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I'm a full stack developer. I have been hired as the same by my current company. As the company is not that big, my manager wants me to learn dispatch process as there are very few team members for dispatch but I have made it clear that I don't have any interest in changing my field of work. Still indirectly he always kind of pushes me to learn dispatch.

How do I politely say no, because I tried saying I'm not interested and it didn't work.

I'm scared if this conflict could effect my advancement. I have been delivering more than expected in my current projects.

Update: Dispatch process is completely different from development. It involves booking of cars for clients into the system doing follow-ups with clients and drivers for scheduled trips. It's no were near development, it's more of a calling process.

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    You might ask why he wants you to learn it. There may be an opportunity to automate much of the process, but the first step is to understand the current situation. Dec 3 '21 at 13:39
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    By "dispatch process" do you mean the process of managing the shipment of goods from the company? Do you mean actually doing that process, or writing software to control that process? How different is it from what you are doing? Dec 3 '21 at 15:35
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    I almost wondered if "dispatch" means something more like a (software) release process? OP can you clarify? Dec 3 '21 at 21:12
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    is "dispatch" not a server or client software system?
    – Tiger Guy
    Dec 3 '21 at 21:58
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    I fear “dispatch process” might be the process of organising the dispatch of shipments to the customers, so a completely different field to software development. If OP wants to develop software, that might be very bad for their career development.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 4 '21 at 18:20
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Based on the edits, the new role the company would like you to perform has nothing to do with software development in any form. Becoming a dispatcher will seriously hinder your career as a software developer. Also dispatchers almost certainly earn a lower salary than a software developer.

Write a letter, or an email, to your boss stating clearly that you have absolutely no wish to change to being a dispatcher, and you decline their offer. Copy it to HR, if your company has one. Keep a copy. Point out that your work as a developer is likely to be more valuable to the company than a dispatcher, and that dispatchers require little training and are easy to hire. Ask your boss to stop asking you about it, as your decision is final.

Hopefully that will be the end of it. If it is not, and they attempt to force you to take on those duties, consult a lawyer. In every modern and civilized democracy changing your job to something entirely unrelated to what you were hired for is called "constructive dismissal", and if you subsequently resign the law will force the company to treat you as if you had been involuntarily fired, with appropriate compensation. (The US is the exception, not counting as a "modern and civilized democracy" for this purpose.) You should of course start looking for a new job while doing this.

But there's more. This is a strange behaviour from the company. Dispatchers are easy to hire, easy to train, and paid less than a software developer. Why would they want you to switch from software development to dispatcher, while paying you the same? The only reasonable reason I can think of is that they think they won't need a software developer in the future. Start sending out your resume.

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    I will send out an email saying I would not like to change my field of work to finally end this issue officially.
    – A.Z
    Dec 5 '21 at 19:07
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    OP is probably too expensive and this is the employers method to try to lower costs. Dec 7 '21 at 13:22
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    About strange behaviour part, I was "demoted" to a machine tending position for half a year, while still keeping my engineer salary as there simply wasn't a job for me to do as an engineer at that moment, but they had plans in the future and didn't want me to leave. But it was clearly stated as temporary
    – Affaltar
    Dec 9 '21 at 9:00
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Yes, this absolutely will affect your standing in the company. The company needs to develop some expertise in a different area and they have offered you the opportunity to learn something new presumably at their expense. This is, in my view, a positive for you.

You, on the other hand, are declining. That's your right but there will likely be consequences since you are identifying yourself as a "specialist" and not someone who is interested in helping the company meet its goals. This could likely affect your performance review as well as your advancement opportunities.

In my experience employees who are flexible are much more valuable than those who are not.

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  • Company already has expertise but doesn't want to hire a person who would have experience in "dispatch". I'm more than happy to do other tasks which are related to developments database management or even designing, but "dispatch " it is completely different and it wont help me grow my career. If 1 person ends up doing everything it effects the quality of work delivered because there will be alot on the plate believe me I have seen this. Once again I'm happy to help with all developments. I feel I get a say on what i love to do and what i don't.
    – A.Z
    Dec 3 '21 at 11:53
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    I've had several projects where I got shoved into that looking back turned out beneficial. One such project (data processing and fixing broken scripts) I felt was so beneath me that out of irritation I wrote scripts to do all the work for me (including during off hours), resulting in 3-4x the output that they were expecting. Things like that boost your reputation, reviews, salary, etc, and you move on to better things.
    – rtaft
    Dec 3 '21 at 16:35
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    @rtaft even scripting is included in development but this process is completely offtrack. I have update post please check.
    – A.Z
    Dec 5 '21 at 17:55
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    After OP clarified it is clear that they are given an "opportunity" that MUST be declined.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 7 '21 at 11:23
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    In the light of the edits, this answer now seems wrong Dec 7 '21 at 18:37
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Are you learning a specific process or is it really changing "your field of work"?

And is your manager a good manager?

You should have some idea of how your boss works. If he treats the other dispatchers with contempt and whips them like slaves, then you should just avoid becoming one like the plague. However, if you notice all the dispatchers have strong working relationship, then it might be a good idea.

A developer that works in isolation of the rest of the business is far less effective than one that knows the process of the other departments. They can generally cover far more of the business with their skill and will naturally become more valuable (can ask for higher raises).

It's entirely up to you if you want to do this. A good manager can handle a No, and a bad one can't.

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Keep repeating it. Keep documentation of when he asks it so you can refer to that as well, like so for example:

Hi boss - you asked this on [past date] as well, and I am still not interested. Thank you for asking, but this is not a direction that I want my career to go to.

Do note that not wanting to change into the direction your boss wants you to change is always a risk for your career. It is good that you have your boundaries, and know what you do and do not want. But that doesn't mean that your boss won't replace you if you are not doing what they want from you.

Also - if there is a direction that you do want to move towards (specific language/framework, management responsibilities, software architect, ...) then this is also an opportunity to show that you are willing to learn by proposing one of these things and telling your boss how you can help the company instead by doing [x].

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  • I have learned 2 new frameworks and deployed 1 admin panel in 6months which is used by service based company right this moment. I love to code and solve problems but working on dispatch is complete different mind set. I don't want this conflict be the reason for my switch because I love what I do and I'm proud of it
    – A.Z
    Dec 3 '21 at 8:40
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Time to look for a new job

Brush up your CV, and start sending out applications. That way, you can be sure to continue your career as a software developer in a company that actually values you as one.

Get out of there as quickly as possible.

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Taking those responsibilities would be a train wreck on your career. Think one or two years down the road. You've acceded to a role where you're 50% developer, 50% "admin operations" (the dispatch role). Then, for whatever reason, you need to find a new job and you want another developer job. The blended role you'd be leaving would undermine your ability to prove your value in a development role to potential new employers, because they'd rather have someone who's been doing that full time. If you had blended IT roles that had some natural overlap (developer-DBA, for example) it'd be a different case, but this dispatch thing is distinctly not an IT role and will muck things up.

You've outgrown this company if they can't keep you busy enough as a developer and are insisting you take on totally unrelated tasks so they don't have to hire anyone else to do them. This also means you're not going to grow as a developer, and there's definitely little potential to get promoted. When you're interested in a raise, count on being reminded that you're not working that hard as a developer. See that?

Run.

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Check what your contract says. If it says that your employee may require you to do other types of work, well then I guess it will be hard for you to find a way to be able to say no.

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    You can ALWAYS say no. You just have to live with the consequences
    – Hilmar
    Dec 3 '21 at 12:32
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    In any modern civilized democracy they actually can't force you to do this. (Obviously I'm not including the US here.) Dec 5 '21 at 18:17
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    It usually doesn't say "what your employer requires you to do" but "what is required". Different uses of the same word in the English language. If our office runs out of toilet paper, then it is required that someone goes to a shop and buys toilet paper, and that might be me with some bad luck. It is absolutely NOT required that an employee takes on a completely different role; the business can hire someone for this purpose.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 7 '21 at 11:31

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