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Ditto (almost verbatim to what you wrote). I've been meditating on a few reasons for it:

1) I was given a few opportunities by the partners to step up into a management role, but in hindsight, I was too knee-deep in code to see what was happening, so I doubled down on keeping my nose to the grindstone rather than stepping back and thinking more about how to change the workflow so that others could come in and contribute. The symptoms of this were things like: I never got invited to any public-facing events, team building exercises or drinks with the partners when they were in town. I think they viewed me as a big fish in a small pond, someone to be utilized but not groomed. They came from a big city hustle mindset whereas I came from small town America. So different value systems, not necessarily superior or inferior, but at high risk of miscommunication.

2) When they finally promoted the other guy to a management role, he fell into the exact sequence you enumerated. He was highly disciplined and methodical, but sometimes had blind spots about different local maximums in the search space (had trouble seeing the forest for the trees) and was a bit too focused on maintaining the hierarchy since he came from a military background. I admired his tenacity, but truthfully, it had a tendency to wear on the developers (several of which had an antiauthoritarian mindset like many in tech).

3) When he moved on, a void was left that was never filled. We ended up changing over to nontechnical project managers, which worked well for about a year, but inevitably the agency drifted towards enterprise work, which is not my cup of tea. We had a bit of a falling out and I moved on. I still wonder to this day how things might have ended up differently if I had stepped up and basically listened to the universe and manifested whatever the next chapter of my life as a team lead or manager was going to be. I would have been a highly egalitarian manager, working for the team as much as for the partners and clients. Now, I dunno, I'm not sure that my heart is in software engineering anymore. I'm focusing on the gig economy and attaining some financial independence outside of hierarchy so I can finally work on projects within my own calling. As a 40-something this is scary but rejuvenating.






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