Author Topic: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace  (Read 7703 times)

Case

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when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« on: June 30, 2015, 03:50:38 PM »
I having been struggling to get a promotion in my current workplace.  Sorry for the semi-lengthy intro.  For the purposes of this, please just assume I'm doing reasonably well in my job and the difficulty with promotion is not due to low performance (all of my performance reviews have been high).

Here is my interpretation:
I think it comes down to my manager not being the type to pursue promotions for his employees.  My previous manager was gunning to promote me, and as soon as I got the new guy I hit a brick wall.  When I asked him what the status was looking like, he would tell me to get together the necessary documentation and send it his way; I did this, and he repeatedly forgot about telling me this, and ask me to do it again.  This happened several times.  Then after asking him what else I needed to do to get ready for promotion, he finally listed some things BS business skill things.  I did these, and finally eventually he put together a proposal for my promotion and submitted to his boss.  Several months have passed since then, and my manager has admitted that he needs to contact his boss again to remind.  But I am getting very frustrated.  People with less qualifications than me have been promoted over a year ahead of me.

My questions is this:
When is it ok to express dissatisfaction to your manager?  I am not going to blame him, but I would say "I am disappointed that it is taking so much work to get me promotion.  So many other people received promotions a long time ago".

Also, when is it ok to say "I really like this company, but this promotion is so late that I feel cheated.  What can the company do to entice me to stay?".  Does this type of thing only work when you have another offer on the table?  I could apply to another company and try to get an offer.... it's complicated.

I mostly like my job otherwise; I'd prefer to stay at this company.  But I feel like promotions at my company are 33% about luck (literally who your manager is and how proactive they are), 33% schmoozing ability, and maybe 33% having to do with actual performance.

regulator

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2015, 03:55:56 PM »
After a 20+ year career in a variety of organizations, I would tell you that the time to express dissatisfaction with your employer is... never.  Go get another job at another company.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2015, 04:04:52 PM »
I used to worry about titles, and promotions, but eventually learned to not wait for the promotion, and DO THE WORK as if I was ALREADY at the next higher level REGARDLESS of title / compensation.   Make the work of others around you easier - especially your manager.  Solve problems for the group/team.  Don't complain about how things aren't working, instead find ways to solve problems, and get RESULTS.

But I have to say... it sounds like your previous manager is a guy to stick with.  See if you can't get transferred into his team... even if (especially if?) he left your current company to do something else. 

Seriously, your current manager doesn't seem to understand that by promoting his employees, he will be promoting HIMSELF  as a great manager with really good employees.  Your previous manager seemed to 'get this', but the new guy doesn't.  And I would SERIOUSLY stop worrying about it - otherwise it's likely to negatively affect your performance... or even the PERCEPTION of your performance.  Get Results.  In the end, results are all that matters.

expectopatronum

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 04:08:51 PM »
My questions is this:
When is it ok to express dissatisfaction to your manager?  I am not going to blame him, but I would say "I am disappointed that it is taking so much work to get me promotion.  So many other people received promotions a long time ago".

Also, when is it ok to say "I really like this company, but this promotion is so late that I feel cheated. What can the company do to entice me to stay?".  Does this type of thing only work when you have another offer on the table?  I could apply to another company and try to get an offer.... it's complicated.

...This is suicide! NEVER present your case for a promotion based on someone else's promotion. Even with peers in the same program (such as my DH's big-corp career advancement program & pay grades), this would be very counterproductive and not reflect well on you at all. Promotions are earned with hard work, not with time and not because others got them.

The way you put the last bit about being "cheated" won't go over well, either. It comes off as a bit...um...entitled? Petulant? I don't believe in counteroffers (feel free to ask why), but in case you were doing something like this, the only way I can think of wording it is, "I have been offered as position as X elsewhere, but I really think that I add more value here and would like to stay. Could we take another look at my compensation package? I feel I have more to offer here."

I mostly like my job otherwise; I'd prefer to stay at this company.  But I feel like promotions at my company are 33% about luck (literally who your manager is and how proactive they are), 33% schmoozing ability, and maybe 33% having to do with actual performance.

I'm not saying you're underperforming at your job, but Failure to Schmooze is a real thing (aka playing office politics). I would unfortunately say that's relatively normal, though the extent will vary. (At my job, it is well known that two girls have been promoted, but one sleeps with the boss and another cheated on her fiance with a different company member.) What do you need to do to move up? Could you somehow move teams/divisions and be under a new manager? Could you step up your social/office game and make your contributions more substantial (or at least more evident)?

ETA: In your current situation, I would remain persistent. I would not air my grievances (you've been slow, why is it taking so long) because there's much more to be lost than gained by it.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 04:11:20 PM by expectopatronum »

deborah

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 04:41:22 PM »
There is the matter of timing. I'm in a different country, but industry has slowed and nobody here is getting the pay raises they might have expected even a year ago. There is an element of luck in what stage of the economic cycle for your industry you are seen as capable and worthy of a pay rise, and whether your company has the ability to give it to you. Where I worked before I retired has had a pay freeze for the last two years and a recruiting/pay rise freeze for three. No-one there, no matter how worthy, has received advancement.

There is also your new boss. If he is from outside, he may not be fully cognizant with "how things are done around here". Different bosses value different things about their employees, and if you meet both his requirements and those of your previous boss, you may find that you progress more quickly on the next rung. He may have been told that your boss was too generous in his advancements, and he has to reign it in.

All these things are possibilities I saw while I was working. It is worth following the suggestions of the others and continue to produce good work, seek out where your old boss is now, and seek work elsewhere if you are not satisfied.

NorCal

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 04:58:58 PM »
It very much depends on your personal situation.  Are you willing to walk if you don't get what you want?

My take is that you won't get the promotion unless you push for it.  How you push for it depends on your company.  Do they have a formal review process that they have to follow?  Or is it largely manager discretion?  A lot of times they will want to promote you but they can't because of internal procedural hurdles.

I was in a nearly identical situation about 6 months ago.  I pushed for a raise and a promotion.  My boss was supportive, but the HR bureaucracy wouldn't budge until the next annual review.  I walked for a 20% bonus and title increase elsewhere.

Case

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 05:08:45 PM »
It very much depends on your personal situation.  Are you willing to walk if you don't get what you want?

My take is that you won't get the promotion unless you push for it.  How you push for it depends on your company.  Do they have a formal review process that they have to follow?  Or is it largely manager discretion?  A lot of times they will want to promote you but they can't because of internal procedural hurdles.

I was in a nearly identical situation about 6 months ago.  I pushed for a raise and a promotion.  My boss was supportive, but the HR bureaucracy wouldn't budge until the next annual review.  I walked for a 20% bonus and title increase elsewhere.

Yes, I'm willing to walk, but I wont until I have a new job.  I can start applying for new jobs, but would rather not play the "I have this offer, beat it or I'm out" game.

There are internal procedures in the way... manager discretion was in the way at first, but for a while now he has been supporting my promotion.  However, he has not been aggressive in following up on his boss, who is the decision maker.  It's been sitting on my boss' boss' desk for a few months now.

little_brown_dog

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 05:25:59 PM »


"id like to discuss my career trajectory and get your thoughts/advice. i know we have talked about moving to X position in the past and i'm really excited about it and have done x,y,z to prepare myself for the move. lately i've been thinking about my long term plans for my career at the company and am trying to gauge what my next move should be. i really think i'm ready for the next step. what do you think?"

something like this is not blaming, nor threatening in any way, but it clearly communicates that 1) you want your promotion, 2) you have done everything to receive it, and 3) you are currently evaluating your long term prospects with the company and want to know what your manager sees for you in the future. hopefully they will take this very polite but direct hint and realize they are about to lose a valuable employee to another company. if you get some bs or anything other than an answer that indicates their support for you and a willingness to advocate for you asap, then you know where you stand and can plan your next move. i'd also recommend wrapping up the conversation by suggesting that you meet in a couple of weeks to follow up (forces a deadline on a flakey manager without being pushy).

MDM

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2015, 05:26:58 PM »
There are internal procedures in the way... manager discretion was in the way at first, but for a while now he has been supporting my promotion.  However, he has not been aggressive in following up on his boss, who is the decision maker.  It's been sitting on my boss' boss' desk for a few months now.

A couple of questions:
  - Approx. how many people does your boss supervise?  Your boss's boss?
  - Would the promotion mean a change in responsibilities (if so, what would change?), or is it more money for doing about the same things you have been doing?

Case

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2015, 05:31:52 PM »
My questions is this:
When is it ok to express dissatisfaction to your manager?  I am not going to blame him, but I would say "I am disappointed that it is taking so much work to get me promotion.  So many other people received promotions a long time ago".

Also, when is it ok to say "I really like this company, but this promotion is so late that I feel cheated. What can the company do to entice me to stay?".  Does this type of thing only work when you have another offer on the table?  I could apply to another company and try to get an offer.... it's complicated.

...This is suicide! NEVER present your case for a promotion based on someone else's promotion. Even with peers in the same program (such as my DH's big-corp career advancement program & pay grades), this would be very counterproductive and not reflect well on you at all. Promotions are earned with hard work, not with time and not because others got them.

The way you put the last bit about being "cheated" won't go over well, either. It comes off as a bit...um...entitled? Petulant? I don't believe in counteroffers (feel free to ask why), but in case you were doing something like this, the only way I can think of wording it is, "I have been offered as position as X elsewhere, but I really think that I add more value here and would like to stay. Could we take another look at my compensation package? I feel I have more to offer here."

I mostly like my job otherwise; I'd prefer to stay at this company.  But I feel like promotions at my company are 33% about luck (literally who your manager is and how proactive they are), 33% schmoozing ability, and maybe 33% having to do with actual performance.

I'm not saying you're underperforming at your job, but Failure to Schmooze is a real thing (aka playing office politics). I would unfortunately say that's relatively normal, though the extent will vary. (At my job, it is well known that two girls have been promoted, but one sleeps with the boss and another cheated on her fiance with a different company member.) What do you need to do to move up? Could you somehow move teams/divisions and be under a new manager? Could you step up your social/office game and make your contributions more substantial (or at least more evident)?

ETA: In your current situation, I would remain persistent. I would not air my grievances (you've been slow, why is it taking so long) because there's much more to be lost than gained by it.

I appreciate your point, but I think to some extent you're reading what you want to read and not what I have written.

You're just going to have to trust me that plenty of people have gotten promotions for way less than what I've been going through.  I can't get into the details on an internet forum, but for your responses to be useful to me, you'll have to make that assumption.

And yes, I plan and am trying my best to get results results results. 

I generally agree about never complaining in the ways mentioned above.  I had thought this was obvious... apparently not.  If you have different comments now, feel free to share.  The only reason I am considering saying anything remotely like this to my manager (and I would be WAY more tactful than what I wrote verbatim), is because I would prefer to stay in my current company/group which I otherwise generally like.  My career, aside from rank/pay grade, is advancing well enough, I like the people, etc... (it ain't perfect, but good enough).  However, when people that really aren't doing anything particularly better than you are getting promoted ahead of you, it gets annoying. I could get an offer from another company and then threaten to leave, but I don't really want to do that, it's not my style.  Instead if it got to that point, I'd just get the job and leave.  And I am on the way to getting to that point; it will happen next year if nothing corrects itself soon.  But I'd like to give the company the heads up that "hey, you might lose this employee that you probably would like to retain".  Maybe I'm being ignorant of my own value, but maybe i'm not.

Case

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2015, 05:35:29 PM »
There are internal procedures in the way... manager discretion was in the way at first, but for a while now he has been supporting my promotion.  However, he has not been aggressive in following up on his boss, who is the decision maker.  It's been sitting on my boss' boss' desk for a few months now.

A couple of questions:
  - Approx. how many people does your boss supervise?  Your boss's boss?
  - Would the promotion mean a change in responsibilities (if so, what would change?), or is it more money for doing about the same things you have been doing?

He has about 20 people he supervises, so he has his hands full; part of the problem.
No, the promotion would have no affect on responsbilities, etc...  The responsibilities i'm handling are already a level or two above where I currently am (based on how my company defines it, which they do explicitly).  But I see your point; it would be more money for the same thing.  That said, just this week I was given a technician to work under me.  I also have been initiating new projects on my own, etc... things that typically are not part of the entry-level position.

Case

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2015, 05:36:39 PM »


"id like to discuss my career trajectory and get your thoughts/advice. i know we have talked about moving to X position in the past and i'm really excited about it and have done x,y,z to prepare myself for the move. lately i've been thinking about my long term plans for my career at the company and am trying to gauge what my next move should be. i really think i'm ready for the next step. what do you think?"

something like this is not blaming, nor threatening in any way, but it clearly communicates that 1) you want your promotion, 2) you have done everything to receive it, and 3) you are currently evaluating your long term prospects with the company and want to know what your manager sees for you in the future. hopefully they will take this very polite but direct hint and realize they are about to lose a valuable employee to another company. if you get some bs or anything other than an answer that indicates their support for you and a willingness to advocate for you asap, then you know where you stand and can plan your next move. i'd also recommend wrapping up the conversation by suggesting that you meet in a couple of weeks to follow up (forces a deadline on a flakey manager without being pushy).


Thanks for the good idea.

TheOldestYoungMan

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2015, 05:48:04 PM »
After a 20+ year career in a variety of organizations, I would tell you that the time to express dissatisfaction with your employer is... never.  Go get another job at another company.

^100% agree^

You got buggered.  Move on.  They can't make it right, because it isn't about that.  Be glad you woke up to being jerked around as quickly as you have.  Take the opportunity to find the next great opportunity while you still have steady work.

I've never worked anywhere that actually wanted to change to suit an employee's desires.  And as I've gotten older I think the organizations were probably right.

"How do you have such happy employees?"
"I fired the unhappy ones."

Sounds sociopathic, but it has an elegant simplicity.

Remember when you wanted to work there?  Yea, good times.  It either isn't that place anymore, never was that place, or you've outgrown it.

sisto

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2015, 05:49:15 PM »
I would go to my manager's manager and discuss it with them directly. Make your case. No pun intended. :)

MDM

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2015, 06:02:42 PM »
He has about 20 people he supervises, so he has his hands full; part of the problem.
No, the promotion would have no affect on responsibilities, etc...  The responsibilities i'm handling are already a level or two above where I currently am (based on how my company defines it, which they do explicitly).  But I see your point; it would be more money for the same thing.  That said, just this week I was given a technician to work under me.  I also have been initiating new projects on my own, etc... things that typically are not part of the entry-level position.

And if the boss's boss has 10-20 direct reports also, that's 200-400 people for the boss's boss to consider.  Given that, it's hard to say whether the lack of promotion is due to deliberate delays from above, or from your issue simply not being as urgent as things involving the other 199-399 people.

It is, however, reasonable for you to be a slightly squeaky wheel in order to get more clarity.  As the saying goes, nobody will have as much interest in your career as you yourself.  At one of your regularly scheduled meetings with your boss (you do have these...?), ask him what a reasonable time to expect a response from the boss's boss would be.  If you get an answer by then, good (at least, we hope it's good news).  If no answer by then, at that point you have the moral high ground push a bit harder.

Do you get any face time with the boss's boss?  Can your boss arrange for you to give a presentation about good things that have happened in your area, due in no small measure to your work?  Then the boss can go to the boss's boss and say "see, BB, that's why ol' Case deserves that promotion I've been asking about...".  This is a form of schmoozing, aka "making sure the boss's boss knows who you are and what you do."

Lots of good advice from other posters as well.

Case

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2015, 07:13:00 PM »
After a 20+ year career in a variety of organizations, I would tell you that the time to express dissatisfaction with your employer is... never.  Go get another job at another company.

^100% agree^

You got buggered.  Move on.  They can't make it right, because it isn't about that.  Be glad you woke up to being jerked around as quickly as you have.  Take the opportunity to find the next great opportunity while you still have steady work.

I've never worked anywhere that actually wanted to change to suit an employee's desires.  And as I've gotten older I think the organizations were probably right.

"How do you have such happy employees?"
"I fired the unhappy ones."

Sounds sociopathic, but it has an elegant simplicity.

Remember when you wanted to work there?  Yea, good times.  It either isn't that place anymore, never was that place, or you've outgrown it.

There is a very good chance that this is spot on, and next year I will be seeking employment elsewhere.  My company has 6-12 months until the timing is right for the next hiring cycle (assuming I go to the company I am thinking about)

expectopatronum

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2015, 07:48:24 PM »
I understand the frustration with the bureaucratic nature of promotions at some organizations - I really do. (I actually realized later I didn't understand the story, but I would still say the wording is NOT ideal - the very idea that it has been "too much work" to get a promotion...?)

I would just be really careful with the wording (sorry, I am quite literal, so I did take it verbatim) and carefully consider if it's worth staying in the longer run. Is someone being deliberate about delaying you? I don't think the wisest plan to play the "here's another offer from X company, can you beat it, or else I'm leaving" game unless you're truly prepared to leave, as you've said.

My husband's company has various pay grades and scales and a quite formalized way of moving through them involving several reviews, reviews of those reviews, approvals, and all sorts of bullshit. It took longer than he wanted for his last one, too, but since he still felt his manager and people were at least reasonable in the amount of time it took them to look over it he has stayed. They have had good discussions about where his career is going, and it varied between groups how long it took to go from Grade 4 to Grade 5 (for example) too. Just saying -

That being said, since you're indicating that the typical amount of time between grades compared to others and assuming all other factors are equal (equal follow-up, equally well reviewed and accomplished, etc)...I would agree that at this point, pushing for a bit of a "deadline" is not out of the question. Make it about what you can do, not what you wish they had done better - as in, "I was just following up on my Grade 10 paperwork. It's been in the process now for 6 months, so I was wondering what I can do to help it move through the system. I know people have a lot on their plates, but it's taken an unusually long time. Is there something I can do to help the delay?"

If they say no, then hopefully they can at least name who you can contact at what point rather than an ambiguous "oh, it always take forever, maybe give it a few weeks".

Case

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2015, 07:56:33 PM »
I understand the frustration with the bureaucratic nature of promotions at some organizations - I really do. (I actually realized later I didn't understand the story, but I would still say the wording is NOT ideal - the very idea that it has been "too much work" to get a promotion...?)

I would just be really careful with the wording (sorry, I am quite literal, so I did take it verbatim) and carefully consider if it's worth staying in the longer run. Is someone being deliberate about delaying you? I don't think the wisest plan to play the "here's another offer from X company, can you beat it, or else I'm leaving" game unless you're truly prepared to leave, as you've said.

My husband's company has various pay grades and scales and a quite formalized way of moving through them involving several reviews, reviews of those reviews, approvals, and all sorts of bullshit. It took longer than he wanted for his last one, too, but since he still felt his manager and people were at least reasonable in the amount of time it took them to look over it he has stayed. They have had good discussions about where his career is going, and it varied between groups how long it took to go from Grade 4 to Grade 5 (for example) too. Just saying -

That being said, since you're indicating that the typical amount of time between grades compared to others and assuming all other factors are equal (equal follow-up, equally well reviewed and accomplished, etc)...I would agree that at this point, pushing for a bit of a "deadline" is not out of the question. Make it about what you can do, not what you wish they had done better - as in, "I was just following up on my Grade 10 paperwork. It's been in the process now for 6 months, so I was wondering what I can do to help it move through the system. I know people have a lot on their plates, but it's taken an unusually long time. Is there something I can do to help the delay?"

If they say no, then hopefully they can at least name who you can contact at what point rather than an ambiguous "oh, it always take forever, maybe give it a few weeks".

Understood, and yes, I probably could have worded it better, rather than wordgasming my thoughts onto the screen without double checking.

From what I can tell, I am mostly just being screwed over by bad timing coupled with people being too busy for me.

But anyways, thanks for the thoughts.

Case

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2015, 07:57:20 PM »
I would go to my manager's manager and discuss it with them directly. Make your case. No pun intended. :)

I probably wont take that advice, but I like your pun! zing!

MrsCoolCat

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #19 on: July 01, 2015, 08:11:35 PM »
After a 20+ year career in a variety of organizations, I would tell you that the time to express dissatisfaction with your employer is... never.  Go get another job at another company.

Omg +1. Corporate sucks. Looking towards F.I.R.E.

vagon

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #20 on: July 01, 2015, 09:26:22 PM »
I would go to my manager's manager and discuss it with them directly. Make your case. No pun intended. :)

I probably wont take that advice, but I like your pun! zing!

I'm going to +1 the Manager Once Removed chat. If you are good and have the results to back this up, you should be fine to have a 30min chat with the guy and ask for his assistance in career planning/development.

Expressing dissatisfaction doesn't get you anything. Keep in mind nobody gives a fuck about what you did, or about equality with your peers' promotion schedules for that matter.
Its about what you are going to do that counts and you should position yourself accordingly.

samburger

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #21 on: July 01, 2015, 09:33:13 PM »
After a 20+ year career in a variety of organizations, I would tell you that the time to express dissatisfaction with your employer is... never.  Go get another job at another company.

Yep. If your manager doesn't have a mind to promote you, there isn't much you can do about it but get yourself a new manager.

expectopatronum

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2015, 08:04:49 AM »
Case, have you heard of the site Ask a Manager?

She has tons of good articles in there about promotions/raises that could give you even more ideas. I tried to find one that was most relevant ...this one in particular sounds like it shares a lot with your situation. Promised a raise/promotion, continual delays, peer's promotion has gone through...

http://www.askamanager.org/2013/07/my-manager-keeps-dangling-a-promotion-in-front-of-me-but-it-never-happens.html

Plus, I just like browsing it sometimes because it reminds me about how f*cked up work can be.

mm1970

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Re: when to express dissatisfaction with your workplace
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2015, 11:32:48 AM »
Lots of good stuff here, and you have my sympathy.

I have helped a lot of younger folks get promoted.  Both people who worked for me and just people I was around.  Here's the advice I gave:

1.  Check the job descriptions, if your company has them.  Look at what your current responsibilities are, and what are required for the next step up.
2.  If you are doing the "next step up", bring that to your boss's attention.  If you aren't, ask "what else do I need to do to get from point A to point B".

This often works.
For the weaker employees, they aren't able to do the "next steps" satisfactorily.
For the stronger employees - sometimes they were already doing it, and got promoted immediately.  Sometimes they were able to add a couple of new things and get promoted.
For some timid employees, they don't even ask, because "my boss is just going to say that this job entails X, and there is no place to move up".  (If that is true, then find a new job.)

But this very much depends on your boss and organization, as you have found out.
For myself, I was a top performer.  I struggled to get promoted at my last job.

Boss #1: Well, let's think about this a little bit, you are doing everything on the next step up except this ONE THING.  (which didn't apply to my job).  6 months later, Boss #1 leaves.
Boss #2: Technically, this was my (new) boss's boss, during our annual review - done over the phone because he was in a different state.  "Wait, why are you a 3, your job is clearly a level 4, I am going to get you promoted".  Boss #2 leaves a month later to get a new position.
Boss #3: My actual boss from above, after he's got 6 months under his belt, submits a request to his (now new) boss for a promotion.
Boss #4: see, they end up closing down our group and restructuring, so my immediate supervisor (#3) gets a new boss.  So I go up a level (to the new VP, who is 2 levels above boss #3).  He says "well, why does the title matter?"  "Because I've been doing the job for 2 years and it affects my compensation".  "Well, this shouldn't be an issue."  Which is a nice way of saying "no promises".

So I left to go to a new company.
Over the years here (almost 7), I've had really good and really bad bosses. 

The bad ones tell you your ideas are stupid in meetings, and then 2 weeks later have this "great" idea.  Or they make you miserable.

The mediocre ones are either uninterested or inexperienced when it comes to developing employees.  We have several of them, who go with "status quo" and just aren't comfortable advocating for their employees when it comes to promotion, giving more responsibility, etc.  And we don't have job descriptions or levels here, and I think that's on purpose.

The good ones actually know how to motivate you (with or without money), train you to do new things and take on more responsibility, and advocate for you in the company.  I have had two of those.  So awesome.  And I like to think that I was that kind of boss when I managed 6 people.  I think most of my employees would agree.  However, upper management would not necessarily agree - apparently advocating for your people is great if you are a man, but is seen differently if you are a woman.  Who knew.

But I've also had the bad ones.  So I had about 3 good years of raises and promotions, then got a new boss through restructuring.  And he was awful.  I'd never found that glass ceiling before. 

He's gone now, but the detritus remains.  We've had 3 rounds of layoffs.  I am no longer a manager, as we've basically laid off all of the junior employees.  I guess I'm lucky to have a job, or so that's what we are supposed to think.

You have a bad boss, I'm very sorry.  If I were you, I'd speak with your boss again, and maybe go to his boss if necessary, depending on how big the company is.  Your point about other people getting promoted is TOTALLY VALID, I understand that.  BUT the way that you need to frame it is to completely ignore that - you simply have to point out that your role and responsibilities are "X", and have been for "X" amount of time, so clearly you should be classified as "X".

Good places care about developing employees, but in the end, it's up to you to make that happen.  If it's not happening where you are, look elsewhere.