I was outsourced out of a job where I had a good degree of autonomy, independence, and ability to plan and do things.

I had to take a lower paying job where I have bumped against various 'blocks' or 'bottlenecks' as I think of them or what I consider excessive adherence to protocols and rules for no obvious good reason. Some of them were seemingly pointless or the supervisor person holding on to power.

For example where I have to work now, I was told I couldn't do certain things (which I took for granted in my previous job) because only certain people were allowed to do them, never mind that my job and work should naturally provide sufficient trust and respect that I should do these things in an appropriate way??

What are some good questions to ask to ascertain whether a supervisor or department has at least some reasonable degree of flexibility in this kind of things with regard to the work I do??

I am an IT systems administrator, sometimes there is a valid need for me to email all staff about updates or issues and such.

I got told I couldn't do this because only certain people were allowed to do this, I have to have someone else do this. Which felt disrespectful and distrustful. I understand why they said this, supposedly they had had problems with this in the past but that does not mean they should assume I would cause problems etc.

I understand what I was told but I don't like the feeling of disrespect and distrust I got from this so I am endeavoring to understand how to ascertain during an interview (probably 2nd round) how much leeway or trust I really will have, even though now I know that any new job I can get (for better money) will have even more rules and protocols!! (but now I can be prepared for this whereas I taken by surprise before)

Stuff like this isn't typically in the HR handbook. :)

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    I can understand that feeling untrusted can affect morale and your feelings about your job. Having worked in IT for decades, I think there is a bit of a false dichotomy between "trust" and "permissions." Many compliance standards and best-practices do not permit what seems like sensible permissions. Are you certain that this is an issue of trust and not one of compliance and adhering to policies meant to protect the company? In looking for new positions, it would be good to differentiate unnecessary policies from policies required for compliance/security/safety.
    – steve v
    Oct 13, 2023 at 20:09
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    "but that does not mean they should assume I would cause problems etc." . They're not assuming you would cause problems, they assme someone could cause problems. It has nothing to do with you. Oct 14, 2023 at 9:52
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    “Which felt disrespectful and distrustful” - You feeling a policy not to send a mass email is disrespectful is honestly unreasonable. The policy likely has nothing to do with not trusting you.
    – Donald
    Oct 15, 2023 at 13:23
  • All the comments are valid and reasonable, there's no reason to tell me what I'm experiencing or feeling is "wrong" or invalid -- and basically no one has answered my question, which is how to try to ascertain one's autonomy, leeway, etc., regardless what regulations are in place. The policies I'm referring to in my experience are unnecessary policies. They're not SOX issues/policies either.
    – Parkaboy
    Oct 15, 2023 at 15:07
  • You may feel these are unnecessary policies, but your example is a good case of a SOX compliant policy. Limiting the blast radius of official/critical emails and who can do the blasting is a reasonable policy.
    – cdkMoose
    Oct 17, 2023 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


Have you ever heard of SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) compliance? It's a set of protocols placed on ALL public companies after the meltdown of Enron and Worldcom. It specifies a distinct division of roles, with many in IT environments, designed to make processes transparent and auditable. It's not an option for companies that do it, and they have to pay for auditors to come in and certify their activity once a year.

Things that could be done by one person in a private company must be done by multiple people in a SOX environment. It could be two, three, or more. Steps have to be documented. Obviously, it takes more time.

If you're interviewing at publicly traded companies, assume that SOX compliance is going to be a thing. But rather than pushing back on such opportunities, maybe embrace the idea that understanding such environments and successfully working within them actually makes you more valuable in the marketplace. Try it out.

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