Right place, different job?
May 7, 2014 6:37 AM   Subscribe

I finally got a job at my dream organisation. Then there was a restructure. Is it too soon to take the next step?

In Feb I took a left a long-term management job at OldOrg to take a 12 month project contract in a specific department at DreamOrg. Jobs at DreamOrg don't come by very often so I took a 20% pay cut and a considerable step down in authority in order to get my foot in the door. Having waited nearly six years for the chance I was just glad to join the team.

In the three months between me accepting the post and working out my notice at OldOrg, DreamOrg underwent a big restructure, the department I was supposed to join was effectively dissolved and the people I would have reported to left. I didn't learn about this until I started the job. My role was moved to a different department, ostensibly working on the same projects but with a much more technical focus, under a different manager. It was a bit of a blow, but I was still excited about working for the organisation so was happy to get on with it, at least for the duration of my contract. Four months in I'm loving the place and the people and I've had great feedback, but, as I suspected, I miss the more strategic and managerial work of of my old job and I'm not particularly keen on being focussed on tech delivery in the long-term.

My dilemma is that the restructure has now opened up a new permanent position in another department that has taken on much of the work of the dept that got axed. This post is much more in line with my experience, interests and long-term career goals. Salary is the same but this post will have authority over many of the projects I'm currently working on, and there is a lot of overlap with the post I left at OldOrg. Having seen the job description I believe I'm a great candidate and would love to apply but I don't know if it's appropriate as I've only been at DreamOrg a short time and still have 3/4 of my existing contract to go (and my boss is talking about keeping me on in current role beyond that). Also, if I did apply and was unsuccessful I'm worried that it will reflect badly on me or affect the good relationships I'm currently building. But jobs move slowly in this industry and if I don't apply now there will be little opportunity to move onto a more strategic track at DreamOrg when my current contract ends.

Had I known this role was coming up I wouldn't have applied for the one I have, but that particular crystal ball was not available. My ultimate goal is to stay with DreamOrg for the long term so I don't want to shoot myself in the foot either way. My question to you dear mefites: is there a way to approach the situation in a way that doesn't make me seem like a flaky malcontent?
posted by socksister to Work & Money (4 answers total)
I'd apply, hell, they made all kinds of changes to the job you accepted and they didn't consult you!

I'd have an off-line talk with the hiring manager and say, "I'd love to apply for the new posting. Since I got caught up with the restructure, this is the position that better fits my current skill set. I'd love to apply, but I don't want to step on any toes. What are your thoughts?"

Listen to what the person has to say. I'll be they wet themselves with excitement. You're already in the organization and people like you.

You don't really have anything to lose.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:43 AM on May 7, 2014 [11 favorites]

What Ruthless Bunny said, with the addition that, after you talk to the hiring manager, talk to your current manager with basically the same script. If your current manager is a good one, he or she will be happy to help you progress in your career and help the company more; if your current manager is a bad one and will punish you for trying to do those things, then you're better off knowing that now.
posted by Etrigan at 6:46 AM on May 7, 2014

I would approach the hiring manager first, to see if there's any reason why they can't hire you at this time (some positions come with a built-in freeze on transfer for X amount of time). If you get the all-clear, then contact your manager for a talk about why you are considering moving.
posted by xingcat at 7:19 AM on May 7, 2014

Yes, what everyone else is saying: make a discreet inquiry with the hiring manager, and then talk to your manager. Make sure that when you talk to the hiring manager, s/he knows about your experience and that you are perfect for the role.

Then talk to your manager. Make sure to spin this as you being so excited about DreamOrg and all the opportunities, and wanting to make sure you can have the best possible impact on the work. Your manager may be a bit put out at having to re-hire, but unless they are the churliest churl, they'll help you out, or at least not stand in your way.

As for how it will look, I don't think you should worry about it, as long as you focus on showing how your impact on the org's mission will be greater in this new role. People outside won't care, or will think you're ambitious, which is good. A few gossips may think you're flaky but who cares? Gossips gonna gossip.
posted by lunasol at 9:12 AM on May 7, 2014

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