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Unhappy transfer

So a few months ago I was transferred to looking after an existing project (taking over from someone else). A week later a very senior techical guy (I am senior, but he is way up there) decided to blame his lack of progress on my project and came within an ace of getting me sacked. This was the start of a sequence of events resulting in me being stretchered off an aeroplane...

Cue forwards three months, and I am about to be transferred (against my will) from a role in which I am happy and doing well, to work for this bastard for a couple of months.

I've tried suggesting to my boss that this is not a good idea, and that I would be willing to pick up someone else's work (which I could do) and they could work for this guy. My boss isn't sure he can achieve this.

Frankly, I do not want to have anything to do with this guy. If my boss can't pull through for me I can't see any other option but the nuclear one ...walking out.

Anyone got any better ideas?

treefrog
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Leave now!

Really, really, leave now! Moving jobs is way less scary than it seems and always, always worth it if you're miserable where you are.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Do a meticulous/great job so that this asshole can't find any faults in your conduct....let him take it out on someone else when his ship is going down in flames.  Document everything, etc.  You know, the usual.

.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004


"Really, really, leave now! Moving jobs is way less scary than it seems and always, always worth it if you're miserable where you are. "

Yeah, but let's face it....Moving jobs won't protect him from being in an identical situation on the next job. Frying pan --> skillet.

Every situation like this is different and requires special care because the antagonist in each story is different. The previous poster was dead-on regarding documenting everything. That's the first place to start.

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Let me see if I understand this:

This fellow blames you for his lack of progress. I assume he was critical of your work.

Now he specifically requests YOU ?

This makes no sense. Is he just looking for a "fall guy" to pin the blame on?

Take a moment and read DISCLOSURE by Michael Criton.  or watch the movie. 

I'm serious.

Mr. Analogy
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

OK, he is not specifically requesting me. It's just that I have the right skillset, and my bosses boss is in the shit with him and needs to cover his arse quick.

The guy has a reputation as a complete twat who craps on people regularly.  I feel deeply stressed about the prospect of being dragged off to work for him. But he is pretty much a technical VP (in 100k employee company), so he has a lot of clout.

I like what I am doing now, and I am getting great feedback form my managers about what I am doing. I don't want to press the nuclear button and threaten to resign if I get transferred. It's a good job I have been doing for 5 years. It pays well and I have no other job to go to, let alone one that pays as well. Also I am in the UK, and I worry about the fact that I have to give 1 months notice. If I just walk out it will screw a load of people badly, and may affect my chances of getting another job. I don't want to be seen as an arsehole who screws people over  - I don't think I am. It's just that this guy made my life a misery the last time I went anywhere near him.

treefrog
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Life is too short to be miserable.  Give them plenty of notice (after all, you don't want to leave, you just don't want to work for that guy.  Give 'em two _years_ notice if you can, as long as you're staying in your current job for those two years :)

But tell your current boss that you won't work for this guy, even if it means having to leave the company to not do it.

Michael Kale
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Get some psychological help. I mean it. A therapist where you can unload the stress while that project lasts, somewhere where you can let go of your feelings safely. It'll definitely help you deal with the stress.

RP
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

one thing to consider ... handing in a months notice when you're between projects will mean you won't get assigned to the project anyway...

talk to HR - take any due holiday during your one month off ...

alternatively - next time the tw@t starts mouthing off - audibly (very) give him a huge dressing down in front of everyone else ... give him no excuse to stand and talk back - tell him to turn a round and leave immediately and next time he's looking for someone to blame to pick on someone else ...

unlikely to get you sacked (check the disciplinary procedure ... you'll probably find a first offence gets a polite email from hr ...  )  but a lot of indicators seem to point to things picking up in the UK IT industry ...

blargle
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I take it the stretcher-off-the-airplane was stress related.  In Japan stress at work is a recognized cause of death, and I believe can be the basis for legal proceedings.

At one time my boss (in the USA) spent a couple of weeks walking around with some sort of real-time monitor measuring her pulse, perhaps other things.  The doctor was trying to pin down the cause of some problems she was having.

The cause was quite clear from looking at the results, and the prescription from the Doctor was simple: do not have meeting with the manager of one user department she supported.  Fortunately our management treated this as a real problem.

Now, you might not be able to wear a monitor, and I have no idea what sort of Human Resource departments they have in the UK, but I would consider speaking to HR about what the assignment might do to my health.

RH
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

If you feel uncomfortable with the transfer, talk to your manager and, possibly, HR and/or even higher management about the reasons you're uncomfortable.  If, despite your objections, they refuse to cancel the transfer, you have two choices: accept or reject the transfer.  This is a choice that only you can make.  If you accept, document the reasons for your objections just in case they become useful at a later date.  If you reject, then do the right thing by giving the appropriate (legal) notice of resignation.

It's tough when we're forced to decide between potential future misery and known current bliss.  Who knows, it may not be as bad as you anticipate.  OTOH, it may be worse.  I'm not trying to be cute, but unless you have a crystal ball, there's just no tellin' how things will turn out.  It all comes down to your choice of what you're willing to accept.

bpd
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

A couple months is not so bad.  But get it signed in blood that it's not going to last longer.  And if you can't get that signature, make sure your boss knows you will walk if it lasts longer.  And if that two months is coming up and there's talk of you staying longer, remind him of your commitment to leave if you are asked to stay longer.  And then be prepared to give notice.

In fact, I would play this as "Okay I will put up with this asshole for two months... but I want you to remember you owe me for this".  However, I know that I can do that with my boss; he and I have established a good relationship over the years.  Your situation is different and unique to you.

Should be working
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

If I was in your situation, I would suggest that if you can, you talk to your boss and hint that you will leave if tranferred to this specific guy.
If you do decide that you can bare him for a couple of months, document everything. Infact with guys like that I'd be tempted to buy a dictaphone and keep it in my pockets at all time to record conversations you have with him, a bit over the top I know, but sometimes in some places you just have to go to extremes to protect yourself for these sort of short term situations.

nakedCode
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

> ... Frankly, I do not want to have anything to do with this guy. ... Anyone got any better ideas?

Sure: want to have anything to do with him. Tell him you're slated to be working with him, ask him what he thinks/feels about that, set some ground rules (like, discover what he wants, what he'd consider 'success'), and so on ... like you'd do for any boss.

> A week later a very senior techical guy (I am senior, but he is way up there) decided to blame his lack of progress on my project and came within an ace of getting me sacked.

You'd been there a week! Maybe he did have trouble with your project ... anyone who thought he had a problem with you personally must have been mistaken.

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

One of the things I found out on my last job was that there are some people that are incredibly nasty and incredibly political and to be careful of them. I worked with a guy that was a real backstabber -- he was very competent (which is why he is still there and why this behavior is tolerated), but he really worked hard at undermining everyone around him except for those who did exactly as he said and kept their mouth shut. Eventually, I was laid off from this job, and I think this individual was largely responsible for that. I found that he has driven several other good people out of the organization -- either via resignation or layoff. I have never run into anyone quite as bad as this person, but it sounds like this VP you're talking about may have the same characteristics.

My advice? Quitting may not be an option nor may refusing the assignment given what you've said. If you do have to work for him, I suggest that you get a copy of "Dealing With People You Can't Stand" -- it has some good advice I wish I'd seen when I first started working with this guy. Also, I would recommend that you document everything you're doing and make sure that your version of events is communicated widely to key decision makers in your organization (because this guy will communicate his version of events). You don't want to shade things, but you do want to make sure the record is accurate. You probably also want to work your butt off so that there is no question of your competence or dedication.

Good luck -- I don't envy you...

(In my case, it all turned out for the best. I got a severance package of 9 months salary from my past employer, got a new job within 2 weeks of being laid off, have more responsibility with my current employer, have more earning power, and I work with decent people who aren't jerks. But, I also know that I'm very lucky...)

elmay
Thursday, April 22, 2004

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