Background: I started working here in '04 and after 7 years, I decided I wanted to do web work. I talked to our previous manager and he said they didn't have a suitable position. On another occasion (I don't know if this is the right word but that's out of scope) he mentioned I could do QA on the team and I accepted. What I didn't know was that one of the developers would quit in two weeks.
Fast forward to today: Now, I hate what I do and want to work on web. I am a Drupal developer and have more Drupal knowledge than any person in my office. About a year ago, our manager changed and despite my repetitive requests, she keeps refusing to give me web work. I had some filesystem access and that was taken away when I did something very, very stupid. I had our SSO password (I'm part of the team after all) and kept doing some work from our ticketing system. She a few times said vaguely to keep doing my original work. Despite she said we will talk about my behaviour later, I one day found out that she changed the SSO password without even having talked. How do I tell the manager that I want to do web work? The previous manager used to let me.

  • Handle what? What is your actual goal? You're in a QA position and your manager isn't assigning you other work but you did it anyway? In secret?! Your manager's response is also bizarre but I get the sense that you're leaving out some key info there. Can you clarify your core question and whether you've had an actual conversation about your role and the work you were (not supposed to be) doing? – Lilienthal Aug 16 '17 at 9:05
  • My actual goal is to work on web, as all the others. Should I tell her that she should let me work on web if she wants me to be motivated? – Tolga Ozses Aug 16 '17 at 9:08
  • @Lilienthal - I get the feeling that she didn't know the OP was still doing web work behind her back when she said, "Keep doing what you do". That was probably in reference to their real QA work. – BSMP Aug 16 '17 at 9:14
  • @BSMP yes it was, sorry for not mentioning that. – Tolga Ozses Aug 16 '17 at 9:15
  • @Lilienthal Would it be appropriate for me to create a chat room for this question? I don't want to trap the OP with a -4 score question (especially if it might get closed) but I also don't want to attempt a discussion in the comments. – BSMP Aug 16 '17 at 9:30

If it isn't already clear to you you aren't going to be doing web work here.

You've asked, repeatedly and been denied, then you've acted insubordinately and been caught. The fact that your insubordinate act was to do work is largely irrelevant because it wasn't your work and it was work you'd been told not to do! In the process you've demonstrated that you have zero respect for your manager and that if you don't get the answer you want to a question you will just go ahead anyway which is not a great attribute in an employee - loose cannons might do well in '80s cop movies but in the mundane world of work they are generally a liability.

How do I handle this situation?

First things first, apologize to your manager

Any chance of you ever carrying out web work for this manager (and most likely this organisation) is toast so any plan going forward isn't going to feature that. The company hired you to do a QA role not a web development role, there's nothing wrong with hating the QA role or asking for a change. But now you've had your firm "no" to that question (more than once!) if you're still driven to move into web work then you need to start looking elsewhere.

In the meantime you need to focus on doing your QA role to the best of your abilities, firstly because it's the professional thing to do and secondly because it will help you should you need to use this employer as a reference.

EDIT: Just wanted to update following on the from the OP's edit indicating that the previous manager used to allow them to do web work as this does change things slightly.

With this in mind when you talk to your manager it's worth (if you haven't already) explaining that you had an understanding with your previous manager that you were allowed to do web work. While I think this is extremely unlikely to change her mind as she seems to have made it pretty clear that it's not something she wants you to do. It might help soften any negative feelings she may have regarding you carrying out the "unauthorized" web work if there was at least a semi-official precedent for you doing what you did.

Definitely do not frame it as an argument as to why you should be able to carry on doing so though, that would almost certainly be counter-productive!

  • Should I also tell the manager that I want to do web work and she should let me do so if she wants efficiency from me, or is that a bad idea? – Tolga Ozses Aug 16 '17 at 10:14
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    @TolgaOzses No don't say that, that's just saying "if you won't let me do the job I want I'm going to do the job I have badly". That's massively unprofessional and, honestly it would be more efficient to just ask her straight up to fire you. – motosubatsu Aug 16 '17 at 10:25
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    You really need to start looking for a new job. – Ernest Friedman-Hill Aug 16 '17 at 11:41
  • @TolgaOzses Since this and Ernest's comment is very close to what I would have said I'll just add that this, she said we will talk about my behaviour, indicates that you were already in trouble before you lost access. She didn't want to discuss your requests for web work or your job performance, she wanted to discuss your behavior, which strongly implies that she isn't happy with your behavior. Stop digging the hole you're in; get a new job. (Also, your boss doesn't owe you a discussion before revoking access to a resource you're abusing.) – BSMP Aug 16 '17 at 14:16
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    @BSMP agreed.. this is all about damage limitation now, which is worth doing even if the plan is to move on as being able to get a decent reference from a job that accounts for the last 13 years of your career can be a significant help! – motosubatsu Aug 16 '17 at 15:09

What is it about web work that you need to ask your current employer for it?

You're not doing any at the moment, so just do it by freelancing or via some other channel.

I don't even know why you struggled with this for years. This doesn't even make sense. I wanted to do web work 10 years ago, so I volunteered and built a website for people I know. I built two for two separate startups, built several for different churches, built a bunch for myself, etc.

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