I am a software developer for a large software company. This is my second software job post-college.
A few months ago, after more than six months at the new company, I submitted a disclosure for a web app I was working on on my own time. It was reviewed and approved by legal, but my team manager would not approve it, and said off the books through my project lead that I should wait a few more months before even asking approval for any side projects, effectively making me unable to publish any technical side projects or websites for my first year or more at this at this company, regardless of competition.
When I revisited it recently, I still was not given a guarantee that further projects would be approved after the waiting period, and that when I disclosed I would still have to "justify [to my team manager] why these projects are beneficial to the team." No automatic approval of any projects by my manager, even after a year waiting period and no issue from legal. Word is that other managers at my company wave through side project requests with little concern.
How can I deal with this?
TL;DR: After a year at my second software job, my manager is using his position to indefinitely prevent me from doing any projects on my own time, regardless of legal's stance. I'm told this is not the norm of other managers at my company.