Losing a title I'm fond of?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/07/16 03:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2007/07/16/3890575.aspx

(Nothing technical, other than some blathering about a technical lead technicality) 

From a very young age, I have been a fan of pipes.

Though I admit it was mainly because my father would periodically quit smoking cigars to move back to pipes and then eventually quit smoking pipes to move back to cigars, and back again....

And the pipes smelled significantly better than the cigars he was smoking! :-)

But this most recent iteration of pipes -- the "pipe" model of management that things have re-organized into, I am not as big of a fan of.

Mainly because it means I will probably lose my Technical Lead title soon.

I sort of described the role here for those who haven't been around for years. The thing I have not really mentioned is why I care.

It is not because losing the title would be a demotion; it wouldn't. Just like getting the title was not a promotion.

It was just a recognition that what I was doing was not just development but also other work that spanned disciplines....

It is fun to point out how most devs think of it as program management while most PMs think of it as development, but it does outline a recognition that some of what I do is outside of what they do, so no one has to feel like I am stepping on toes or working outside of my job.

But once I lose the title, I'll be back to feeling like all of those things that I do that are not thought of as traditional development tasks are somehow not a core part of my job. The title just seemed like symbolic recognition that I was doing the job everybody wanted me doing, so fitting into the pipe will seem like a bit of a symbolic backslide.

So the job won't change because of it, my commitments will read the same way, and I won't hesitate to do what I believe is the right thing.

It just seems like it will be a little bit more of a struggle, and a little bit less of a feeling that my job is understood (or at least accepted).

Anyway, I am probably worried for nothing, to the extent that one could actually say I am worried. Which is not much. Just something I'm not especially looking forward to....

I have to wonder how I'd feel if some group offered me a job that wouldn't involve a title change, whether I'd take it. Does it bother me that much? I can honestly say I'm really not sure. Though it may be silly to read into that too deeply, since I also wonder whether I'd seriously consider a job offer from Apple given how they stock Limonata in the cafeteria!

By the way, I did try to smoke the actual pipe once. I decided the smell was not nearly as good when it wasn't second hand! :-)


This post brought to you by ǀ (U+01c0, a.k.a. LATIN LETTER DENTAL CLICK, a.k.a. LATIN LETTER PIPE)

# Mihai on 16 Jul 2007 12:39 PM:

Ok, so the old title is "Technical Lead," but what is the new one (if it is not a secret)?

# Michael S. Kaplan on 16 Jul 2007 1:48 PM:

I don't know exactly -- some developer title. I'll keep people posted. :-)

# Dean Harding on 16 Jul 2007 7:38 PM:

My grandfather used to smoke a pipe. I thought it smelled horrible! Perhaps it is more due to the brand of tobacco or something :-)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 16 Jul 2007 8:52 PM:

My dad was using some tobacco whose name I can't recall, then Dutch Black, the something else I can't recall....

But I have smelled nasty pipe tobacco.

I have also smelled good selling cigars, too. But his didn't smell good! :-)

Ok, I just remembetred one of them -- Sir Walter Raleigh, I think....

# Zach on 19 Jul 2007 10:47 AM:

I think he's back on the pipe, much more than cigars.


PS - we now have RSS feed on our blog, which you have been bugging us to get for a while.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 22 Jul 2007 11:40 AM:

Yep, I noticed the RSS feed -- very cool! :-)

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