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I was in talks with a company to get hired in a devops role. They mentioned they don't have that role yet but would be interested to establish it, I would be a good candidate, since I have many years of experience in that role. Eventually got hired by hiring manager A, then met also briefly her boss vice president B.

After the usual onboarding, I was invited in several meetings of the engineering related teams to get to know people etc. In a meeting of the QA team, which I was told to work also closely with since they of course also have a stake in deployments, the host of the meeting mentioned, "here is our new hire, Y, which will take over what I have been doing for this QA team, and in the next few weeks we do a handover." News to me.

My hiring manager A was already nowhere to be seen by this time, a few days after onboarding, she was busy with projects unrelated to my devops work and only had time for quick catchups.

I got later informed from a 3rd party that the expectation from vice president B is that I will take over QA, take care of organising their day-to-day work etc. since this QA team recently came under her reign and needs leadership. This was confirmed in writing by B as I asked about it.

My hiring manager A mentioned that this shouldn't concern me too much, just work out a plan how I do it, then vice president B will be happy and I have enough time to take care of stuff I was actually hired for.

Fast forward, I worked with the team a bit, helped them where I can with my skills but lacking domain knowledge, talk to the people in the team, etc. Otherwise I can't imagine creating a plan for people I don't even know what they do.

Not even a month after my first day I had a one on one with vice president B, I wanted to take the chance to mention that I was initially expecting a somewhat different job and wanted to know what the background was of this change. I mentioned that I can take care of the new role it if that's what's needed, just I have some concerns about how well I can perform in a role I have no experience with.

This was not well received, I was seen as somewhat ungrateful that I don't take this chance straight away. It was also mentioned that leading the team of 8 should be kind of a side-job in the coming few weeks, so that I can finally get started with devops work which has according to the VP high priority. I was told to finally produce a proper plan of what I want to do with the team and organise their roadmap for the next 0.5 - 1 year within the next couple of days, otherwise it would be difficult to justify my role to the business.

Now, I feel like I'm already one leg out of the door.

Is there a way to fix the situation? I like the place generally and also can see to take the different role, it's just that I will make mistakes there and the VP already looks like he would get rid of me rather sooner than later even before I started. Also if I can't raise honest concerns with a manager, then I can see this situation happening over and over again where I get pressured for asking troublesome questions. Also it's concerning that my initial job is still expected of me and I'm supposed to bring this under one hat without any senior manager supporting me for this. Hiring manager A is kind of nowhere to be seen anymore.

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    Why not do exactly what you were asked to do by the VP and deliver the roadmap for next year? – Tymoteusz Paul Jun 6 at 9:32
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    Are they asking for a roadmap for the QA teamlead role, or for the DevOps role? – Llewellyn Jun 6 at 17:39
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    @Llewellyn not the OP but sounds like it's for the QA role: OP said "produce a proper plan of what I want to do with the team and organise their roadmap for the next 0.5 - 1 year" (my emphasis) (having just before referred to the QA team of 8 people). – seventyeightist Jun 6 at 19:32
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    So just to clarify: the 'engineering related teams' come under Manager A, who was your hiring manager and who you are supposed to be working for as a DevOps engineer, and Vice President B has engineering (via Mgr A), QA (as of recently - has there been some organisational change??) [and probably other areas] under them. I also infer that there isn't an equivalent of Mgr A for the QA team since they "need leadership". Do you know the history of this situation? Was there a leader for the QA team who has somehow left the company between your interview and start date? I wonder. – seventyeightist Jun 6 at 19:41
  • It seems management were rather ungrateful of your honesty. They should have offered words of support if their company can handle you learning on the job. – Monstar Jun 7 at 16:09
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Before trying to get out of the QA organization task, you need to consider whether management has good alternatives. If there is someone available, not fully engaged in other tasks, who would be better suited than you, you can say "I think Joe would do this better".

If you cannot suggest a better alternative, go for it. Try to make the QA people your allies. It is to their advantage to have a realistic plan, so ask for their advice. If you don't know what they do, ask them.

If you neither suggest an alternative nor do it yourself you risk being seen as too inflexible.

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You ask

Is there a way to fix the situation?

What do you want to do? Managing a team (QA or otherwise) is a very different role from e.g. a dev ops specialist. At the risk of over-simplifying, there are likely 2 ways to "fix" this: crush the new role or find a new job.

Based on "ungrateful" it may be the case that everyone else in the org sees this as a promotion (as others have suggested). From the question it seems like maybe you don't. For context, this is fairly uncommon and a vote of confidence in you as new hire. It's also hard evidence of a communications gap and possibly worse, depending on how QA is perceived in the organization.

Regardless, an appropriate tone/approach might include some or all of:

  • Thank you for trusting me to take on this role
  • Is there anyone who can mentor me on the QA domain? Resources?
  • Is there anyone who can mentor me on managing? Resources? (if needed)
  • Looking forward to this! (only if true)
  • Will do my best (only if true)

It's OK to want to do this new role. If you do then digging in and doing your level best is a great approach. Ask for help, mentors, etc. and invest in growing yourself in this way.

It's OK to not want to do this new role. If you don't it's probably time to start looking for your next role/company. There's not enough context here to understand realistic options within this company. However, taking it all as written why would you want to stay there? Your manager is shaping up to be weak at best, possibly untrustworthy. Their manager seems entirely self-focused, another bad sign. What exactly is good here?

This brings us to question #2:

What happened? Are you purely a victim of circumstance/mislead (intentionally or otherwise)? Were there any hints (in retrospect) you missed during interviews? It may be helpful to reflect on this to avoid a repeat.

I hope this works out one way or another. We're rooting for you.

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I am working in a devops position as well.

Devops is a very "broad" field and can be understood very differently according to where you work. From what you mentions (you helping people out, leading the team to change, doing other things on the side, they haven't had a devops role before you), it seems to me that they misunderstood what devops mean. It isn't the first time I hear about that kind of story.

I would try to contact someone (the person who hired you? Your manager?) to re-articulate what your goals were. There might have been a misunderstanding somewhere.

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