Next year will be the start of my 10th year as a software developer. For the last nine years I've worked for a variety of companies, large and small, on projects of varying sizes. During my career, I have noticed that many of the older software developers prioritize activities other than software development. They would rather do their 9-5, get paid, and go home. They have little, if any, desire to code for the sake of coding left, and I constantly wonder how they became this way. This contradicts my way of thinking; I have rationalized my obsession by calling it passion for what I do, and I enjoy going home self-importantly believing I made some kind of difference.
Needless to say, I think I am starting to see the effects of having a crappy manager. In my current job, I have a development manager who is difficult to deal with on a technical level. He possesses little technical knowledge of basic JavaEE concepts, nor has kept up on any programming in the last 10 years. There is a push from the upper echelon of the business to develop a new, more scalable system, but they don't realize that my manager is the bottleneck. Our team is constantly trying to get him to agree on software industry standards/best practices, but he doesn't get it and often times won't budge. I'm starting to feel the effects of having a crappy manager. What is your advice?
1. Try to have some perspective. It's not "complacency" when someone wants to spend time with his family instead of working overtime without pay.
2. Recognize that your manager's problem isn't so much complacency as it is an exaggerated opinion of his own technical competency. He thinks he knows and understands more than he actually does, hence his steadfast refusal to consider the possibility that his team's ideas are actually better than his own.
3. Consider the possibility, however remote, that you may be the one with an exaggerated opinion of your own technical competency and that, just maybe, your manager's vision for the project actually has some advantages. You may end up concluding that this possibility is extremely unlikely; if so, that's fine.
4. Since your manager sounds like kind of a jerk starting looking for another job. If your skills and/or credentials are such that finding another job is difficult then start the process of acquiring new skills and/or credentials so you won't have that problem in the future.