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Programmers in management

11/28/07 | by Adam | Categories: Whining

Link: http://blog.eod.com/post/18462877

I've always wondered if people had the courage of their convictions to insist on a demotion in order to keep their job. Here's a case.

It also leaves me wondering about the general tendency to define managers as more valuable to a corporation than the talented and experienced employees who report to them. The problem for most people is that typically salary and vacations are linked to company status. Without that extra job grade there's no further reward to simply getting better and more efficient at what you do. So, as the article comments, you end up with the Peter Principle in full effect. On the flip side, people who like ordering others around or are indeed good at selling themselves, regardless of capabilities beyond that, rise and succeed. It seems somewhat unjust.

Disclaimer: this discussion isn't pertinent to my current job but certainly reflects past experiences.

(Via Daring Fireball)



Comment from: dena [Member]  

Someone I once went to school with (and for a short time university) ended up with a similar conundrum but different backlash when he didn’t accept offers to management and stayed in programming…

He started to get negative job evaluations to the effect that he “lacked ambition", among other untrue statements. In actual fact, he is a person of great ambition, just in different areas/directions than his company at the time was pushing him.

Needless to say, he was greatly offended by these evals and talking with his managers at the time did not alleviate the conflict. He loved where he was and wanted to continue to grow in his talents where he was.

He works elsewhere now, and last I heard was happy and doing well. :)

11/28/07 @ 14:19
Comment from: dena [Member]  

PS - too true, Antigone!

Good managers/administrators are worth their weight in gold, and bad ones can utterly destroy the productivity and morale of an organization (along with their own) in very short order.

So how to be a good one? Smart, progressive companies certainly shouldn’t be leaving this so much up to chance… While those folks who are naturally so talented in admin do exist, those who find themselves in managerial positions who aren’t are left to either founder and fail, or struggle to keep up at great personal sacrifice to “hold it all together” while they figure it out (and possibly burn out in the process).

Neither of these (as with having someone who can do the job well but has no liking for that particular kind of work) is a good way to create effective managerial leadership and loyalty within a company.

My school board actually does extensive work in offering its teacher, admin and support employees PD opportunities. These run the gamut from “Professional Improvement Fellowships” where you can apply (hard to get) to get a paid year to take on intensive coursework and study at the university in return for I believe at least three years continued work with the board, to face-to-face workshops and courses, to online coursework (some of which can net you university course credit), to mentoring and coursework and reading based membership in “leadership academies” (for teachers, administrators, and for support staff).

…these “leadership academies” are for the active recruitment of admin/management and development (in advance *and* on the job) of administrative and managerial skills.

True, my school board is *humungous*, and receives government funding as all public and separate boards do.

But they sure have come on board to recognizing the importance of actively developing managerial and leadership skills!

11/28/07 @ 15:14
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