##@55,is it safer to be manager or hands-on developer@@

Hi Shanyou,

Based on your observations, when I reach 55, do you think it’s safer as a manager or a hands-on developer? “Safer” in the presence of

  1. competition from younger generation
  2. competition from same age group or older
  3. new, disruptive technologies
  4. technology obsolescence (what I call technology “churn”).
  5. outsourcing

Among these threats, my concern is primarily #1 but what about you?

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mgr position risk: tiny job pool

When not comfortable (under threat), or job lost, the prospect of finding a similar job is much worse than a hands-on developer, because the number of senior mgr jobs is much smaller.

Avichal basically said he would avoid hands-off manager roles.

As contractor, most of the time I feel very relaxed about moving in and out. The price to pay, of course, is lower salary.

fastest muscle-growth=b4/af job changes]U.S.

I now recall that my muscle-building and, to a lesser extent, zbs growth are clearly fastest in the 3 months around each job change. I get frequent interviews and positive feedback. This is a key (subconscious) reason why I prefer contracting even at a lower salary. I get the kick each time I change job.

My blogging activity shows the growth…

  • #1 factor … positive feedback from real offers from good companies.
  • #2 factor — I actually feel real zbs growth thought it tends to be less strategic in hindsight.
  • factor — on a new job, I am curious to learn things I have wanted to learn like Xaml, FIX, Tibco, kdb, SecDB, multicast, orderbook, curve building

Beside the months immediately b4/af job change, I also experienced significant growth in

No such environment in Singapore:(

mgr position stress: relationships

A technical or contract role is less complicated, though relationships are also important and can make your life very stressful or relatively easy.

In ## 2 heaviest work stressors, I listed “figure-things-out” as a key stressor — if I’m reasonably fast on this front, then the relationships have limited impact on my stress level at work. Not true for a manager role — even if you get things done fast enough, relationships can still mess up your life.

  • the relationship with the immediate boss is most critical. I had many problems in the past.
  • relationship with other teams. Dependency means … stressful relationship
  • relationship with big bosses
  • relationship with subordinates can also become difficult. Shuo told me it was not for him, but I feel some managers depend on some key subordinates. Dependency means stress.
    • managing a non-performing subordinates … is not easy at all. I could see Kevin had headaches with me.
  • relationship with key business users. I feel Venkat (ICE) is under that pressure.

FTE^contractor: choose 1 to let go

There are individual differences, but I now feel majority of manager-decision-makers (U.S./Singapore) do feel a higher resistance to let go an FTE rather than a contractor. Deterrence:

  • expectation of affected employee that the job is long-term. Most managers won’t ignore your feeling. They are worried about your complaints
  • reflection on her own record as a manager
    • they often prefer an internal transfer
  • formal performance improvement process is not required for non-performing contractor
  • severance
  • official complaints
  • litigation (in the U.S.)

The deterrences are a form of protection for the FTE, but paradoxically, I hate these deterrences, as they lengthen the slow death.

 

mgr position stress: project delay #cf FTE/contractor

contractor is most care-free. Even As an employee, the pressure to deliver is lower than the mgr.

As a junior VP (perhaps a system owner) you could still stay behind a shield (defend yourself) — “I did my best given the limitations and constraints”. However, As mgr, you are more expected to own the task and solve those problems at a higher level of effectiveness, including negotiations with other departments.

“Results or reasons?” … is the manager’s performance review.

Recall Yang, Stirt-risk …

  • —- past barometer due to project delivery pressure —-
  • GS – 10/10,  “if i quit GS I may have to quit this country; I must Not quit”
  • Stirt – 8
  • Mac – 7
  • OC – 5, largely due to fear of bonus stigma
  • 95G, Barc – 3, due to mgr pressurizing
  • Citi – 2