It's official. I'm being poison-pilled.

I’ve been at my current job almost eight years. I’m very good at it. I know the history of the company, I know what the system will and will not do, I know answers, I work accurately and efficiently. I am proactive in identifying potential problems. In short, I rock.

Lest you think I’m bragging, I recently got a VERY nice raise. Very nice. As in, we were told we were getting x% raises and I got x% times 3. I asked my boss if anyone in the department was hurt because of my raise, and she said no, the head of the division found the money elsewhere.

Now, I’ve been at this job for almost eight years. I’ve been doing in this particular career for 13. I think I’ve got a handle on it. I want to migrate over to another department, spread my wings as it were. I work very closely with a director of this department. I respect him hugely, and I know that I can be a big help to him. I’ve interviewed for this position and if it were up to him, I’d be hired tomorrow.

Problem? I’ve been at my current job almost eight years. I’m very good at it. I know the history of the company, I know what the system will and will not do, I know answers, I work accurately and efficiently. I am proactive in identifying potential problems. In short, I rock. Couple this with the fact that my boss, bless her heart, is, shall we say, not an asset. When she’s not there, she’s not missed. I took a two week vacation last year and things went to hell. The head of the division was made aware of it by several different people, both inside and outside the department.

When my boss mentioned to Division Head that I had interviewed for the other position, he said (according to her) “Well, that won’t happen now.” He told her (again, according to her) that it would not make sense for the company to move me, and with my Very Nice Raise the other department won’t want me. I hinted of my Very Nice Raise during my interview, and my Future Boss assured me that since this was an internal move, they had wiggle room with the salary and that my salary would definitely not move backwards.

I’ve been trying to figure out what is going on here. One, apparently I’m so good at my job I can’t be considered for other positions. Two, the Division Head is aware of my boss’s inadequacies and is planning on making some changes and wants to keep me close. Three, my boss is supportive of my move. She could be just a good person unable to handle the job, or she could be trying to get rid of a potential rival.

I will be having a second interview with my Future Boss’s boss. I know he has similar concerns as the Division Head, but hopefully not to the same degree. I will overcome his concerns. My plan is, if I am turned down for the job because I’m so good, I will schedule an appointment with the Division Head and demand some answers. I am not an indentured servant. They don’t own me. I do not understand the logic in keeping a good employee stagnant and run the risk of losing that employee altogether, which makes me believe (from what I know of the Division Head) that there is more going on here.

For those of you in upper management, should I assume they’re trying to keep me down? Again, it doesn’t sound logical, so it makes me think there’s changes a-coming.

Never become irreplaceable: if you cannot be replaced, you cannot leave your job.

Without knowing the company and the players, I doubt that any of us can tell you what is going on. “They” may be grooming you to replace your incompetent boss. “They” may have given the raise, thinking it would make you happy to stay where you are (covering for your boss’s deficiencies) and are now surprised that you are being so “disloyal” as to want to move. “They” may simply be clueless. (The last would have been the situation in the majority of companies with which I’ve dealt.)

Since you have the money, I’d suggest going the direction you’d like to take–but not pushing them faster than they want to move. If you can transfer without a fight, do it. If it looks like it will take bloodshed to let you move, ease off a bit and see what happens over the next few months. (I’d give them several months to either let you transfer or replace your current boss; some things just do not move swiftly in corporate America.)

I had made my interest to move known before I got the raise, and it is a lateral move, so I don’t think they’re trying to “bribe” me into staying. I know it’s hard to evaluate the situation via cyberspace. This is a company that has relatively little turnover, and there have been many employees that have left only to return, including one in my own department. Therefore, I would like to believe they have an interest in keeping good employees happy.

That’s why, if things do not turn out as I hope and I need to confront Division Head, I’m not going to go in pitching a fit and throwing furniture around. I will simply and calmly ask for understanding on why I am not being allowed to grow with the company.

When I joined the company they were only three years old. Of course, in that time we have experienced tremendous growth and I have absorbed more and more responsibility. Somewhat like the frog in a pot of water, I am not aware of the heat applied by the burner. People looking from the outside may be aghast at everything I do (indeed, my boss is not aware of everything I do) but to me, it’s just my job.

What’s the learning curve involved with taking the new position? It sounds that if you were to transfer, you’d become productive very quickly. I agree with the earlier poster who suggested a variety of reasons for the stalling and the suggestion that you see how it plays out. However, at your next interview, you should emphasize that you are looking for new challenges and feel limited in your current position (try to phrase this diplomatically, of course). If they get the hint that you feel so hemmed in that you might be considering moving to another company, that might light a fire under their ass. (Naturally, do not actually say anything about looking elsewhere.)

Good luck!

I work very closely with Future Boss now, in that what I do affects him and vice versa. I’ve already helped him on some projects. So there would be a bit of a learning curve, but considering my established tenure with the company I’m already ahead of any other applicants. My stance is that I need to spread my wings, and apply my skills and expertise to another aspect of the business. So, I’m not looking for an escape, but a way to expand my horizon and become more valuable to the company.

Well, it seems you’ve answered your own question…if you leave your dept, it will go to all sorts of hell within 2 weeks.

I’m going to clue you in about something that most people think is only true in comics and sitcoms. Upper-level managers really ARE a buch of stupid assholes. At least a lot of them are.

They think all about strategy without wanting to really look at individual cases based on merits. For some reason, they think it is smarter to potentially lose an employee and all of their knowledge completely than to allow you to grow.

You want to have some fun? Print up some letters of resignation and send them to several of the printers at your office. In them, detail why you feel you need to leave the company (lack of growth opportunity, etc), and then watch what happens.

(actually, that was much more fun to type up than I suspect it would be in real life)

Heh. In some industries it’s ten times easier to get a better position and more money by quitting and moving to another company than it is to get a promotion. And the “irreplaceable” worker has the worst time. “No, we can’t give you a promotion, you’re too valuable where you are!”


Not a single aspect of your post suggests that anyone at your company thinks otherwise. For one thing, the remuneration earned by an indentured servant is usually set out in the indenture itself, and if you were an indentured servant then you wouldn’t have received that nice raise.

I didn’t get the job.

We all care.

Need to vent?

Try to get some answers. If they aren’t satisfactory, then it’s time to update the resume.

Actually, I feel tons better now. I talked to my Future Boss (he pulled me aside after his boss broke the news to me) and basically the woman they are hiring is him at another job with extensive experience in a new software we’re getting. He assured me there are changes a-coming, and that he’s putting together an org chart for a meeting Sunday (yes, Sunday) with my name on it for another position.

I apparently blew his boss away in the interview. So it’s not that I did badly, it’s that someone else who fit better came along. My current position (and how critical I am) had zero impact on their decision. In fact, FB said if he had pushed for me, his boss’s boss basically would have overruled him in favor of the other lady. We have a lot of exciting changes coming in the next 12 months, and everyone here is going nuts trying to get ready for it. FB is currently a department of one, and he’s going to need at least a staff of three to get his arms around everything.

I asked him the time frame, three months? He laughed and said no, sooner than that. In fact, it sounds like he would be having this new lady handle the administrative duties, while he and I would be working closely with senior management for planning purposes.

So, while it’s a disappointment, the door is not closed.

sounds like one of those one step back and two step forward things…
except you really haven’t taken a step back…and it doesn’t look like you will anytime soon

congrats on the raise, though.

Thanks. Couple that is that there are undercurrents that my boss may not be around much longer. Her boss is well aware of her inadequacies, and I spoke to him myself today.

FB mentioned I could be in line for her job, and I will talk it over with Ivylad, but I’m leaning toward the lateral move out of the department rather than the promotion within, if it’s offered. There’s more room for growth over the fence.