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The tech department I am in consists of the head of the department whose role revolves around data engineering, colleague A and me - the head of the tech department is our boss. I should add that colleague A works in the same area as the head of the department and as such they do work closely - both colleague A and I reports to the head of the department directly (our boss). I should also add that colleague A joined the company 3 months ahead of me - both of us have been with the company for less than a year but more than half a year.

My role hinges on working closely with business stakeholders from the business departments and translating their requirements into mathematical models. Often times these discussion happens between me, and only me, and the stakeholders with the progression of the work conveyed to my boss via a ticketing platform or via a chat platform.

There would be one call a week where the team verbally updates the head of the department on the progression of the task.

Ever since I've joined the company I have noticed a couple of things

1) Colleague A would often be praised by our boss while I haven't yet experienced this in the same way, or any other way, that colleague A has been - the business stakeholders whom I work with found the business results of my work to be positive with the impact of it being presented to the CXOs since my first piece of work.

2) Whenever I updated my boss of the progression of the task I am working on over the weekly call, I have observed that it is only then that he would navigate to the project and read up on the written updates by me. Normally, I would not have concerns but it has become a repeated pattern that, barely less than 10 seconds of reading the updates, he would start making comments to reflect his sense of "startledness" where he'll go "why are you doing this, why are you doing that" only to suggest something that clearly does not make sense or to ask a question that is entirely irrelevant to the task on hand. An example of this is seen when I return a set of probability estimates corresponding to a trained machine learning model as requested by the business stakeholders, only for him to, initially, express his impatience before asking me about the probability measure used.

3) If I try to be more verbally verbose in the progression of my task, I find myself to, frequently, be interrupted by him. I do not witness colleague A being in the same situation.

4) 2) would often result in him giving suggestions that are irrelevant to the task on hand.

5) He would share that he and I should have a catch up session but he has never followed up on this.

While I can continue performing my job well, I cannot deny there is a strong sense of demoralisation and a decaying resistance to entertaining companies that have come knocking on my proverbial door of late. How should I address the situation I am facing and to what extent should I make concession before giving up on remedying the situation?

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  • I don't see the problem? Lack of praise?
    – Kilisi
    Jun 13 '20 at 12:55
  • I'm not understanding your question. What problem are you trying to solve?
    – joeqwerty
    Jun 13 '20 at 14:13
  • Do you feel your amount of work output is not high enough? Do you think your boss believes you are spending too much time on secondary tasks? Jun 13 '20 at 14:29
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    @GregoryCurrie No reasons for me to believe so. I was brought in to provide insights, directly or indirectly, that would pave the way to addressing business problems; on matters of stakeholders view, I have done well. On matters of technicalities, my boss's review of my codes generally only requires superficial changes. I should mention that my boss has, on numerous occasions, delayed reviewing my work (he admits) but is quick to review the work of colleague A. I understand for a fact that the work I do is not something he considers higher priority to what he is now preoccupied with. Jun 13 '20 at 15:35
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    You didn’t mention your country. Where I am, both my manager and my boss do their job better than I could, and both expect me to do my job better than they could. They both see their job as getting the best out of their people. You seem to have run into an incompetent with no self confidence who needs to pick on others to make himself feel better.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 14 '20 at 13:02
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I wouldn't say you're against favoritism, as much as, for whatever reason, your manager appears to dislike you.
Of course, from your point of view, it's same difference, but just setting the record straight.

More to the point, I don't see what/how you can make things better for yourself, other than entertaining the competing offers you say you're getting.

Why do I say this? Let me break down your options the way I see them:
You confront your manager head-on.

By "confront" I mean have a civil discussion where you lay your argument, giving ample proof to it, all while maintaining a calm tone of voice.
Not, in any shape, way or form being confrontational.
You know, two grown-up people talking about their differences.

The expected outcome? Your boss coming down on you harder than before.
Why? We've already established he doesn't like you, for whatever reason.
Once you confront him you show him that: 1. you are not one to be pushed and bullied and disrespected, i.e. the bane of the existence of bullies everywhere (yes, your boss is a bully. In a suit and tie, but bully none the less), 2. you called him out, which, in his (bully) eyes is yet more disrespect from you to him.

It's pouring fuel into a raging fire. Nothing good can, nor will, come out of this.

You go above your boss's head, straight to his bosses and tell them your story.
What do you think will happen next?
If, and that's one whooping "if" they ARE sympathetic to your cause and story, the least that's gonna happen is they'll summon your boss to give his side of the story.
Now we're back to clause (1) but doubly so... you just went over his head.
He'll be furious with you, and, truth be told, rightly so.
They, eventually, WILL take care of him, but I doubt you'll still be with the company to witness this.

If "the brass" is NOT sympathetic to your story, they'll convey their displeasure to your boss (again, clause (1)), but this time with an instruction to discipline you on top of everything else.

And lest you think otherwise, top brass more often than not takes middle-management's side of the story over the "grunts"... it's just is a fact of life.

Going to HR.
And telling them what? Your boss is not nice enough to you?
It's not like you have a valid business complaint against him.
Favoritism may be frowned upon in theory, in the new employee's guide book, but it's a fact of life too.
Some people you just don't rub the right way because THEY are who they are, nothing to do with you.

And, by the way, if you're wondering? That's, again, clause (1) on steroids since you, again, went over his head.

I'm sorry, but I just don't see what you can do to make things better for yourself other than taking on one of the other offers you say you have.

As the saying goes: "People don't quit workplaces, they quit crappy bosses".
Looks like you're about to become part of someone's training model (sorry, couldn't resist myself).

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  • Thank you for providing your inputs. One of the things I observed between my boss and his boss is how much "bootlicking" there is on part of my boss. I have observed the differences in the personality between colleague A and me - colleague epitomise the subservient factory worker whereas, I, having been brought up in an international school and attended a University in a western country, am more independent in my thoughts. My boss has a tendency also to answer on behalf on person (lower in position to him) and he has been called out at least once on this. Jun 14 '20 at 4:16
  • What I am going on is whether the issues I am facing and what I've observed is a more symptomatic of personality traits on part of my boss. Jun 14 '20 at 4:18
  • Most definitely the problem is with your boss. Find a new job, sign an offer, give notice.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 14 '20 at 13:04

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