To summarize, I started at a company I interned with (at will state, US), new manager turned out to be comically bad. Not sure how to get out of the situation.

I have recently started full time at a company I had a great time with as an intern and thought the culture would be a perfect fit. It was laid back, my manager was a great mentor and I was encouraged to take initiative or learn about higher level aspects of the team's operations without any micromanagement to be stressed about.

The team was restructured into two sub-teams and I was hired under a different manager, which did not seem like an issue at the time since it was still the same team. Well, I was wrong. To list just a few things about my new manager:

  • Extremely micromanaging and refuses to leave any initiative and tries to hold absolute control over higher level aspects of the projects.
  • On that note, only gives out tasks under the same project in 30 min - 2 hour crumbs and does not release further details until he is satisfied with those parts.
  • Not a good mentor. Unhelpful with any issues that come up, extremely unclear about expectations and disparages people for not meeting them.
  • Likely not fit to lead in the first place. Had 10+ years of experience in a rather narrow developer position in a different company before being hired here and does not seem like he actually understands high level aspects of the business to guide people. To the point he can usually only explain things by writing pseudocode and I have never seen an instance of him offering guidance beyond writing code snippets to use or rewording and deflecting the questions people ask.
  • Absurdly rigid with schedules. Before the restructuring, people worked 8 hours including lunch. No more paid lunches and his expectation is for people to factor in the 10 mins it takes to get food to eat at their desks now. I have been threatened for leaving 3 mins early one day even though I worked 45 hours that week (exempt of course).
  • Not very trustworthy. Often talks about working on projects using tools that were not even in existence at the time he claimed to have worked with them. Also gaslights and displays at least somewhat abusive behavior.

I am convinced I need to get out of here as soon as possible but I am not sure how to go about it. A few ways I can see:

  • Address the issue with old manager in other subteam and/or the VP. I am worried this will come across as whining especially with the rapport between my manager and the rest of the management versus my standing as a newbie.
  • Shadow someone I have a good relationship under a similar team in different department and switch there. Not sure how to do it without raising suspicions or putting myself in a bad spot.
  • Aggressively look for a new position at a different company. I am not exactly in shape and I do not want to take a downgrade as far as my position goes because of this.
  • Commit to getting in shape as far as interview skills go and work on some open source while learning at work. Sounds like the best option except I am concerned I am not going to be learning much in the near future. Also I do not really want to suffer through a year of working in my current situation.
  • 1
    Country would be relevant. It might illegal curtailing lunch breaks. It might be worthy suffering a downgrade to get out of Gestapo control, once in a while you have to take one step backward to move two steps forward. Over time, I learned to value that. My biggest mistakes where not knowing when to leave a job. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 23:45
  • 1
    Welcome to The Workplace -- can you ask a more targeted question than "Advice on...."? You are presenting information here but not really asking anything in the content of the question itself.
    – mcknz
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 4:42
  • Is this software related? One of the most common question on this site is: "I'm a new inexperienced programmer, and I'm shocked!, shocked! to learn that software engineering is a shambles." The situation you describe sound utterly normal in software.
    – Fattie
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


Understand something, first. Your old manager liked you, and he saw potential in you. He went to bat for you with the VP. That's why you got hired after interning.

THEY WANT YOU TO DO WELL. Interviewing and hiring people is EXPENSIVE. They've paid that cost once already, with you, and they would probably MUCH rather not pay it again because you found it necessary to leave the company to save your sanity.

Go talk with your former manager. Do the best you can to keep it professional, but explain that you and your current boss are not working out, and you feel that it would benefit everyone if they could move you out of your current position and into something that is a better fit.

Odds are good they already know there's a problem, and it isn't just you.

Here's the thing. Worst case scenario: you will have to bone up on your job search and interviewing skills, and find another job at a different company. That's EXACTLY what will happen if you DON'T talk with your old manager.

Good luck!

  • 14
    you and your current boss are not working out I would add that it needs to be phrased that way as well when this conversation happens. So something like, "I work better when given bigger tasks and have a higher level of understanding where a project is going" not "He's an incompetent micromanager". "It's difficult to get clear expectations of work" not "He's not fit to lead".
    – BSMP
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 3:07
  • I'd add: Try asking your second-line manager if there's an adjacent group you could move to. Difficulty of an internal reassignment is proportional to how high in the management chain you have to go to find a common point. Moving to another part of the same project is easy, moving to another project on the same site is harder, changing divisions is harder still (though I've done it). All tend to be easier than doing an external job search. Which is one of the advantages of working for a large company, to offset some of the disadvantages.
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 16, 2023 at 13:26

All of the above.

None of these approaches has guaranteed success and they are all reasonable, so I'd cast the net wide and work on all of them.

Approach your former manager: You did a good job describing the issues in this question. Add to this some specific & well documented examples that can't be argued away as "opinion" or "perception." Then go to your ex-boss write something like "Here are some real problems in my current job, this doesn't work for me because of XXX. I really would like to make this work and look like YYY. I really value your opinion: can you give me some advice on how to proceed?" State the facts and your goals but leave the actual answer wide and open ended.

Network, network, network. Inside the company, outside the company. Start looking for new opportunities at every professional interaction.

Start applying and interviewing. Scrounge internal and external job boards, LinkedIn, websites, etc. Pick something quickly, even if its not the ideal fit. A really good way to get in shape for interviewing is to go and do it. You may actually want to start with a few that are not on the top of your list and use them as practice cases. If they work out and you actually get an offer: now that's a good problem to have and it's easy to say "Thanks, but no thanks."

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