Author Topic: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?  (Read 4566 times)

Kiwi Mustache

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Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« on: March 09, 2016, 03:05:02 PM »
I'm male, 27 and work in warehousing and distribution.

Iíve got two career paths that I could take. One is move into warehouse management and look after a team of 10-15 people. This career path would then lead onto managing bigger warehouses and larger teams of people in the future.

The other option is to move into more of specialist type role that would include project, analysis type work. I wouldnít have anyone reporting to me, perhaps a couple as my career advances.

The proís of getting into management is it opens up lots of new roles and can advance my career to the point where Iím making a good income and can transfer those management skills with me anywhere I go. Also that management experience is sought after in my industry. The proís of the specialist type roles are that I wonít have many (if any) people reporting to me and can  be more flexible in my workload and not so reactive to other peoples queries.

I originally thought I wanted to get into management a few years ago when I started in this industry, but now I see the stress and responsibility that comes with management warehousing jobs and not sure if that is something that I want. I donít deal with stress very well (have had health related issues with adrenal fatigue when I get stressed) and confrontation of dealing with difficult work colleagues and staff I canít say I would enjoy at all.

My boss is training me up to take his place over the next year or two but unsure if this is what I really want.

Anyone been in the same position before or tried either option and has learnt from the experience Iíd be happy to hear from you.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2016, 03:47:49 PM »
I've been in exactly this position in the tech industry.  Your boss is training you on the 'what to do' relating to being in warehouse management.  What it doesn't sound like he's training you on - but that you could do outside study work on - is "How to deal with workplace stress".  There's an entire industry devoted to this topic, but there are some simple things you can do.  Things that work for me are:

0. Spend some intentional time to find self-training on dealing with workplace stress.  Make this an on-going learning process.  Have 1 or more de-stressing-item(s) on your to-do list daily.
1. Keep a 'to-do' list - put all your tasks on the list as they come up.
2. Put time-estimates with the 'to-do' items.
3. Prioritize your to-do list giving top priority to the 1-or-2-minute items to improve your daily accomplishments. (ex: reply to 'that email')
4. Realize those things you have control over, and those you DO NOT.  Do *NOT* take responsibility for things you have no control over.
5. Learn to "Pick Your Battles".  There are some things we'd like to get done that fly in the face of team/company culture.  Other things can be easily accomplished by getting the right people on-your-side, or having the 'guy with a shovel next to the smoldering stump'.   When picking your battles, choose to do the latter.  If you must choose the hard things, break them down into bite-sized chunks, and attack them 1-bite-at-a-time.
6. ALWAYS be training your replacement.  If you move up, pick a replacement on day 1, and start training them to do the job you're doing even while you're still learning the job.  How do you know who'll be the best replacement?  Two factors I look for in a replacement:  'hunger', and 'grit'.  Does someone want to improve themselves, the work, and those around them? That's 'hungry'.  Do they keep working at things until they get them done?  That's 'grit'.
7. Treat your employees the way YOU want to be treated.  This is the best way to build a team of allies who will help you move mountains.
8. Call 'bullshit' early and communicate broadly.  If someone is asking the impossible, or something that's above-and-beyond, call it out right away, and don't be shy about communicating WHY it's such a out-of-the-ordinary request.  You can still work toward the goal, but let them know that achieving it is 'above and beyond' the abilities of mortals.
9. Don't be so serious - keep humor in-the-mix at all times. 
10. Before hitting 'send' on your emails, take a moment, and re-read your message from the point of view of someone who has NO IDEA what the message is about.  Is it still clear?  Are there things that could be mis-interpreted?  (i.e. the word "resent" could mean "I re-sent an email to your inbox", or "I resent [re-zent] the way that message was communicated")  Can you say it in fewer words, and still be clear?  Improving office communications is the other big management 'industry'.  You can do your own research, and solve >80% of the issues before the become a problem.

mozar

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2016, 03:52:31 PM »
If you decide to do management, you can decide that you don't like it and become a specialist. However, if you become a specialist,  it will be harder to become a manager if you change your mind.

dogboyslim

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2016, 04:11:29 PM »
If you decide to do management, you can decide that you don't like it and become a specialist. However, if you become a specialist,  it will be harder to become a manager if you change your mind.

Not to be contrarian, but this isn't true in my experience of going down the manager path in a technical field.  Being a manager means losing many of your technical skills.  You still keep the knowledge of how things work, but you lose the day to day "doing" that makes you efficient and effective.  Managers know this, so hiring a specialist with a history of management vs a specialist with a history of technical work would put you at a disadvantage.

Do you want to me a manager? Ask yourself a few questions:
  • Do I like being a leader of people?
  • Am I okay with conflict between people?
  • Am I willing to support and enforce a rule or priority established from those more senior to you if you disagree with said rule or priority?
  • If a buddy comes to me to complain about XYZ not pulling their weight again, what approach will you take now that you cannot discuss XYZ's performance with anyone?  Am I comfortable with this?
  • If someone isn't working out, am I willing to terminate their employment?  How far will I go to save them before I terminate them?
  • Executive management just told you to eliminate a position and suggested it be your buddy.  Your buddy heard a corp rumor that positions would be cut and wants to know if his job is safe.  Are you comfortable having this conversation?
  • You just busted your ass to write a proposal.  You used your whole team and put all their names on the report to your boss.  Your boss removes all your names and puts his name on the report.  At the next company meeting the COO talks about all the great work being done by boss.  Are you comfortable supporting your team and letting them know that this is a positive reflection of their work or do you get caught up in having your work passed off as your bosses?  (this probably happens in both career paths BTW).
These are all things I've had to deal with as a manager.  Most of the difficulty is as a new manager when people want you to still be their buddy and join in with the commiseration.  After that it gets easier.  All of these represent the worst parts of being a manager.  There are things on the positive side too.  That said, if you can't deal with people, conflict and the idea that you may have to end someones income stream, stay out of management.

Good luck with your decision.

mozar

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2016, 05:01:07 PM »
Quote
so hiring a specialist with a history of management vs a specialist with a history of technical work would put you at a disadvantage.

I'm in a field where everyone starts off as a specialist, than either stays a specialist or becomes a a manager. So you would have a background of both being a specialist and a manager which a potential employer would prefer since they might need you to be flexible in the future. I hadn't considered that other fields might be different!

use2betrix

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2016, 06:30:06 PM »
I've been in exactly this position in the tech industry.  Your boss is training you on the 'what to do' relating to being in warehouse management.  What it doesn't sound like he's training you on - but that you could do outside study work on - is "How to deal with workplace stress".  There's an entire industry devoted to this topic, but there are some simple things you can do.  Things that work for me are:

0. Spend some intentional time to find self-training on dealing with workplace stress.  Make this an on-going learning process.  Have 1 or more de-stressing-item(s) on your to-do list daily.
1. Keep a 'to-do' list - put all your tasks on the list as they come up.
2. Put time-estimates with the 'to-do' items.
3. Prioritize your to-do list giving top priority to the 1-or-2-minute items to improve your daily accomplishments. (ex: reply to 'that email')
4. Realize those things you have control over, and those you DO NOT.  Do *NOT* take responsibility for things you have no control over.
5. Learn to "Pick Your Battles".  There are some things we'd like to get done that fly in the face of team/company culture.  Other things can be easily accomplished by getting the right people on-your-side, or having the 'guy with a shovel next to the smoldering stump'.   When picking your battles, choose to do the latter.  If you must choose the hard things, break them down into bite-sized chunks, and attack them 1-bite-at-a-time.
6. ALWAYS be training your replacement.  If you move up, pick a replacement on day 1, and start training them to do the job you're doing even while you're still learning the job.  How do you know who'll be the best replacement?  Two factors I look for in a replacement:  'hunger', and 'grit'.  Does someone want to improve themselves, the work, and those around them? That's 'hungry'.  Do they keep working at things until they get them done?  That's 'grit'.
7. Treat your employees the way YOU want to be treated.  This is the best way to build a team of allies who will help you move mountains.
8. Call 'bullshit' early and communicate broadly.  If someone is asking the impossible, or something that's above-and-beyond, call it out right away, and don't be shy about communicating WHY it's such a out-of-the-ordinary request.  You can still work toward the goal, but let them know that achieving it is 'above and beyond' the abilities of mortals.
9. Don't be so serious - keep humor in-the-mix at all times. 
10. Before hitting 'send' on your emails, take a moment, and re-read your message from the point of view of someone who has NO IDEA what the message is about.  Is it still clear?  Are there things that could be mis-interpreted?  (i.e. the word "resent" could mean "I re-sent an email to your inbox", or "I resent [re-zent] the way that message was communicated")  Can you say it in fewer words, and still be clear?  Improving office communications is the other big management 'industry'.  You can do your own research, and solve >80% of the issues before the become a problem.

This is seriously gold. I'm 27 and the highest manager for my department on a 500+ million dollar project.

The majority of this list I do regularly and it helps me insanely. Lists lists lists. They are gold to me and in turn I'm on top of my game on all time. People are never reminding me to do stuff. Also, helps me prepare for big meetings. While many of my coworkers just wing it, I have specific lists of everything I want to cover and I look like a rockstar because of it.

I still have a lot to learn, but anyone in management should let the list above sink in. I screenshotted it for future reference.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2016, 01:21:46 PM »
4. Realize those things you have control over, and those you DO NOT.  Do *NOT* take responsibility for things you have no control over.
Good post.  #4 is the one I really struggle with.  I'm used to being able to control things at work, but being a manager means giving up a LOT of control.  What really sucks is when you get blamed for things that are totally out of your control but somehow fall within your "area of responsibility".

milliemchi

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2016, 01:34:16 PM »
6. ALWAYS be training your replacement.  If you move up, pick a replacement on day 1, and start training them to do the job you're doing even while you're still learning the job.  How do you know who'll be the best replacement?  Two factors I look for in a replacement:  'hunger', and 'grit'.  Does someone want to improve themselves, the work, and those around them? That's 'hungry'.  Do they keep working at things until they get them done?  That's 'grit'.

MF, can you elaborate some on #6?  At first glance, this seems like a lot of additional work to be invested for the result of making it easier for the company to fire and replace you. So there must be more to it, right?

What do you do when options are limited, and people available don't have hunger and grit? Do you wait until the right person comes along? Also, do you tell your pick what you're doing, or let them read between the lines? Do you tell anyone else?

mm1970

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2016, 01:45:45 PM »
I'm male, 27 and work in warehousing and distribution.

Iíve got two career paths that I could take. One is move into warehouse management and look after a team of 10-15 people. This career path would then lead onto managing bigger warehouses and larger teams of people in the future.

The other option is to move into more of specialist type role that would include project, analysis type work. I wouldnít have anyone reporting to me, perhaps a couple as my career advances.

The proís of getting into management is it opens up lots of new roles and can advance my career to the point where Iím making a good income and can transfer those management skills with me anywhere I go. Also that management experience is sought after in my industry. The proís of the specialist type roles are that I wonít have many (if any) people reporting to me and can  be more flexible in my workload and not so reactive to other peoples queries.

I originally thought I wanted to get into management a few years ago when I started in this industry, but now I see the stress and responsibility that comes with management warehousing jobs and not sure if that is something that I want. I donít deal with stress very well (have had health related issues with adrenal fatigue when I get stressed) and confrontation of dealing with difficult work colleagues and staff I canít say I would enjoy at all.

My boss is training me up to take his place over the next year or two but unsure if this is what I really want.

Anyone been in the same position before or tried either option and has learnt from the experience Iíd be happy to hear from you.
I've done both.  There's good and bad with both.

I enjoy management (and training young engineers).  But I look up and don't see anyone like me (female).  I feel like I'm able to switch back and forth at this point.

But I prefer the more technical side.

mm1970

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2016, 01:47:28 PM »
I've been in exactly this position in the tech industry.  Your boss is training you on the 'what to do' relating to being in warehouse management.  What it doesn't sound like he's training you on - but that you could do outside study work on - is "How to deal with workplace stress".  There's an entire industry devoted to this topic, but there are some simple things you can do.  Things that work for me are:

0. Spend some intentional time to find self-training on dealing with workplace stress.  Make this an on-going learning process.  Have 1 or more de-stressing-item(s) on your to-do list daily.
1. Keep a 'to-do' list - put all your tasks on the list as they come up.
2. Put time-estimates with the 'to-do' items.
3. Prioritize your to-do list giving top priority to the 1-or-2-minute items to improve your daily accomplishments. (ex: reply to 'that email')
4. Realize those things you have control over, and those you DO NOT.  Do *NOT* take responsibility for things you have no control over.
5. Learn to "Pick Your Battles".  There are some things we'd like to get done that fly in the face of team/company culture.  Other things can be easily accomplished by getting the right people on-your-side, or having the 'guy with a shovel next to the smoldering stump'.   When picking your battles, choose to do the latter.  If you must choose the hard things, break them down into bite-sized chunks, and attack them 1-bite-at-a-time.
6. ALWAYS be training your replacement.  If you move up, pick a replacement on day 1, and start training them to do the job you're doing even while you're still learning the job.  How do you know who'll be the best replacement?  Two factors I look for in a replacement:  'hunger', and 'grit'.  Does someone want to improve themselves, the work, and those around them? That's 'hungry'.  Do they keep working at things until they get them done?  That's 'grit'.
7. Treat your employees the way YOU want to be treated.  This is the best way to build a team of allies who will help you move mountains.
8. Call 'bullshit' early and communicate broadly.  If someone is asking the impossible, or something that's above-and-beyond, call it out right away, and don't be shy about communicating WHY it's such a out-of-the-ordinary request.  You can still work toward the goal, but let them know that achieving it is 'above and beyond' the abilities of mortals.
9. Don't be so serious - keep humor in-the-mix at all times. 
10. Before hitting 'send' on your emails, take a moment, and re-read your message from the point of view of someone who has NO IDEA what the message is about.  Is it still clear?  Are there things that could be mis-interpreted?  (i.e. the word "resent" could mean "I re-sent an email to your inbox", or "I resent [re-zent] the way that message was communicated")  Can you say it in fewer words, and still be clear?  Improving office communications is the other big management 'industry'.  You can do your own research, and solve >80% of the issues before the become a problem.

This is seriously gold. I'm 27 and the highest manager for my department on a 500+ million dollar project.

The majority of this list I do regularly and it helps me insanely. Lists lists lists. They are gold to me and in turn I'm on top of my game on all time. People are never reminding me to do stuff. Also, helps me prepare for big meetings. While many of my coworkers just wing it, I have specific lists of everything I want to cover and I look like a rockstar because of it.

I still have a lot to learn, but anyone in management should let the list above sink in. I screenshotted it for future reference.
I agree.  GOLD.

acroy

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2016, 01:48:59 PM »
I think you guys missed Kiwiís question: whether to specialize in an industry or become a manager

There are + and Ė to both. I have done both. I am currently mid level manager.

Specialist:
+ become valuable in your field
+ always be learning new tech to stay specialist
+ no worries about managing other people; only yourself
- salary will max out eventually, well below what a top manager makes
   However, if you get excellent enough and get your name around, you may be able to become a consultant and make mega-bucks.
- locked into one industry

Manager
+ more generalist
+ always learning about time management, people management, prioritization, etc
+ not locked into an industry. Management applies to all industries
+ the better you are, the more $$ you can make. Truly great managers are rare and make mega bucks.
- always dealing with human drama. Always and at every level.
- you will not be directly doing anything with your own head/hands; Ďdesk jockeyí

You choose. If you stress out with people issues easily, then do not go manager. Managers have to divorce themselves from human drama and slice through it. Much harder than it sounds. You have to hire, fire, discipline, deal with internal BS, etc etc. Adults are a LOT harder to manage than kids.

FYI Ďadrenal fatigueí is not a recognized medical condition, itís a marketing ploy to sell you stuff. Just saying.

mm1970

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Re: Becoming a Manager at Work- Is this a career path I want?
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2016, 01:52:06 PM »
6. ALWAYS be training your replacement.  If you move up, pick a replacement on day 1, and start training them to do the job you're doing even while you're still learning the job.  How do you know who'll be the best replacement?  Two factors I look for in a replacement:  'hunger', and 'grit'.  Does someone want to improve themselves, the work, and those around them? That's 'hungry'.  Do they keep working at things until they get them done?  That's 'grit'.

MF, can you elaborate some on #6?  At first glance, this seems like a lot of additional work to be invested for the result of making it easier for the company to fire and replace you. So there must be more to it, right?

What do you do when options are limited, and people available don't have hunger and grit? Do you wait until the right person comes along? Also, do you tell your pick what you're doing, or let them read between the lines? Do you tell anyone else?
I can't speak for MF, but in my experience -

- Sometimes, the resistance to allowing you to "move up" is that you are "not replaceable" in your current position.  If you are a great engineer with lots of experience, we can't promote you because we REALLY need the engineer.
- If you train people to do your work, that frees you up to learn new things.  I trained my young engineers on processing, on how to find answers, fix problems, develop new processes, set up experiments, analyze data, present results.  That freed me up to learn new things and move up.
- You could get hit by a bus, or presumably, go on vacation.  It's good to train people to keep your stuff going.
- If you don't have that many choices in your own org, maybe reach further out

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!