone with both IT and management skills.

It depends... (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368702)

I've turned down 3 or 4 promotions like this and have always kept my job.

I'm not saying it's a good idea, however. At some point you may wish you took the promotion. I'm wondering if I shouldn't have. I guess it depends on what you want to do for the rest of your career. Management is not necessarily a bad thing to have on your resume.

Choose another career (1)

karcirate (1685354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368714)

That's what I'm doing! I decided my current career path (software engineer) will inevitably lead to this fate (management), so I am taking the bull by the horns; I am going to law school. I figure that if I am going to hate my job, I may as well make a crapload of money doing it.

Where do you want your career to go? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368720)

I became a manager by accident once. Trying to get a few people trained up to take over my "unique skill" so I could quit without leaving clients of 8-9 years in the lurch. Within a month, I wasn't training them, I was managing them. And hating every minute of it. I once spent an entire week doing nothing but prioritizing workloads, shifting schedules, handling exceptions, facilitating communication between subcontractors and government agencies, attending meetings [shudder], etc. without doing a single piece of actual work myself. The next week, I started making a point of doing at least one project a day myself just to do it. (Yes, I understand that what I was doing was very important and kept the workload of an entire department flowing smoothly and efficiently but it wasn't the kind of work I was hired to do or the kind of work I wanted to do.) Before I could get around to actually quitting, the company shut down. When I interviewed for new positions, I didn't mention management on my resume and didn't bring it up unless asked. When my current boss interviewed me, he seemed concerned that I might be after his job because someone with my years of experience is generally getting ready to make that transition if they haven't already. I assured him that I had wasn't interested in his job. I'm good at what I do and I enjoy doing it as long as he does HIS job and insulates me from fools and meetings. So far, it's working out just fine.

So are you the guy who likes to DO things or the guy who likes to facilitate the activities of others, improve efficiency, direct future development, etc.?

I'd change the company... or maybe not. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368748)

I'm not an anonymous coward, my name is Karel, just don't feel like I need to register for 1 reply.

If you're going to do "administrative tasks and management" for a group of highly educated IT professionals, then go for it, no question about it. You'll be in close contact with them (that's up to you) and will have the chance to keep your hand on the pulse.

If you're going to do the same for smiling guys at the other end of the world, then change your employer. There are companies that already understood the fact, that "cost saving" is not the right solution for their IT issues.

You won't keep your tech job, sorry. It will go to half educated idiots in India, whether you like it or not. (My personal experience.)

Why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368772)

More than likely, this is the beginning of the end for you there. I was in a similar situation a few years ago and I declined ("I'm good at managing technology. Not people!"). While I was able to keep the job for a few more years, I wasn't in the loop anymore and raises and bonuses ceased. PHBs spend their emotional energy trying to climb the ladder and have an innate distrust of folks who don't think like they do. I mean, why would someone want to stay on the assembly line making widgets??

First, you need to know why they picked you. Is your current position going away? Do they think they are doing you a favor? Does putting your salary in the mgmt column ease some budget pressure? Are they trying to make you quit to avoid paying severance and unemployment (this is my first guess)? Knowing the 'why' will clue you into what your bosses reaction will be when you tell him you don't want the job. It should be pretty simple to decide what to do once you know the 'real' reason for the 'offer'. Just make sure you don't show your hand while digging for the truth of the matter.

If you determine that this situation IS the first nail in the coffin, then your sole objective needs to be "Extend the death process until you find another job.". In my situation, declining the offer kept me in the job a LOT longer. A LOT!! I'da made maybe 4 PHB circle jerks before twisting off and being escorted out. You may be able to control the urge to strangle kittens when confronted with mindless office politics. I am not.

So, find out if your answer has the potential to end the relationship completely. If yes, give them the answer they want to hear and spend every waking moment after that trying to find a new job (Note: smaller companies are better fits for people who want to advance but stay on the tech side). Also, pray to the god of irrationality that the jobs package being touted actually produces jobs.

Good luck!

p.s. If you decide to take the management position, can you provide and email where I can send a resume?? ;)

did it for 2 years then got another job, you can 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30368804)

Developer(9 years) to IT manager (2 years). Now I am a developer again. Politics, paperwork and procedure did/do not engage my brain. After a year I was appalled and waited for one more year to make my escape. Much better role now.

A good company knows this already (1)

mschuyler (197441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30368822)

A good company knows this about techies and will plan accordingly. Some have 'Senior Tech' positions designed for people who do not care to enter the administrative side. I know of one company that treated their Field Engineers this way. The boss would say, "Are you interested in eventually moving into a management position, or are you committed to to the technology? I have training money to spend on you and I want to spend it the right way." Unfortunately, the FE in question told me, "I told him what he wanted to hear." That's too bad because I knew both guys, and I believe the senior regional manager was absolutely sincere in what he said.

Certainly the Peter Principal can apply (The solution, which is rarely mentioned, is "Creative Incompetence."), but I think it is easy to be short-sighted here. The question is not where you want to be in five years, but where you want to be at age 60 or so. If you can raise your family, pay for your kids' educations, and retire securely doing your tech thing, by all means go for it. But if you need to get better situated in order to do that, you'd better plan ahead.

My advice here (I'm 60 and retired securely) is to not blow off management just because you've got attitude and a PHB. Management can be a very fulfilling role. You're responsible, but you get to call the shots and point the direction. It's not going to happen unless you make it happen. It can get very political, but if you're as smart as you say you are, you ought to be able to make it work.

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