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I am a software developer. That's what I want to do and that is what I did for the last eight years in my current company. I love to write software and when I am not at work I do my own projects at home.

But recently my boss came up with an idea. I should take lead of our 1st level support team. Not full time but two days a week. I don't like this idea but from his point of view I am the perfect choice. I am twice as old as the support guys and much more experienced in dealing with customers. Also I know our products very well. No one else in our company could do this job as good as I can and even the people in the sales department are very happy I take care of this. But I don't want this job and somehow it feels like a "degradation" for me.

What my boss refuse to understand: Leading the support department is not a two days job only. Even on my "development days" the guys come to me with questions and stuff I need to verify. As many of you know constant distractions are the nightmare of any developer. Also when I have to call a customer it is not a single call. Sometimes you have to try up to five times till you finally reach the person you want to talk with. This is not how I want to spend my days and my life!

As you see I am suddenly forced to do a job I hate and I have no idea how to deal with it. I know it's for the best of the company but what about me? Is there anything else I can do but look for another job somewhere else or is there a (maybe slow) way out of this?

EDIT

I know this sounds like a rant. Maybe it does because I am very unhappy with the situation. I am assigned as head of the 1st level support team already and I already had to take the blame when things went wrong.

EDIT

To make things perfectly clear. The job was not offered to me. I was assigned to it. It was like "And from today on you take care of the support team." Without any rise in payment or any other benefit for me.

closed as off-topic by Jim G., GreenMatt, Monica Cellio, IDrinkandIKnowThings, acolyte Aug 27 '13 at 14:55

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking advice on what job to take, what skills to learn, etc. are off-topic as the answers are rarely useful to anyone else." – Jim G., GreenMatt, IDrinkandIKnowThings, acolyte
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I am voting to close because this sounds more like a rant about a person/situation and less a question that will invite answers useful to people in the future. As-is I can only see an answer as, "Tell your boss you don't want to do it" which is hardly something that will be useful to future visitors or to you. At the end of the day, nobody can force you to do a job you don't want to do (you can just refuse to do it), so suggesting that you are forced to do it doesn't seem to make much sense... – jmac Aug 20 '13 at 8:08
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it sounds more like a rant about a person/situation and less a question that will invite answers useful to people in the future. – jmac Aug 20 '13 at 8:09
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    @jmac: We're still waiting for your close vote. – Jim G. Aug 20 '13 at 23:07
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    @jmac - I guess literally no one can force you to do a job, but the risk of firing is pretty coercive. Programmers like others in specialty jobs get pulled into other duties by managers who don't consider the problems this causes. It's important to be able to deal with that situation. Refusal without reasons that benefit the employer is rarely an answer to any problem. – user8365 Aug 21 '13 at 12:31
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    This question appears to be off-topic because even with the edits it seems like a rant or a complaint rather than a question. I suggest recasting as a question about how to respond to unwanted changes in job scope -- but check for dupes first, because I think we've had that. – Monica Cellio Aug 22 '13 at 22:11
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There are two simple choices to make here, either you accept your new job/position or you don't. My general recommendation would be to accept it but only if you can renegotiate your compensation for doing so.

In my experience when someone higher-up is strongly recommending you to a job you don't want to do, he/she will find a way to make you do that job eventually. It is sort of inevitable. So if you deny the request you'll eventually risk end up doing this anyway, in my own anecdotal case it was through sleazy management tactics, and you will have lost your advantage to negotiate better salary or benefits.

If you accept the job under the premise that you want to renegotiate your compensation, you're in a much better position to get a higher salary or have better benefits (e.g. more vacation days etc.). This is better if you assume that you'll eventually get your new position. It is also a better position for you to move on to another position elsewhere at a later date because you can show progress in your current position (moving from one responsibility to another).

So give it a chance, you might get better paid and you might like it. If you don't; then hey, you've got some more stuff to put in your LinkedIn profile or CV when you search for a new and better position.

3

If you don't take this position, you're probably going to end up answering questions anyway. You and your boss don't agree on this being a two-day job, so make some sort of agreement to track the time spent and reevaluate the situation if it is longer.

Another part of your agreement could be to get the team prepared so this isn't something permanent. I realize you don't want the job at all, but I'm guessing your biggest fear is this being permanent.

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Let's assume you're stuck with this role in the short term. I think there are some things you can do to make it easier to live with. Some of it would fit better in Productivity SE!

  1. As far as possible, arrange a specific time for a customer call via email so you're not calling multiple times. The customer will likely also appreciate this. Alternatively: have one of the analysts call. If they connect, they can transfer the call to you.

  2. By 1st level support, do you mean the run-of-the-mill questions or the escalated/complex issues? You should only be handling the latter personally. If the former, see about escalating the calls to 2nd level support.

  3. Connected to (2), if they don't exist yet, start publishing more FAQs, canned responses, etc. to reduce the number of calls that must be reviewed or handled by you.

  4. Particularly on developer days, set up specific times when you will review/sign off on support issues. Try also to have one person collate the information and present it to minimize the disruption.

  5. Finally, see if there is anyone that you can train to take over this role or even specific duties. You may need to convince your manager that this person or persons should have different titles and raises. If you can identify a new team lead or supervisor who can handle some duties, particularly on your developer days, that will make your life much easier.

When trying to get out of this role, try this slant. You should be earning more than the support analysts--the company is wasting money by having you spend time on this rather than developing full-time.

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It's not completely clear whether you are being offered this role, or whether you are being 'given' (i.e. pushed into) this role. That might change the way the options play out but either way in the simplest sense only have two options - you take the role on, or you don't.

Not taking the role is quite straightforward. You tell your boss you don't want to be a manager (a good way to get out of this type of responsibility is to explain that it is very stressful for you during your personal life, e.g. you can't sleep), or you miss your old job etc. You may be able to keep your old job, or if they are forcing you into the new job you may have to leave the company. If you have 8 years of experience you'll be able to find another job - and you probably don't want to work under a boss who forces you into a new role, anyway.

Taking the job is more interesting. Your boss wants you to do something that's outside of your role description and out of the ordinary? You can negotiate terms. The simplest is 'more money', but as you mention the distractions while performing your old role aren't ideal - so ask for your own office (with a door), or to work from home.

There are always options!

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It sounds like a situation where you might be forced to give in or quit.

One thing you might try is saying you need help with the new job. Say it can't be done correctly in two days per week. Ask them to hire/promote someone.

Point out the benefits:

  1. They'll get someone who has enough time to do the work well
  2. You'll be able to help the new person whenever they need it
  3. None of your current or future responsibilities will be left undone
  4. They'll have a someone able to do the job if you get hit by a bus (they just might get the message that you're willing to train your replacement and compromise with you about your current situation)
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Do this job now, but make sure that your boss is aware of that you do now want to do this permanently.

You have to view this from the company's side as well: They need someone experienced in the 1st level support, they may need this person urgent, and you are a perfect fit for it. Help your company, after all you want that your company is running well, right?

Make sure that your coworkers learn from you, so they can do a better job in the future as well and don't need to interrupt you that often.

Show your boss that you are a better fit in the software development position. If you have a lot of other assignments to do now, software development is slowed down now. With lots of interruptions, the quality of the code may goes down. If your company needs you as a software developer as well, you have to show that you can not do this job as well with this new assignment.

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