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I am working in a small startup based IT company. I was supposed to be trained in this company then join another one (they have such a tie up). But, seeing my work and all, the first company decided to hire me instead. Since they were happy with my work , and since I am not from IT background, the manager would often explain complex stuff about Database management system and how they work. Because the manager has been a DB Administrator for 25 years, and he co-founded and is now running a service based company for three years.

The thing is, often while explaining the stuff to me, he would say so many bad comments about the other employees. Like how the other employees think of coding as typewriting, or how Full Stack Development is inferior to Database Administration. This is very usual.

To test this, I actually observed some codes done by other people, and strangely found that most of what he wanted people to do, are already practiced and followed by many employees. As an example, he told me to use a TRIGGER in Database to copy data from a table to another whenever there is a change in any column in that table. He told me that people dont follow this standard but rather write two different SELECT statements. But, when I went through some codes, I found out that people actually followed TRIGGER for such things.

Also, he keeps telling me how a database administrator is a great job and other coding jobs are inferior to this. He wants me to follow this too, so that I can become a DBA. But, I have very different interests, and DBA is not one of them.

However, whenever a project is completed, the manager and CEO would always praise the employees working in the project. Like how close they are, to their hearts and all.

I have a few problems with it.

  • I dont want to become a DBA.
  • Front end and back end coding are equally important as DBA
  • It's a small startup company with barely 40 people working. It is imperative that the salary wont be much. But, they should focus on inspiring people, rather than go against their back.

I am definitely looking for a new and better job, but until I get one, should I ask my manager to refrain from going behind employees' back?

And how do I convince him that I dont want to become a DBA?

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  • @JoeStrazzere Is this thing normal ? Because it feels really weird.
    – Asish
    Jul 18 at 9:04
  • Are you forced to do DBA? It looks more that the manager tries to convince you to do it, but not that they instruct you to do it, i.e. that you still have a choice. Jul 18 at 12:38
  • @CaptainEmacs No. He is giving me more tasks on Database side, and he takes a lot of time explaining about database.
    – Asish
    Jul 18 at 13:20
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    @Ashish Ok, you do what you think is good for you. They can try to convince you, but the decision is yours. Line up your new job, though, just in case. Jul 18 at 15:16
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    "And how do I convince him that I dont want to become a DBA?' There is no need to convince him. He knows already. That's why he's pushing you so hard the other way. This is a no-win situation for you. Not only he's going to push into a job you don't want to do (and no one else wants to do), but he will badmouth you to everyone he talks to as well. Jul 19 at 1:51
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To directly answer the main question (as per the OP title):

I am definitely looking for a new and better job, but until I get one, should I ask my manager to refrain from going behind employees' back?

No.

There is no upside to it. It's not exactly clear what your goal even is, aside from moral righteousness -- you should reflect on exactly what your strategic goal is.

Moreover, the chance of your manager receiving this and acting as per your wishes is negligibly small. It's far more likely that they'll be offended and you'll receive further blowback. Most people don't like that sort of criticism, especially from an underlying.

And you've said you're looking for a new job anyway, so even in theory you won't be around to benefit either way. Get the new job and move on.

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  • Imagine having to listen to other employees' problems from the manager everytime you go to him to discuss about the project with him. Although it does not concern me a lot, there could be a chance that he might be saying stuff about me in front of others. It is difficult to trust such a person.
    – Asish
    Jul 20 at 2:46
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    @Asish: So you shouldn't trust his reaction when you tell him to shape up. Jul 20 at 3:54
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    @Asish Exactly! It is difficult to trust this person. In my opinion, you should not change your idea of your managers trustworthyness. They've already shown you they're willing to gossip and badmouth people behind they're backs. Best case, they stop talking to you, but you have no idea of knowing whether they're talking to others about you (and if they were, they have no real reason to stop - you wouldn't know). This is why it's better to leave. If you truly trusted them, and trusted they would change if you asked, then you could ask. But you said it yourself: they are not trustworthy.
    – daboross
    Jul 21 at 3:21
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Consider pros and cons

First of all, looks like your position in the company is currently relatively good. Although you do not have IT background, they gave you a chance and look like they are training you on the job - something that loots of folks would want, but cannot get in their current workplaces . You are gathering necessary experience and this could serve as a springboard for the next IT job. And if you start making complaints this could worsen your position with the manager and in the company, but would not help your colleagues. In fact, currently what they do not know does not hurt them, and as far as they know, they are getting praises from this manager and CEO .

However, if you decide to talk, be blunt, frank and to the point. Something like this:

  • Boss, please, if you have something to tell them, do this in their faces. I don't want to listen to this.

  • No boss, they are using triggers, I checked the code.

  • No boss, I don't want to be a DBA, I want to be a developer.

This way you are signaling that you do not want further discussion on the matter, and simply want to continue with you job.

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  • There is no training involved. They say that they will guide and all, but only some one or two seniors do that. I remember, being a non-IT beginner, I struggled a hell lot when I started. I leant by developing a personal project, doing anything that came to my mind. Then I started working. Of course, the seniors will help me if I get stuck, but that happens in almost all companies.
    – Asish
    Jul 19 at 11:06
  • What makes me angry is that, if they cannot offer better salaries, they should increase the morale of other employees.
    – Asish
    Jul 19 at 11:06
  • @Asish Well, you said that your company supposed to train you, and that manager in question explains complex stuff. That is more then usual. Remember that companies are not schools and are under no obligation to teach you anything. If you personally could find a better job (better salary) , then do it. Your colleagues are adults and could make their own decisions. As for talking with your manager, I already gave you examples what you could say, but you are doing it at your own risk.
    – rs.29
    Jul 19 at 18:10
  • I am aware of that. I am not complaining that companies must teach like schools. My complain is, they should at least help guide me on how to learn. This was their big talk as well. They say that they hire people to train them first , unless the hired candidate alwready has experience . I dont have that problem now, because I got 1 yr exp. But,I was completely blank back then. They would never tell me what I should go through, What should I learn next. Is there any company requirement and all.
    – Asish
    Jul 20 at 2:41
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    @Asish You could ask from your company more training or raise, just be prepared that they may turn you down. If you think you deserve more , it could be wise to look for another job.
    – rs.29
    Jul 20 at 18:29
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Trouble is that no developer want to become a DBA because everyone is convinced that it is a role with no future, the role of relational DBs is always threatened by NoSQL solutions and many DB operations are increasingly automated, but that view was already common 10 years ago and actually it didn't happen, DBAs are still needed.

Probably they are training you even if you don't have an IT background because DBAs are difficult to find and very few people are willing to train for that role. Everything your boss is telling you seems designed to persuade you to accept the role. If you don't want to become a DBA, but a developer you will have to compete with a lot more people for the role. This means that you will have to add a lot of hours of self training on your spare time, outside the office hours, just to catch up with those with the right background.

The only thing you can do is tell your boss that you would like to become a developer without being too drastic, your boss will surely keep pushing you towards the DBA role, but how strong his reaction will be will give you an idea of the chances you have to go on a different path. In the meantime make the best of your training, in IT many things change very often, being able to learn quickly will always be the most useful skill.

BTW. When you say:

they should focus on inspiring people, rather than go against their back

keep in mind that sometimes they have no choice.

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  • Regarding the last thing, cant say I agree, because I know this fact. But there are some great people in our company who actually lack motivation and mentorship. Manager that helps me should help them as well. Also, regarding the DBA thing, I dont want it. It could be my settlement thing, but not now. I want to learn as much as possible. What I plan is continue with development, and if thigs come to a standstill in my 40s or 50s, I will become a DBA or something similar. But not now
    – Asish
    Jul 19 at 16:45
  • @Ashish 'if thigs come to a standstill in my 40s or 50s, I will become a DBA or something similar.' It depends. Maintaining a DB creating tables or copying data might be something you could learn at a later time. Tuning the performance of SQL statements and adjusting DBs design to match the performance requirements often needs years of experience, if you begin to learn those skills late in your career you'll probably be able to use them fully only when you'll be close to retirement.
    – FluidCode
    Jul 19 at 16:57
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No, you shouldn't ask your manager to stop directly. But you can respectfully give your opinion, challenge them on their claims and set a good example.

Some examples:

"I disagree. While you're correct that DBA is useful, I think Full Stack Development is very important for the following reasons... We are lucky to have talented people like Susan working on this for us."

"Really? I didn't think so - I have read their code and to me it looked top notch"

"Sorry, I'm not convinced. I think web development is really interesting and fulfilling. What kind of projects have you worked on before?"

"I can see why DBA is important, however my interests lie more in _____"

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