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This is rather long. I'm trying to be thorough, but I hope its not too long.

I am currently employed at a very large, American corporation. I have generally had a good attitude during my tenure here, especially as they gave me a start on my career (I have no college degree, and am self taught, and they trusted me enough to get started). However, my company is going through a massive reorg, and the work for the team where I have been happily working for years is being physically relocated. Due to life circumstances, I was not willing to move.

Trying to avoid being randomly assigned, I jumped ship early to another team with a manager I previously worked for. He assured me that his team was not moving as a part of the reorg, and he had some pretty interesting work for me (not the usual work of his team) that intrigued me. Well, shortly after switching teams, he discovered that both his team's work and he himself are moving. So, the work he had planned for me was no longer an option, as it would require probably at least 9 months to accomplish... so for the last several months, I've been working on refactoring the codebase of a test automation team. Shortly after finding that this new team was also moving and my project would not exist, another manager (who I will call Bob), who was previously my coworker, expressed interest in me joining his team when the reorg was realized. I also wanted to work there, as the work was relevant and challenging, and we (thought we) talked to the necessary people to make it happen.

Partially as a result of being on a test automation team at the time the reorg movement triggered, and partly due to either negligence (not mine) or politics, I was assigned blindly to another test automation team. I was shocked, because of said previously mentioned agreement with Bob; it seemed to me that if a manager wanted someone, and that employee also wanted to work for that manager, that would be a match they would accept because it was one less placement to work out, and everyone would be happy. But no.

I scheduled a meeting with my future manager, and in that meeting he expressed concerns that he had been deceived -- he interpreted an email recommending my general capacity to be an expression of my expertise in test automation (which I'd been doing for less than 2 months by this time). He also had never heard of any such arrangement with Bob. I tried to express that I didn't feel like I would be a good fit, without being offensive. A couple days later, Bob sent him an email, expressing concern that I might "look for other opportunities" if the work wasn't a good fit, and that maybe they could talk further. (He did this with my permission). Short version, it was brushed off, with a comment like "time will tell whether its a poor fit."

I have looked specifically at the work of my assigned future team, and it is shockingly bad. I have no desire to work on this team, as I want to continue to grow and challenge myself, so "fixing their problems" is not a good fit for me. I already have several final interviews done, with the possibility of multiple offers (outside my current company).

How can I phrase my request to my future manager that his team's work is unacceptable to me, that I have no desire to be the repairman for his team, and that I feel mistreated and will leave the company if I'm not allowed to go to Bob's team? If he does not decide to listen, however, I don't want to burn my bridges here -- I may want to come back in the future. This is not (necessarily) his fault, but he is the one with the power to let me move.

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    Does the future manager have the authority to reassign you to Bob's team? Aside from not burning bridges what are you hoping to accomplish by writing/speaking to him? – AffableAmbler Jul 4 '18 at 0:19
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    There is a 1 year incumbency period. Managerial permission is required to leave inside this period. So he would be able to permit me to move to another team, assuming the manager there wants me (which they do). Aside from that, he was also a member of the board that made the assignments. – Keozon Jul 4 '18 at 0:29
  • I would hope to convince him to allow me to join Bob's team, as that would, in my opinion, be the best for me and the company: my skills would be better utilized and I'd be advancing my career. Otherwise, I don't intend to stay. However, if it does lead to me leaving, I would prefer to leave the door open to return. I'll try to make these things clearer in the main question. – Keozon Jul 4 '18 at 0:34
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You risk looking high maintenance. I don't expect to tell my employer which programmes I wish to work on. Instead, management does the headcount forecast, and I get assigned to whichever project needs more people.

Sometimes I end up on a fun programme. Sometimes it's not. That's just part of being an employee in a large organisation.

  • And a re-org is a particularly bad time to look high maintenance. Senior management will have factored in some degree of attrition into the re-org plan and they won't be begging you to stay, regardless of what Bob says.And being seen as someone who flounces out when they don't get the project they want will inevitably be a barrier to coming back. – Julia Hayward Jul 4 '18 at 5:57
  • While it may be seen that way by some, asking for previous (verbal?) agreements to be honoured shouldn't count as "high maintenance". We all only get one life and one career, and while unexciting work is inevitably a part of any job, wanting to minimize it - when that's already been discussed and arranged - ought not be something that's looked down on. – BittermanAndy Jul 4 '18 at 11:27
  • There are reasons (that I don't think are particularly relevant to the question, so I omitted them) beyond just the work being boring. As mentioned, I don't have a college degree, and while most places will overlook that with 6 years of experience, not all will. And test automation (or test roles and teams in general) is stereotypically seen as the place people who can't be real developers are sent. This may not be accurate, but it is frequently the bias. So, being on a test automation team for (at least) a year would potentially really hurt my credibility. – Keozon Jul 4 '18 at 17:38

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