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A bit of context: I work in the Silicon Valley at a large, Big 4 corporation. I was involuntarily moved under a different manager without a reasonable amount of time of advance notice. Essentially, my former manager had bit off a little too much than he could chew; about a year ago, he ended up inheriting several new members and projects under him. His team grew to > 12 people with around 4 different projects happening at once.

I had worked on the same project under my former manager for about a year. He decided a month ago that, in addition to other favorable projects he's been overseeing, the scope of the project I was working on was too large for him to manage. I never really had a great relationship with my former manager; I (in hindsight, mistakenly) told him that I was interested in exploring different opportunities internally.

Effectively, he gave me a week's notice that I would be working under a different manager, and the project I was working on is now going to be owned by that manager. Now that manager is working under my former manager. So technically I got demoted. I'm not really too mad about being demoted, though I should be, but I'm more upset that I got moved under a different manager without any real discussion or consent. Simply put, I don't really like my new manager at all. His people skills suck and I'm starting to get annoyed more and more every day having to work for him.

What's the best way to go about requesting a new manager entirely? Am I being naive? Is it feasible? It may mean moving to a different team, which I am okay with. I am thinking of talking to my former manager's manager instead because I feel like nothing will get done if I try to talk to my former manager.

As a side note, I don't think I'm ever working corporate again.

closed as off-topic by The Wandering Dev Manager, paparazzo, Jim G., Masked Man, gnat May 10 '16 at 5:20

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    how do you know your manager was directly above you and you got 'demoted'? Maybe there are supposed to be many people between you and your manager, and they just moved one in? – The Wandering Dev Manager May 9 '16 at 22:57
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    Two words - pay check – paparazzo May 9 '16 at 23:09
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    Although I provided an answer, I am curious why you think that you should be given more than a week's notice about project assignments (especially when they don't require you to move locations) and why you think that a new level of management equates to you being demoted (you don't mention a change in responsibilities, title, or pay), or why you should have any say in who your manager (or, alternatively, why you think that you can pick both your projects and managers when you are providing a service to a company). – Thomas Owens May 9 '16 at 23:42
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    You think corporate is the only people who does manager changes? I work in a 20 person company and last month I was told I report to a new manager with no days notice. Nothing happened. I worked the same project and got the same pay. – bmarkham May 10 '16 at 1:43
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    I will also point out that people who make no effort to get along with their boss first and foremost (this is your single most important job duty), tend to end up with the least favorable assignments when these restructurings occur. Your boss can be the worst jerk in the world and it is up to you to adjust to his management style as long as the company is paying you. If he is bad enough, you move on to a different company of course, but if you have had trouble with two managers in a row, you might need to rethink how you work with them. – HLGEM May 11 '16 at 19:17
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I was involuntarily moved under a different manager without a reasonable amount of time of advance notice.

I never really had a great relationship with my former manager

I'm more upset that I got moved under a different manager without any real discussion or consent. Simply put, I don't really like my new manager at all.

So you haven't liked your most recent two managers.

Note that reorganizations happen all the time. In all of my working years, I have never worked in a company (big or small) that asked for the team's consent for a planned reorg. And I've seldom had any advance notice of a reorg (except when it involved a move to a distant city).

What's the best way to go about requesting a new manager entirely? Am I being naive? Is it feasible?

If you are expecting a good response by simply saying "I want a new manager", then yes - you are being naive. I suspect you are also naive to think that your consent, discussion, or advance notice about a reorg is required. Sorry - just trying to be frank here.

Instead, consider asking for a transfer to a different project or team. Check your company's policy on such transfer requests, since they are all different, and follow the process closely.

I am thinking of talking to my former manager's manager instead because I feel like nothing will get done if I try to talk to my former manager.

In my experience, that would likely be a mistake. Complaining to your manager's manager is most likely to get you labeled as either "high maintenance" or a "malcontent" or both.

As a side note, I don't think I'm ever working corporate again.

I'm not sure what "non-corporate" means in this context, but reorgs like this are not unusual in the large, small and startup companies where I have worked.

Personally, I hate reorgs. For me, they have seldom ended well. But in many years of work, I haven't found a way to avoid them, without regard to the company size.

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    Got to agree with this, a whole weeks notice is pretty good, I've come in to work on a Monday and found out I was moving that morning. – Kilisi May 9 '16 at 23:31
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I don't know what is so upsetting about this situation. I find nothing abnormal.

Reorganization happens. Between acquisitions, managers leaving the company, new management roles filled in (either by external hire or promotion), I've had 3 technical managers in about 5 years and even seen a new management position open up to split technical vision and planning from human resource management. If a manager has a large number of direct reports, it's normal that they will somehow be reallocated - a new layer of management, redistribution among current managers.

Since you expressed interest in moving internally, I'm not so sure why its surprising that you would be assigned to a new project. For an internal position at the same geographic location shouldn't require significant amounts of notice.

The fact that your new manager is reporting to your former manager is not a demotion for you, but a promotion for your old manager. It seems like a new layer of management has been created and your old manager now manages managers. If your daily responsibilities, title, and/or pay haven't changed negatively, then you weren't demoted.

Since you have had two managers and you don't appear to have gotten along with either of them, I would seriously consider seeking new opportunities. Either your organization is incredibly dumb and is promoting people with poor people skills to management positions or you aren't a good fit. I suppose that you could look for new managers, but I would begin to consider that you may not fit into this organization, culturally.

I think that your statement of never working in a corporate environment is closing a lot of doors. Maybe a corporate environment, at least right now, isn't what you need. But nothing that you described is out of the ordinary and doesn't raise any warning flags. Honestly, I think your expectations are out of line with how business (especially larger organizations) change and grow.

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    Good points, I don't see a demotion either – Kilisi May 9 '16 at 23:34
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Bottom line: yes, it is OK for your employer to choose your manager for you. You're not the CEO, so you don't get to decide who works in which team.

From the sound of things, something needed to happen with your old team. It was too big and needed to be split up. Some people may not like that happening, but that's better than having a dysfunctional team because the manager is trying to manage more than they can.

The fact that your new manager isn't very good is a separate issue. As a manager, he's got to manage someone (or be fired. But you don't get a say in that either).

As an aside: I really wouldn't see this as a demotion. Your value to an organisation isn't based on the number of links in the chain to the CEO. At one point in my career, the same thing happened to me when my team was moved "down a link" in the chain from reporting to a senior manager to a more junior manager - however, this was because we were a good team who could to some extent manage themselves, so didn't need the senior manager's time.

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The simple answer: yes. Your manager was totally within his rights to move you under a different manager.

Now, is it something you should continue to endure? That's a bit more complex. You're now in a new situation after developing a routine and rapport with your previous manager, and may still be a little bitter about the change. I would advise exercising patience in this situation. Give yourself a few weeks to a month to try and adjust to your new manager's style. If it's still not looking great after a while, you should try discussing your concerns with your new manager first. Bring up how you think your work could benefit from the way he treats you and organizing projects.

If it ultimately doesn't work out, then yes, you may need to request being moved to a different team. But working through adversity and adapting is definitely seen as a plus by pretty much anyone who might employ or manage you, so throwing in the towel immediately without trying to make it work will definitely reflect poorly on you.

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