HELP! Hubby's Been Stonewalled!

  1. I am so angry I could just spit. And I need some advice. If anyone has any good conflict resolution in the workplace experience, please, chime in. We're at a loss what to do.

    I will try to be as clear about this as possible.

    My hubby Aaron works in Information Systems as a System Analyst - most specifically as a Project Manager, at a Fortune 500 company with excellent benefits, including a very nice pension. He has been with this company for 5 years.

    His current role as the Project Manager is one that has been stressful to him for the last 2 years. Basically, he works within IS and helps to plan, direct, and implement IS related projects. Lately he has been feeling extremely burnt out out in that role, and finally thought it might be time to look for other opportunities - within the company. One of his friends works in a section of IS that had an opening that is more technically based, and certainly not project management. Aaron applied and was offered the position. We thought about it over the weekend, because there are some drawbacks to accepting the position. A few of the key things are:
    1. It requires on-call support; carries a pager and cell phone
    2. Is a "step-down" so to speak because at this company, your chances of being promoted increase when you stay in one place for a long time. So he wouldn't be up for a promotion review for another 2 years, whereas if he stayed in his current role it would be more like 6-9 months.

    One of the good things about it were that he would be working with Tom, one of his buddies. So, he accepted the position.

    What has happened now since then (and he isn't slated to transition until May 1) is that his current manager (a personal friend of ours) and his new, would-be manager, came to an agreement that this new web project, which requires a Project Manager from my husband's old team, would be given to him to do. Basically, Aaron would be working as a Project Manager (which he hated and left the team) in his new role in the new department. Aaron doesn't want to be a Project Manager anymore!

    The worst thing is Aaron found out about this at the bar over a Scotch. There were rumors that this might be happening and it wasn't confirmed until Aaron called a meeting with both managers. Both of them passed the buck and stated that the other manager should have informed Aaron. When Aaron asked why one of the other Project Managers in his old team couldn't take the project, his manager responded that she is short-staffed. I mean, that's like one of us applying for a job in ICU, and accepting the position, only to be told you're really still going to be staffing in the ER, which is where you wanted to get out of! This is a total misrepresentation of the job and I am so angry! And there's nothing Aaron can do to get out of it. If he stays in his current job, he has to do the project. If he goes to the new job May 1, he has to do the project. I told him that he should just stay in his current role and do the damn project (since he has to anyway) and use it to gain a promotion by staying in one place. There's a group party tomorrow night with his manager and project manager team and I don't even feel like going. We usually love going out with them (in fact, we go out routinely and spend weekend trips out with his manager, etc) but I feel like this seriously put a dent in our friendship. This whole thing on top of being misrepresented, was handled very unprofessionally. Aaron was never consulted, informed, and he didn't find out until it was announced at a Director's Meeting, committing Aaron to the project!

    I am soo upset. What would you do?
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   BadBird
    It seems that Aaron is going to be the project manager now matter which department he is in so if it were me I would stay put so at least he could get the promotion in a shorter time. Of course it is his decision, what does he feel about the situation, does he still want to socialize with the other managers? I don't blame you for being annoyed buy he is a professional and will ultimately come to the right decision for him. Hope it all works out.
  4. by   passing thru
    For starters:
    Why would being up for a promotion in 6-9 months or in 2 years have any influence? Doesn't a promotion mean more responsibility, more stress, increased burn-out?
    It sounds to me like Aaron is saying he wants to step-down.
    Down.
    And you are hearing down.......... but back in management in 6-9 months.
    Does he want to work this kind of job for the next 20-25 years?
    Does he want this kind of stress/life/burn-out for the next " " " ?

    Sounds like life eval time.
  5. by   kids
    Cheez Susy...I have no ideas.
    My husband (in IT) is in a similar situation at work, because of a promotion.
    If it were me, I wouldn't be able to go out with "them" while things are so fresh.
  6. by   Q.
    Originally posted by passing thru
    For starters:
    Why would being up for a promotion in 6-9 months or in 2 years have any influence? Doesn't a promotion mean more responsibility, more stress, increased burn-out?
    Not at this company, no.
    A promotion there simply means you are titled something else, and then given a huge pay increase as a result. For example: he is currently titled as an Senior Systems Analyst. A promotion from that would be a Systems Coordinator. Sort of like a clinical ladder for nursing. You usually do the same thing, but you are a level 4 RN, or whatever.

    In Aaron's current team, he is the only Senior Analyst. The others are either Coordinators or outside contractors.
    Last edit by Susy K on Apr 10, '03
  7. by   SKM-NURSIEPOOH
    i do understand aaron & your positions about this...i really do!

    i have some questions though...the other project manager...the female one...how can she get out of doing the project & aaron has to do it without fail? how long has she been a project manager & do they go by seniority?

    like big bird said...aaron should remain in his present position...since he *has* to do the project & make the most out of it (monetarily speaking that is). why should he step-down & make less money, but will have the same amount of stress/aggravation?

    there is a third option...aaron could look for someone else to work for...sometimes a different environment may make all the difference. i'm sure he would have no problems landing another position with his credentials.

    cheers!
    moe
  8. by   Mimi Wheeze
    originally posted by skm-nursiepooh
    i do understand aaron & your positions about this...i really do!

    i have some questions though...the other project manager...the female one...how can she get out of doing the project & aaron has to do it without fail? how long has she been a project manager & do they go by seniority?

    like big bird said...aaron should remain in his present position...since he *has* to do the project & make the most out of it (monetarily speaking that is). why should he step-down & make less money, but will have the same amount of stress/aggravation?

    there is a third option...aaron could look for someone else to work for...sometimes a different environment may make all the difference. i'm sure he would have no problems landing another position with his credentials.

    i agree with moe. either stay in current job and make better money, or go elsewhere.

    i would be so pizzed at those "friends" in management. i wouldn't go out with them, either. sometimes it's a bad idea to be good friends with people who are your higher ups. it's a shame, but it sounds like nobody had the decency to be honest with your husband. who does that to friends?

    cheers!
    moe
  9. by   Mimi Wheeze
    I have no idea what just happened, but the last two paragraphs of Moe's post was written by me. I was attempting to quote Moe and then add comments. How did I manage to screw that up so bad?
  10. by   Stargazer
    Susy, I'm inferring from your post that Aaron is good friends with his current manager; New Manager, not so much. Can't he pull aside Current Manager and ask her what the hell happened here, and what his options are?

    A couple other random thoughts--when he accepted the new position, was there a written job description for that position/title? Did it include a description of Project Manager (PM)-type duties or not? (If it didn't, I think he's got a legitimate bait-and-switch grievance which could be argued with the 2 managers, and as a last resort, with HR.)

    Since the issue seems to be that they don't have anyone with Aaron's equivalent experience to do this project, what if he offered to train and/or supervise someone from either the old or new teams during the project (in order to be a "team player" and "ease things during the transition")?

    If he gets no satisfaction from either of the managers or from HR, I think your advice is right for him to stay in his present position, as it wouldn't benefit him in any way to take the new one. If that ends up being the case, I think he ought to polish up his resume and start very quietly looking at other companies/positions.

    Sorry. That IS sucky.
  11. by   dianah
    Hi Susy K.,

    My sympathies...

    I'm a senior programmer analyst at a major medical center in southeastern California. I manage and develop the enterprise's central interface engine. I've been working in that role and in that kind of position for the same hospital since '84, except for one very short break during a relatively unstable management period, when I took off to get out and smell the roses in the big-money consulting end of IS/IT. It only took a few months for me to realize that I liked it better at the hospital, no matter what the difference in pay -- some things just aren't worth money. I was very pleased when I was told the hospital would like to have me back, and I have never considered leaving since.

    Every once in a while I've thought it might be nice to try management, but then I get cured of this when I go out to lunch with some of the project and/or people managers in my office and hear them talk about the pressure that is put on them by upper management. Then I realize that I'm where I belong.

    My observation is that if you do want stability and you don't want stress in IS/IT, don't get into any form of management, be it project, people, whatever. Stay with the technical end of things. I learned that pretty early in my career by watching my friends try to climb the ladder, and inevitably watching them fall, push, or get pushed off... And for the one or two who actually did make it up the ladder, they were gone within a few years anyway.

    If you want stability in IS/IT, get good at a unique skill area and stay with it. Your employer will appreciate your expertise, dedication and the stability that you provide to the enterprise. They will probably also appreciate that you aren't always clamoring for your manager's job.

    If I were your hubby and absolutely could not make my way back into technical work, I'd probably end up quitting and going to another firm where I could do exactly that. If your hubby's current company really wants to keep him, they will make him an offer he cannot refuse. If they don't, it is probably better for him to go anyway. Experience with other companies will improve his skills and resume anyway.

    Best of luck with this...

    dh's DH
    (yeah, that's dianah's hubby -- I could never post like that!! -- D)
  12. by   Q.
    Originally posted by Stargazer
    Susy, I'm inferring from your post that Aaron is good friends with his current manager; New Manager, not so much. Can't he pull aside Current Manager and ask her what the hell happened here, and what his options are?
    Yes, we are good friends with his current manager. You would think he could ask her and have her level with him, but not really. There's also more to the story.
    When the project was first presented to Aaron's group, Chris (his manager) was going to assign it another peer of Aaron's, but then decided NOT to because it "wasn't a career builder." So what the hell does THAT mean? It's okay for Aaron but not for his peers?
    A couple other random thoughts--when he accepted the new position, was there a written job description for that position/title? Did it include a description of Project Manager (PM)-type duties or not?
    Nope. Not at all.

    I'm just so sick of this bullcrap. On top of that, I get an email from my old employer regarding the Health & Safety nurse position I applied for (which asked for an LPN or an RN) and my old manager said she preferred an LPN since she didn't think it would be challenging enough. Hello?! The ad said an RN would be considered! I urged her to please consider me again and argued why I felt I would be satisfied in the position.

    Arrghh. I'm so disgusted with employers.
  13. by   kids
    Originally posted by Susy K
    ...Arrghh. I'm so disgusted with employers.
    Me too!

    I finally filled out the "exit interview" form for my last job (that I left in January) today...took me 4 extra pages to document the BS going on there.
  14. by   Sleepyeyes
    Sagging economy, less jobs, more BS.

    I think they figure they've got him by the youknowwhats.

    Time for some deft negotiation skills and a CYA couple of discreet inquiries to some other companies. This might be a good thing when a job starts to give you a lotta grays.

    good luck, however it's handled.

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