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dis-improving

I have about 10 years of programming experience and have been at this job for 3 years. The first 2 years my performance reviews were very good and my manager didn't seem to have any problems with me. There were never any major complaints about anything I did.
Last year he was promoted and his responisbilities greatly increased. He didn't pay much attention to me, but I mostly knew what I was suppsed to be doing and just continued working as usual.
A couple of months ago, out of nowhere, he had a private meeting with me and said he was not satisfied with my work. It was a complete shock. I asked why my reviews had been good, and he said it was to justify having hired me. I reminded him that most of my projects had gone well and that I seldom made mistakes. He mentioned very minor things as evidence that I am no good. I asked if he was trying to get rid of me so he could hire someone he thinks is better, and he said no. I asked why he wants me to stay if I'm no good, and his answer was that our department does not like to fire people.
Since then, I have been trying to make sense of this. This manager is very tempermental, and was probably just having a bad day and needed to take it out on someone. Maybe his boss had yelled at him for something and he needed a scapegoat.
I am absolutely certain that I get better every year. It's absurb to think I was good a year ago and now I'm no good.
Maybe I'm taking this all to seriously, but now I hate going to work. I expect him to start raging at me over nothing. The only positive is that most of the time he has other priorities and doesn't even know what I'm doing.
Does this sound like something that might blow over? Or could something have happened I don't know anything about that made him suddenly turn against me?
A little more background: what set him off was a mistake that I made. However it was not a big deal considering I seldom make mistakes. He has done the same kind of thing himself. But he took it as evidence that I am stupid and no good. I told him that I'm always careful and don't usually forget anything -- his answer was that I'm too careful and that's why my projects take too long. However, my projects do not take too long. He paid no attention to what I did all year, so had no way to judge.
Finally, I want to say that I know I am an intelligent person with a good understanding of software development. He told me (with no evidence to back up his statement) that my understanding is  no good. This was after 3 years of him never saying anything like that to me.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Monster.com

Greg Hurlman
Sunday, July 11, 2004

In management circles, there's a name for this - 'managing out'. You need to get the head count down, or get rid of someone you don't want there (it can be for many reasons - you could be the world's greatest coder, but if you don't get on well with the rest of the team, or you rub too many senior managers' backs up the wrong way, you'll still get earmarked for the chop), but you can't fire them outright (either for legal or political reasons).

I don't know how it works in the US in 'at will' states, but in countries with a modicum of employment protection law it's usually illegal to take actions which could reasonably (in the opinion of a tribunal) cause an employee to resign - it's called 'constructive dismissal'. So managers have invented more subtle ways of getting people to quit.

I can't say whether or not this applies in your case, but believe me, it's not unusual. Job performance and productivity are not the only metrics on which you will be judged in a given position. Most managers would rather have a team of mediocre but cooperative team players than a few fractious superstars.

Again, YMMV, but to me this sounds like a classic demotivating manouevre.

Neil Hewitt
Sunday, July 11, 2004

As far as I know, I get along with everyone. My reviews specifically said that I'm easy-going and always pleasant to work with. I don't have any enemies that I know of. Of course things could have happened I don't know about.
One fact I didn't mention -- my manager's goal was to get me to increase my hours. I was a special case because I had requested less than 40 hours (with decreased pay) and got it. He said I have to go back to 40 hours because things aren't going fast enough.
(Never mind my reasons for wanting shorter hours and less pay).
I agreed to go back to 40 hours (with more $ of course). He knows I am not happy about this. Maybe this is part of his plan to get rid of me.
If he is using subtle methods to get rid of me, I will not be able to tolerate that for long. It's torture. I need to find out what his real motive is.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Alternatively, he's floundering in his new role, has just been dumped on by *his* boss, and needs a scape-goat, even if it's only to satisfy himself that he isn't to blame for the under-performance of his department.

Part of this is your fault. You say he couldn't comment properly on your performance, because he doesn't know what you're up to. Big mistake - it's your job to keep him informed, even if he doesn't seem interested, and doesn't explicitly list that as one of your duties.

The other potential problem is that the stuff you are working on, while well done and on time, may not be aligned with his own priorities. A lot of this can be about perception more than reality. Google for Managing Your Manager etc.

Where to go from here. Be proactive. Arrange a meeting to clear the air. There's no point being confrontational and arguing that he's wrong about your performance (even if he is.). Actions speak louder than words. Treat this as a "I need your input to improve" meeting. Agree short term goals he wants you to work on. Have regular (at least fortnightly) status meetings to keep track of things and agree what you should be working on next.

Now, if his reaction to the above is still very negative and unaccommodating, than you know there's something more Machiavellian going on than poor perception of your abilities.

MugsGame
Sunday, July 11, 2004

His priorities were definitely elsewhere, and he admits to being spread too thin. He may have been criticized regarding my last project taking too long -- there was a hardware problem (not my fault or responsibility) holding it up. He was too out of touch to know who was responsible for what.
I send him emails about what I'm working on, and always have. I think he was out of touch anyway, and under a lot of stress. He was promoted to being in charge of IT for the entire organization. This means I really don't have a manager anymore. I did have a talk with him, by the way, and tried to calmly explain my point of view. He seemed to understand parts of it. He admits there will have to be someone under him to manage the group I am in, and he knows it's too much for him.
So it is possible that things will improve, and I will likely have a different manager anyway. Yes, of course I am looking for a different job, but would rather not re-locate at this time. I want to give it a chance. On the other hand I do not want to stay around just to be someone's scapegoat.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Right now at current job, my boss is pulling things like this. I am not too worried about job security because the director seems pleased with me, and I am assured that the manager has pulled this on everyone.

Maybe it is a perverse motivational technique. I am in fact working harder and I believe better since he started in on me.

dot for this one
Sunday, July 11, 2004

First of all, a phenomenon I'm considering writing an essay on - the "it's obvious" effect in human nature. Your manager has assumed that your responsibilities should be obvious to you, and if you're not doing what he thinks you should be doing, then you're "not cut out" for the job.
He may have even said "if you're not sure what to do, come see me." The only problem is that you don't know that you're not doing what he wants you to, so you don't know to go see him.

The only solution is to propose weekly or bi-weekly status meetings. Go prepared with a one-page summary of what you've done, what you're doing, timeframes, schedules, etc. Leave your ego at the door, because he's likely to rip you apart (esp. at the beginning). But it gives you a short-term feedback loop.

BTW, "My reviews specifically said that I'm easy-going and always pleasant to work with" - that's what I write when I can't think of anything else to put. Unless it's at the end of three pages of praise and gushing about all the stuff you've done, then it's a warning sign.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, July 11, 2004

It seems like you need to first verify how your boss really feels about your performance. And, if it's generally positive, make sure that the documented record (emails, whatever) reflect this.

Either your boss WAS having a bad day, or he's out to get you. If it's the latter, I'd find ou WHY: not his EXCUSES for getting rid of you, but the real reasons. Perhaps he DOES think you're doing a bad job.  You need to calmly meet with him and find out what he SPECIFICALLY wants from you.

And remember, sometimes a manager will get irrationally mad (out of proportion to what you did wrong) and vent. Then, later, they want to feel like they're not flaky (inconsistent) so they look for ways to validate that irrational anger.

I had a boss that, while I was on vacation, had a lot of difficulty with a project I finished up. I had left incomlete instructions for secretaries to finish up something (my fault, big mistake). He then went over my engineering analysis and recalculated things. There was no one standard way to do this calculation. He chose a different method and claimed my method was used inconsistently. He then went on to "write me up" for lots of other things that he had NEVER mentioned being an issue.

Turns out my only mistake was leaving inadequate instructions for the secretary.  He never appologized.

Eplilogue:  a year or so later, all three of the engineers working for him quit within about a week or two. All for different reasons, but clearly illustrates none of us WANTED to stay there.

Mr. Analogy
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Start a diary. Keep it at home. Make copies of memos. Keep them at home. Get your resume up to date.

Your boss appears to be trying to get rid of you. If you are older, like mid 30s or later, you may be experiencing the rampant age discrimination in this industry. People 35 and over tend to find it takes 6+ months to find a new job in software or engineering (while NSF and others claim there is a shortage of engineers, scientists and programmers).

He might be wanting you to leave, he might be having trouble at home and is taking it out on the nearest compatible target. I would not hold out much hope in determinining what his motivation really is.

Brought to you by the letters C, Y and A.

Peter
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Bosses are just fallible human beings and become irrational like anyone else. The problem is they can easily blame a subordinate and get away with it. My manager's boss knows nothing about what I do and would not be able to understand it anyway. So my manager can say "The project took too long because Loser is not a good developer. He seemed to be ok the first 2 years but has not progressed as expected." Instead of saying "The project took too long because I forgot to order the hardware and Loser had to wait an extra 2 weeks."
He probably realized afterwards he had been a jerk and felt guilty about it. But feeling guilty often makes people even angrier at whoever it was they mistreated. I don't know if I should:

a) just hang on and wait until I get a new manager.
b) look for chances to make him aware that he was wrong to say I'm no good.
c) work harder and do a better job and hope someone notices.
d) get out before it gets worse.

By the way, I will need a reference from this guy if I leave.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

[My reviews specifically said that I'm easy-going and always pleasant to work with" - that's what I write when I can't think of anything else to put. Unless it's at the end of three pages of praise and gushing about all the stuff you've done, then it's a warning sign.]

It wasn't the only good thing on my review. I did take it as a bad sign because "easy-going" can be interpreted as passive and not very motivated. However, it does suggest that he's not trying to get rid of me because I'm hard to get along with.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

There's a great scene in an episode of The Simpsons where Montgomery Burns yells at Don Mattingly for not trimming his sideburns. So Mattingly trims them, and it's still not good enough. Eventually, he trims all the way around his head only to get fired by Burns for not trimming.

The allegory here is that sometimes you can follow directions pefectly but if you're doing it for someone who is crazy it doesn't matter what happens. Perception is reality sometimes.

Without knowing more about your situation I'd take this occurence as a sign of bad things to come, and begin either getting out of there of staking your ground. Whatever happens, good luck.

Yoey
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Once again, "Office Space" covers this work situation:

Yeahhhh, I'm gonna need you to move your desk downstairs... we need to store some more boxes in here.

example
Sunday, July 11, 2004

" ... said he was not satisfied with my work. ... Does this sound like something that might blow over?"

The thing is that criticism (e.g. "you are bad") is unproductive and tells you nothing.

Instead of criticism, you want to receive "specific, positive requests". For example, instead of "you're a messy boy" it's better to get "tidy your room before I see it". It can get more specific: "put your dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, make your bed and put your books and toys back on their shelves whenever you finish them, each time before you leave your bedroom."

Note that the above example is 'specific' (exactly *what* to do), and it's positive (it's asking you to *do* something like "tidy", rather than asking you to *not do* something like "don't be messy").

Perhaps it will blow over: if you start doing what he wants, and you both know that. To do that, you need to know what he wants, which may mean asking for specific, positive requests. You could ask him now ... and/or at a next "performance review", which should include not only a review of past events but also a set of goals for the next period.

> He mentioned very minor things as evidence that I am no good. ... A little more background: what set him off was a mistake that I made. However it was not a big deal considering I seldom make mistakes.

I don't know. I can't speak to his attitude ... but if I'm your boss and point out a mistake to you, it's because I want you to take it seriously. It's not that I want you to cry about it, it's that I'd like you to fix it.

> He has done the same kind of thing himself. But he took it as evidence that I am stupid and no good.

I write bugs occasionally and so do you. It's the *nature* of the bug, and especially the person's response to being told about, that might make me view someone unfavourably.

> I told him that I'm always careful and don't usually forget anything -- his answer was that I'm too careful and that's why my projects take too long. However, my projects do not take too long. He paid no attention to what I did all year, so had no way to judge.

So it sounds like you argued ... he was offensive, you were defensive, then you're counter-attacking ...

... which is not a good cycle to get into.

Shouldn't your goal be to understand and mollify him?

So I think that when you're with him you should accept that he is saying that there's a problem: and the question then is what to do about it.

> He paid no attention to what I did all year, so had no way to judge. ... He told me (with no evidence to back up his statement) that my understanding is  no good.

That might mean that he doesn't understand what you're doing, and you don't understand what he's doing.

When I have a boss I make it my business to tell him what I'm doing, continually. For example:

- for each project, a schedule (in so far as it's own, as detailed as possible)
- for each week, my to-do list for this week
- for each day or three, a progress/status report

If you never see each other you can at least do that via email. It's best if he gives you feedback: "no, don't do 'A as you're suggesting ... let's skip doing 'A' for now and do 'B' instead".

At least give him the opportunity for feedback: a) because if he doesn't know what you're doing then he has no opportunity to customize what you're doing to his liking; and b) because if he *does* know what you're doing (because you're telling him) and he doesn't feed back then you have his implicit agreement, so that he's sharing with you responsibility for what you're doing ... more of a team effort, less confrontational.

Christopher Wells
Sunday, July 11, 2004

I had always kept him informed of what I was doing. Several things happened that probably got him angry, and most of them were not my fault. But they came together in a way that made him feel I was the cause. For example, a program I wrote was not working and he assumed it was because I could not debug it. Actually it was because of software installed by the system administrator. Another problem was a page on a web site with out of date information, noticed by some one high up. I had done some programming for the web site but I have nothing to do with content. He felt I made him look bad because my program didn't work and the web site I had worked on had some incorrect content. Afterwards, I'm sure he realized how irrational that was. When the software was changed my program started to work again. And I explained to him I am not familiar with the content of the web sites, and he agreed that I was unlikely to notice a page being out of date. Especially since the content people had proof-read the sites and told me all the content was correct.
I really think he needed a scapegoat and there I was. I think it might be possible to turn this around, but it will be difficult to say the least. His ego wants him to see me as incompetent, even if his intellect knows I'm not.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

> The problem is they can easily blame a subordinate and get away with it.

I've seen that.

> My manager's boss knows nothing about what I do and would not be able to understand it anyway.

That's not good.  You need to say what you're doing using language he understands.

Is this your manager, or your manager's boss, you're talking about? In the latter case, your direct manager should be in the loop.

> Instead of saying "The project took too long because I forgot to order the hardware and Loser had to wait an extra 2 weeks."

By the way that would (and has in the past) showed up in all three of the kinds of emails that I send:

1) Project schedule: "Testing (after hardware is delivered)"
2) Weekly to-do list: "Cannot test this week because still waiting for hardware, therefore doing X and Y instead"
3) Semi-weekly status report: "- Testing (stalled: waiting for hardware)"

I'd also have asked him when the hardware will be delivered ... and asked him again if that day comes and it hasn't been delivered yet.

> look for chances to make him aware that he was wrong

Doing that isn't calculated to make him feel good about himself and his relationship with you ... it's "negative".

Better to be "positive", e.g. "make him feel that any troubles he may have had with you in the past are now behind you both, and that the two of you are working well together."

> work harder

I'm saying it might just be a matter of *communicating* more "effectively" (and/or more frequently).

Christopher Wells
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Christopher,
You are assuming, on every point, that I neglected to do something obvious. I think it's possible that I did everything more or less the way I should have. Sometimes crazy things happen. People naturally assume that when something lousy happens the person somehow deserved it. That's because you don't want to think lousy things can happen to you for absolutely no reason, no matter how hard you try to cover all the bases. You can't cover all the bases anyway.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

I think this is just bad treatment in general.  It's one thing for a manager to have specific problems with you and act to address them.  But to just ascribe frustration/a generally bad disposition towards you, is setting you up for failure.

Basically I don't think there's much you can do to change people once they adopt a general attitude towards you (no matter how misplaced), if it's not based in something concrete.  Because they can always set up an infinite number of "hoops" that you have to jump through before they'll change their minds.

There may be something specific he doesn't want to/can't tell you about.  And it's possibly something slimy. 

Or he's just an exceedingly-judgemental asshole, and you're ultimately better off not dealing with him in the long run.  Some managers will take single instances and extrapolate them out to your entire job performance, no matter how little perspective they have on your day-to-day accomplishments. 

Neither implication is good for you.  But it's worth considering that there's a reason why people are known to "schmooze" their way to the top of organizations.  It's basically marketing oneself to assholes who are apt to form broad judgements based on single interactions.

indeed
Sunday, July 11, 2004

One word:

Status Reports

OK, that's two.  Two words.  Always send a weekly status report, whether required or not.  ALWAYS.

It has many benefits, but one is that NO ONE can say they do not know what you are doing.  Like Peter said "keep a diary", but status reports make that diary public.

hoser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Huh, Loser is almost "hoser".  Imagine that...

hoser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

I don't think weekly status reports, in and of themselves, work.  Not in the CYA sense, at least.

Because managers can always say "I didn't have time to read it/you didn't write it so I could understand it/etc."  And possibly this will come after weeks or months of flagrantly ignoring your reports.

Been there, done that.  Basically as a technical person, you have to actively manage your relationship with your superiors.  That means more than status reports; it may entail a lion's share of "schmoozing."

And this is really to ensure the bare minimum of collegiality/respect.  All while getting your actual work done.  It's great, eh? :)

There's a reason why technical work can suck politically.  You're on the bottom, and there's no established comaraderie that ties you to the company.

indeed
Sunday, July 11, 2004

> You are assuming, on every point, that I neglected to do something obvious.

"Loser", I'm sorry it's coming across that way. Here are my axioms FYI:

1) You can't change other people; you can only change yourself.

2) If you don't like a personal relationship, you can change it (by changing what you're doing or saying), or put up with it, or leave it.

3) Your posting here was an attempt to gain insight (from other people) as to how to improve your relationship.

4) I don't know you. I only know me.

5) I'm not in your situation (for example my boss knows what I'm doing, even though I work off-site as part of a "virtual team", and he's not a developer); and I know what *I* do to attempt to avoid being in the situation that I imagined from your description.

And, therefore, I described what I do. My post (from my point of view) was about me (not about you). I hoped you might find it useful. If you didn't, I can only be sorry.

> Sometimes crazy things happen.

Yes, I know that.

> People naturally assume that when something lousy happens the person somehow deserved it.

It can feel that way. I'd categorize his "raging" and telling you that you're "stupid and no good" as abuse: there's no excuse for it on his part, and I don't believe that you deserve to be treated that way. What I did want is for you to find a way to avoid it.

> That's because you don't want to think lousy things can happen to you for absolutely no reason, no matter how hard you try to cover all the bases.

The things that you can't do anything about are the things that aren't worth worrying about.

> By the way, I will need a reference from this guy if I leave.

I know that some people who fell afoul of our boss at my former company used references from congenial peers instead.

Christopher Wells
Sunday, July 11, 2004

There is no chance to schmooze. My manager is too busy and important for small talk.

You know what's strange? Before he was promoted he acted busy and important all the time. Now there is NO ONE doing his former job! So he was just pretending to be busy half the time.

My group doesn't have meetings anymore because Big Shot is tied up with higher priority groups. I work alone and I feel this is damaging to my image, since people can forget I exist.

I realize some of you here are hoping I'll get suicidal over this. But as I keep saying, there is a good chance I will get a new manager.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

^

Well, don't come here expecting comisseration.  As has been pointed out, techies are loathe to feel any mutuality towards each other, except insofaras "propellerhead"-type allegiances (Microsoft sucks, Linux rules, etc.) are concerned.

Frankly this guy just sounds like your typical type-A nutcase who expects everyone to see things from his perspective, but can never do the same for others.

indeed
Sunday, July 11, 2004

> I realize some of you here are hoping I'll get suicidal over this

I would really, really hope you don't actually think that. Perhaps there may be a little too much cynicism floating about, but then that's pretty common in any group of techies. Most of us will have been there, seen that before.

> You know what's strange? Before he was promoted he acted busy and important all the time. Now there is NO ONE doing his former job! So he was just pretending to be busy half the time.

Yup. Been there. Done that. I once spent six months with almost nothing to do. But boy, did it look like I was busy. This was in the depths of the slump and I wasn't about to lose my job just because senior management were sitting on all my projects.

> My group doesn't have meetings anymore because Big Shot is tied up with higher priority groups. I work alone and I feel this is damaging to my image, since people can forget I exist.

Assuming you are allowed to manage your own time to some extent, be proactive and set up team meetings yourself. If your manager won't do his job (and this *is* his job, busy or not) and that makes yours untenable, then take the initiative and show you can work without him. This never fails to impress the higher-ups, and makes you look good if/when it comes to conflict between you and him. It'll also give you a leadership position within the team, and make you look like a natural choice to manage them when the time comes.

FWIW, I'm a manager, and in my experience the great majority of problems with expectations not being met are down to communication. Failure on my part to explain properly to staff what I expect from them, and failure on their part to tell me when they don't understand what the hell I'm going on about. Most times, they just slink off to bitch about me with their peers (as I do relative to my own managers). This may make us all feel better, but it doesn't achieve anything.

If this guy is truly scapegoating you when he's aware that there were reasons outside your control for the failure, then he must be in a position where he's unable, politically, to blame the true culprit (or to take the blame if that was him). This means he's backed into a corner. Managers in this position are always bad news. In that situation, my advice to you is to write down everything that happens, save relevant emails (somewhere where they can't 'vanish'), and prepare to go over his head if needs be. If you allow the blame for something that wasn't your fault to be officially tagged on you, you can't ever go back in time and undo it.

Your company almost certainly has an employee manual with details of all your various rights and responsibilities. Read it, and know exactly what your rights are.

If you getting a new manager is imminent, then by all means wait and see what happens. But remember that your new manager will be appointed by your old manager, and will be instilled with all his prejudices on day 1. You'll have to get in nice and early and show that you are pivotal to the success of your team. Hearts and minds are half the battle.

Neil Hewitt
Sunday, July 11, 2004

Are people really this close-minded? I would certainly revise my opinion of someone given new evidence. And if they told me I had misjudged them I hope I would have the sense to at least give them a chance to prove it.
I am going to send Big Shot a list of everything I did for the past year, pointing out that most projects were done quickly and without problems. I have a review soon anyway, and I'll just say I'm sending it in early.

As for expecting sympathy here -- no I didn't. I expected most to assume I did something to deserve it. I'm getting a hint of how it might feel to be convicted of a crime you never did. Everyone assumes you must have done it, or if you didn't yet you would have liked to. If my boss thinks I'm no good, well there must be something to it. I feel that my co-workers don't believe me, even though they knew me for 3 years, and they know exactly what kind of type A madman this guy is.

Loser
Sunday, July 11, 2004

It sounds like you have a weak personality.  If I were your boss, I would flog your ass daily.

the real world
Sunday, July 11, 2004

It is obvious bad and unfair treatment, I know how you feel.

Don't take these things personally, your boss's opinion of you is no reflection on your coding skills, self-worth, or anything else. It most likely means that he is just being a jerk. Deal with it.

Just do the best you can and do not focus on things you can't control, like your boss. Stay cool and keep improving your skills so you can quit when you're fed up.

robtwister
Monday, July 12, 2004

Interesting discussion, and good advice. Let me try to add a perspective from the "other side." The manager has been promoted to his position with no one to take his old work, so in theory, he is now doing two full time jobs (in practice, maybe one and a half - but that is still too much!). Take it as a given that he is short of time.

In this situation, what a manager wants from an employee is maximum output for minimum time and attention and above all, NO PROBLEMS (problems take more time to resolve). This means a few things:

- biweekly status meetings would be very good but may not be obtainable. Still, you need to get some input as to what you are supposed to do. Maybe a weekly or biweekly, strictly time-limited (start it a couple of hours before quitting time) all hands meeting - then the manager has everybody out of his hair, not just "special you." If everyone works to the time constraint then it should be possible to find that amount of time.

- you have to manage for your manager. Don't assume that something that you need and he should provide is his job and not your problem. You have just seen: if it goes wrong it IS your problem. Help him manage his work. Go to him with papers ready to sign. If there is a roadblock, go to him and talk about it. Don't let him run into trouble that you have foreseen! I HATE employees who send me, buried somewhere in the middle of an illegible pile of black ink, a note that they won't be able to do anything for the next three weeks unless I immediately do x, y and z (and they waited until the last moment to tell me and their idea of a solution is bullshit). I'm not saying you did that; someone else did. Offer to follow up yourself with whoever else needs to do something about it, copying or updating him. That way he can see how you get things done. Much better than you shrugging your shoulders waiting for him to do something that he doesn't have on his radar screen. Do you want to get a manager's salary at some point? Show that you can earn it.

- the last thing your manager has time for is to closely investigate what exactly went wrong if something does go wrong. The first thing that comes to my mind in such a situation is not "who exactly is to blame for that then?" - it is "bloody hell, I don't need this now!" and "how can we get this out of my face as quickly as possible." So if something went wrong somewhere else, quickly support your manager with a short, rational, unemotional explanation of what exactly did go wrong and if possible, how you propose to prevent recurrence. Even better, talk to a few people, do a couple of things, fix it and tell him about it then.

It is a sad fact that people management not performed doesn't blow up in a manager's face immediately - not as much as missing deadlines, being ill-prepared for a presentation or discussion, etc. So it tends to get the short end in a pinch, and if "pinch" is the permanent situation... well...

Try to be easy to manage (part of the solution, not part of the problem). Your manager will love you for it.

Markus K
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Markus K

Have you read Peopleware by Timothy Lister and Tom
DeMarco? Enlightening reading. It claims that it is a job
(and a single job) of a manager to remove obstacles. Be
your own manager and get off my busy neck does not
play well. You as a manager do not have more important
duties than to handle your developers needs.

Doesnt Matter
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

A good manager would do as described in Peopleware. The environment that the OP finds himself in is different, and he will have to deal with it as best he can.

Markus K
Thursday, July 15, 2004

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