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tomato3000

The rise and rise of management

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As we know the UK economy is one of the most unproductive in the world. On top of that there are numerous crises (Doctors/Education/...).

One of the common factors I see around the UK is a reverence for management (I don't mean in the general public but in bussiness).

It seems to me many of the problems in many sectors (i.e NHS/Teachers/science/engineering) come from people not being trusted to do their job by their managers who add lots of unecessary 'processes' that just result in more paperwork, which mean people rush, which means mistakes happen, which results in more 'processes'. To add insult to injury these managers, who largely get in the way of skilled workers, are much better renumerated! They clearly are not adding value so why is it rewarded?

I remember some years ago I read an article that suggested that staying technical made your career more resiliant in downturns as 'it's easy to cut middle management, but not the people that create stuff'. Having seen the recession come and 'go' I can say I have not seen any axing of middle management, in fact it seems to be growing. I read in the recent 'State of the Nation 2016' social mobility report that by 2024 half of all jobs will be management. As an economy that's 1 manager for every worker!

I, for one, fully intend to try to exploit this trend and am attempting to join management asap.

I'd be interested to hear other people's thought's and analysis.

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some management roles are total fabrications such as change or transformation management or programme management, never used to exist when the economy was more productive.

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'Them and us' is alive and kicking.

I worked in the management structure for a large bank. 

"Spend time with your staff" they said.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my daily pattern in that environment:

8am - arrive and open up emails to find out what I missed after my shift finished.

8:15 - Collate yesterday's figures to find out how my team did.

8:30 - assess the day's requirements for my team

8:50 - go up two floors to attend a meeting of managers held by the manager of the managers to discuss everything I/we found out between 8-8:50am. This includes finding out 'today's focus' which we must take back downstairs with us.

9:30 - back on my floor to meet with more managers to discuss the manager's meeting with the other managers, find out how the first 90 minutes of the day had gone (cos I was too busy doing other sh!te to know what was actually happening on the ground). Discuss 'focus for the day'.

9:50 - sit back at desk to more emails detailing further requirements for the day as well as errors made yesterday to be fed back to staff.

10:00 - prep team meeting with all manner of corporate bolleaux.

10:30 - prep feedback for staff from error reports.

11:00 - team meeting bolleaux

11:45 - carry on with feedback prep

12:00 - lunch

13:00 - collate figures from first half of day to assess progress

13:20 - meet with managerss to discuss progress

13:30 - back up to the manager's managers meeting to discuss progress.

13:50 - back downstairs to discuss action on progress

14:10 - finish feedback prep

14:30 - 15:15 - feedback meetings with relevant staff

15:15 - 16:00 - emails/monthly one-to-one prep/AOB.

Anybody care to highlight any:

1) Productivity or value addition

2) Quality time spent with staff...... Which is what the manager's managers were asking for in the first place.

No. Me neither.

I left.

Edited by Noallegiance

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The rise and rise of managers who haven't got a clue about what they are actually managing.

The multiplication of planners who don't know how to plan, never mind what they are planning.

The internal feedback loop created between the two above, and the belief that the programme is the holy grail even though the planners and managers know it is a) wrong and B) unachievable.

Cost engineers who don't know how much stuff actually costs never mind the assumption that everything can be done in half the time because the planners can't plan.

The two overlapping feedback loops created by the planners and cost engineers all telling the managers that everything is OK.

The self fulfilling time consuming virtual reality created by all the above means that they can then convincingly say to the staff that, 'youre all doing very well', just before the whole project is canned.

 

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1 minute ago, ChewingGrass said:

The rise and rise of managers who haven't got a clue about what they are actually managing.

The multiplication of planners who don't know how to plan, never mind what they are planning.

The internal feedback loop created between the two above, and the belief that the programme is the holy grail even though the planners and managers know it is a) wrong and B) unachievable.

Cost engineers who don't know how much stuff actually costs never mind the assumption that everything can be done in half the time because the planners can't plan.

The two overlapping feedback loops created by the planners and cost engineers all telling the managers that everything is OK.

The self fulfilling time consuming virtual reality created by all the above means that they can then convincingly say to the staff that, 'youre all doing very well', just before the whole project is canned.

 

Bingo

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10 minutes ago, ChewingGrass said:

The rise and rise of managers who haven't got a clue about what they are actually managing.

The multiplication of planners who don't know how to plan, never mind what they are planning.

The internal feedback loop created between the two above, and the belief that the programme is the holy grail even though the planners and managers know it is a) wrong and B) unachievable.

Cost engineers who don't know how much stuff actually costs never mind the assumption that everything can be done in half the time because the planners can't plan.

The two overlapping feedback loops created by the planners and cost engineers all telling the managers that everything is OK.

The self fulfilling time consuming virtual reality created by all the above means that they can then convincingly say to the staff that, 'youre all doing very well', just before the whole project is canned.

 

Yes - content "lite". A bit of a problem in a knowledge economy. 

The US West Coast companies I have worked for have always had a unrelenting focus on everyone knowing the content that sets them apart...

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They just cleared out a management layer at my organisation. I'll be reporting to a Director in future (at least until the next restructure).  About 1/3 of the staff are managers of some kind or other. Sometimes I feel my job is simply to protect my team from the rest of the bureaucratic nonsense. 

Frankly, for the salary bump - it's largely not worth the hassle. 

Edited by StainlessSteelCat

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Im nominally a manager.

I let people get on with their job and i get on with my non management work.

Inherit title at a company where people only managed. Fcking waste of time. Bar me, none of them understand the business.

Management is not transferable between sectors.

I dont care about odds and sods. They do their hours. I make sure they have the resources. I de risk the plans.

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I reckon a lot of management jobs aren't really management - more an exercise in giving people fancy job titles and the illusion of "career progress" to get them to work harder for less money. The last place I had a proper job at subscribed to that system, hire relatively young inexperienced people for jobs, give them a fancy title and more money than they've had before (which wasn't that much) and let them work themselves to the point of burn out to get "ahead", then rinse and repeat the process.  

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People are welcome to their middle management jobs for a nominal 20-40% more than I earn as an engineer. At which they are taxed at 40-60%, so another 10-20% more in the pocket unless they salary sacrifice it away.

They seem to be working at least 80% more hours, having to travel all the time and generally dealing with all the rubbish first hand. Whether that's macho presenteeism, or workload, I don't know and don't care. What I do know is the majority of the time, I'm insulated from most of this stuff and if not, a little meditation and a cup of tea when the requirements change calms me down. It's usually their job to hear everyone whinging about it too, whereas we're all likely secretly delighted to have some interesting refactoring to do 

Basically,  the trick for a good balance is to get to the top level as an engineer/worker, and refuse all offers of management. Maximises the interesting work and the effective rate at which you're paid at. 

If you can make the jump to the £150k p/a class of management though, then it might be worth it. But you better be sure as be sure as hell that's on the cards quickly because slogging away on 80k doing 65-80 hours per week sounds a crap life to me.

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Seems to be have been a lot more of this in IT in the last 10-15 years.  Personally I think it has something to do with offshoring/outsourcing.

 

On the outsourcing side the more people on the project the more they get paid, so a financial incentive to stuff the project with made up jobs (this model is in the process of changing)

 

On the client side, they cannot literally have no IT jobs 'onshore' so they now employ a lot more change / project/ programme / process / service managers.  Also whole made up teams, usually with the world 'solution' in the title.

Edited by reddog

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2 hours ago, Wayward said:

some management roles are total fabrications such as change or transformation management or programme management, never used to exist when the economy was more productive.

When it was more productive?  It was obviously churning out rose-tinted glasses like nobody's business.

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Although it pretends otherwise, neoliberalism secretly needs a bloated bureacracy, particularly within the public sector. This buffer class is necessary to impose " reforms" on teachers, doctors, police; workers who previously had some professional ethics and autonomy but whose interests or beliefs may be opposed to the marketisation of these services.

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There is an additional reason for a bloated bureaucracy, that of keeping professionals from challenging the nwo. Keep em busy filling in pieces of paper so that they are too tied up in minutiae to even wonder what is going on.  In addition, make things as confusing and as contradictory as possible, constantly move the goalposts and change the plan and everyone is then just too exhausted to challenge even if they have worked it out.  

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58 minutes ago, Frugal Git said:

People are welcome to their middle management jobs for a nominal 20-40% more than I earn as an engineer. At which they are taxed at 40-60%, so another 10-20% more in the pocket unless they salary sacrifice it away.

They seem to be working at least 80% more hours, having to travel all the time and generally dealing with all the rubbish first hand. Whether that's macho presenteeism, or workload, I don't know and don't care. What I do know is the majority of the time, I'm insulated from most of this stuff and if not, a little meditation and a cup of tea when the requirements change calms me down. It's usually their job to hear everyone whinging about it too, whereas we're all likely secretly delighted to have some interesting refactoring to do 

Basically,  the trick for a good balance is to get to the top level as an engineer/worker, and refuse all offers of management. Maximises the interesting work and the effective rate at which you're paid at. 

If you can make the jump to the £150k p/a class of management though, then it might be worth it. But you better be sure as be sure as hell that's on the cards quickly because slogging away on 80k doing 65-80 hours per week sounds a crap life to me.

 

Less than that in my firm. There's £2K between me (manager) and our latest developer hire.  Fair enough the differential has been greater in the past, but I've been there donkey's years and a semi-decent developer is like gold dust. 

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20 minutes ago, One-percent said:

There is an additional reason for a bloated bureaucracy, that of keeping professionals from challenging the nwo. Keep em busy filling in pieces of paper so that they are too tied up in minutiae to even wonder what is going on.  In addition, make things as confusing and as contradictory as possible, constantly move the goalposts and change the plan and everyone is then just too exhausted to challenge even if they have worked it out.  

What happens when the minion works it out and challenges?

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Peter oborne wrote a book identifying what he called  The Political Class that he claimed replaced the old establishment. He meant those that work directly within politics and the media but I would also included the ballooning numbers of higher paid managers running schools, bbc, nhs trusts, housing associations, the bloated charity sector. They are a self replicating class creating jobs for themselves.  Watch how easily mps from the sinking labour party will seemlessly move into these roles.

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3 minutes ago, interestrateripoff said:

What happens when the minion works it out and challenges?

Good point, but see my point two, the minions are kept so busy, they are too distracted and exhausted to do anything about it.  

 

We all seem seem to have taken the red pill but what are we all doing other than moaning about it on here. :lol:

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2 minutes ago, One-percent said:

Good point, but see my point two, the minions are kept so busy, they are too distracted and exhausted to do anything about it.  

 

We all seem seem to have taken the red pill but what are we all doing other than moaning about it on here. :lol:

 

Several things you can do.  One of the most useful things from the four hour work week is DELA. Delegate, Eliminate, Liberate and Automate. 

Some have taken this to extremes eg. the developer employee who was outsourcing his coding work to China.  

Me - I have all kinds of scripts/templates/keyboard short cuts set up to make dealing with the bureaucracy easier.  Need to produce a report? - start with the last one and update it rather than write from scratch.  I also managed to eventually convince my employer to let me work from home (mostly) enabling me to live basically anywhere in the UK. Not having a commute and keeping some of the more toxic colleagues at a distance helps make work more tolerable. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, StainlessSteelCat said:

Several things you can do.  One of the most useful things from the four hour work week is DELA. Delegate, Eliminate, Liberate and Automate. 

Some have taken this to extremes eg. the developer employee who was outsourcing his coding work to China.  

Me - I have all kinds of scripts/templates/keyboard short cuts set up to make dealing with the bureaucracy easier.  Need to produce a report? - start with the last one and update it rather than write from scratch.  I also managed to eventually convince my employer to let me work from home (mostly) enabling me to live basically anywhere in the UK. Not having a commute and keeping some of the more toxic colleagues at a distance helps make work more tolerable. 

 

 

Good advice sss.  I do much of this but it is the way that the goalposts move that make it most challenging. Colleagues have said numerous times that it is deliberate to keep the workforce off balance so as not being able to challenge.  This is public sector btw, so may be different from your context.  Think ofsted :blink: deliberately out to trip people up. 

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