Doing the math

04 December 2014

And now for something completely different:

I'm doing the math to see what it would take for Carl to be able to quit his job before hunting for another. I'd have to take some kind of job, but I don't think it would take a very high salary (or hourly rate, as case may be).

See, his boss made a really, really boneheaded, PHB maneuver.

Carl came on board the mower company nine years ago, with seven years of sysadmin experience (and the early years of that under some really good mentors). We've been kind of struggling with the fact that he really likes it there, except for the 75-mile commute (and we'd about decided to pull up roots, twenty years of roots, from Delano and move closer), but the raises just haven't kept up with the cost of living (and definitely not with the price of gas). But in the last couple years, well. Not only have the raises not kept up, but the workload has been ever-increasing because they can't retain people or hire quality replacements (again with the raises... and this is a company that's setting new sales records each year, so it's not "the economy.")

So in what he claims was an attempt to ease Carl's workload, his boss decided to make him a full-time developer. Yep, you've been a sysadmin/architect for sixteen years and you're so irreplaceable we can't make you manager but not so irreplaceable that we can't just change your career for you without even asking because we can't find anyone else who's stupid enough to even apply for a dev position in a tiny Kansas town. That wouldn't be so bad, just tone-deaf, if he hadn't simultaneously promoted Carl's protégé... to manager. Which Carl has been in all but name and salary and boss has been putting Carl off about that for two years, and that after Carl basically turned down the directorship when it opened up because he felt his technical skills were needed as sysadmin/architect, and instead pushed for his now-boss to be put in that position... in hindsight, a stupid career move. And one I'm not sure his boss is even aware of. Said boss is an ex-schoolteacher, not really an IT guy, and frankly doesn't understand there's a difference between dev and architect, but he at least ought to recognize that there's a difference between leading a team of skilled junior sysadmins and leading... a bunch of consultants.

Did I say tone-deaf? He didn't tell said protégé about Carl's transfer or tell Carl about the protégé's promotion - they texted each other after work and found out. Boss is baffled, just baffled that Carl has taken it as a not-so-subtle signal to "pursue other opportunities." Boss genuinely believes, apparently, that he was doing him a big favor. "I thought you'd like less responsibility." I suspect, to be honest, that perhaps it's the grandboss sending the signal and using boss as patsy: grandboss is a Koch alumni who is strongly in favor of outsourcing all IT work above tape-monkey pay grade. I gather Koch Industries never allows irreplaceable linchpins, to borrow some Seth Godin terminology.

Apparently it's going to take giving notice to get the message that you don't just put your best IT guy in a dead-end job just because you can't fill it any other way. And if it's "no, I don't have a better offer outstanding, I'm just that confident that they're out there," well, that's a message that ought to finally get through.

(And they are out there. We've decided to be open to "pursuing other opportunities" than Wichita or even Kansas, in fact; we have both sides of the family here, and pulling up stakes is tough with aging parents, but Kansas has had a tone-deaf boss of its own for the last few years.)

So there's that.

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