A little over a year ago, a mutinty was staged in my department and I was demoted. Simply put, I was good at my job, but miscalculated the politics involved in that department. I take full responsibility for the way things went down, and learned many valuable lessons that serve me even now.

Fortunately the higher powers felt that the cause of the mutinty was not my fault, appreciated my talents and potential, and made big efforts to create another position for me elsewhere in the company.
I like my job. I am grateful (really really grateful) to have a job, and have strived to work and behave in all the right ways to continue again on my career path upward ... at least back up to the level I was before. I volunteer for tasks, I coordinate projects, all the stuff that would be expected out of say ... a manger. We have a great culture that has always allowed people to create new opportunities for themselves over and above the position they were hired for. Over the ten years that I've been with this company, I've done well by doing just that and promoting the posibilities to others.
Recently there was a reorganization in our company. This was expected, and I have been working to position myself to take advantage of new opportunities that I felt I was particularly well suited for because of both my life-long  work experience and my natural talents. I was flatly denied because I was needed more in the position I currently hold.
Personally, though the other guy was also qualified for the new position, I feel like I am way more talented than the guy who got it. My boss indicated that because of our hiring freeze, he could afford the vacancy left from the other guy more than he could afford a vacancy in my position (even though I'm currently a low level assistant). And for that reason, my application was gently but immediated denied. I feel like I wouldn't be upset about the other guy getting it, if I'd been at least considered.
My dilemma. I know that there is still some flux in our company, and opportunities can be created out of thin air if the need proves itself. Do I go to my boss and ask him what I need to do to be a manager again, or do I keep my mouth shut and continue to be grateful to be employed?

ashdenver's picture

I'm multi-tasking like a maniac right now so I don't have bandwidth to offer insightful perspective or appropriate action items, all I can say is: It sucks to be punished for doing a good job. 

There are places hiring still, believe it or not - have you considered looking for the desired manager position elsewhere?

Also, off the top of my head, is there anyone there you could train to do your "low-level assistant" duties from another non-critical areas as a compromise to the boss?  If you can find a solution that won't cause him hassle, heartache or expense, he'd be more likely to rubber-stamp (approve) the shift.

*two cents* for now ...

DiSC profile: 7-2-1-5

rwwh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

I think if I generalize the situation that does not change my judgment: anyone in a hierarchical organization should be talking to their boss about what is expected from them, and what the conditions are to grow to another position.


MsSunshine's picture

What you are doing by making yourself useful and not complaining is exactly right.  You make your boss successful.  You act like a professional and do the job the company is paying you to do.  So, you are giving them no reason to get rid of you in bad times and lots of reasons why you add value.  I would not jump ship because of not being given one job.

The fact is that sometimes a boss and the company has to do something that is in the best interest of the company but is not in the best interest of an individual.  Your saying and acting that you understand that the company had to act in it's best interest shows understanding of how business works.  They didn't say that you weren't capable - they just needed you elsewhere. 

Having been through layoffs in the last year, I have people who had to take on tasks they did not like.  To be honest, the ones that did it without a complaint and asked how else they could help have earned many points with me.  I will remember that and have already worked to get some of them some extra prize tasks.  The ones that are whining, telling me to give the bad jobs to someone else who isn't "as good" as them, ... have gotten noticed by many layers of management too...and not in a good way.  Be patient and work on your skills as best you can.

Your tone and comments to the boss are the keys to the discussion on your future.  You do not want to say something like "what do I have to do to get a manager's job again".  You probably don't intend it but it sounds like you feel you are entitled - no one is ever entitled!  What I would do is have an honest discussion around capabilities/behaviors the boss feels you need to master.  I'd say something like "I'd like your help and advice on my career.  My career goals are to move into a management position.  Would you be willing to work with me on skills I need to be successful in meeting that objective?"  Even if you were doing it before, there must be things that you can work on.  You want to let your boss know your intent and enlist help in getting there.  By doing this, you are hoping that they will be looking out for opportunities for you.

JasonBrondel's picture

I second most of the comments here. Even though it might sound unreasonable to be punished for seemingly no reason, it'll help in the long run to concentrate on doing a great job no matter where you are. Do what you can to get noticed, and soon the people that demoted you will regret that they ever did that in the first place!

jhack's picture

You might want to make sure you crank up your network, get your resume in order, and start reviewing how you'd answer questions like "What is your leadership style?"   

This situation may be salvageable, and it may be that your career and state of mind will be better if you were in a different organization altogether.   

John Hack

US41's picture

Do not pay attention to what your managers say. Pay attention to what they do. Do their actions indicate that they think you are a top performer who is promotable and able to lead a team?

Focusing on your own results is a great way to be seen as a useful individual contributor. Focusing on meeting boss objectives, making the boss look good, and socializing with your peers, the boss's peers, and the boss is better.



melissas's picture

 Thanks for the reality check, all! I know it's always good to have a resume ready to go, but I like my company and my work here, and I was a little reluctant to consider looking elsewhere except as a last resort. I try not to bug my boss to much, it's helpful to know how to approach this conversation when the time is right.