Should I apply for an internal listing right after starting a new job?
August 28, 2016 12:23 AM   Subscribe

Just got promoted, yay! Except another job that I'm interested in was recently posted ...

When I first saw the listing, I mentally filed it as, "Oh damn that would have been a great position, and I'm more or less qualified. Oh well, maybe something similar will come up in a few years." The position is related to my current job, but while my current job is more of a generalist, jack of all trades job that has occasional opportunities to dabble in my area of interest, this other position would be working as a technical specialist exclusively in my area of interest. They are probably of similar seniority level, but the technical specialist role is a lot more substantive (possibly better paid, I have no real way of knowing).

Though I had not been planning on applying, few days later the hiring manager for the position contacted me just to point me in the direction of the job advertisement. I'd worked with the hiring manager on a project a few months back that I got a lot of kudos for and they knew I have an interest in their technical area. Their encouragement got me to thinking that maybe I should apply, despite having technically been in my current position for just over a month (though I had been doing many of the job responsibilities for the past year). I mulled it over a few days and was feeling very interested in the position but like I wanted to learn more about it, preferably without actually applying because if I applied I was worried it would get back to my current supervisor. So I requested a meeting with the hiring manager, who agreed and we sat down and discussed the position earlier this week.

I got some good information from the hiring manager, but I'm still kind of on the fence about applying. I think I'd really need to decide soon. My main concerns are:

- On the positive side, the position seems like a great opportunity for me. I've been dabbling in this area for years and at one point had a more technical/research-based position that was somewhat related. I've been thinking I'd like to get more back on that side of things than where I currently am. I studied this area in school, and would love to be immersed in the subject on a daily basis. I see the position as a potentially rare opportunity to pivot back towards this subject and build a career that is devoted to the area. On the other hand, a part of me also thinks that I should get a little more experience in some other related roles before moving to the type of role that this job requires.

- On the negative side, there is first of all the major awkwardness and potential bad feelings that would result from my applying to the position after being in my current position for so little time. I really value my relationship with my current supervisor and don't want them to think that I'm ungrateful to the support they've provided or that I didn't accept my current position in good faith. I know it would be an inconvenience to them if I left so quickly, and I am not sure it wouldn't damage my relationship with their boss as well.

- Also on the negative side are the practicalities of the job. It would involve moving across country to a different location, and would also require quite a bit of travel. I am just starting to feel settled into my current city with a good living situation, an expanding group of friends, hobbies I'm passionate about, and I also really just love the city itself where I live. I was really excited to get the promotion because it made it easier to envision sticking around here for a while. I've moved every couple of years for a long time now, and I was kind of in a bit of a settling place. The location of the new job is another city that I've lived in before where I have a few connections, but I feel decidedly uninterested in moving back there. I also don't especially like the idea of having to travel as much of the time as would probably be required, though my current position also requires some travel.

I feel like I'm leaning towards not applying for the position, (largely because of bullet 3 above, though partially bullet 2) but I'm afraid that I'll look at the opportunity some time down the road be it a week from now or a year from now and wonder why I didn't go for it.

Should I apply for the position? Especially since it's internal, is it bad form to apply and is it likely that word of my application will get back to my supervisor? Any similar experiences or approaches to making a similar decision that you'd recommend? Thank you!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total)
A very similar situation came up with a colleague. He successfully made the move, but he did it by choosing a team member to mentor, train up, and replace him. I don't believe he caused any bad feeling at all, and in fact it looked great that he mentored another more junior person. He did this over the course of 4 weeks. So you might be able to turn that to your advantage.

However, your point about relocation is possibly overshadowing everything else. Putting your life before your work is something you will be unlikely to regret in the long term. As you get older it will become increasingly harder to maintain a social group so there is nothing wrong with prioritising that over work.

Advice from strangers is often worthless but I think the best thing you can do is carefully re-read your post and decide whether you have answered your own question already.
posted by askmeaboutboardgames at 3:45 AM on August 28, 2016

You have to do what's best for your own career, including advocating for yourself to get the jobs you want. Also don't feel like you owe it to your company or dept. to stay put. They can hire someone else for your job, you can gracefully transition between the current and new job if you play it right.

I recommend talking to the people involved in the new job first and feel it out, what your odds of being hired are, whether you'd be able to transition over without causing too much pain in your current position. Then talk to the person you report to, and express your interest, and strategy for transitioning if you were to get it.
posted by lizbunny at 5:28 AM on August 28, 2016

I think the fact that you're not super psyched about yet another move for this new job kinda trumps everything.

If it's an internal job, your supervisor will DEFINITELY find out and be consulted with.

Anyway: the things that stand out to me are that (a) you're not super psyched about yet another move and more work travel for this, (b) you are in a good position right now that you like and don't feel the need to run away from, and (c) yeah, supervisor awkwardness. It sounds like the new job might be nice, but you're not massively in love with every facet of it, and kinda sounds like a "I should want it" situation. If you're not in love with the job enough to risk the awkwardness and put up with moving and travel, then don't go after it. It might have been nice if it didn't involve a move and travel, but it does.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:29 AM on August 28, 2016

I think I'd lean towards not applying for the reasons jenfullmoon mentions above, plus the fact that you're not guaranteed to get the job, and if you apply and don't get it you'll have possibly damaged your relationship with your current manager irreparably. If it were a position you felt more strongly about, that might be worth it, but for a position you're only lukewarm about? Eh. (Note that if this were an external position I'd say "go ahead and apply and decide later," but for an internal position the calculus is different because you have the potential to create a lot of ill will.)
posted by MsMolly at 10:16 AM on August 28, 2016

Is this even allowed at your company? My company explicitly prohibits applying for a new job unless you've been in your current position for six months. Ask your HR rep before you apply.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:00 PM on August 28, 2016

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