It's official - there's NEVER going to be anything I like about my job.

In this thread I wailed about my job, unrealistic on-call expectations, and so on.

The on-call crap has abated a good deal. Unfortunately, nothing else has improved - endless repetitive maintenance tasks, same complaints (some addressable, some not), fun projects get handed to other people.

I’ve finally realized that the problem is not entirely me. My boss has simply decided that I’m not going to be allowed to do anything else.

There’s a job here that’s been open for months. It’s an excellent match for what I like to do, and it’s almost identical to a job I held before this one. My old employer was very happy with my work in that job, so I’m confident that I could step right into this one. The first time I told my current boss I was interested in this job, he looked at me like I’d crapped in his coffee. Same reaction next time (he’d just been complaining about the lack of applicants for the job). Yesterday I reiterated my interest in the job and pointed out that I have basically done the job before. The response was, “Oh, I’m sure you can handle the technical parts of the job, I just don’t think you can handle the politics.”

WTF? I’ve read the job description and I’ve heard the boss describe what he’s looking for. It’s not a kissy-ass glorified sales job. It’s a hands-on development job with some project management. If the job is as described, it does not require the touch of a gifted diplomat. The person who does this job needs to be able to gather requirements from the client, come up with a mutually agreeable solution, and implement it, communicating (in plain English or tech-speak, as appropriate) all the while. I’m really not sure where the “politics” comment came from. If he means the client doesn’t like me personally, I’d have expected this to come up in a review or at some other time (“Hey cwthree, your work is great but be warned that the client has complained that you’re a jackass.”).

I know - because he told me - that the boss was hoping to get a former colleague of his into the job. This is not as odious as it sounds - the former colleague is eminently qualified for the job and would have fit in well. But she was offered the job and declined to accept it, and she’s now doing something else. The other applicants are not acquaintances of the boss.

So, I’m stuck with a boss who has decided that I’m simply not going to be allowed to move out of my pigeonhole. If anyone has advice for getting him to wise up, I’m open to it. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

My sympathy goes out to you cwthree.

I am in kind of a similar situation with my job. I think that I have delivered my terms of reference well, get on OK with my team, no major screwups, etc. But somewhere along the line my boss decided that I was not promotion material. I am coming to accept that there is not much I can do about it, not in the short term at least.

I remember when I first started the job I had my moment in the spotlight with my boss – for about the first year I was her go-to person and remember thinking how I had to find a way to get her not to hang out in my office, downloading office politics for hours at a time, if I ever hoped to get my work done. But somewhere along the way I think that I must have failed her in some way. Nothing earthshttering (my annual reviews are fine), but enough so that I am not the person she thinks of when there is something important or exciting to do.

I have even been passed over twice for a promotion to a position that all of my colleagues assumed had actually been created with me in mind. Unfortunately my boss didn’t think so.

To some extent I think it is a lack of workplace ‘chemistry’, but at another level I blame myself a bit. I think I could have tried harder to kiss ass, to spin my achievements, to tell her what she wants to hear. And I probably could have been more proactive and created opportuntities that would have benefitted the team.

Thing is, I know that I am capable of impressing, but have come to accept the fact that I have sort of missed my opportunity with this boss. I am looking for other places to work now, and feel a tiny bit better knowing that the next time around I will not sit on my laurels. But as far as this job goes, I think it is too late. Either I resolve myself to staying at the same unappreciated and stagnant level for the indefinite future, or I get out and find someplace new.

Have you simply applied for the job? I mean, don’t talk to the boss, just send in your resume. I don’t think you can make it any more plain that you’re interested.

After that, if you don’t get it, start sending your resume elsewhere. You sound like you want to move up the ladder, and it sounds like your boss doesn’t care whether you do or not. If that’s the case, you might want to start eyeballing other opportunities.

Endemic, have you actually talked to your boss about what you think is going on? There could be a simple misunderstanding that is getting between the two of you (I know, that sounds like relationship advice, but I think it applies here.)

cwthree, can you ask your boss to clarify what he meant by that? Can you make an appointment with your boss to basically interview for the position? I suggest doing your best to educate him about you, but if he isn’t open to any of this, I would agree with you that you’re not going anywhere with this guy.

Yes, I did apply for the job. It’s the still this boss’s call, though, since it’s also in my department. Internal transfers are a royal nuisance in my company. To prevent intradepartmental poaching of staff, one’s manager has to approve a transfer (not entirely unfair, since they’ll have to fill the job the transferred employee leaves behind). HR hates internal transfers, too, because of the managerial footdragging it encourages.

The heck of it is, it’s not a promotion. It’s a lateral transfer and the salary is lower. You think he’d be loving this - move me to a job a like better, for less money, then hire someone cheaper to fill the unchallenging job I’m doing now.

I’m really, truly not interested in moving “up” in the sense of having people to manage, getting a better office, and so on. It’s just that if I’ve got to do something all day, I want it to be something I enjoy.

I am looking for other jobs, but here’s the kicker: Since my “official” job titles and job descriptions all refer to support-type work, that’s all anyone else seems to want me to do. It’s hard to convince someone to help me switch from support to development. I was really hoping that this job (the one I’m not being allowed to pursue) would be a good bridge - something to enjoy while I work for this company, and something to help me get another job I enjoy if/when my relationship with this company ends. Now it looks like I’ll have to find another job like the one do well but don’t like, in hopes that I can parlay it into something I do like.

I’m getting awfully close to giving up and training for something else altogether. I’ve been thinking of a couple of possibilities for a while. Maybe this is just the kick in the ass I’ve been needing.