When you get a boss that you simply cannot work with, especially if you are sure it is not your fault, then you must move on. If you have proved your value and productivity in your company, you can probably ask your boss for a graceful (for you both) transfer elsewhere in the department or in the company.
If you are working in a large company, programmers and programming managers turn over constantly, and that gives you the opportunity to ask for a transfer to the IT manager or application of your choice. In the new department you will learn another business function, perhaps learn new programming techniques, work with new programmers and perhaps a better manager, and become reinvigorated ” and more valuable ”in the process. That is one reason not to become the indispensable programmer in one area of the business.
If waiting and watching for a new opportunity doesn t work, you have little to lose by going over your boss s head and requesting a meeting with your manager s manager. When a boss is hostile (or even malicious) toward you, it is his manager s job to listen to you and take considered action to keep you in the company, if possible.
The IT manager in a large IT department will probably be the VP of IT or the CIO. In a smaller company, it may be the owner or the president. In either case, that manager will most likely have hired your manager, and he probably didn t expect personnel problems when he made that decision. At the least, this executive-level manager should be able to have your manager tone down his hostility toward you until some accommodation or exit strategy can be made for you. Executive management needs to be focused on the objectives of upper management, and you and your manager are expected to contribute to accomplishing your superiors goals, not to be hindering the process.
It should give you confidence to know that you are valuable, for your acquired knowledge is irreplaceable, at least for some time. When a key programmer leaves a company after years developing and supporting critical projects, there is simply no way to immediately replace the knowledge loss. In fact, that brain drain could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
When you draw a bad boss, much of your power to improve your situation is vested in the weight of your reputation and the fact that your boss cannot afford to look bad to his manager. That knowledge is a powerful ally for you, especially if you use it with finesse. Before you choose to leave the company, go to your boss s boss and speak up; management may resolve your quandary for you. And if you do move on, do it gracefully, while informing senior management and the human resources department of your unresolved conflict. That is information that they don t like to hear, but they understand their need to know.