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I recently received a title change that effectively removed me from all SQL programming at my company, moving me towards a support / training / data transfer position.

I had communicated to my HR director that my manager and a team member were not providing me critical pieces of code that impacted areas of work and it was deeply affecting my performance. Later that week, my manager scheduled a meeting with the HR director to tell me that my programming was poor and that I would no longer be programming for the company.

My manager wasn't able to elaborate on anything other than that at that time. The examples of my errors were almost menial in comparison to some of the changes that impacted our company. For example, I had created an ASP menu with a SQL back end. The SQL script was roughly five thousand lines of code and he had mentioned that I forgot a comment on one of my statements. Outside of this, nothing was mentioned in regards to my position changing.

The position change was a relatively ugly affair because the position change had occurred three months after that meeting and prior to me receiving communication on it. An entire regional office learned of my position change before I did. I actually learned about the title change the same day as my annual review.

A week later, I received a document containing examples from almost a year prior. I had no idea that these were even issues until that time. Again, these examples were menial at best, for example, the default value of a drop down was blank instead of "-- Select --". He also slipped in a little comment stating that since I'm now in a support role, I've hit the ceiling for my salary and that I should not expect raises in the future. When I confronted my HR manager later that day, all she could tell me was "This scenario could have been handled better.".

Now that I support the end users, I hear about how bad the system has become, often crashing during critical points in their work flow, costing them hours of their time. Its also worth noting that this employee babysits my manager's kids every week. It's clear that the manager favors this employee who is clearly not cut out for the position, but no one seems to care.

Unfortunately, I am well above the average salary/benefits for my position since I had worked in my original position for so long. I've been to several interviews, but we're so far apart in the negotiations it has been tough to transition. My personal life does not allow me to take a position with a smaller salary.

  1. What would be the best approach moving forward?
  2. Should I reach out to the owners?

UPDATED with two questions that this community should be able to assist with.

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    You work for a terrible manager and there isn't a way to fix the situation your are currently in. Sadly, you may to make adjustments in your personal life to be able to accept a pay cut. – Mister Positive Mar 6 '17 at 16:40
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    Why am I getting down votes on the question? Are my solutions too opinion based? – HazyKingdom Mar 6 '17 at 17:20
  • @HazyKingdom I am not sure, seems like a good well thought out question, so I voted in the positive for it. – Mister Positive Mar 6 '17 at 17:28
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    @HazyKingdom Based on some of the close votes, I would guess that the down votes are because your post is a bit ranty right now. I would recommend editing your question to cut down on length and highlight your actual question better. Make sure that your questions have an addressable goal and aren't just complaints about how bad the situation is. – David K Mar 6 '17 at 17:37
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    If you are making a developer wage in a support role I would not expect that situation to remain stable. They have already counselled you for poor performance(even if it is unjust) expect a PIP soon and a pink slip in 30 to 60 days after that. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 6 '17 at 20:46
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Appears you are being targeted by your manager.

You have already escalated to HR and that only made things worse.

Going to the owner will not likely help as your manager already has a story lined up.

If your current pay in support is better than you can get in another job then learn to accept support. If you need the money then you don't have to like it.

Sounds like your boss wants to you leave so it may escalate until they find a reason to fire you. So lay low, do your job, and don't give them and excuse to fire you.

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    ...while you look for a new job. – rath Mar 6 '17 at 16:51
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    I suspect the targeting happened after the OP went to HR.... – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 6 '17 at 17:08
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    @IDrinkandIKnowThings Based on "communicated to my HR director that my manager and team member were not providing me critical pieces of code" indicates the targeting started prior. – paparazzo Mar 6 '17 at 18:01
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings What does that have to do with establish a time order? – paparazzo Mar 6 '17 at 20:45
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    Well the OP assumes the targeting happened before. I would suspect that it happened after he went to hr. There was probably much less conflict before the OP tried to rat out his boss. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 6 '17 at 20:48
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This situation is one that you created. When you go to HR with work related issues, you are escalating the situation. I am not saying you were wrong to go to HR just pointing out the effects of what you did. You compromised the trust of your manager, so while your work may have been adequate or even good, if you can not trust the people working for you, as a manager, your team is less effective.

Your manager has decided that you and they are not going to be able to work together on programming projects. They made a business decision that you would best serve the company in your new support role. Certainly this has a feel of retribution and there is probably some part of that. But the reality is your manager no longer felt comfortable with you producing code on their team, and they have that right.

You could consult a lawyer and that lawyer may be willing to take your case because it seems a case of retribution, but as it stands I see no reason to suspect that there was anything that I would be worried about legally if i were in your company's position.

Your options are to try to rebuild trust and respect with your manager to get back into programming, accept your lot and stay in support, or find a new job and move on.

  • I like the options given. – Mister Positive Mar 6 '17 at 17:51
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    Aaaaaaand, once again with feeling: "HR is not your friend" – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Mar 6 '17 at 18:44
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    @RichardU - Very true... They are not your enemy either until you try to take on management... then they are on the side of the business every time. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 6 '17 at 20:51
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    HR is there to protect the BUSINESS first and foremost. Not saying all HR departments are bad or evil, but believe me the priority is not the employee, but the company. – Mister Positive Mar 7 '17 at 1:53
  • Their priority is the employee when they are dealing with 3rd party benefit providers, and HR can help in some situations involving employment and benefits. But HR is the last person you want to go to for conflicts because they represent the business and even if you are right, the other person may be the companies interest. Best to wait to go to HR until you have talked to a lawyer and they instruct you to go to HR And what to file and what to say. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 7 '17 at 13:23

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