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i have a problem with my current position. My supervisor wants to micromanage all the things i am doing. Instead of solving a "problem" i am just the monkey that executes his vision. I had several discussions with him about the way i would solve a (UX) problem and the problems i see in his "vision".
I feel like i studied for nothing, because i wouldn't need to read several books about UX Design, because i never get the chance to use the knowledge and experience i gained over the years.

Has someone else been the same situation? How should i deal with this ?

  • This is not an uncommon problem, but I don't think the question is really about UX design. I suggest also looking up the question on ux.stackexchange.com/questions/79053/the-coding-monkey-dilemma: – Michael Lai Feb 18 '16 at 0:23
  • Friend, I know that problem oh too well. The previous job I worked at was exactly that, that's why I left them. If you can't have him change his annoying ways, it might be time to leave and find something new like I did. I'm happier than ever where I am. – Majo0od Feb 19 '16 at 13:35
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Get a new job. Seriously. Life is too short to spend any time at all on people who don’t respect you. And what your boss is doing is fundamentally disrespecting you. Not only is your boss ruining your workday and possibly your health from the stress, he is ruining your career because you are not making progress, not growing in your profession so that you can do bigger and better work a few years from now. Meanwhile, he would likely lay you off on a whim without thinking twice, because, as I said, he fundamentally doesn’t respect you. He can just get another “monkey” to “execute his vision.”

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Is your pride getting in your way? Seek for collaboration rather than working in silo. If it helps, get other stakeholders to join in the discussion. It helps your supervisor to see that his opinion is not always the most ideal. If there are no other stakeholders, casually asked your colleague for a third opinion in the presence of your supervisor.

There are other elaborate ways to convince your supervisor. Ultimately your users are the ones who validate your ideas, what works and what don't. You might want to set up analytics (or A/B testing) to provide you with stats to back your ideas. If the idea or design comes from him, the stats will show, stats never lie. If you have the luxury of time, you could also recruit users to test your or his design.

Design is subjective and conveying your ideas effectively across takes patience and practice. Everybody wants to be heard and given respect, seek collaboration and ask deeper questions that surfaced the root problem pertaining to design. Something that I have learnt.

If all else fails, look for a new job.

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Get a New Job

I had same problem a couple years ago with an awful PM who would get me to rewrite reports so it contained her findings etc. One day she rewrote all the lead UXers key recommendations. Another time she got me to write out a bizarre spreadsheet of metrics another company had started but not finished. This turned out to be the key recommendations the lead UX had made but just in a different format.

I eventually told her she didn't have any idea what she was talking about. I left. I got good job where I'm not micromanaged and everyone listens to each other. This morning we won an award for a project I helped with.

Leave your job.

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Keep in mind, almost every designer I know has been in a similar situation. Yes, you can always leave (and you should once you have a good opportunity), but you can also take this time as a chance to try and learn how to deal with people like your supervisor. Because (IMHO) you will find people like him in many of your future jobs as well.

Try approach this as another design problem.

Perhaps create a journey line and identify some key moments in your interactions with your manager? Try to identify both good and bad examples, break them down and see if there are any patterns in each.

You may get some valuable insights into what makes your manager more responsive to certain issues (business objectives, communication styles...). Or you may not. But it could be worth the try.

Hope this helps.

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