I started in my current job 6 years ago. First as software developer then I changed to part time system administrator and time later I became FTE system administrator. In total, as of lately, I spent 3 and a half years in system administration duties and now I'm exhausted as it's been mostly help desk so I want to be back as software developer again and then I can continue my 11 year professional IT career in that area.

I talked with the boss of the software development area on the potential move and he gladly told me he would like to have me in his team (besides other 2 very senior colleagues also can back up my potential move).

I have one junior help desk guy under me, so I'm somewhat covered on training my potential replacement like real quick.

My question is how should I approach this proposal of lateral change with my boss?

I'm thinking on this approach so let me know what you think:

Hi Mrs Boss:

. I want/need to change my career back to software development but I still would like to be working for this company otherwise I will quit.

. The supervisor of the software development team agrees that he would like to have me as sw developer in his team.

. This is the status of my current job.

. This is a potential schedule/timeline of 8 weeks for the transition if you agree.

. The guy I have under me can make a gradual transition to my current duties following this plan.

. ???

. Profit?

I have an offer from an external company to work for 10% less salary but at least is in a software development leading role, so that is my alternative in case things go south, but I would like guidance from more experienced negotiators as I don't want to screw the relation with my boss.

  • Is there an actual opening in the development department? Or is this manager supposed to create one for you? I would take that with a pinch of salt for a start. It's one thing to keep the Admin guy happy by spinning him a story and telling him you love him, but quite another to actually create a role and justify it to the boss, other team members etc,..
    – Kilisi
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 7:05

1 Answer 1


"Otherwise I will quit" -- Never threaten, especially when it may not be necessary. A threat is not negotiation; it kills any chance of negotiation. You are begging for the response "Don't bother to quit; you're fired for cause. Get out. Now."

If you actually want to do this without leaving the company, work with your boss, not against her.

"Hi... I'm afraid I'm starting to burn out in my current role, and really need a change. Fred says he can use me over in the development team. What's the best way we can make this happen?"

  • 1
    Thanks for the perspective. I really want to work with her, however her style of negotiation usually is to drag issues for so long that I don't want to be left waiting for something and then for it to not happen.
    – Alex. S.
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 2:01
  • 3
    Get her agreement in principle, then discuss how long it'll take to wrap up and transfer your current obligations, say "OK, then I can tell Fred I can start in his group first week in September, right?" (Or whatever date she concedes on.). Then do tell Fred, and ask him to help you make sure it happens not unreasonably long after that. (Some schedule slip is just the nature of the beast.)
    – keshlam
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 5:48

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