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Old 1st-September-2016, 12:46 PM   #1

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Default Have you ever asked to be demoted?

Due to "right-sizing" a year back, I volunteered to take on some duties that, for most of my career, was hoping I would never get but with natural progression, a foregone conclusion. It is more project manager oriented but with developers in another department that I have no direct control over. I was already managing a team of my own developers which I could give or take also.

I'd like to go back and focus more on programming but I'm worried it would just blow my manager's mind if I asked to relinquish those duties. She is a just do it and do whatever makes your boss happy to get ahead type. I am an ask questions to really understand the problem and come up with a competent solution type and I just need enough money to get by. I don't know if it's just me but I truly want to help people and make things better. It seems some other people just want to get the problem off their shoulder as soon as possible with a shoot from the hip solution. So either way, I still can't get away from that.

I have been looking for another spot in the company but nothing interesting has showed up yet but I may just go for anything soon. Of course, there is always the anxiety of interviewing. Also, the grass isn't always greener and I could end up worse off.

I originally thought I was done programming and wanted to move up but I am starting to wonder if my loss of interest in everything started when I started moving up. I really should take notes as my past seems mostly a blur of high level disjointed points. The best thing was probably joining these forums so I can go back and see what the hell I was thinking from one day to the next. I have thought of keeping a journal many times but it has remained just that.
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Old 1st-September-2016, 02:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Have you ever asked to be demoted?

Yes, I was in a technical management position (guy who says stuff) and since have firmly stayed in the expert engineer (guy who does stuff) category. Example, I was asked by a manager if I was interested in trying for a management job that just opened up, I was very clear that it wasn't for me.

Not sure what you do but you mentioned programming? If so don't worry about it, engineers who become managers often go back to being engineers. It's not unusual. Your place might be different but I'd guess not.
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Old 1st-September-2016, 02:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Have you ever asked to be demoted?

We had this issue in terms of promotion in my agency as well, where there were only two grade tracks upwards and there was pressure to become project managers and team leaders if you wanted a higher-grade position. Recently it was floated that they are seeking to expand the roles so that tech-focused employees can have more opportunities for advancement without having to track into management per se.

(I personally haven't really sought much promotion at my current level because I'm not into running teams and would rather spend my time doing more of the actual work.)

Anyway, this is actually a common dilemma in work with specialists... where one likes the work but to advance you need to manage others doing the work instead. So it shouldn't be a shock if someone prefers to keep doing the work, unless your HR department lives under a rock; it's more a matter of your corporate culture and how they view such a thing and what their resources look like. I would just sound flexible as you talk about it with them (versus drawing hard lines) until you are sure what you want to do and have a viable escape route charted in case some doors become shut to you.

I also would not refer to it as a demotion. In terms of selling it to your company, you are offering to take your enthusiasm for the tech aspect of the job and showing your willingness to focus on the things you do best and love most, to their benefit, while allowing someone perhaps with more knack for management to take on that task.
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Old 2nd-September-2016, 02:02 AM   #4

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Default Re: Have you ever asked to be demoted?

Thanks, I have a one on one tomorrow so I may bring it up. I will have to try and sell it because I was definitely a better programmer. However, this would have been easier with my previous manager who transitioned into retirement a couple months after the "right-sizing". We actually communicated pretty well, possibly because he was too old to be trying to impress people. Well, that and we now have a pretty good team of programmers so it's harder to sell the benefit and there is always the ongoing "right-sizing"...

What gives me more caution is that I work in a departmental shadow IT group. It's not like there are many positions to go around and on top of that, there is an odd split between employee types. I am the only project manager of the group that manages programmers with the added bonus of managing IT projects, database resources and programming. Basically, it will become a demotion. The wife isn't really too happy with the idea either.

Sorry to babble on, it's weird but it feels like life finally caught up to me. Not sure where I really was for so long. It's a really odd feeling.
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Old 2nd-September-2016, 08:40 PM   #5

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Default Re: Have you ever asked to be demoted?

Well, I went through with it. I think I sold it pretty well. At one point, the conversation did border on the fact that our group doesn't usually do things like this because were not IT. Not sure what the outcome will be but I hope it's better than how I currently feel.
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Old 3rd-September-2016, 01:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: Have you ever asked to be demoted?

Yes. It's better.
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