Thursday, December 19, 2019

Ongoing Path to Management

Ongoing Path to Management is to discuss about my attempts to get a people management (for the sake of these series will just be shortened as manager) role. I have known this was not an easy path, but one I believe is beneficial to the company given my experience and my ability to connect with other employees.

I also do not have a need to be in management. I am well content to do my job at my current position and current pay. I would still prefer to have more responsibilities and/or more pay. That being said, if I were promoted to management, I believe I would do a good job and I am willing to do the extra work. The reason I want to do this because I believe in doing what is good for my group.

There are some other obstacles to my path due to my personal beliefs which I will address in another post. Today, I just want to address a more obvious problem for everyone that is interested in becoming a people manager.


One of the biggest obstacle to getting a management role is the need to have management experience. The follow up question is how many direct reports have you managed. But all managers must have had no experience or directs reports before they became a manager.


From my experience, the fastest way to become a manager is to know the right person. No experience, no skills, just being in the right place at the right time. I have seen fresh graduates promoted to management within a year of working. Even those who did not even want to be a manager. Majority of them have no idea how to lead a team: causing confused team members, setting unreasonable goals, creating many social impacts, etc. Simply by knowing the right person will get you promoted (for many different reasons).

And then there is the very long and difficult path that depends a lot on luck. The luck is primarily based on your work for a company that is mature enough to have a structured method of promoting. Although luck like knowing the right people is still important, but has less of an impact which could increase your chances. At these firms, you can work hard and work several years to eventually be promoted to management role. You will have a better chance if you work for someone that is in a volatile position.

By volatile position, I mean that the position (not necessarily the person but could be driven by the person) has a high potential to change. The simplest is that the person is going to retire. The person will leave and a gap needs to be filled. Next is the person that is ambitious or really skilled. Basically, the person needs to move out of the role so that it becomes available and you have to be the best option.


From my experience, I believe that most managers are more leads. They have the know-how, they delegate, they review the product, but most do not care for the person's growth, the person's career, or if very unlucky, do not care for you at all. They do not set you up for a raise or for a good review. They see annual reviews as a waste of time. They only want to lead and force you to follow, just as they have to follow their superiors.

Because most managers are leads in reality, this confuses the title of managers because that creates poor standards of what a manager should do. For those who are new to the workplace, expectations of a manager becomes much harder to maintain across the company.


Perhaps I work in very unsafe work environments my entire career, but I see that there are very few good managers.

My speculation is that good managers rarely leave a company (or let go). So to me, most companies are hiring just bad managers. This is also my belief why I am unable to randomly find a good company to work for. Because good companies do not have turnover to have roles to fill. Good companies will have good managers who most likely have good references so there is no need to reach out to find random candidates.

Good employees leave bad companies. The silver-lining is that they learn why certain processes are in place or why certain good practices are done.

People, People, People

I was brought up that good work will eventually be promoted. I hated playing politics. I have had my work credit stolen. I have been passed by another with less experience who was later fired within months. I have been told that the company cannot afford to hire helpers but yet when I leave, they eventually have to back fill with multiple people. I have won contracts with clients who eventually canceled their contracts with my former company shortly after I left.

Sorry for all the negativity. So more positively, I have always been a go-to person for some people around me for advice on career, work, projects, or even very situational scenarios. I have always been the fastest to learn. Among my team, I have almost always had the most projects, most tasks with equal or better quality with no complaints.

But all this is not important at all to management (at least in today's corporate management). All that really matters is the people you know. Not just any person, the right person whether they work for a good or bad company. If you do not know the right person, you will never be promoted even if you are the star employee. Sadly, the "right" person typically is not someone who is a good manager (although possible).

If you work for a good company, time may be worth spending to achieve that goal. For a bad company, the expense of being promoted may not be worth the sacrifices. I do not just mean financially (or sexually). I mean sacrificing your morals.

I am unwilling to lie or cheat. I would rather work cheaply until I find the right place to work that truly appreciates their employees. My recommendation to all is to keep an eye out for good people. Do not be afraid to approach them. Connection is important in this world if you want to make an impact and have more control over your own life. Hard work can only get you so far individually in current workplace.

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