Moving On Up... or Not
December 10, 2004 1:33 PM   Subscribe

My manager is resigning. Her position, by all rights, should be mine. I have recommendations from all the various people I work with on a daily basis, and at least two managers (my own, soon-to-be-gone, and another in a related department). The CFO doesn't think I'm ready, however, and is currently trying to head hunt....apparently with some success.

Should I resign if he ignores all these folks and doesn't even at least discuss the issue with me? I think it shows pretty clearly I don't have a future with this company....I've been here for years and can do the job.
posted by taumeson to Work & Money (23 answers total)
 
I wouldn't resign right away, but I'd start looking for another job pretty fast.
posted by batboy at 1:36 PM on December 10, 2004


By resigning, you won't teach them any lessons. They are never going to apologize, beg you to stay and offer you the job you deserve.

Meanwhile, I'd start my own head hunt if I were you, familiararity with this company will continue to breed contempt. Besides, a good paycheck can be hard to come by these days.

Maybe it's for the best, sounds like you don't want to move up the chain and get closer to people who don't understand you. There's something to be said for having a middle or, upper middle management layer between you and a bunch of clueless officers.
posted by Dean_Paxton at 1:40 PM on December 10, 2004


I'd start planning my next move. You're probably not going to get along with the new manager in the long run. You'll most likely harbour some resentment towards her over this and she'll probably hear through the grapevine that you campaigned - and had support - for her position.
posted by substrate at 1:56 PM on December 10, 2004


Of course you won't "teach them any lessons." You're not a rabbi. You work to make a buck. Don't get mired in principle.

Seek work elsewhere.
posted by cribcage at 2:09 PM on December 10, 2004


Is the CFO accessible enough that you could talk to him directly? Have you done this already? I would make an appointment with him and talk, just to make sure he acknowledges that you want the job.

If you have an offer from another company in hand, it would give you bargaining points. Moving up to management positions doesn't seem to just happen to people because they have good recommendations. You need to demonstrate your motivation, assertiveness and abilities directly to the decision-maker.
posted by copperbleu at 2:16 PM on December 10, 2004


If you're convinced you want to move to a higher management level and you don't think you'll get it with the current CFO, then you should keep your current job for now and start looking for a different company to work for. Since you're thinking of resigning for not being considered for the position, I assume that you're not worried about finding a new job. I wouldn't quit and then start looking though, I would find a new job and then give notice.

In your case, they're not going to fire the CFO for not considering you for your manager's position, so you really can't teach them a lesson by abruptly resigning, except to give HR a headache in finding a replacement. In today's economy, that shouldn't be too hard.

Is the CFO not ready to promote you now, but perhaps would be in the future? I've learned over the years that for some people in upper management, they don't care what other people tell them about you, they need to see you perform well firsthand before trusting you. I had a director who was fond of telling people how hard he was to work for, and that it didn't matter what you had done for the company the past N years, all that mattered was what he saw you do for the company yesterday. There's some truth in that, but not as much as he thought.

I was in the same position as you, and ended up leaving instead of sticking it out, since I had done seven years in a high stress company and didn't see the promotion coming soon. I've ended up being more successful after leaving that company than I ever could have been while working there, so it was the right decision for me. I wish you luck in figuring this out!
posted by beaverd at 2:50 PM on December 10, 2004


If your own manager is recommending you, as well as several others- people who work with you and value their own jobs/cred to your collective superior- than I think this a clear sign your superior simply doesn't want you to have the job.

I think the lesson has already been given here- that your superior doesn't think enough of you to give you a promotion. In which case, secure a new job, quit, tell them flat-out why, and make sure you're fantastic at your new job so they regret every minute of it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:54 PM on December 10, 2004


Ask the CFO (or any relevant person) if you can sit down with him/her and discuss a possible road map for your future of the company and what you may be doing. You may not be able to get the position you want on the org chart, but you may be able to take on some new projects and responsibilities that you may find interesting/advancing, and with that, negotiate a raise.

If no one is willing to do that with you, or the outcome of the discussion isn't an improvement, then yes, it's time to look for a new job.
posted by weston at 3:02 PM on December 10, 2004


that your superior doesn't think enough of you to give you a promotion.

Keep in mind that the supervisor's looking outside the company, though. That could be a number of things: sufficient frustration with the former manager that they think new blood is the only way to make things work, dissatisfaction with the poster and all of his coworkers (since they're all probably thinking the same thing) suggesting that the boss's criteria are just too high, an old-boy network, and so on.

While I agree that if this makes the current position unpalatable you may as well look around for something else, it's still a job, and it's a lot more comfortable to look for something new from your current position than it is from none. If nothing else you might as well find out exactly what you're going to be leaving by sticking around long enough

Put differently: Before your manager left, did the job suck? If your manager hadn't left, would you have thought about leaving? A promotion is always nice, but who knows what the next manager might end up like. You might find that you end up under your best manager ever, which can make a job a pretty good one.

Lastly, to be crystal clear: Resigning because you were passed over for a promotion will absolutely not get your boss to change his mind, and might trash the possible personal and professional references you could get from your coworkers who also want the new position but are staying. Burn bridges as a last resort.
posted by mendel at 3:08 PM on December 10, 2004


If you haven't done so already, get a copy of the job description that is being used for the new candidates and write out how you meet or exceed those qualifications. Take that to your CFO along with the recommendations and a list of anything else you've personally accomplished at work.

If you still don't get the job, then job seek, and then quit. Like others have said, leaving should be what you do after you've already got another prospect.
posted by Jim Jones at 3:11 PM on December 10, 2004


Basically, you want to make sure that you're not pinning all your expectations on the CFO, if you don't have to. If he's got the wrong impression of your capabilities, then you've either got to convince him otherwise, or find someone else who can sponsor your ambitions.

To stay at the same place, the best route is probably to find someone else at a senior level who can serve as a mentor, and help shepherd your progress as a counterweight to the CFO.

If you can't find that other person, or if the CFO has "final veto" on your progress no matter what, then your best bet is to sit down with him and say "OK, then what do you need to see to make me a candidate for the _next_ opening?"

He may well have a legitimate point...if not in terms of your potential, then in terms of your proven experience. If he says "You need to manage a team of XX people first", then say "Alright--can I have an opportunity to do that?"

Just make sure you're not leaving in a fit of pique, if you really like this place. It's very, very common to go through a bitter period when you don't get the promotion you want, but that doesn't have to mean "No future here any more". I've gone through the same thing, more than once, and when I've addressed it aggressively, because I wanted to stay there on better terms, it's always worked out for the best.

On the other hand, if this really feels like a sign that this phase of your career is over, then go. I've been there, too. Keep the job, keep doing a good job, but cast a wide net and move on.
posted by LairBob at 3:38 PM on December 10, 2004


You say the CFO doesn't think you're ready... has he elaborated as to why? I think you deserve that much. I agree with other comments above, it's time for a talk. If you have the opportunity to hear what he is looking for / thinks you lack, you may be able to ask him to allow you to present your case.

Perhaps you can at least demonstrate that you can handle the position in the "interim", and who knows, once they see you in action, they may decide to discontinue looking.

On the other hand, if the CFO makes some good points about what you need to learn, maybe you can use the next year or two under the new manager to learn those skills / take on those responsibilities, and add them to your resume. Then, new job offer in hand, smile as you walk out the door.
posted by vignettist at 3:40 PM on December 10, 2004


Keep in mind that the CEO may be looking outside for reasons that have nothing to do with your performance. He could be looking for a bargain, he might want the new hire to take on responsibilities that are new to the position, or he may have someone in mind (like the relative of someone he owe a favor to, a friend, etc.)
Since the people who oversee the management position like you, you should have some good recommendations for a management position elsewhere.
posted by sophie at 4:05 PM on December 10, 2004


A side thought - who is going to be acting manager when your manager leaves? Your supervisor's recommendation that you be promoted apparently doesn't carry a lot of weight - but could she get you into the position in an acting/temporary status? Would the CFO be agreeable to holding off the head-hunting until you've had a chance - say, three months - to show him what you can do?

And you don't mention it specifically, but it sounds like the CFO doesn't even intend to let you put in your resume and compete with external candidates. If so, that's definitely not a good sign.

P.S. You might want to remove your name and/or URL on your profile. Or change them to something else until the matter with your present company is resolved, and a web search won't make any difference to anyone.
posted by WestCoaster at 4:08 PM on December 10, 2004


You get the same shit everywhere.

This probably has less to do with you than it does to do with the fact that people are assholes and you CFO is a person, if you follow me.

Go back to school for art.
posted by pissfactory at 5:24 PM on December 10, 2004


I'd resign. But find a new job first.
posted by rushmc at 5:42 PM on December 10, 2004


I'd at least hang around to see who they get to fill the position. That might tell you something. (If it's the CFO's brother-in-law, well, there you go.)
posted by SPrintF at 6:20 PM on December 10, 2004


Keep your job, look for new work, then leave the day you find out about new employment without any notice. Fuck 'em, and all that.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:27 PM on December 10, 2004


Stay at your current job until you secure a better offer. Then leave. But give up any idea of trying to convince the CFO of anything, either by staying or leaving. At your exit interview, just say that you're going elsewhere because your current position has taken you as far as it can, so moving on is in your best interest. You're not trying to make a point to anyone; you're trying to look after your career, and it sounds like your current position is tapped out.

Also, listen to WestCoaster's PS.
posted by amery at 9:30 PM on December 10, 2004


Oh, also. Stop thinking of this in terms of "rights". You don't have any right to the vacated position. There is no justice here. If you get anything that resembles justice, that's a happy accident. This is what people mean by the "it's just business" cliché.

Sorry to be so blunt, but I learned this lesson the very very hard way. Best of luck.
posted by amery at 9:38 PM on December 10, 2004


Work elsewhere.

Scene: My performance appraisal four years a go. My boss, who was relocating to Germany said "There is no clear sucessor to my job."

After having been in my position for four years, theree years under three different bosses and one year under him, I thought I would be a shoe-in.

I volunteered for a five year project in a different directorate and never looked back.
posted by fixedgear at 5:25 AM on December 11, 2004


I worked at a place for ten years. After about 8 1/2 years, I was promised a upper management position by my boss and he told me that he was "working on the details". i was quite excited as I was hoping to move up eventually.

One day, another colleague approached me and told me that they were going into my bosses office to put in their two-weeks notice as they accepted another job. He ended up leaving my bosses' office and not only didn't end up putting his two-weeks notice in, but all of a sudden had the job that was promised to me.

I was quite upset, but at the same time, my job paid quite well. I quietly took about 1 1/2 years searching for the best opportunity I could find and it worked out great for me. My new job rules, and my old company is hurting pretty bad.

My point is that I felt like walking out the day I found out what happened, but for once in my life a "cooler-head" prevailed and I'm glad I covered all my bases. It was a humbling experience for sure, but it was a good learning experience. Be patient and take the time you need to find something else that suits you!
posted by punkrockrat at 8:05 AM on December 11, 2004


Response by poster: Hey all. Thanks for everything.

I basically know why he thinks I'm not ready. I have a strong personality, and I get things accomplished. I can get things done in a day that would normally take two weeks, and twice in the past few months I've gotten things done in a week that would take two months.

To do this means upsetting people who LIKE to take two months, because they can't handle high stress environments. By a twist of fate, that's upper management, and so I rub this CFO the wrong way.

He's also very political and never says what he wants/thinks. You have to figure it out. I've gotten good at this, but this time last year I wasn't, and I think that's on his mind as well.

I basically think it's a personality clash, and I doubt my future is with this company. Alas.

I'm not going to burn any bridges, but I am going to look for new work if I don't get this promotion. It doesn't mean with another company, necessarily, but it's pretty likely.
posted by taumeson at 9:02 AM on December 11, 2004


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