Kenny's Blog

18 Mar 2021

Having a manager

Depending your background, working with a manager can be a new experience. It can be stressful if you don’t know what the relationship is and what it implies. I know I was pretty stressed out about professional relationships when I started out - I simply didn’t know what the expectations were. I know other folks in a similar position who seem to feel similar anxiety at their first job, or early on during their career.

Companies will all operate differently, but I think in tech jobs the expectations for managers are pretty high. They’re usually not there only to fufill a supervisory role, they’re expected to also be aware of their employee’s emotional state, and support/mentor them as well. Now, I definitely think there’s a range in this - some companies may place or require less of their managers. But, I think it’s helpul to see what managers COULD do, so that you can see if your current environment is something that fits with you.

Julia evans recently posted a really great blog post about things your manager might not know: https://jvns.ca/blog/things-your-manager-might-not-know/

This post is great, because it really highlights what the manager-employee relationship is. I’d recommend anyone who is starting off in their career who doesn’t have a lot of context behind employee-manager relationships to give this a read.

I’m early in my career, so I’m definitely still improving on how I can best take advantage of this relationship. Early on, I was anxious about discussing compensation, but now I’m starting to focus on how they can help me get better at my job.


One interesting thing in tech, is that managers are also responsible for driving compenstation reviews, so they have a direct stake (but not full control) in promoting and giving their employees raises. This is definitely not the case in many places so it can be an adjustment for anyone who hasn’t been in this situation before. Anecdotally, I’ve heard that at pre-viz animation companies, supervisors do not have any part in this at all, and artists have to go to casting to negotiate raises.

So this means that tech managers should be used to discussing compensation and you should definitely talk to them about it. It’s nothing personal, it’s just a business thing. Your manager should be able to help you navigate that process, and not make you feel bad about it (that’s their job after all)!