How to deal with two offers in the same department?
November 20, 2007 10:29 PM   Subscribe

How to deal with two offers in the same department and ensure there's no hard feelings afterward?

I have completed my first year of "real work" out of college at a large corporation and my boss is giving me a choice on two different opportunities:

1. Stay on her team, working under one of her managers. My boss told me that if I keep this level of work up, I’m most likely going to get a promotion at the start of next year (should increase my salary about 30% over the next 2 yrs).

2. To work for another manager under a different team. I do not know if I will get a promotion if I move to this team and I will still work very closely with my current team due to the overlap in areas.

Both opportunities give me work that’s on the same level of a 2-5 year experienced consultant would get (I’m currently an analyst) and while I’ve had some contacts with both managers, I am not very familiar with either.

My boss stated that she strongly prefers me to stay on her team but the other manager is also "fighting" for me as well (her words, not mine). My boss told me to think about it, come up with some questions for each manager, and then let her know my decision next Monday. Both positions are long-term. I am not sure what questions I should ask each person. I’m very career-oriented right now but also very inexperience in the corporate culture.

Where do I start and what should I ask each manager? What things should I look out for? Should I ask about promotion with the other manager?

Also, once I make my choice, should I say something to the manager I turned down? How do I ensure there are no hard feelings, since I’m going to be working with both sometime in the future?

With either one, I’m sure I’ll be happy but I do not want to step on someone’s toe or turn the relationship sour. Even though the company is big, words also get around fast and I do not want to make it seem as if I’m playing games with anyone.

Lastly, someone told me I should go with the promotion one since it’s almost guarantee for me career-wise, work there for a year and if I don’t like it, then transfer to the other team. He also said I should NOT talk to the other manager despite that my boss told me to (the word will get to her) and just tell my boss I want to stay on her team, to ensure the maximum amount of "good feelings" with my team. Your opinion on this?

My throwaway email is
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
I'd say stay where you are if you want to minimise bad feelings. (but don't count on that promotion). I don't see how the other department boss can begrudge you staying loyal to your current position.
However, personally, I'd explore every option. Listen to what they both have to offer and make a decision based on the work you'll be doing + the environment you'll be working in (I assume you are already comfortable in your current team). When making your decision take all promises out of the equasion - forget that promotion or any other teasers they tempt you with. Unless its in writing and in your contract - don't count on it and don't use it to make a decision.
posted by missmagenta at 1:27 AM on November 21, 2007

I'd be tempted to stick where you are if things are going ok, better the devil you know. One of those questions you think up should be "What conditions/targets need to be met for me to secure the promotion?" Make sure the answer is realistic and make notes.
posted by biffa at 2:51 AM on November 21, 2007

first of all, make sure your current manager know that you're acting under the advice of their boss.

talk to the manager on the other team, and see what they're offering, both career and salary-wise. then make your decision. for me, it would take a huge raise and some significantly different/better work responsibilities to switch horses at this stage in the race.

as for hard feelings, i wouldn't worry about the competing manager if you stay where you are--it sounds like your current track gives you more advantages. i'd be more concerned about your current manager if you switch teams. then there might be some hard feelings, definitely, but less so if you give them good reasons for leaving.
posted by thinkingwoman at 4:23 AM on November 21, 2007

For me one of the biggest questions would be management style - so in additions to questions about pay, type of work, responsibilities, potential for promotion, etc., I'd also ask about what they are like as a manager.

In my work experience, a great manager can make a so-so job good, and a bad manager can make a good job awful.
posted by misskaz at 7:27 AM on November 21, 2007

You need to ask some hard questions of each manager, that digs a little deeper into what you're getting yourself into. Things I would personally want to know:

1) Exactly what are the job responsibilities you'd be expected to take on? Are there any that aren't on the job description? (Where I'm from, this is phrased as "other related duties", and is abused abominably by some managers).

2) What kind of opportunities are there in the job that would allow you to expand your skills and abilities? Or is this the kind of job where they bury you under a mountain of the exact same kind of paperwork, such that you have no opportunity to branch out?

3) How does the manager react to mistakes, i.e.: what happens when you screw up?

4) How receptive is the manager to suggestions, initiative, etc., on your part? How would he/she react if you noticed a problem with implementation or design and approached him/her about it?

And yeah, that promotion thing? Don't believe a word.
posted by LN at 10:02 AM on November 21, 2007

I think it's better to stay in your current position, since your position is kinda guaranteed and you are comfortable with the team as you are currently working in it.
posted by WizKid at 10:02 AM on November 21, 2007

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