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Saying No To Promotions Away From Tech? 410

Posted by timothy
from the and-none-of-my-ties-fit dept.
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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Saying No To Promotions Away From Tech?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by unformed (225214) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:34PM (#30368294)

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

      • by pushf popf (741049) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:07PM (#30371120)
        If you're really good at what you do and like your job, it's time to say no.

        Tell them "no", and turn the job down. If they fire you, start your own consulting business.

        "Management" is code for "You're responsible when things go wrong" and "On call" is code for "We own you and every molecule of your time." If this is a high profile job, you won't be able to go on vacation or leave town without arranging for coverage, which means that all the major holidays and nice weekends just vanished off your plate.

        In fact, as long as I'm on a roll here, "No" is the most valuable word an employee has. Once they know you'll take a stand and won't be a doormat, they'll respect you and will think twice before trying to get you to clean up somebody else's mess. They may also fire you, but the job sucks anyway, so you haven't lost anything.

        "We need you to work this weekend."
        "No. I don't work weekends"

        "We need you to take over this doomed project"
        "Sorry, I don't accept projects with little chance of success."

        Your life can only suck as much as you're willing to allow it to.
    • Negotiate (Score:4, Interesting)

      by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:45PM (#30368476) Homepage Journal

      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.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:50PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by umghhh (965931)
          well I am wondering who moderated parents post funny - after all if you laugh you either did not understand or this is rather hysterical laughter than anything else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cayenne8 (626475)
      "Take it if they are going to pay you extra to be on call."

      Yep, it is all about money. Nothing says you can't tinker/dabble with tech if you want, but, having more money is always a good thing. Just make sure and negotiate what you think your time is worth if they do want you available and 'on call'. Negotiate that you get paid at least straight time if you do get called in after hours, that will help insure that you aren't called for something that really isn't needed. You can get OT even if you are sala

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

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:22PM (#30368072) Homepage

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

    • by twilightzero (244291) <.mrolfs. .at. .gmail.com.> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:25PM (#30368114) Homepage Journal

      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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by tarius8105 (683929) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:28PM (#30368180)
        Some companies are doing this because they are either planning to do additional offshoring or outsourcing.
        • by sohp (22984) <snewton @ i o . com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:45PM (#30368470) Homepage

          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.

          • by sxpert (139117) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:13PM (#30368904)

            I'll add...
            Good luck with all the shit the indians will be throwing your way...
            then, in 5 to 10 years, they'll count again, and figure out that they've been had, and that they spent more repairing all the crap than would have cost them doing the work in house

            • by Jaysyn (203771) <jaysyn+slashdot@gm a i l . c om> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:46PM (#30369316) Homepage Journal

              Bingo. Cleaning up after shoddy Indian sub-contractors has been my bread & butter since May or so.

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

              by Alpha830RulZ (939527) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @04:34PM (#30369936)

              It only took our company 6 months to figure this out, and they ended up hiring back 400+ people that they had RIF'd. It took Accenture only that long to blow up a 4 month work backlog into a 2 year backlog.

        • by JJBird (831418) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:59PM (#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.
          • by SnapShot (171582) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:17PM (#30368946)

            . . . accept the new role and start looking . . . you are probably comparatively underpaid anyway.

            Exactly. Short and too the point. You don't owe them anything for this so-called promotion. Negotiate the highest salary you can get and then spend your time getting that resume polished.

          • I'll third it (Score:3, Insightful)

            by PinchDuck (199974)

            I hated management, and was bad at it. The people under me suffered. Not because I was a mean person, or power hungry, just because I was bad at it. I moved jobs to a technical role and love my job again. If I were you, I would start looking immediately. Good luck.

      • by mrrudge (1120279) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:37PM (#30368346) Homepage
        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          They should have explained already if they have any respect for you and what you do.

          Only smaller companies actually respect the employees today. Look for places with 50 or less employees total to get some respect and recognition anymore.

          I've got a desk full of awards that did not mean crap at at fortune 50 company. They change upper and mid managers so much that nobody ever remembers what you did let alone who you are and what you do......

          Until you leave and they cant hire anyone to do what you did... T

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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

      • by SpaceLifeForm (228190) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:43PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Which is due to management not being taken seriously as a skill in our culture. Thus, at every level of management you are bound to find many frustrated people who would rather be practicing the functions that inspired them to pursue a career than doing Management. They may see up-and-comers with jealousy because they are doing the "real" work. They may also feel threatened. Sidelining them with enthusiasm-exterminating managerial duties kills two birds with one stone. Thus the cycle perpetuates itself

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

      by FooAtWFU (699187) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:35PM (#30368324) Homepage
      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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh (216268)

        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, tel

        • That's bad advice. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NoYob (1630681)

          Yep, experienced people with technical skills are still not that easy to find,...

          Everyone I know who's looking for technical help is getting swamped with resumes from qualified people. It's just a matter of weeding them out.

          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.

          I see. So, you're saying he should lie. It will probably catch up with him one day and if he's like me, he may be a terrible liar.

          That wasn't very good advice to give.

        • by tool462 (677306) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:21PM (#30368988)

          That's very short-sighted. Maybe his current manager is a complete jerk and deserves it. Even so, the manager isn't the one who will take the pain while they scramble to find somebody to fill his spot. It will be one of the guys he worked with taking on two people's jobs for at least a couple of weeks. And lord help him if he does well at it. He may get stuck at the workload for a long time, since management will have no incentive to hire--they're getting the same work for less money. Then in a few years, when he's looking into a new job, that same guy he screwed over may be in a position to affect whether or not he's hired. A simple "I don't know if we should hire him, he bailed on his last job by quitting with no notice because he was offered a promotion" would be enough to sabotage any chance he had. Quitting without notice would require VERY extenuating circumstances to be acceptable. Like if your manager was killing hookers and storing them in the break room freezer. I'd probably quit without notice then.

        • by eln (21727) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:32PM (#30369152) Homepage
          You'd be amazed at how many people I used to work with that I've since run into in other jobs, even across the country. I had a boss that I absolutely hated at one job. Even so, I worked hard for him, and gave him 2 weeks notice when it was time for me to move on. 7 years later, I was unemployed and he was able to find me another job.

          Alienating anyone in the field is a very bad idea, because it WILL come back to bite you eventually, and you never know who might prove useful down the line.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by aeoo (568706)

            Alienating anyone in the field is a very bad idea, because it WILL come back to bite you eventually, and you never know who might prove useful down the line.

            If what you are saying is true, please explain then, why do companies feel free to alienate workers en masse?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Alienating anyone in the field is a very bad idea, because it WILL come back to bite you eventually, and you never know who might prove useful down the line.

              If what you are saying is true, please explain then, why do companies feel free to alienate workers en masse?

              Their are lots of reasons, but one important thing to consider is the people in the company are not the company. The individuals may or may not agree with the decisions made; leaving them on good terms is what you really are doing.

        • by Fencepost (107992) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:56PM (#30369468) Journal
          There's no reason to be immature when you leave a company, whether it's your choice or not. Behave with class even if you're truly pissed, and don't bitch about how pissed off you are/were when you're interviewing either - nobody wants a whiner.

          If you leave on good terms, you may be able to use those folks as a reference beyond "Yes, Joe was employed here from 2005 to 2009." If you leave people dealing with a festering pile of crap because you were being pissy, that time range is the *best* you should expect to get, and you may get worse. Remember, just because you're jumping to a new job doesn't mean that it's guaranteed to last. Odds are fair that once you're established in an industry you're going to stay in that industry or a related one because that's where many of your networking contacts are and they'll help you find future jobs. That means you're going to run into people you've worked with in the past.

          A friend has closed product development consulting contracts because he did a favor for someone 10 years ago and that now-senior-executive remembered him. Be that remembered person.

          If you're being laid off, this is even more important. When a site I was at was closed years back (and I declined the opportunity to relocate), I got thanks for being professional and helpful with closing things down, documenting, etc. I had no problems at all with listing those folks as references, because *they were happy with me.*

          Basically if the payoff for being pissy is to make you feel good for 15 minutes, just go have a beer with friends instead. You'll feel just as good, and it may cost you less in the long run.
  • by Chas (5144) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:23PM (#30368090) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by BlackSnake112 (912158) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:34PM (#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.

    • 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.
  • Had this "option" last year, said no thanks -- they found someone else and I'm still programming!
  • Idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moogied (1175879) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:25PM (#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.

    • 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 h

  • 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.
  • by c0mpliant (1516433) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:26PM (#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*
    • by afidel (530433) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:34PM (#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.
  • Please clarify... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:26PM (#30368146) Journal

    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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      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.
    • Managers are on call to make up for employee slack.

      They get paid a salary, and they end up on call in case one of their employees babies is stolen by a dingo, or something else happens which results in the employee unavailable. The concept is called coverage, and applies not only to sales people, but to anyone who needs to answer to a pager, a cell phone, a BlackBerry, or is otherwise critical to the business because someone has to be ultimately responsible and fix things when problems arise.

      You also have

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by clodney (778910)

        Your salary accounts for ~1/3 of the cost to the employer for having you around, if you count facilities and energy costs and taxes. This is only going to get worse as taxes go up to cover the costs of government spending on things like the war in Afghanistan and on universal healthcare. So it's a lot easier to increase responsibility at the cost of a small increase in salary and some title inflation than it is to hire more people.

        I don't know where you come up with the 1/3 figure, but where I work the fully burdened cost per employee is 1.28 * salary. Most of that is benefits and employer paid taxes. Facilities charges are only a few thousand per person.

  • The correct way... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SlovakWakko (1025878)
    ...to 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.
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxruby@@@comcast...net> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:27PM (#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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      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.

      My father had the same problem at his job.
      He did not want to ride herd on 4 other people just for a pay raise.
      The solution his boss came up with was to look at all the non-management job titles,
      then picked one that had a higher salary. The title changed, the work stayed the same.
      Everyone was ha

  • by pdp1144 (599396)
    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 happi
  • by headkase (533448) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:27PM (#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.
    • by assertation (1255714) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:06PM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sprouticus (1503545) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:28PM (#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.

  • by wren337 (182018) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:29PM (#30368206) Homepage

    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.

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:29PM (#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.

  • 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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Cederic (9623)

      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 th

  • 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

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:31PM (#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.

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      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.

  • by ecotax (303198) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:33PM (#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?

  • by Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:33PM (#30368274)

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

  • by Fritz T. Coyote (1087965) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:33PM (#30368276) Homepage

    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!

  • it's only money (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fred fleenblat (463628) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:37PM (#30368348) Homepage

    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.

  • by mzito (5482) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:37PM (#30368358) Homepage

    Is...is 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 (Score:3, Informative)

    by BlindSpot (512363) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:39PM (#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.

  • by viralMeme (1461143) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:40PM (#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 [dilbert.com] executive position ..
  • "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 parent

    • Don't do that... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:03PM (#30368754) Journal

      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.

  • by puppetman (131489) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:42PM (#30368420) Homepage

    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.

  • by DigitalCrackPipe (626884) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:46PM (#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..... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:47PM (#30368512) Homepage

    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.

  • Wow, where to start (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:52PM (#30368578) Homepage

    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.

  • by AP31R0N (723649) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @02:53PM (#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).

  • Name your price... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnlcallaway (165670) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:29PM (#30369084)
    I was asked to move from a webmaster/developer role to an Oracle DBA role around 1998 when one of the DBAs left. At first, I said no because I felt it restricted my career path .. there are a lot fewer DBAs than Webmasters, and at the time the field was new enough that experience in any single environment wasn't as critical as it is now. They countered with 'what would it take', so I requested a 20% raise.

    And got it ....

    Less than a year later I left the company and went to a job where I was an HPUX admin/Sybase DBA and commanded an even higher salary.

    Change can be good....

    A couple of years ago I applied for a management job in a 4,000 employee company and took it without a raise in pay. I hated it .. it was babysitting mostly. The icing on the cake was when one lady came in and told me 'Pam doesn't like me'. I wanted to tell her to shut the fuck up and get back to work, but you can't do that today.

    After a year of that I took a job with a local company as a developer, and accepted a 10% cut in pay to work for a 50 person, family run business. I love my job now and am good enough I rarely put in more than 40 hours/week.

    I learned from experience that I am willing to do a job I don't want as long as I'm paid well for my misery. And I'm willing to take a dream job for less money as long as I enjoy going to work each day.

    But taking a job I don't like for pay that doesn't make it worthwhile when there are other options ... sucks.

    Choose wisely my friend....
  • Then what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bzzfzz (1542813) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @03:48PM (#30369340)
    I did this once. Took a marketing role after political factors made it uncomfortable to stay in tech at my employer at the time.

    The risk is in what happens after you're in the non-technical role for a few years. In my case, with the marketing job, it was in the early 1990s and I ended up missing the transition from DOS and C to Windows and C++, because I was no longer doing any technical work. Yet, I didn't have an MBA, and was never good enough at marketing to be able to make the kind of money I wanted when I moved to another company.

    You can imagine how the interviews went when I was trying to get C++/Windows jobs, which was the shiny new thing back then.

    So, my advice is that, like a chess game, you have to think a couple moves ahead and figure out what your choices will be like in 3-4 years. What will this admin job prepare you for? Who do you know who has moved into a better role after doing this type of job for a while? Are you going to make friends in the industry in this job or just piss off the people you're supposed to be keeping tabs on? Does this role tend to be filled on a revolving-door basis by recent ex-techies who can leverage their old skills or do people stay in the role for a while?

  • Different streams (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @04:52PM (#30370124)

    As a Brit now working/living in the US, one of the cultural differences I encountered was that in the US, management is really considered a promotion/reward from an engineering position.

    Don't get fooled by the image. You need to be aware that management is NOT a promotion, especially if it doesn't come with a pay rise. Its actually a profession change that requires a completely different skill set than what makes a good software developer. It makes no more sense to 'promote' an engineer into management than it does to 'promote' a plumber into banking. If you're popular at work by being a good engineer it may come as a real shock to realise that you're actually now only a mediocre manager.

    The other wierdness that I found in the US is that apparently most recruiters think Engineers technical skills are only as good/relevant as your last job. Like they think you can ever forget C++ or whatever. This means that your decision about whether to accept a management role at your current company means you are actually making a fairly binding career choice. It may be a lot harder to get another hands-on job if you have no recent technical experience.

    I guess it comes down to whether you chose to study engineering just as a step to moving into management, or whether (like most of us) you're acutally a geek who enjoys it for its own end. As a self-test to determine whether you really want to be a manager, ask yourself if you'd rather be programming or working with Microsoft Project all day.

  • It Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @04:57PM (#30370168)

    I'm from the UK, not the US, so take this with as much salt as you think it needs. Note: I'm not a developer, I'm a sysadmin, and sysadmin salaries are generally lower in the UK.

    There are two ways of looking at this: first, you look very seriously at moving on. Let's face it, if you can refuse this job your days at this place are likely numbered.

    Second, you see it as an opportunity. I don't know about where you are but in the UK there is a very definite ceiling to how much you can earn without going into management. If you are already at or near this ceiling (and if money is important to you), this basically gives you a job with "manager" on your CV without all the hassle of looking for a new job and interviewing - at a time when the economy's not exactly doing that well.

  • by hackus (159037) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @05:04PM (#30370266) Homepage

    Well, if it is 24x7, I would immediately demand 2 extra weeks paid vacation per year, and a tier one health plan.
    (No deductables for anything, including prescriptions.)

    After just 2 years of 24x7 calls, your health will be a lot worse. Lots of studies show people who do not get good nights sleep have a DOUBLE the cancer risk, psychological problems and get the flu way way more often than people who get a good nights sleep.

    Second I would demand a health spa at the place of work, cardio vascular machines, and a shower locker room facilities simply because rushing out of bed, and going to work and not looking professional if the on call brings you into the work day, is unprofessional on your employers part.

    Finally, of course, I would demand a night premium for all 24x7 calls serviced.

    I due 24x7 support for companies for $120 and hour on the weekends, and $100 an hour on the weekdays.

    If you make less that that per hour, I would say NO WAY.

    -Hack

  • Lacking parameters (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mseeger (40923) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @05:46PM (#30370806)

    Hi,

    for a detailed advice, there are too many parameters missing. So i have to stay on the general track:

    1. Your wording seems to indicate you don't have a choice. The question would have been asked a different way if you had one.
    2. My personal opinion: Every technical guy should try management at least once. Even if you hate the job, you may learn a lot of things that may help you in your relationship with future bosses.
    3. Management is an ungrateful job: You can do everything for you subordinates, they will not thank it. If you stay in management, your job satisfaction must have a different source.
    4. If you find not be suited to the job: Pull the plug yourself. Don't wait for anyone else to do it. The damage from the later one outweighs the salary from a weeks or months.

    Have fun, Martin

    P.S. My path was: Programmer -> Consultant -> Director -> CEO -> Sales. While i loved every technical aspects of the first two jobs, nothing beats sales. Being a sales guy with a heavy technical background is like being armed with an M16 on a medieval battlefield.

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