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From quite a long time, I've been advocating to do a technical change on one of our products. I've given pro's and con's of doing this, along with estimated times and costs. This would reward us with a better image for the customers, which tend to favor this technology over our current one. This has been turned down many times, with different reasons in mind (some of which are time and cost related).

Now, in the meantime, I've been offered a position focused on this technology many times (at least 5 times a month). The last interview I had in place, the company basically said that "despite I look quite experienced, I can't take the position I was offered", suggesting I take a junior position (while currently being much higher in the "ladder").

Because of these issues, I'm planning to start a long course (a year) which should give me enough experience on the topic to get into a senior position straight away. The problem is that this course will require me to reschedule my working times. I'll need to leave 1 hour earlier to arrive to the course in time (which of course is compensated by coming to the office 1 our earlier).

The company is fine with time changes, as long as they make sense (physical therapy, commutes, etc). However, a reason such as "A course that means a company/position switch" might not be well received.

My boss already stated that this technology change I propose won't happen, and has in fact thought that I finally calmed down and saw nothing but negative points in steering the project's wheel. So, telling him that I'll start attending this course could mean he smells I want to switch to another job, rejecting my request to leave earlier, switching me to another project or even firing me (with a dark scenario in which I want to take an offer where I don't have enough experience/knowledge, or moving to a position of my area, with a similar outcome once I suggest to leave earlier.

I've already seen this in the past. If he dislikes something but then he sees the good part by himself, he'll even push you to complete the course. If he sees all the bad things in a topic, and later on you still remind him about this, you're gonna have a bad time. So...

With this in mind, and provided telling the truth is risky, should I tell him, lie to him or skip doing the course and looking for a less professional alternative (which wouldn't ensure me a good position after all)?

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    Can't you say your taking a course without being specific? Call it continuing education or something. I don't advocate lying, but you can omit details that will be damaging to your career aspiration, as in this case. – Mister Positive Sep 7 '17 at 11:35
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    Unrelated to your main question, but be very sure that this course will accomplish your goal. If you're being rejected for not having experience in a certain technology then a course may not be enough. If you're being rejected for not knowing the basics of a particular technology at an academic level then a course can help. – Lilienthal Sep 7 '17 at 12:06
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    I just want to remind you that if your boss is reading here, your question has been "answered". – NoBackingDown Sep 7 '17 at 12:09
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    @Dominik Good point. For questions like this use a silly user name and not a real pic – Mister Positive Sep 7 '17 at 12:15
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    Dominik and Mister Positive are correct. For instance, by right-clicking your picture and selected "Search Google for Image" I was able to find your real name via your LinkedIn profile. I'd change the pic if you want to be sure (especially since your boss would recognize you anyway). But just something to remember. – Chris E Sep 7 '17 at 13:13
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Comitting to a one year course is likely going to put you in a tough position IF you are let go. I see your options as follows:

  1. Keep your current job and change your working times if your employer is cool with that. When asked say that you are attending a course related to a personal interest of yours. Is this course every evening or only on specific days? In the later case you're probably good as it could just as well be painting, cooking or martial arts. Is this "come in earlier - leave earlier" possible within the normal working hours or does it require a special agreement with your boss? In case of the former you literally don't have to say anything to your employer.
  2. Negotiate with the other company to enter in a junior position with the agreement that you can attend the course and then automatically rise to the senior position. Or better yet enter in the senior position under the condition that you pay for the course yourself and successfully complete it within a year.
  3. Find a shorter course (or one that can be taken in modules of a few months at a time) that leaves you less "vunerable" financially if things go south with your employer.
  4. Take the offer for the junior position and gain the necessary experience on the job.
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    Hi Kempeth and @MisterPositive. Indeed I've thought of going this way before, but even if this course costs money (1800€, about 2150$), it's feasible. The offers for a junior position would turn my salary about 600-800€ down monthly, while being senior would mean only a decrease of maybe 100€ and in some cases a little bit higher salary. To my despair it's not about "degradation" of being a junior again, but more like sustainability in the more or less long term. In the past I only had huge salary raises after I switched companies, so it'd still be one or two years earning ~8400€ less per year – Korcholis Sep 7 '17 at 15:16
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With this in mind, and provided telling the truth is risky, should I tell him, lie to him or skip doing the course and looking for a less professional alternative (which wouldn't ensure me a good position after all)?

As you seem to already know, it would be foolish to tell your boss that you are taking a course in a technology that you have been repeatedly told will not be implemented at your shop, and about which the boss is already wary.

And lying is seldom a good idea.

Instead, just ask about rescheduling your hours so that you can take a continuing education course (assuming you actually need to give some reason at all). Most employers won't ask about the specifics - particularly if you have taken courses in the past or if taking courses is a typical thing in your office. If challenged, indicate that it's a "technology" course, but don't specify the technology.

If you conclude that this approach is still too risky, then take a course that you can attend without changing your schedule.

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Sounds like a classic dilemma.

  1. Telling the truth sounds like problems. While you have every right and reason to acquire knowledge that furthers your career in a direction that you prefer, the suspicion of you wanting to leave does lie at hand.

  2. Being vague might also be a problem, because normally an employer takes great interest in the qualifications of their employees. They might inquire - maybe with good intentions - to see if your education will be of future benefit to them.

  3. Lying outright - depending on your values, you could maybe justify that because it will protect you from unfair reactions from you employer. It has a chance of catastrophic failure though, if they discover the lie. Then they will know certainly that you want to leave - and as dishonest as you where to them you are almost guaranteed immediate termination.

Some solution I can imagine is, have a honest conversation about your career goals with you superiors. If you state that:

  • You value your work and your employer, but you see your own future in this specific technology.
  • You won´t abandon them right away but want to start developing into that direction, by taking that course.
  • You will be informing them early when you have actual plans of leaving and will support a smooth hand-over.

Maybe sell it as: Right now you only want to get a chance to play with that technology, and since you don´t have that at work you are considering that course.

It is possible you´ll have their support and buy-in. I´ve discovered that most superiors appreciate such honesty and won´t actually stand in your way developing your personal career. It would also be fair to both parties, allowing them to prepare for loosing you.

Of course if this talk takes a bad turn you could still loose your job, so consider if you can afford to live on that junior-position for some time. This may actually get you started in this technology much faster than any class can, so this is still something to consider doing in the first place.

  • Hey, thanks. Although this is a really good answer in general, I can't apply it. He knows my intentions. Sadly this course is pretty well known as a "career-changer", because it gives aside from the knowledge, the chance to create a porfolio that shines very much. I've actually had a talk with him in the past about a topic that could have caused problems if I worked here and his response was quite depressing and disrespectful (to sum up, I had to stop working on a personal project that collided on a new idea for the company), so waiting for the conversation to go well for my career... nope – Korcholis Sep 7 '17 at 15:28
  • Ok, in that case I´d second the answer from another poster: Find another employer now, preferably one hwo will support you in taking the course, even if it sets you back to a junior position for a little while. You are obviously stuck in your personal career dead-end. – Daniel Sep 7 '17 at 15:37
  • "Allowing [your employer] time to prepare for losing you" is too much of an accommodation. Employers (typically) don't allow their workers time to prepare for lay-offs, instead they just drop the axe and instantly create a glut of people with the same skills all at once. Individuals need to protect themselves and sometimes that involves secrecy and hiding intentions. – teego1967 Sep 8 '17 at 9:36
  • @teego: I´ve made good experience in being open, but theses where all in smaller companies. Beeing honest, fair and reliable I experineced most employers to be willing to support me and find a good compromise that works for both parties. You´d have to rely on your gut if that will work in you situation or not. – Daniel Sep 8 '17 at 9:56

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