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Ask Slashdot: Comparing the Value of Skilled Admins vs. Contributing Supervisors 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the class-warfare dept.
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."
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Ask Slashdot: Comparing the Value of Skilled Admins vs. Contributing Supervisors

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  • Program Manager? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:15PM (#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.

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:07PM (#40271743) Journal

      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.

      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:27PM (#40272011) Homepage Journal
        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, contracting....you 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 bargain.....it 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', Oliver...you stand no chance of getting an more....

        • 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.

        • by Genda (560240)

          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.

        • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @08:24AM (#40273947)

          Bottom line for any job....MONEY.

          Wrong. The bottom line for any job is at least somewhat enjoying what you're doing there. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, you end up being a prick manager or a really difficult co-worker and generally a miserable person to get along with. People who work "for the money" just make a lot of extra work for everyone else.

          Money is a consideration that needs to be balanced as any other pro/con of a job (Benefits, Vacation, Overtime, Job Duties, Reporting Manager, etc.). If you work just for the money, it leads to a really bleak future both at work and away from it.

    • by hodet (620484)
      You are so lame AC. That is all.
    • by Genda (560240)

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

    • Well the trick to remember is to not get caught up in title.

      Here are the titles I have been threw in my career. (some due to promotion and others from change of jobs)
      Systems Analysis,
      System Administrator,
      Sr. System Administrator,
      Systems Engineer,
      Consultant,
      Sr. Consultant,
      Developer,
      Software Development Lead,
      Software Architect,
      Lead Software Architect,
      Sr. Systems Analysis Team Lead.

      If you are going by titles it would look like in a course of 15 years I have only gone up one promotion from Analysis to Sr. Analy

  • Get some offers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chadenright (1344231) <chadenright@NOsPAm.hotmail.com> on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:19PM (#40271311) Journal
    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.
    • by garcia (6573)

      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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Surt (22457) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:41PM (#40271393) Homepage Journal

        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.

        • by Alex Belits (437) *

          The only area where we see a glut of qualified applicants is in QA.

          Actually no, QA applicants, and your QA department are incompetent, too. You just don't know how to evaluate their competence.

          • by Surt (22457)

            Our QA department is highly successful, and the proof of that is in the low rates of customer issues and defections.

      • Re:Get some offers (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Penguinisto (415985) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:12PM (#40271777) Journal

        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.

        • by garcia (6573)

          Oh I am well aware of the fact that these people may leave quickly and I write them off too, however, if you can find a place for them at a more reasonable salary or give them bumps as they prove their are worth what their experience/degrees/work history shows, then you may be able to retain them better.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        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.
      • The point is that he wouldn't be having the conversation unless he already has better offers. Let them laugh, he has no reason to stay at that point.

      • 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.

        This astounds me. I'm a mid-level web developer in my mid-40s (I'm a university refugee). I am not a coding superstar but I am smart enough to teach myself a bit of HTML/CSS/JavaScript and UNIX scripting. I can raise and deploy a server but I don't quite get, for example, CIDR notation. In oth

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

      • by Surt (22457)

        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).

      • 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.

      • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        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 h

        • by BVis (267028)

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

          Wait, so you first basically say "Show me the money" and then you claim it's not about the money?

          Of course it's about the money. I can't pay my mortgage with job satisfaction. I may leave my job each day wanting to drive into a tree, but that's why they call it work . (I'm fortunate beyond words in that my current job doesn't make me feel that way, and yet pays me in line

      • The trick works because it's not a trick. HR and management are already pissing him off, why should he care to much if his response pisses them off, as long as he presents it honestly and respectfully. If they're going to be pissed about him asking them to pay him appropriately, he doesn't want to be there anyway and should walk away, which he can do since he would already have other offers.

    • Re:Get some offers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by silentbozo (542534) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:05PM (#40271507) Journal
      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.
      • Crap, to clarify, once you get a better *offer*, which values you at market, leave.
      • Yes, this (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kiwimate (458274) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:06PM (#40271739) Journal

        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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:47PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mrlibertarian (1150979) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:00PM (#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.
      • by houghi (78078)

        Once you get the position... leave.

        You wonder why people do not get any promotions? This is why. Why risking to give them a promotion and then leave, while they do nicely what they do now.

        What we do is first open the position inside the company. People interested inside have the first opportunity. That does not automatically means that they get the job.

        The chances of somebody taking the job so they can leave still exist, but are reduced by a lot. In my department I am perfectly well aware who is sick of t

    • by rhook (943951)

      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.

      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        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.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        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 w

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Asking them to work 90 hours a week instead of 60, is also not good cause for the employee to quit on the spot,

          Yes, it is. 60-hour workweeks will kill you in the long run, and even if you have armor-plated constitution will leave you no time for actually living. The employer asking you to extend them to 90 hours means that they aren't going away any time soon, but will instead get even longer. That in turn means that your employer is trying to kill you for profit, either through stupidity or in cold blood.

    • Re:Get some offers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by autocannon (2494106) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:02PM (#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.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        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

      • The company is actually surprisingly honest. Promoting tech guys to management from within is a huge risk. There's simply no predicting how it turns out. In the ideal case, the new supervisor will be able to make up for his lack of experience in personnel management by contributing technically due to his knowledge of the infrastructure. On the opposite end of the spectrum, your new supervisor will micromanage his techs due to his perceived superior knowledge for years on end, even when the technology has lo
  • It's not dead. It just smells funny.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      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

      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        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...

  • by garcia (6573) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:27PM (#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.

    YMMV.

    • by dindi (78034)

      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 laug

  • by dreamchaser (49529) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:37PM (#40271369) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by Belial6 (794905) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:11PM (#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.
      • by dreamchaser (49529) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:16PM (#40271575) Homepage Journal

        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.

    • by hemp (36945)

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

    • by truesaer (135079)

      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.

    • by DaveGod (703167)

      Claiming the benefit will be "future potential" is doing this [blogspot.com]. The future is always tomorrow.

      (image taken from here [blogspot.co.uk], which probably isn't original source)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      About 15 yrs ago, I switched from being the lead developer on a team to being 100% management. My role made it so I didn't have time to code anyway, so it was just the VPs way of telling me it was expected that I wouldn't code anymore. He took my cube name-plate and duct-taped it outside my new office and told me to remove the compiler from my PC - loudly, so all my guys could hear it. No raise and I didn't want that job.

      I took that as a hint. Got my resume in order and started interviewing outside. Fou

  • by mpoulton (689851) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:38PM (#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'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.

  • by melted (227442) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:50PM (#40271439) Homepage

    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?

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:53PM (#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" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.

    • by tburkhol (121842)

      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.

      I'd agree with that, except for the submitter's claim to 20 years' technical experience. He's not at the entry level, and asking him to move from a high echelon technical position to a low echelon managerial position of equivalent salary isn't necessarily reasonable. I have to say that the phrasing "You're more valuable to _us_ where you are, but the opportunities for _you_ in this new position are better" sounds a lot like a negotiating ruse, and I would make me suspicious. They've essentially said that

  • Join Usenix/Lisa (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

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

    https://www.usenix.org/lisa

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:05PM (#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.

    • 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.

  • by c0lo (1497653) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:09PM (#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.

    • by mce (509)

      I couldn't agree more!

      But I have to add one comment based on my own experience: the "people are referred to as resources" yard stick depends on the corporate culture, and cannot always be used to separate good managers/leaders from bad ones. I'm a firm believer in "people are not resources" and "you manage things, but you lead people". And I'm even on record for saying to my team members when I joined my current employer that "if you ever hear me refer to people as resources, shoot me" (because I already k

  • Business Value (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bastardchyld (889185) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:10PM (#40271539) Homepage Journal
    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

    • Re:Business Value (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bangback (471080) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:24PM (#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.
      • by HappyDude (133722)

        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.

        Cheers.

  • 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 eith

  • by bmo (77928)

    >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.

    --
    BMO

  • 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

  • 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 ma

  • by the_B0fh (208483) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:54PM (#40271927) Homepage

    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.

  • 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.

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

  • by SpaceBoyToy (2633691) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @10:29PM (#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.

    • by dindi (78034)

      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.

    • by HappyDude (133722)

      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 seri

      • Several others have commented but I've yet to see anything about Perks/Cost Benefits. What impact does a 10 percent raise have on your tax burden? If it kicks you into another bracket, you may actually need at least a 20 percent raise just to see a 5 percent after tax increase.

        I'm assuming that if you have the stated 20+ yrs experience that you're in your mid 40's at least so keep in mind that management can negotiate non-salary perks. The first I'd look at is the 401k. If you can, I'd ask for a 2 or 3 to 1

  • by BobandMax (95054) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @11:12PM (#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

  • 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 r

  • 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.

  • 1 - Don't consider the salary discussion closed. You are taking on a higher responsibility, and part of that is to distribute your talent over more people. Do some research, and argue your case. There is, however, a barrier here: if the gap between what you are paid and the industry is too big, you will never get that corrected. Once you have the gap, your only option is to move to another company. It is thus in your interest to keep it small - and try not to fall for the trick where a new company asks

  • "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.

    PM skills don't equate to leadership - while some PM's are good leaders it's because they bring another set of skills to the table beyond project management. I've seen plenty of really good PM's who are poor leaders and managers; and while their PM skills are valuable they really have no value as a manager.

    Leadership is a learned skill - take advantage of the opportunity. Negotiate to get training in leadership and ask for a mentor. Build up skills to match your PM skills and you'll become much more valu

  • When the question is "Why" the first answer to consider is "Money".
    When asking "Why should I ... " the general answer is ".. more money".

    Yes, they are trying to sucker you. I have the same problem right now. I have been told by 3 hiring committees that I 'lack experience' because my background appears to be 'all technical'. In reality, I have done many activities which they expect managers and leaders to do including lead projects, manage people, manage resources, train people, mould the teams together, lin

  • It comes down to how replaceable are you. If your skill set is differentiated in the market place and you're exactly what they need in this management role, they will pay you more money. If there's a line of people with your skill set, you have no leverage.

    And of course they're low-balling you. It's called anchoring, a basic tenet of negotiation.

    If you think you are differentiated, tell them that you're not happy with this offer and to bring a new one to the table. By offering nothing, they've already

  • If you actually have leadership experience, then it should be no problem getting a few of those you have lead to write a letter of recommendation for you as a their leader. Then submit those for review when you go to discuss the issue.
  • To some degree, as others have mentioned, they have a point. I think it would be completely appropriate to request a review at the end of six months using whatever standard review process you have and if you're doing well, then you should get a pay increase.

    It seems like management positions these days are all about negotiation. Employers think it's fair to offer the absolute crappiest benefits and pay to the most qualified people. They then expect those people to negotiate up from there. If they don't

  • by VeriTea (795384) on Monday June 11, 2012 @09:52AM (#40283543) Journal

    First off, I highly recommend you read the book "Becoming a Manager" by Linda Hill. It follows the first year experiences of a group of star individual contributors that are promoted to managers and discusses the transformation process they undergo to become managers. Becoming a good manager requires that you change as a person in ways that are hard. Those who do not change end up being bad managers.

    What you do not understand, and no one really understands until they do it, is that being a good manager is very hard. Management is like multi-dimensional chess. As a spectator you almost never understand what is going on. You can see the results, and recognize that one person did a decent job while another person did a poor job, but you have no idea what it took to make it happen (even if you had a front-row seat as an employee). As an engineer I was generally critical of management when it was bad and indifferent to it when it was good. Now I look at my company's senior and executive leadership and am in awe of how they manage to do what they do. The difference is that I now know a little of what it takes to achieve results and recognize how much skill it takes.

    Management is also like running a machine with a million switches and levers where none of them give the same result twice. The fact that you have so little awareness of this is a bad omen for your chances of becoming a good manager. Project management experience is good, but is really only about 10% of what is needed to be good at management.

    Oh, and the reason that people who have been managers are worth more is pretty simple once you realize how hard it is: People that have a track record of doing a half-way decent job at management have already learned far more then you can imagine even needing to know.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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