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Ask Slashdot: Comparing the Value of Skilled Admins vs. Contributing Supervisors

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the class-warfare dept.

Businesses 171

HappyDude writes "I've been asked to manage a department in our IT group. It's comprised of UNIX, VMWare, Citrix, EMC and HP SAN Admins, Technicians and Help Desk personnel. The group covers the spectrum in years of experience. I am a 20-year Admin veteran of Engineering and Health Care IT systems including UNIX, Oracle DBA, Apache HTTP/Tomcat, WebSphere, software design plus other sundry jack-of-all-trades kinds of stuff. Although I consider myself a hack at most of those trades, I'm reasonably good at any one of them when I'm submerged. I also have 10 years of Project Management experience in Engineering and Health Care related IT organizations. I do have formal PM training, but haven't bothered to seek credentialing. I'm being told that I'll be worth less to the organization as a supervisor than what I'm making now, but the earning potential is greater if I accept the management position. Out of the kindness of their hearts, they're offering to start me in the new position at the same wage I'm currently making. Does this make any sense, Slashdot? " Read on for further details.HappyDude continues: "I think their rationale is crap; the primary reason behind their valuation is that I have no leadership experience. I would be a 'rookie' supervisor with no more value than a 4-year grad coming in off the street. It seems a couple things are missing from their calculations. One is that they don't give me credit for the 'global' projects I've led to complete success (completed on time, under budget, all goals met, blah, blah, blah). Apparently PM doesn't have anything to do with leadership in their eyes. My current employer doesn't actually understand what PM is and has no one with the skills I have who actually practices it other than me. How would you recommend I 'educate' our HR department about what real PM is all about and convince them that it surely does satisfy their leadership experience requirement?

The other thing missing (in my mind) is a fair valuation of my current skills, or of the worth of a supervisor skilled in almost all of the trades I'll be managing. They use 'market' analysis data from a third party when gauging salaries, probably like most employers do... but I know individuals in my field who wouldn't even talk to these folks for a starting wage less than 25% greater than what I'm currently making. HR suggested if I could provide adequate data that contradicts or adequately augments theirs, they would reconsider. How would I go about gathering that kind of data, from reputable sources, that would even stand a chance of these people's paradigms? As a final request, can anyone please provide me with first-hand knowledge of salary ranges for the two positions described? Maybe I'm all wet, but I think I'm a steal at the wage I'm being paid right now."

cancel ×


Program Manager? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271287)

Truth be told, most program managers, me included, are pretty shitty at leadership and management. If you take the job, remember that the only thing that matters is making yourself look good. To do that, make your boss look good. That means solving his boss' problems. Technical skills keep me from getting fired, but sucking up to my boss' boss and communication skills are the reason I have been promoted well beyond my management abilities. Good luck.

Re:Program Manager? (4, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271743)

I would think there is one other thing that matters - gaining experience.

Sure, submitter is very likely getting screwed over on pay, and is likely expected to do more than the job description requires, but after a couple of years doing it? He can start sniffing around and if he's good at it, stands a good chance of getting some kick-ass offers. He can in turn take a copy of that back to his current employer, and drop it off right next to his resignation letter.

It's a foot in the managerial door (if that's where he wants his career to go), which IMHO is pretty tough to get in the tech field these days. While management is the suck (also IMHO), it's a good way to stay in the field and get promotions as one gets older, especially in the upper 40's.

Re:Program Manager? (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272011)

Bottom line for any job....MONEY.

Let's face it...if you didn't have to work...were independently rich, you'd not be sweating at the factory so to speak.

So, any move you make, should be motivated by how you will increase your salary.

Most of us, usually have to change jobs every 2-3 years in order to climb the ladder, and well....increase salary.

Unless you are going out on your own, have to work within the W2 framework...promotion, and associated increased pay.

If you're taking a position of more responsibility...ask for more pay. You'll find out really fast how valuable you are. They COUNT on you not asking...especially in this job market, you are expected to be asked to do more and you be too timid to ask for me.

What can they do besides say no. If they were gonna fire you...they would have. If they think enough of you to promote you...they can and will pay you more money.

Learn to is quick becoming a lost art it seems in the US. Know your worth....ask for it. Ask for more than you think they'll give...and they'll negotiate with you.

If you don't ask for more 'gruel', stand no chance of getting an more....

Re:Program Manager? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272059)

I completely agree on bargaining, if only to see how far you can get.

OTOH, if it's a foot in the door to bigger things, why not take the chance? In the long run, it will increase your salary, even if that increase comes after you leave.

Re:Program Manager? (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272795)

I'm sorry but there are a whole raft of jobs that pay incredibly well and are utterly unthinkable. A master plumber can honestly earn a small mint. I refuse to bail sewage (both literal and figurative.) I've seen a person whose job it was to get kicked in the slats twice weekly by a company President. He made a shocking amount of money, and his life couldn't suck harder inside a Hoover vacuum. So, though I agree in principle, in practice, there are many jobs, or places I wouldn't work at gun point.

Re:Program Manager? (1)

hodet (620484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271745)

You are so lame AC. That is all.

Re:Program Manager? (1)

unixhero (1276774) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271751)

Never outshine the master -- Laws of Power

Re:Program Manager? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272421)


i see no reason to read any more of this thread - since the parent AC has both defined and solved the issue. ...not to mention pointing out why our culture is collapsing.

capcha: "trapped"

Re:Program Manager? (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272781)

Thank you for that insight Wally, and by the way, How's Dilbert?

FOS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271305)

They are full of shit.

Get some offers (3, Interesting)

chadenright (1344231) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271311)

It sounds like the thing to do is get some solid offers for similar positions elsewhere, then show them to HR. Once HR understands what you -could- be making, they're more likely to offer you a better deal to retain you. On the other hand (though it sounds unlikely given the circumstances described) if you -can't- get any competing offers to refute HR with, that will give you material to re-evaluate with.

Re:Get some offers (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271363)

That may have been the case several years ago, but generally organizations now are willing to let you go because at that level you're more expensive than someone who is currently unemployed begging for work.

I see plenty of people coming to my organization looking for work with 20+ years experience happy to drive 40 minutes and get paid $40k a year for an entry level position because they simply cannot find work right now.

So feel free to try this and watch them laugh you out the door.

Re:Get some offers (3, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271393)

It depends on the industry. My company is starving for good program managers, product managers, and developers. The only area where we see a glut of qualified applicants is in QA.

Re:Get some offers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271427)

Could you happen to let those of us who are a little hungry know where you work?

Re:Get some offers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271627)

He said "good", you don't count.

Re:Get some offers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272623)

what a dick

Re:Get some offers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272855)

Here in Sweden my company is employing more and more developers... Problem is that it's really hard to find good developers ..

Re:Get some offers (3, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271777)

Agreed with sibling, but I have a different reason:

Sure you can get someone desperate in the door, but they damned sure won't hang around too long.

I usually sit in on hiring decisions, and honestly? We immediately write off those who are obviously overqualified, specifically because they will only hang around long enough to find something better, and will then bail out the very moment they do.

As far as GP? I'd say take the offer as it stands, get the experience and the resume entry, then jump ship the moment something better opens up.

Re:Get some offers (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272029)

If you're good enough......incorporate yourself, and contract out...especially if you can score a Fed govt contract. Plenty of money and demand out there for people willing to risk a little....and are talented.

Re:Get some offers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271475)

Dude, you're an idiot. That trick never works.

I've seen this situation from both sides, over 27 years in IT in every position from coder through C-level office.

All this tactic would do is piss off HR and management, and tell them the guy is looking to leave.

You don't know what you're talking about.

Re:Get some offers (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271591)

Worked for me, twice. And I got subsequent promotions both times (by which I mean to indicate that it didn't result in later retribution).

Re:Get some offers (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272051)

The thing is... even if it doesn't work out, you have offers. You could actually take the other org up on their offer, you get the $$$ either way.

Re:Get some offers (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271845)

Depends how good you are or more importantly how good they think you are.

I've seen it go both ways. Upper management doesn't like precedents set in some cases. Other times they are all too happy to concede and will convince HR to make it happen.

Look at your cards. Play your hand knowing the risk.

Re:Get some offers (2)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272601)

I got an external offer. Gave notice, and my manger's manger offered to beat the offer. I told them, if I were worth that much, I should have been paid that much. Offering to match now that I have an offer would be an insult, and I would be more inclined to leave.

She told me I was one of two people her manager was tracking for possible increases for retention.

I said, First time I heard about this, and I don't see it on my paycheck. Anything else is talk, and I have to consider you, and your manager's history, and history on top of that, and frankly the whole thing smells like fertilizer.

Maybe they really were tracking me. Bottom line, I wouldn't trust a promise until it hit my direct deposit. And if I made a threat of leaving, I'd make damned sure I would be able to take something better immediately.

I was able, and I did, and I left my company in an awful position. I feel badly about it, but no a whole lot, since they have been panned for the last several years here.

If you are indispensable, it works. If not, it doesn't. Looking to leave is relative. Looking for payment relative to services rendered is one thing, wanting more money for doing jack shit is another.

Also, your experience accounts to a fart on the subway. Depending on the industry, and the current salary, and possible offers, HR could be happy to pay 100% of the average wage, or they could be happy to learn that the average pay for the position has increased.

Bottom line: Always network, always look for what you will earn outside your company.

Ultimately, it's not about the money. It has always been, and will always be, about job satisfaction and commute and incidental costs.

You think GP doesn't know what he's talking about because you live in a bubble. Awesome people, given an atmosphere of retention, will be retained. Idiots, which comprise the majority of the workforce, will be considered a candidate for resignation. Everything is relative.

Re:Get some offers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271485)

Take the free experience, then jump ship when you get a higher offer elsewhere.

Re:Get some offers (5, Insightful)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271507)

Uh... no. What you do is take the position so you have the title. Then you take your resume, beef it up and THEN look for solid offers for positions elsewhere. Once you get the position... leave. Don't bother to educate your organization. Let the market do that. You need to look after yourself and your career. I spent a long time fighting the fight you're proposing to do, in the end, it wasn't worth it. Too much bureaucratic crap that basically condemns you to pay increases that are pegged to your base salary, and not to any real world metric of what you're worth.

Re:Get some offers (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271521)

Crap, to clarify, once you get a better *offer*, which values you at market, leave.

Re:Get some offers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271733)

right on the money

Yes, this (5, Insightful)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271739)

What you do is take the position so you have the title. Then you take your resume, beef it up and THEN look for solid offers for positions elsewhere.

Agreed. Lots of good comments on this page but I think this is one of the most insightful.

I'd take it a step further, however. I saw another comment that said you should be getting at least a 10% increase, with which I agree. You also commented you are being told the earning potential is greater if you go for a supervisor position. Run with that. Sit down with the powers that be and say, okay, earning potential is greater, let's put some metrics around that. Give me some measurable KPIs which I have to meet. If I meet those figures within six months, I get a 10% pay increase. Don't get too hung up on the exact figure; if they agree with this idea but make it eight percent, you're still good. Point is, are they willing to play ball with some good measurable performance definitions? If they do go for this, make sure you understand the criteria you have to meet to get your pay increase, and have at least one mid-point review with your direct manager to assess how well you're doing at accomplishing those specific goals or metrics that will get you your pay increase.

The bit about "you're worth more to us in your current position" sounds pretty suspect. If they won't go with the suggestion in my previous paragraph about putting some hard metrics around "if I achieve A, B, and C, you give me more money", then do what silentbozo says and get prepared to look for another position. But take the supervisor position anyway; it's going to improve your resume, regardless.

By the way, I've also seen some comments about "project management" does not equate to "good leader of people". Very true. Which leads to my final point.

You might want to consider some kind of safety net. I've known people who have moved to a very different position within the same company and nobody's been too sure how they'll do. So they have a mutual agreement - revisit in six months, and if either you or your new manager is unhappy, you get to go back to your old position. If you're really that valuable to them, they should at least be willing to contemplate the idea.

Re:Get some offers (5, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271909)

Too much bureaucratic crap that basically condemns you to pay increases that are pegged to your base salary, and not to any real world metric of what you're worth.

/Thread Closed.

The author's HR department most likely has their hands tied. It doesn't matter if you can tell them that you're a 50 year veteran of anything--if their list of approved positions that qualify for pay increases aren't met there is nothing they can do.

This is one of the unfortunate side-effects of worker protection laws. If they give a woman for instance the position and they negotiate out a certain wage--and it turns out she is getting paid significantly less then she can sue for pay discrimination. If however *everybody* gets paid exactly the same based on a very clearly codified pay/raise schedule then they are legally immune. HR is full of paranoid bureaucrats, they would rather lose talent than risk a lawsuit (It's easier to lose their job for a discrimination lawsuit than it is to lose their job for the company losing their potentially talented employees to better offers.)

The author should be lucky they can even get on a new (higher paying) track at all. My brother in law works for a company that has no promotion track. He just found out that his assistants can't be promoted to full fledged agents since they aren't getting paid enough. So even if he thought one of his assistants should get a recommendation for a promotion the company is incapable of giving it due to the wage rate for the new position being slightly outside of any raise limits -- and their current position at the maximum pay for the position. In other words the only way they could get the promotion would be to quit and get rehired.

I'm so glad I don't work for a large corporation.

Re:Get some offers (3, Insightful)

mrlibertarian (1150979) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271949)

Amen to that. What the submitter is asking is similar to asking, "How can I get this girl to like me?" The answer is, don't bother. You won't change her opinion, and trying to only builds resentment. Just move on to better opportunities.

Re:Get some offers (1)

rhook (943951) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271765)

Good way to get canned on the spot. You do not want to show the company that you will leave if you can make more money elsewhere, companies want loyal employees.

Re:Get some offers (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271883)

Not so much anymore.

But you can do your own due diligence and look up salaries in the area and demonstrate that as what your research shows to be appropriate compensation.

Re:Get some offers (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272099)

if you can make more money elsewhere, companies want loyal employees.

Employees want loyal companies who won't can them on the spot unfairly.

An employee seeking more compensation, even showing a better offer, is not good cause to can them. The proper course is to refuse the reasonable request, and it is then the Employee's choice to take the offer and resign properly, or to accept the best their current employer will offer them.

An employer seeking "more work" from an employee, e.g. Asking them to work 90 hours a week instead of 60, is also not good cause for the employee to quit on the spot, it is proper for the employee to refuse in such a case, it is then the Employee's choice to take the offer from a replacement to do the more work for less and inform the employee properly that they will be terminated, or accept that they cannot get that much extra work from the employee for the same price, and instead get the most work they can negotiate for the lowest price they can negotiate.

Re:Get some offers (5, Interesting)

autocannon (2494106) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271959)

It sounds like the thing to do is get some solid offers for similar positions elsewhere

I disagree with this. He's already been offered the position and had discussions with HR and his bosses about it. Interviewing and getting competing offers will definitely piss management off. Look at it this way, they have gone out on a limb (from their perspective) to offer this guy an opportunity to become something more than a technical person. They're not offering more money because he doesn't have some specific skill/experience they want or are using to justify not offering a raise. It's total bullshit from his perspective, but that's what corporations do to all employees. Profit and shareholder value trump all.

The way I see it, he has 2 choices.

1. Accept the position without a raise, knowing he will gain a significant new title and experience. His resume becomes something more than technical ace. It requires swallowing his pride a bit, at least in the short term. It sucks, but has different and potentially greater long term goals.

2. Turn down the position and remain as a technical guy. Pride remains intact, and career path remains strictly technical. Another management position at this company will NEVER happen.

It's one of those 2 options. I really don't see anything else that isn't antagonistic towards the company which jeopardizes future happiness or even employment. Of course there's always other jobs, but since he claims 20 years in the field finding a new job may not be highly desirable depending on his longevity at this place. His seniority and reputation there, as well as whatever vacation and retirement perks he may have accrued have value that do not transfer to a new job.

Re:Get some offers (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272127)

I disagree with this. He's already been offered the position and had discussions with HR and his bosses about it. Interviewing and getting competing offers will definitely piss management off. Look at it this way, they have gone out on a limb (from their perspective) to offer this guy an opportunity to become something more than a technical person. [snip]

If the $$$ increase is really /that/ important, and he will be unhappy with his current $$, and he can get an offer for a management job for more than his current $$$, then he should go to the effort of getting the offer, but only if he is prepared to immediately accept the superior offer when he gets it.

Otherwise he would be dishonestly wasting the prospective employer's time and his current employer's time.

Never go to another employer and get a competing offer, that you are not prepared for and will be fully happy accepting. If he isn't more happy about the offer than his current position, then by definition, it's not a better offer, and he should not present it for the sole purpose of attempting to persuade a current employer, with the sole exception being that he is so happy with the competing offer he is prepared to accept it immediately, and understanding that it may adversly affect the relationship with his current employer and increase risk to him even if his current employer does match it, he may be canned 3 months later, if his current employer determines he just wasn't worth it.

And the other companies whose offer he did not accept, may be more reluctant to give him an offer again, so he may reduce his options in regards to seeking a new job.

There are most certainly other options for independent appraisal of value besides a competing offer.

Re:Get some offers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272539)

Once HR understands....


[You're] a 20-year veteran...


You're being "asked" to accept that your company needs someone (you) to take a position of accountability for which they want to pay you less and in exchange for which they want you to take the blame when it's convenient. I don't think you understand politics very well.

Get ready for the inevitable cuz it's in your lane and moving in the opposite direction, rapidly.

The Peter Principal (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271317)

It's not dead. It just smells funny.

Re:The Peter Principal (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271633)

AOL (but it's spelled "principle")

Why would one think it's a "promotion" to go from senior sysadmin to a mid-level manager? Anything less than a division head would be a de-facto demotion. Much like a sergeant major is technically ranked lower than a warrant officer, he's got more real clout - and more pay.

Then again, my experience with working for a major healthcare company was that the "midrange" group and its "sysadmins" were nothing of the sort - they treated Unix servers as if they were Windows boxes, with scheduled reboots, total inability to understand permissions, and their top guys coming from the mainframe world and believing that 100% load is a good thing.

Re:The Peter Principal (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271891)

It might be a promotion because there's more room for growth in management. If you're a sys admin III, and the best you'll ever do is sys admin V paying 10% more than you get, well then you have to decide if that's what you want as your career. If you go to a management a management I may pay less than a sys admin III but a senior management V pays double a sys admin V...

2 cents, adjusted for years of experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271325)

Well you didnt tell us what theyre offering, so its hard for me to say specifically on whether its a fair wage. I would, as you highlighted definitely come back at them with the PM experience where, Id point out, management in a matrix environment with no real authority is far more difficult than actual management. Id definitely through in the soft value of you being reasonably well equipped to fill in when people are out for training, sick, vacations, mass murdering sprees, etc.

Ultimately, its not costing you anything, and youre getting something in return. If you cant convince them, and they dont pony up in a year or so, then by all means exercise the beauty that is a free market economy, and take your skills elsewhere.

Good luck!

I am a 70/30 Working/Supervisor in IT (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271337)

I am worth a ton to my organization as a working supervisor. Not only do I know the work that's being done quite well, but I'm also more well respected by my employees because I'm in the thick of it with them.

While I don't always have to put in the same amount of time into various projects that they do, I still have a part in the work and keep fresh on my skills, something I personally disliked in every single "solely personnel manager" I ever had--one of the reasons I left my last job in fact.

While you may be worth less, depending on your work/supervision balance, they're right, your potential is much higher. If you're seriously interested in management, take the job. As long as the team is cohesive and fairly drama free, you should be able to do very little extra.

If you're going to be doing the same amount of work you always were and now have an additional amount of supervisory work to do (1:1s, PTO forms, tracking comp time, developing documentation for new hires/exit process, etc, etc, etc, etc) then you would certainly be getting the short end of the stick.

However, you must realize that if you pass up this job (assuming you're currently employed there and it's a "promotion") that they will be unlikely to provide you the chance again in the future. You will be ignored as management material and others will grow up faster around you forcing you to exit for another organization.

Best of luck. I enjoy my current role as it gives me the flexibility to get away from the code and into something else but also keep my skills sharp and my interests high.


Re:I am a 70/30 Working/Supervisor in IT (2)

dindi (78034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272071)

Same story and I think it is the most important point. My programmers respect me because besides managing the team I am also acting as "lead developer" and I am able to help at virtually any task they are doing.

Being a manager who know what you are actually managing in this profession is very-very valuable.

I had a manager at HP who had no IT knowledge whatsoever. He was a journalist. He could sit next to me and not understand a single thing I was doing. He had 0 ZERO ZILCH respect from the team. He was laughing stock.

Problem is: HR at many places do not understand these things. Our profession is very unique, because those who are good/OK at it are actually somewhat having this as a hobby (or passion) in most cases. You cannot tell the same thing about 99% of the professions.

You are being played (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271369)

They are taking advantage of you. Speaking as someone who went from technical to management (operations and projects) then back to an engineering role, I can tell you that if you do the job well you should be making more as a manager. That isn't a popular opinion around here but it is true. Note that I said if you can do the job well. Too many people get thrust into management roles who do not have the talents or training to do them justice. Properly executing a management role will take more effort and more hours than most technical staff ever spend on their jobs.

You should be getting at least a 10% bump in pay. They are playing you.

Re:You are being played (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271545)

I'll agree with this. When I work for a manager that is actually skilled in management, I can produce at least twice as much work and at noticeably higher quality than when I am working for a manager that is bad at their job. The sad part is that people actually skilled at management are far and few between.

Re:You are being played (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271575)

I'll agree with this. When I work for a manager that is actually skilled in management, I can produce at least twice as much work and at noticeably higher quality than when I am working for a manager that is bad at their job. The sad part is that people actually skilled at management are far and few between.

Sad but true. I was very successful in my management endeavors but I am very happy to have found a position that pays just as well but lets me be mostly technical. I still do some project management and I'm often put in leadership roles on a project basis, but really doing the job of a manager well takes far more effort and is far less fun. A good manager should be a facilitator. In many regards I thought of myself as working for my staff rather than them working for me. It's a very taxing job and there is very little reward other than on the monetary side and the good feelings one gets from mentoring, developing staff, and helping them overcome obstacles.

Re:You are being played (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272473)

"The sad part is that people actually skilled at management are far and few between." - Exactly right. From my experience maybe one out of ten have been any good. Most of them are worthless, especially in middle management. Many of the upper management people have been extremely good and highly skilled. They are the survivors of the middle management trench warfare, the backbiting, the petty turf wars that dominate the world of the middle manager. Kissing ass and playing politics can only get you so far up the ladder. At some point you have to actually show some business acumen. Those that fail to do so are doomed to middle management purgatory. I once took a job as a technical manager and was shocked to see how things operated from the inside. Meetings all day long with little or nothing accomplished. A disturbing lack of understanding of anything technical was the order of the day. Needless to say I was soon bored out of my mind and feeling little in the way of progress day to day. I bid a hasty retreat back to technical work as soon as I could and I'm never going to take another management job again.

Re:You are being played (1)

hemp (36945) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271757)

Yep...they are trying to take advantage of the weak economy.

Re:You are being played (1)

truesaer (135079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271953)

I dunno. It's a bit hard to tell from his post how senior of a "manager" they want to make him. A first level manager could easily only have 10 years of experience, so if he's a 20-year veteran on the technical ladder he could be making more in that role than the first level manager range typically is. And many companies DO have a specific range for a specific title (which doesn't mean exceptions shouldn't be possible).

It could be reasonable to pay the same for a top end engineer and a low end manager. And they could be right that with his technical chops, he could advance quickly through the management ranks if he has a talent for it. And if not, then he's got a year or two of management on his resume at the same pay with an excellent technical background. That should make it easy to get another management job, at a higher rate if warranted.

That said, it does sound like they want him to manage quite a few people. So not such a simple job. And I'd like to know if it is what most of us probably think of as a manager, dealing with budgets and senior management and a lot of other things or if they want him to be a supervisor...scheduling shifts and assigning tasks primarily.

Re:You are being played (1, Informative)

HappyDude (133722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272049)

It's a pretty flat structure and all the SysAdmins in my grade wear a lot of hats. Supervisor of 10 to begin with, potentially more. Far more than scheduling shifts and tasks. Budgeting, planning, software/hardware/technology selection, contract negotiations, etc.

I'll report to Director who in turn reports to VP who reports to CEO.

Yup ... will be dealing directly with senior management.

No such thing as an objective extrinsic valuation. (2)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271379)

Your services to this company are worth whatever value your negotiate with them. There is no way to assign an objective value based on evidence of salaries in the industry. What other employment opportunities do you have? What other options does the company have besides placing you in that position? Once you've taken stock of the answers to those questions, you'll have a better idea of what leverage you have here. The HR department is not a neutral decision maker that will rationally weigh whatever convincing evidence you present to them about market salaries and maybe decide in your favor. They are your negotiation adversary. Don't plead for them to pay you more and harp on other peoples' salaries for different jobs elsewhere - that's not relevant. Negotiate. Sometimes this doesn't even involve stating a basis for your demand. If they NEED you in that position and can't achieve the same business goals otherwise for anywhere near the same price, then all you need to say is, "Those are fine arguments, but you'll need to pay me 50% more to take the job." But if they can use a different management structure and avoid the position, or hire a new grad who doesn't do as well but costs half as much, then you'd better take their offer or find work elsewhere.

I wouldn't want you as a manager (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271383)

You don't seem to know the difference between project management skills and people management skills. You have a poor relationship with your management and HR departments. You're not an expert on any of the skills of people you'll be managing. Your only self-stated skill is in project management; yet you have not been able to impart this knowledge to any of your coworkers. If I were you I would be happy to have the opportunity to prove myself. If you're going to negotiate anything, accept the current salary with the understanding that if you do well you'll receive a year-end bonus and a 10% raise next year.

Let me also point out that you might hate managing people. It's not the same as project management. Why do you want to take the job if you dislike the circumstances around it already?

But if you're really so sure that you should be making more money as a supervisor, go find one that pays 25% more. No one is forcing you to stay at the current job.

Re:I wouldn't want you as a manager (1, Informative)

HappyDude (133722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271621)

Pardon me for clarifying, I do appreciate your taking the time to reply.

I am asking for a clear description of the difference between project management skills and people management skills, you have not actually enlightened me one bit.

I have a fantastic relationship with my management (really, and truly ... they love me) or they would not be asking me to do this. They have total confidence that I'll do a great job in this role, as do I. I've managed people in unrelated fields and have been quite successful at builting teams in very awkward and even hostile situations.

While I call myself a hack, I think I stated that I'm pretty darned good at all those things I've done, especially when I'm submerged in them. I'm an excellent teacher, trained professionally as one in fact and have imparted past skills on subordinates. I have passed along the PM skills that I can, while not being charged with doing so. Some around me are improving at those skills ... I never stated that I was not doing that.

So, with this added information ... do you possibly have anything constructive to add? Or is there some underlying reason why you're so bitter towards a total stranger looking for guidance? If you'd like to share those problems, I'd certainly like to offer constructive guidance if I'm able to, and maybe help you to heal yourself.

Seriously. Lighten up, Dude.

Feeding the troll (3, Informative)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271935)

I understand that he insulted you personally. Still, take a moment to recognize that you're arguing with an AC on Slashdot. The fact that he got you to respond means that he won.

If you're to manage people, know that some of them will be jerks and play petty games. Generally, you should not fire back. Take the high road. Let them look like fools. Private straightening-outs are worth an order of magnitude more than public outbursts. They might not seem public, but people know that they're taking place. If you ever say "I'll talk to him about that", do, even if it's only to give them a heads up.

Plan ahead of time. What is worth appearing upset over? Human safety? Certainly. Company policy? Sometimes, but which ones. Theft or destruction? Usually, but to what dollar amount?

I'm sure this doesn't come as news. Just a friendly reminder.

Re:I wouldn't want you as a manager (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271983)

Start at twice the initial offer, and settle for the middle. That's how it's done.

PMP and more data = more money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271389)

Are you in the 6 figure range now with your 20 years experience? The PMP certification and membership in PMI was what it took for me to get the salary I wanted. PMI had a fantastic annual salary survey that helped me make my case for the 6 figures plus 15-30% annual bonuses. I was also able to pull up comparable job postings that matched PMP and 'list of specific jobs managing others with techie skills' to fight for the $$$. I have about 15 years experience, a BA degree, and a few MCPs.

If you can close major projects by force of will, smarts and personality, because you have no authority or direct reports, but you understand project management, people management isn't hard because you have demonstrated critical leadership skills wit having any authority. People have worked for you because they wanted to! I don't like the politics of it, so I won't switch from PM to a purely manager role myself again. I'm going to go get a PgMP next year and move on to managing more global programs. Good luck making the best choice for you.

Downward pressure on wages right now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271411)

Keep in mind that with the economy where it is, they probably have an excessive supply of applicants for any entry level positions. Based on your story, it sounds like they may not necessarily have an excessive supply of people who can replace you, but all of those applicants do make it easier to promote from within and fill the new vacancies below from external applicants.

On top of that, I've seen a lot of organizations that have been freezing pay increases for two years or more now. All in all, this isn't really a good time to be grousing for a pay increase.

Careful (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271413)

I've seen several folks from engineering ranks get promoted into a managerial role. All of them were subsequently laid off during the downturn, except for one who grabbed a chance to go back to his original job. Another was re-hired later, after he lost his seniority.

Rule of thumb: if it pays the same or less, don't (3, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271439)

Rule of thumb: if it pays the same or less, don't do it. That is, if you don't hate what you're currently doing. If they want you to do this, they'll pay more. If they don't, why the fuck are you going there in the fist place?

Normal for anyone with fixed salary scales (3, Informative)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271457)

This is normal for anywhere that has fixed salary scales. The management stream starts lower, but finishes higher than the fact that. That they'd be willing to move you laterally pay wise is a pretty reasonable concession. What they're trying to avoid is the "peter principle" (, where you would be promoted based on your extensive experience in one are into another where you will completely train wreck and waste everyones time and money.

In terms of how you prove the experience, or what your job is you get documentation. You have written reports about your duties from your supervisor and subordinates about what you were doing (and telling them to do) right? Good. If not you can still write a description of your duties that demonstrate leadership and give HR the option to submit it to the relevant employees themselves and get their opinion as to whether or not it is an honest reflection of what you did, give them references about a previous employer. Essentially you're applying or a new job, treat it as such. You're taking the chance that one of your boss or subordinates will not try and fuck you over, but if you're narrow enough in focus, that part of your responsibility was leadership, that doesn't mean other people didn't also, but you had to lead kind of thing. You can be diplomatic in highlighting what you did, without suggesting anyone else didn't do anything as well.

Imagine you were going from completely orthogonal fields. Your experience at being an assembly line worker doesn't count towards your experience as a medical doctor. Sure, you may have had to supervise people before, and done some half assed project management. But you're not a project manager. If you want to be a project manager you have to prove yourself as a project manager. And no, project management has nothing to do with leadership or strategic direction for a company. Or at least it might not where you are. Project management is about managing the implementation of a project created by leadership. At least some places.

If you think that a reasonable starting rate is 25% more than you're making that might be fine. Tell them that, (but remember, my friend who makes X is not statistically significant), and ask how quickly you can expect to see salary growth and based on what metrics. I know a lot of people who started at 45-50k this time last year and are now at 70k-80k. If they're willing to say you can get a 25% bump in say 3 months or 6 months well... then they're just trying to cover their own asses.

As for salary range for what you're doing.... depends on where you are. A lot. And on one piece of information you haven't provided, which is how many employees would be under supervision.

Join Usenix/Lisa (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271477)

They changed the name, but still do the salary surveys.

Managing + Tech Work = High Stress (2)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271503)

I noticed you said "contributing supervisor" by which I take to mean that you will also do a share of the "grunt" work.
I've had several roles managing / team leading from 2 to 25 people, but in all of them have felt compelled to design and code somewhat as well. Beware, doing both of these in the same job is incredibly stressful, because real tech work takes lots of time, and it is incredibly difficult to do a quality job of both roles at once, and other managers will not recognize the difference in your workload compared to theirs, so won't understand when you might skip/half-ass a few commitments.

I've tried to make the break. I have a yellow sticky on my monitor frame that says "DNC" (do not code).

But that's easy to say, hard to do unless you are surrounded by rockstar hero-coders/software engineers (or in your case IT wizards) who really excel up to the standards you'd like to see or think are needed. Not a situation you often find.

Still, my advice is choose one, not both.

Re:Managing + Tech Work = High Stress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271925)

Totally agree.

I did the same and at some point I realized I wasn't being a good manager nor a good analyst.

Not wanting to be a bad boss, I decided to focus everything in management and at some point I was wondering if I still want to work. Work at anything at all.. I didn't felt motivated anymore. My employees were telling me privately I was the boss they had had in ages and I was getting things done. But at the end of the day I didn't feel that sense of accomplishment.

Left the company, found a senior position at some other place and have been happier than ever. As much as I think management is a noble role if you do it all, it was too stressful and I'm a technical guy at the end of the day.

Re:Managing + Tech Work = High Stress (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272075)

This is real.

The other consideration. Are you given hiring / firing authority? If not then you are in an even harder role. Negotiating a good team to supervise is hard enough if you can hire on whom you need. Without it you are at the mercy of legacy and luck.

Count your blessings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271519)

Take the job and enjoy. Don't worry so much about the money... for now. That'll come or, if not, you'll have a couple years of managerial experience under your belt and some other company will enjoy having you. You can always go back to Admin work and who knows, you might enjoy the new responsibilities and leadership role.

They ARE right: PM != leadership (4, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271529)

PM - doing the things right: planned and controlled, implying measurements, decisions mostly based on numbers, the goals of the project are very well defined.

Leadership - doing the right things. Infusing "vision" into the project and being able to "sell" that vision to stakeholders, picking the means and adjusting the priorities based on the team (capabilities, their state at any given time, etc.)

Note: I'm not saying the same person cannot do both in the same time. But based on the confusion I'm seeing in your post between the two and the emphasis on PM, I'm inclined to think you may have a deficit in regards with leadership. (I certainly may be wrong.)

BTW, one thing I noticed in regards with a "exclusively PM attitude persons": they speak about their team members in terms of "resources"; if anyone in the team gets named, it's for giving a name point to a "resource contention" or blame for the delays in the project.
They also use "project goals" most of the time and for them the "project vision" is a blah-blah paragraph of the "project plan" document; as such, they also hate to switch between approaches in the middle of the project, even if mandated by unforeseen circumstances (chosen technology doesn't actually support the vision) or opportunities to add something better to the outcome of the project.

Business Value (4, Informative)

Bastardchyld (889185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271539)

Your current wage is completely irrelevant. Your compensation is based on agreement between you and the company in recognition of the value you bring to the organization. If you feel they are making an undervaluation it is because you are not demonstrating the value that you bring to the organization properly. Here are some recommendations...

1) Try to get the person you will be reporting to involved. HR usually has no idea what you do or how you do it. Your direct manager will at least have an idea, if not a full understanding.
2) This can be tricky in a low-level management because your value is largely based on your ability to control/influence others. You need to draw connections between your past actions and the goals of the business.
4) Finally you don't add value to the business by being a tech who leads, so don't sell yourself that way. You add value to the business by being an interpreter, you can make your subordinates more productive by insulating them from the push and pull of the business. And you make the business more able to achieve its goals by being able to effectively communicate technical concepts to them without making their eyes glaze over. The most important thing in this capacity is the ability to mirror someone to build a report if you are unable to do that or don't know what that means then that should be item number 1 for you to learn.

I think their rationale is crap; the primary reason behind their valuation is that I have no leadership experience. I would be a 'rookie' supervisor with no more value than a 4-year grad coming in off the street.

This is a fair assesment on their part until you can prove otherwise.

they don't give me credit for the 'global' projects I've led to complete success (completed on time, under budget, all goals met, blah, blah, blah).

This doesn't have anything to do with leadership, your job was to keep the project on-track and you did that nothing more. Not to say that you didn't use leadership skills to keep it on track, but this statement doesn't address that. When you look at the project from a 50,000 feet view then you aren't demonstrating your skills you are collecting statistics, and unless you have a massive number of them then you have no real data. But if instead you look inside Project X at a specific point when the project was at risk, Then demonstrate the risks and the subsequent actions you took which turned the project around and thusly earned/saved the company Y dollars. This is how you can demonstrate leadership and business value.

I know individuals in my field who wouldn't even talk to these folks for a starting wage less than 25% greater than what I'm currently making.

You are either (1) not worth what these other individuals are (2) working for less than your value. It is quite simple. Simple but irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that you are making what you are making because at some point you made a decision that either made perfect sense or not a lot of sense. The only way you change that is to present the business case and hope that you presented it well. These other individuals have different skillset different experience to draw on and different abilities.

How would I go about gathering that kind of data, from reputable sources, that would even stand a chance of these people's paradigms?

One final thought, you aren't going to win this one with salary surveys and similar data. This is not how compensation is determined. Factor 1 - Companies Budget, Factor 2 - Employee Requirements. If they have budget to pay 2.4M annually but you are willing to work for 50K, they are not going to split the difference with you, and they shouldn't, they will pay you the 50K you require and pocket the rest. Now considering you are an existing employee you need to demonstrate the value that you bring in order to be able to change your requirements. So don't worry about what others are making. Worry about the value you are bringing to the organization then once you demonstrate that then the company will be far more likely to shave off some of that and let it fall on your plate.

And for goodness sakes involve your soon-to-be new boss, he can make all of this go away if he wants to. But he won't do it without a reason.

Re:Business Value (5, Insightful)

Bangback (471080) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271815)

The above is pretty practical advice.

I'm an IT director at a Fortune 500 company. $46M budget. 300 people counting contractors.

You need to understand how salaries are handled at your company for job transfers. At my company, at some times we can give nothing, some times we've been able to price to market, some times we can give a little bit. All depends on the current philosophy of HR and status of the salary reserve. Is your manager doing the best they can?

If the level is the same (both jobs are coded level X internally), no raise is legit. I can assure you that higher levels are much more accessible as a manager than a sysadmin. But it may take 2-3 raise/promotion cycles to get you where you deserve to be. I have a woman who it will take at least 5 years since I'll never be able to give her more than 10%/year, and it may take a decade if she keeps earning more promotions from me. I wish I could get a 10% raise every year for a decade. You will get much better ratings and raises as an underlevelled, underpaid manager than you will as an appropriately levelled, fairly paid sysadmin. One thing I look at is that new managers crash and burn fairly frequently. It is much more humane not to give a big raise/promo off the bat since then I have to demote the person and strip their pay away 6 months down the road. If they don't accept this voluntarily its a very scarring process. Or if let them retain the level/pay they often end up getting laid off eventually because they're now uncompetitive against their peers at the higher level once I get them back to their old job. This is VERY, VERY company specific -- you need to understand the compensation culture.

It's pretty easy to get an entry-level IT manager (as your HR group has noticed, especially recently). Lots of experienced IT managers and directors on the street right now too. Much harder to get a techie with your type of skills.

If you want to make 25% more, you should get a job elsewhere. If your company and your manager are trustworthy, you should take the job. This is your shot. If you are just going to be an average manager -- probably not worth it. If you're going to be a great manager, this could be the path to great things. If IT management is all clogged up above you due to the economy making subsequent promotions unlikely, I would really think twice unless you really think you're a potential management superstar (I'm guessing not based on your background). Oh, and arguing over 5% as a manager is stupid.

The flip side is, can you survive with who will get the job if you don't take it? This happened to my sister-in-law. Not the right time so she passed -- ended up with a post-MBA know-nothing who didn't understand the group and made her life miserable for the next 3 years. The good old days may already be gone.

Re:Business Value (2)

HappyDude (133722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271975)

Thanks to both of you for the thoughtful replies. I was going to reply to bastardchyld when I read that post, but delayed just long enough for this one to come in ahead of me.

I really, truly appreciate the input ... not just from you two but from all the others who've volunteered their time. I hope this Ask Slashdot will help others in similar situations.


Yes, that makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271541)

Yes, that makes sense. There's two paths in career - specialist and management. Many of the most senior positions are specialist and it sounds like your skills fit the specialist capability profile. Leadership is a different ball game. You need to be charismatic, foresighted, and articulate (if you're doing a good job). Think EQ not IQ. It's a different set of skills, a set that can be developed independently from technical skills. Consider this "we're not paying you anything" your first challenge. If you don't have the balls to negotiate, you're not fit for the position.

If management doesn't know what PM is... (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271581)

If your collective bosses don't know what project management is, *they* shouldn't be managing anyone. That's one of the main things managers *do*.

If they're asking you to take a different job, it's because they believe the value you'll add at the new position is greater than the value you'll add at your current location. Usually this is due to the new position being *more* important - the only time it should be less is if they consider you a *negative* asset and are trying to limit the damage you do.

So either they're a bunch of cheapskates who don't want to pay you what you're worth, or they think you suck and everything you touch turns to shit. Either way, you should be offended.

Re:If management doesn't know what PM is... (1)

HappyDude (133722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271657)

This one cracked me up. I was offended, but am not any more. Nope, they're not trying to hide me. I've had kind of a Midas touch here. Everything I touch and major changes I've recommended turn to gold. It's been a fantastic run.

I actually kind of understand their rational, it just feels like the numbers (market valuation and surveys) and the semantics (define "leadership" to mean whatever it is I don't have) are manipulated to their advantage.

So, I truly believe the reason they've asked me to do this is because I will be good at it and I will be more valuable in this new role than in the current. I really do believe that.

Thanks for the chuckle.

Re:If management doesn't know what PM is... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271679)

Could you stroke my cock a couple times? I'd like a gold dick.

Re:If management doesn't know what PM is... (2)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271931)

So, I truly believe the reason they've asked me to do this is because I will be good at it and I will be more valuable in this new role than in the current.

Why are you yelling?
Anyhow, if they think you will be more valuable, they will be willing to prove it by splitting some of the extra value with you. If they won't, they don't.

Re:If management doesn't know what PM is... (2)

HappyDude (133722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272081)

Sorry All, not yelling. I just thought it was easier to see my replies this way. Since you're all willing to take time to reply to me, I certainly feel compelled to do the same.

I'll stop yelling from here on out.


Oh yeah? (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271629)

>I'm being told that I'll be worth less to the organization as a supervisor than what I'm making now, but the earning potential is greater if I accept the management position.

"You're too valuable where you are"

Where have I heard that before. It's a fucking lie. Because if they really felt that way, they'd pay you more to keep you where you are. It doesn't matter how much experience or knowledge you have. To them you are replaceable and just a number.

Take the money and move up the chain.


4-year grad / clueless HR.Get out of there (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271639)

4-year grad / clueless HR.Get out of there be for you take the blame of any of the upper management containing IT over all there.

no more value than a 4-year grad well if they took people who went to tech schools over CS and put people into jobs with real skills.

Also they don't give you credit for real work there??

It's easy to find the value of the position.... (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271671)

There are tons of sites (heck even the government has a site but now I forget it for the life of me) that lists the min to max pay via a bell curve chart (well most times it ends up being a bell curve) for a certain job title in the city or area you're located in. Then you can also see how that city compares to other cities in the state, etc to see what the average pay is and all that.

I believe it also tells you other info about typical reauirements, average educations, etc... But it's been so long since I took the business management classes that I n to only forget the address and name for the site, but also all the information you could extract from it...

Maybe someone else knows of the gov site that lists all this and can post it up

Re:It's easy to find the value of the position.... (2)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271857) []
Bureau of Labor Statistics - National Compensation Survey - Wages []
The job category is likely "computer and information systems managers" or "information systems managers" (Over $53/hr in wages in Atlanta, for instance = $138,000/yr. @50hrs./wk.). You also may want to look at the different levels of regular managers to see what the pay trajectory typically is and use that to scale the number for your specialty and region.

Also see the NCS databases section here. []

Re:It's easy to find the value of the position.... (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271911)

Awesome! I knew someone would remember it!

Re:It's easy to find the value of the position.... (1)

HappyDude (133722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272089)

This is awesome. Thank you!

Educating your manager or HR usually bruises egos (1)

Stolpskott (2422670) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271759)

I have had this kind of conversation with HR and management people that I report to, and there are two major issues. 1. You rarely, if ever, screw up your current assignments. That means in their eyes that your job must be easy. Therefore, they could replace you if they need to, because the work is easy. The corrolary is that, if you do make a few mistakes, then you are incompetent and they could replace you with someone earning less money if they feel the desire to change a known (and apparently sub-standard) performer for an unknown, with the attendant training and ramp-up time. Both of those translate in PHB-speak into "you are overpaid, and lucky to have a job". 2. Management and HR need to be educated about the complexity of your role and the value that you add. However the kicker here is that they do not want to be educated - education is for people who are ignorant and need a perception-adjustment. Management and HR feel they know everything they need to know, and more, and they know more and better than you. Can HR do your job? Of course not, but they feel they can identify and hire someone who will do your job - that process gives them something to do, a reason to justify their existence, and they will take that opportunity if offered. Trying to educate HR/Management will probably come across as agitating and rocking the boat, which will often see them shuffling you toward the door - in their eyes you may be good at the job or you may not, but the workplace is about the team, and you are showing a lack of team spirit so we should get rid of you and find a "team player"... In this case, the "show us some evidence of another pay scale we should be using" request is an invitation to show them that they are not doing their job right. If you fail, they were right and you were wrong. If you succeed, you were right and they have bruised egos. Do you really want to bruise the ego of the people you report to and who handle the HR at your employer? The best way to educate HR/Management is to take the role, then once you have a few months'/a year's experience, or the successful delivery of a couple of major projects and you find a similar situation which offers a higher salary, take that discretely to Management and point out that competitor X has offered you x% more money for the same work. It also puts you in a potentially stronger position, with a stronger job market in 6-12 months time. Or, if you suspect that the job market is going to stagnate or contract over the next year, then being an established actor at a company is usually a better prospect than being the new guy trying to get up to speed and learning both a new company and new aspects of your role.

Market Value, Salary Survey (1)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271831)

If your pay is at least the 20% percentile of your new job title, you really don't have any bargaining power. As a manager you can decide how hands-on to remain, and you'll qualify for the 50% percentile in a few years, at which point you can get competing offers. The interesting thing about a management role is that it frees you from having to remain so current, and then your career gets managed by management rather than technical recruiters. It's really not a scary transition as proven leadership is much more elusive than proven technical skills.

What makes a supervisor / manager worth it ? (2)

madvenu (5711) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271843)

Hello HappyDude

As a manager / supervisor of operations or projects - what do you think leadership means for any company CEO ? Who would the CEO value more ? WHY ?

A manager - needs to think about improvement of services, optimization, do more with less, innovate, basically better Return on Investment. ( From the CEO's / CFO's perspective )

You are in an excellent position to manage those services technically. However, as an operations manager - you need to think like a "service provider" - a profit center manager. Example: What if I made you the Head of Operations and Customer Support at Apple - to keep the whole itunes, appstore front etc running and customers happy. And you are told - to manage it profitably. How would you think ?

This is how I would respond to HR...

Example: All those services that you mentioned - would cost the company atleast a 20 million in Hardware and services costs annually. The business relies on these systems and the business revenue from these systems may be atleast 10 - 100 times the 20 million. i.e 200 mil - 2 Bil.

As a manager of these services, I would lead a team ( either internal or contractors or service providers) with a total salary of about 2-4 million. I would manage contracts, hardware/software/services/outsourcing/insourcing etc of atleast 20million per year.

If I provide new benefits of 10% either improved productivity or cost savings or new opportunity - that would be 2 million per year.

If I take away 10% of that as my salary - that would be 200,000 $ per year as a manager.

Now, I can definitely make arguments about the size of contracts that I make decisions on - the 20 million - and say how I can benefit more - by understanding product lifecycles, selecting better partners - so in the long term, I may benefit the company more - selecting better technologies etc. Thus providing 1 - 10 % productivity gain on the business revenue impacted - i.e. 1 - 10% of 200 Million or 1 - 10% of 2 Billion.

That would mean - I can benefit the company by atleast 2 Million - to a max of 200 Million.

How much should I ask for such benefits to the company ????

200,000 to 2 million $ per year.


Can you make such commitments and take accountability for the said department ? Then you are the leader HR is looking for.


PS: Most often - a manager / any person falls into the trap of self pity - and blows his chances of success. Focus on the results and the conversation is of a higher quality and helps all. ( I learnt this the hard way - I got fired before I generated results more predictably )....

REFERENCE: Read - "Leadership and Self Deception" by Arbinger.

No incentive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271881)

I mean, it's the same pay. So, you're left with the question of what you would enjoy doing more.
You should look for either more money(to support your family), less hours(to spend more time with your family) or a job you love(which I think is rare)..... but hopefully all three.
A possibility of higher future earnings is not an incentive to move.... at least to me. A higher quality of life, and now.

IT, the history of old computing (-1, Flamebait)

shelfc (789965) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271887)

What do you mean by skilled admin? Do you mean at rack space or AWS. Otherwise, I can't see how it matters, IT and programming are dead, business and product development rule the future. Everything else is the rest of the IT carcus rotting it's slow disgustingly long death. Good riddance.

Been there, done that. Careful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40271915)

Went back to my technical job. The most management I'm willing to accept is 70/30 technical/mgmt to help my coworkers work better, not to follow any career in management. It sucked big time to have no technical work to do and be a Excel spreadsheet pusher.

The company I worked for couldn't figure out what to do with me once I decided I didn't want to follow the management path that most senior technical folks had taken. I had to leave. I don't blame them though, it's the culture of thinking that go to up you have to move into management. That might be true if you are looking at your earnings alone but there's more to life than that. Really, there is.

Do not get into management if you've been a technical guy forever and likes to solve puzzles and deep dive on difficult problems. Difficult problems in management always involves politics and stupid people. Disgusting.


the_B0fh (208483) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271927)

You're getting royally screwed. Use those salary sites and point out the discrepancy + your skills + experience and tell them for the additional headache of dealing with other people's shit, you need 20% more. Out of the goodness of your heart, you'll settle for X, otherwise, no thanks, not worth the headache.

By saying "no", you might have made a career ending move, however, so, start looking for another job.

A skilled admin is worth his weight (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271951)

If you know the territory, you have an excellent ability to judge what to do and who to do it and whether they are doing it right.

Those types of administrator skills are very valuable in keeping things "on track".

Get yourself a head hunter and confirm your value.

Dust off your resume (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#40271991)

That's a figure of speech. The real advice is update your Linkedin profile.

A little humility goes a long way.... (5, Insightful)

SpaceBoyToy (2633691) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272021)

I am a health care CIO and a seasoned PMP and there are several aspects of your post that concern me. The first a general attitude that you know better than everyone else. I'm not saying I'm the best leader or even a good one, but I expect my managers to have some humility with their employees and I do my best to maintain that as well. IMHO, humility is the beginning of respect and the beginning of great leadership. Many of the best decisions I have ever made have come from ideas generated by my management team. How will you ever even know about those ideas if you already know more than they do? A leader's job is not to know everything, but to know all of the options and to choose the best one. Your employees will never feel comfortable bringing forth ideas with the kind of attitude that permeates your post.

The other thing that concerns me is that you seem to think management/leadership is the same thing as PM. As a PMP, I definitely recognize how PM can develop and sharpen leadership skills but they are no where near the same thing. When managing a project, you are aligning resources to accomplish specific tasks to complete a specific project. A good project manager will inspire the team to work cohesively and productively. I have seen very few good project managers. Managing a team that is juggling many tasks every single day is very different. You are responsible for their success, for their morale and engagement. It is no longer checking off tasks on a to do list like what you have experienced in PM. The few paragraphs I see above give me doubt that you have the attitude and interpersonal skills to develop the necessary relationships with employees to motivate them to perform at their best.

Lastly, your current skills, while still valuable, diminish in value when you switch over to management. That is because you should be spending much less time performing the actual work, and more time managing your team and collaborating with other management. I started out as a software developer spending 90% or more of my time writing code. The day I moved over into management, that dropped to almost zero. My software development skills went from being my strongest asset to one of my weakest overnight. Low performing managers have a difficult time with this and try to hang onto work they have no business doing.

I know this post is harsh. However, if you are serious about moving over to management, then you need to hear these harsh realities. I hope you can incorporate this feedback into your strategy. I wish you the best.

Re:A little humility goes a long way.... (1)

dindi (78034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272125)

My software development skills went from being my strongest asset to one of my weakest overnight. Low performing managers have a difficult time with this and try to hang onto work they have no business doing.

This is something the OP should really-really understand. If you want to stay sharp at either coding or unix or networking, you will be putting in extra hours at home.

I moved a year and a half ago into strange position. I am a "lead developer" who is also managing an office of developers. And I was just, huhhhh, going nuts. I thought I was developing ADD or losing my marbles for some time, when I tried something: I dropped all programming tasks, and starting managing the people, the projects and the office. Suddenly things started to go fine and I realized that the reason for my ADD/anxiety/failure was simply trying to do too many things at the same time. You can code 1-2-3- projects at the same time, however you cannot manage 1-2-3-4-5 projects and code 1-2-3+ projects at the same time.

You can manage maybe 1-2 projects (environments, whatever) and maybe work on one task, be it infrastructure or code.

The keyword here is:

Expect to be interrupted at whatever you are doing at any time. OFTEN. If you cannot take this, then well ... do not do it.

I am honestly thinking about going back to a coding only, design only (architecting) or even to my roots : Linux/unix/network....

I am in IT since '94-ish ... (92-ish?)

Re:A little humility goes a long way.... (2)

HappyDude (133722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272161)

Not harsh at all. I regretted using the word "crap" the instant I submitted the post. And after reading the whole thing again, I tend to agree with a lot of what you said. I think I'm still feeling insulted that they would ask me to take on added responsibility but then not offer to pay me to do so. My post reflects that defensiveness.

Thank you for the harsh realities. Your reply is humbling. I agree with the bulk of your reply, but not necessarily with the conclusions about me that you've drawn. I'll seriously consider what you've said here though, and think twice about why I even want the job. Believe it or not, the most disturbing thing you said was that you think I lack the interpersonal skills to develop the necessary relationships with employees to motivate them ... and I was thinking that was one of my strengths.

Hard to tell from one post, so I'm hoping you're not clairvoyant and are wrong about this one. I'm a humble person with a little lack of confidence, trying to convince myself otherwise. Sometime not very good at it.

Thanks again for taking the time. I do appreciate it.

Re:A little humility goes a long way.... (1)

SpaceBoyToy (2633691) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272309)

I obviously only had a few paragraphs to use to make a judgement, so I wouldn't take what I said at complete face value. However, if that tone came across in just a few paragraphs, I have to wonder what tone your employer has perceived. I can understand many of your feelings. I experienced a lot of them too. I didn't come to many of the realizations I talk about above until a while after I made the transition.

I guess it all comes down to one question: what do you want to do long-term? Every skilled worker teetering on the edge of management comes to this fork in the road. Do you want to commit yourself to the management path or to the skilled worker path? If you choose the management path, you are basically starting over, but the long-term rewards are potentially greater. In the early days, it may not be uncommon for your highly skilled and highly tenured employees to make more than you do. That is ok. You NEED the best talent at almost any cost. They will be the most productive and therefore make you look the best. Money and title simply follow. Always recruit talent over experience.

Take the job, it's a good career move (1)

Yoik (955095) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272139)

Management jobs get paid more to motivate them to do what the higher bosses want, which is often different than the right thing. If you do that for a while you will gain pay grade. When a situation comes up that seem worth it to you, do the right thing. If it is really the right thing, you're unlikely to get fired. You are likely to find your self back in a technical job with more pay.

I have spent years alternating between tech and mgmt roles ratcheting my salary up. Reorganizations and ownership changes make for great opportunities.

This is exactly why I quit (2)

BobandMax (95054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272169)

I was "promoted" to IT Manager when I was a happy, senior sysadmin. I eventually got a little more money than I would have but had to deal with the vilest shit from upper management. Walked out after sixteen years and could not be happier. YMMV

Project Management and Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272177)

First of all, create a portfolio of your achievements in chronological order. Under each category specify what PM part you had achieved, methods used etc., and on the second category of Management skills- soft skills, encouraging other members, mentoring done, how you had been a cheer leader to the team etc., and how did you reward your team members through various kinds of recognitions. Cost Benefit analysis of each PManaged etc. Then make a summary sheet highlighting how good a manager you will be. You may need help from seasoned managers to polish your presentation. Once you have nicely created portfolio, take it to the HR and give them and ask their response. If they don't give any good response, you have only two choices: (a) stay put and do what you do best or (b) find a better place which will be very difficult at this time of economic down turn. A new place will also expect you have budgeting experiecne, new product development and forecasting and so on, which will create more stress to you than the money you will get there. Also you had to control your ego and suck to the bosses who will take all the best credit and blame you for all their failures.Slash dot is not the right place to ask these questions. Ask management gurus.

They're Yanking Your Chain (1)

NotSanguine (1917456) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272201)

By asking you to accept a promotion with vastly increased responsibilities without the commensurate remuneration. Essentially, they're saying "Here's a promotion but no raise."

If you feel that the role will have benefits other than monetary ones, then weigh those. If the monetary upside *potential* is good enough and you trust these folks, that's something to consider as well.

But in the end, they're just asking you to do more work and take on more responsibility for the same money. There could be many reasons for this (including their perceptions of your skills/capabilities), but they could also just be cheap bastards. But you'd know better than we do -- you work for these people.

Your employer is probably correct (1)

Kergan (780543) | more than 2 years ago | (#40272755)

As humbling and troubling a thought as it is, you need to face it: If you had the above-average social skills that are relevant for this new job, you'd have held firm while negotiating, and obtained your raise.

The other side of it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40272863)

You are in the exact position I was in 5 years ago. There is a ceiling to technical talent and what they can earn in most organizations including my own. Although I will always feel like I was born to program, now I do that as a hobby when I go home but now make $50K *more* per year as a manager. What most people don't tell you, and what your management seems to understand, is that going from an engineer to a manager role is a complete career reboot. Forgot all but 10% of what you know. Oh you'll use the know-how, problem solving, tenacity, logic and creativity that it takes to be an engineer, but now you will use those ninja skills to solve people problems. At least, that's how I reframe it to make it interesting to me. Now instead of learning how systems work and how to build/admin them, you are being paid to manage, let's all be honest, the very high maintenance engineers. And that takes skill that will earn you more and brings a higher value to the organization as a whole.

I'd highly recommend reading "Managing Humans". It gives a very accurate depiction of what it's like to go from a technical role working with computers, to a people manager role.

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