It has beeen a long time since I've asked a question, however the narrative to my question is quite simple:
How do I push back against upper management "innovations" and simple "requests"?
Questions that I found tremendously helpful were:
- How can I push back against a boss who wants us to work four 16-hour days in a hotel?
- How to deal with a bad management choice about a technical solution?
- Should I do something unethical/possibly illegal if asked by management?
- How do I report an employee who is compromising security of employees and clients?
- Implementing something your boss has asked for, even if it's potentially a bad idea
- How to correct a CEO's misunderstanding of a project?
However, until I can find a valid exit strategy, here is the situation.
I work fairly autonomously, as the sole "data person" (basically someone who knows how to write SQL queries and build self-service tableau dashboards for business intelligence dissemination) left (other person left as soon as they got an offer) on my team, I have considerable leeway in deciding what projects/features (among the dozens pending) that will fill my day for research, design, and implementation - as I am the only developer left who is qualified to make a working data product.
However, from time to time, upper management, will "pop-in" to make demands and changes that are one or a mix of the following:
- Unethical: Tying personnel scorecards (like a report card from school) to arbitrary or unreasonable metrics (imagine if your teacher was ranked based on the class average grade... or that you have an attendance grade, a metric based on the same attendance grade + X, and again another metric based on attendance grade + Y).
- Amoral: If upper management doesn't get their way, in the sense that I say "yes, I will give you a email of a spreadsheet", a shouting match occurs where my tableau-based work is touted as "insufficient" or "useless" or that "they don't understand it" (other than upper management, tableau dashboards work fine for the rank and file team members) and that they can find someone to do the work and replace me.
- Eyebrow Raising: Whenever a new report is made, upper management will use excel spreadsheets as a "mock-up" of exactly what they want, even though there is no way in heck that an excel spreadsheet is a viable delivery method for data reporting assets that is used dynamically by >220 users. The level of technological comprehension seems to be stuck solely on spreadsheets and emails as the primary means of business intelligence dissemination.
- Disrespectful (? not sure the right word): while the other data person was on the team, when I said "no, with the following reasons... data stack incompatibility, refresh times, UI/UX, delivery times, etc..." upper management will order the other person to do exactly what they want (the other data person always enables upper management) and I am forced to incorporate and support (now inherit) spaghetti code and framework with numerous coding issues and 0 documentation (I document, other person doesn't).
- Unreasonable: since upper management only pops-in from time to time, there is no overall data strategy, everything is ad-hoc and should've done yesterday. Deep Dives into operational issues are expected within 4 hours or new dashboards are demanded and minimalized as "basic spreadsheet reporting that should've been done yesterday".
My direct manager is remotely aware of my role within the team, and keenly aware of the abusive nature of upper management, however my direct manager is a "people manager" and not a "data person" and as this is a 'operations' environment, the workplace culture definitely has "old school" mentality.
I am currently looking for other employment for the past year, but given the economy, I had a couple of interviews, but no offer in hand.
In the meantime, my 2020Q4 goal is to figure out the spaghetti and learn the workflows that I will be inheriting, but I suspect that 2020Q4 will be full of demands to do inane (send an email from a screenshot of a tableau report before 1100 AM, while the requestor for some unknown reason refuses to look at a data dashboard and self-service their business intelligence needs) tasks that the other person who left usually does.
Note, once I am gone, there will be 0 knowledge left my team to build and or maintain existing assets. I used to have trouble about this (professional pride and my relationships with coworkers to ensure that what they use daily works), but after speaking in real life to some mentors I have come to accept that once I am gone, this is not my business. I have pushed for more support and levels of redundancy (I proposed to train a junior data analyst, but the response I received was that 2 hours every other week was enough, I thought this was a joke as it would've taken >2 years to train this person, but this was a serious response) to support and document what I do and its impact on the overall team, but these requests were upon deaf ears. I only have 40 hours and I am now supporting a global team solo - there is simply no time left in the day to do everything.