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I work as a Data Analyst & Developer at a call center.

TL:DR: New boss did not pay attention to existing tools or processes, went off and pushed new processes that replaced existing ones, in an inefficient manner without communicating the need for those changes to the floor or myself (who implemented the existing processes and tools). I was transferred to a new hire, a director, and was immediately put on a leash, and treated as if I've just been wasting company time going off and doing my own thing. Later being told that she (new boss) was told I have an issue with going off and doing random stuff without permission, need, or planning. However, I have not created a single new tool or process since any of the new management has been hired. How can I deal with this?


The management where I work almost completely turned over 1.5 months ago. My new boss (let's call him John) came in, and I walked him through our tools, processes, and reports. I also provided with with a documentation sheet that covers every tool, report, and data dump we have and how they are used.

Fast forward a week, John pushes for a new process that directly conflicts with an existing tool, process, and report (all documented and previously described). Reinventing the wheel, and in such a way that it's less productive than it was before. Myself and several other affected brought this up and our concerns were discarded for the reason that he knows what he is doing.

The next week, the same thing happens again, except on a much larger scale. Breaking several working tools and processes, increasing the time it takes to record, view, and retrieve certain information on the floor by nearly ten fold.

We approached him again, received the same response, that he knows what he is doing, that he has done this before and it works. I was later confronted by him, asking why I am going off and making these things without permission. Why I am creating conflicting tools or processes. I explained that these have existed for almost a year now, and have been constantly evolving to be as efficient as possible. John asked for documentation that I was told to create these tools and processes, documentation that they were needed. I could not provide this as my previous (4) bosses essentially gave me the reigns to go about process improvement as needed.

I was transferred to a new boss (Let's call her Jane) a couple weeks ago, a new hire that is to be the Director of Client Analytics. The best way to describe my experience is that I was put on a leash. Any time I would mention an idea, provide input or feedback to a process, or spend some time learning something new to increase my productivity I was met with what equates to a tug on my leash. Told that I need to not worry about that, that I just need to focus on the task at hand (there is no work to do right now, I'm browsing stackoverflow all day), that I need to take things one step at a time and not worry about the big picture.

I was recently told by Jane, that she was informed that I go off and create things without guidance, permission, or planning, and without analyzing the need of the tool or process. That I am not focused on what needs to be done.

The thing is though, I have not created a single tool, process, or report since any of the new management started. I have just been maintaining what we have. Previously, I was given free reign to do what needed to be done to improve productivity and meet the business needs, which I did, and completely automated.


How can I deal with this? It seems that my previous manager (John) made erroneous assumptions about what I do and instead of confronting me and learning, passed those assumptions onto my new boss. I currently can't even ask for more details on a request without being told I need to just focus on the current need, even if the information I am asking for is vital to determining how that request will be implemented.

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    You need to focus on current need. How the situation arose is irrelevant; it exists and you need to move forward from here. Demonstrate that you can be trusted and the micromanagement should stop. Let go of your defensiveness and the problem should fix itself ... unless the criticism is correct. – keshlam Aug 15 '16 at 8:20
  • @keshlam thanks for your comment. I am focusing on the current need, which incidentally lines up with the past need (It's the same need, just asked by someone else), but am not being provided with the information I need to make sound decisions around design or implementation. Asking for more information is met with a tug on the leash. I don't have the information I need to perform my job duties, and previous situations seem to be directly preventing my new manager from taking my requests or questions seriously. – Douglas Gaskell Aug 15 '16 at 8:30
  • Consider carefully whether you actually need, or just want, the additional information. Sometimes the right answer is to make it work now and optimize it later. – keshlam Aug 15 '16 at 8:40
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    Get out! Get out as quickly as you can. Perhaps, you can track down your old bosses, even if they left to different companies, to give you job references for a new employer. After all, if I was a potential employer, I would be more interested in the references given by former managers that worked with you for a long time, instead of relying on new managers that hardly know you. – Stephan Branczyk Aug 15 '16 at 8:49
  • The two questions I ask myself when I find myself in employment situations I'd rather not be in are whether I'm getting paid enough to put up with it, and whether I have other options. Good way to figure out if the job is worth keeping or not, and that greatly simplifies the decision(s) about what to do going forward. – HopelessN00b Aug 15 '16 at 17:43
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I currently can't even ask for more details on a request without being told I need to just focus on the current need, even if the information I am asking for is vital to determining how that request will be implemented.

You can try to explain this in a friendly, non confrontative way to your new manager, but you should try and not make it sound like an accusation against your former or current manager, merely a miscommunication.

If that fails though, the relationship with your superiors may not be salvageable. You describe by your own admission that you "have nothing to do right now", which could mean that they're planning to fire or lay you off, and just moved you first to get you out of the way now.

Also consider if you really need that information, or if you just got used to being told everything, relevant or not. Re-evaluate yourself before you assume all your managers have no idea what they're doing, maybe the company is just doing things differently now and you need to adapt to that.

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Escalate. Go over your boss's head.

The drawback of escalation is something that's mostly irrelevant now, because you're already suffering the same things that could happen in retaliation if you escalate, so you have nothing to lose. Especially since it seems you're already on the fast track to redundancy.

The benefit from escalation is that it's really the only option you have to get incompetent managers in line.

To properly escalate, write up what happened, and like you did here, preface it with a summary. Then send the email to a person who's above both John and Jane and has the competence to act.

The chances that this works are not incredibly high, so get a reference from your former boss and start looking for a new job in the meanwhile. That's something you need to do no matter if you escalate or not.

  • This seems like a good way to get fired. – AndreiROM Aug 15 '16 at 14:01
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    @AndreiROM Correct, that's also what the last and the second paragraph say. But doing nothing while in a position where the supervisors dislike you, spread rumors about your capabilities, and give you no work, is an even better way to get fired, IMO – Peter - Unban Robert Harvey Aug 15 '16 at 14:10
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    That's when you start looking for a new job and quit. My personal opinion is that by trying to go over their heads the OP would only get a worse reputation. Trying to get along until he finds a new job is more likely to result in a decent reference. – AndreiROM Aug 15 '16 at 14:19
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You do understand, don't you, that John does not know how to how to do his job, and must get rid of everybody who can testify to this?

Obviously John is not competent to learn the processes already in place, or comprehend their value. He must therefore substitute processes and procedures that don't strain his abilities, even if they are patently inferior. He has to get rid of you because you can, and have shown a willingness to, call attention to and demonstrate the inferiority of John's methods.

So John has abused his managerial power to "poison the well", giving you a bad reputation, and specifically claiming that you are the author of the "chaotic and undocumented" processes that he has to clean up. There are no "erroneous assumptions" here; John is well aware of the value of your contributions.

You are assigned to Jane exactly because she has no history with the company and therefore no way to evaluate John's poison. If you leapfrog up the chain of command, be sure to point out that she has been duped by John and is not part of a conspiracy.

The key factor here, that will dictate the main direction you must take, is: what is your relationship with John's boss? Does he know who you are? Does he trust you and value your work? If you bring your situation to his attention, whose side will he take? How much can he afford to care about the processes that John is replacing?

Once you know how the management above John will react, your course will become obvious.

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I would not like to work for someone that is happy to do this on hearsay without giving the "problem" employee(s) a clean slate and assessing them for myself. My instinct in this situation would be to look for another job.

However if you are intent on staying and there are several of you in the same boat, it might be an idea to prepare a timeline of these events with your colleagues and communicate them to her without blaming John. Make it crystal clear that you are presenting her with additional information and you understand it is up to Jane to assess the situation.

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