Does moving up in the business world require sacrificing all your ethical standards? Zuska just wrote a post on a string of crazy bosses.
True that. The comment thread pondered whether this phenomenon might be more prevalent in technical fields or a strategy used by some companies to get rid of low level employees in a particular group. I think these are valid and I also wondered whether the skills required to move up and be a manager don't automatically lend themselves to changing who a person is or self selecting for certain kinds of people.
You do not hear about the white collar, middle to upper middle class people who go shitznutz and instead of bringing a gun to work and shooting up a bunch of folks, just psychologically abuse the hell out of everyone under their control.
I've noticed the more I "move up" on projects the less hands on work I actually accomplish. More of my time is spent in a project management phase. And when you get to that point you're dealing in knowledge and tracking and conveying information. Which often means I've no longer designed the object in question but am just relaying its status. When you're talking to higher level people on a project, and your designers and technicians are not, this can seem to me like taking credit for their work. Or the more powerpoint I am required to do the more information I must "steal" from others to incorporate in a presentation that management will see. There's no decent way to "credit" your fellow employees, or even yourself, in these presentations. I've seen my name go on documents and projects I had very little to do with besides compiling information. But I've also seen comprehensive reports and presentations that I've poured my heart into get sent several levels above me without any mention that I contributed. There doesn't seem to be any logic to it and while I know I am queasy every time I take implicit credit for another person's work I realize my manager, and his manager, do not have the same qualms.
Chris Gammel over at EngineerBlogs just did a post on expectations for electrical engineering starting salaries. He talks about how the starting salary can seem high after being in school but often the growth flattens out over time. Unless of course, one moves into management. Is the tradeoff worth it? Is management self selecting or do people actually change in order to go into it?