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I, posted awhile ago, that I was trying to get promoted to a "Software Development Manager" position.

My interview went relatively well, thanks greatly to fellow MT member Wendii, but alas, I didn't get the job.

Now, I'm feeling a bit "adrift" and am not sure what to do next. I'm hoping I can get some advice here on what my next "career" steps should be. Should I stay with this company and continue to try to get promoted, or should I move on.

The company I work for is about 30 people. We have a COO that used to be my boss. My new boss is the "Director of Product Development and IT".

Since not getting the promotion, my opinion of the company has changed. Maybe it's sour grapes, but there have been some occurrences that lead me to believe this isn't the kind of company I have a future with (i.e., focus on outsourcing rather than developing internal software development; dismissal of people "without cause"; hiring of a lot of administrative people in lieu of people who actually "do work").

I feel like I have two choices:

1. Continue trying to move into management here (I've been told I'm next in line, for what it's worth). Even if it's not a long term job, it would be easier to move, laterally, into management at another company than restart the the process of trying to get promoted.

2. Move to another company now, and start the process over again with a company that I feel will be a more long term opportunity.

Also, I'm relatively "old" (turning 40 this year). So I feel a bit like I don't have as much time to waste on "bad" opportunities.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

wendii's picture

Greg,

too tired tonight to make sensible suggestions but just wanted to quote Mark - it's the one in the ring that gets the credit! You did some hard work on that interview and deserve to be proud of yourself, whatever the outcome.

Wendii

asteriskrntt1's picture

Hi Greg

Sorry to hear of your experience. As Wendii says, you put in a lot of work, so the next opportunity should come easier.

One of the things I see people do time and time again is see their decision making as absolutes or having to run serially. There is no reason you cannot pursue both options in parallel. Start looking externally as well and whichever opportunity presents itself first, consider it.

Best of luck.

*RNTT

akinsgre's picture

Thanks for the encouraging words.

I know that I can pursue both... and will do that; though I think I'll be focusing my efforts externally.

Part of my mood right now, is that I wonder if I didn't get the job because I wasn't prepared for this job. Or if I didn't get the position because I'm not cut out for management.

I wish there was a way to know that answer, apart from getting a mgmt job and succeeding at it.

asteriskrntt1's picture

Only someone who is cut out for being a professional manager would prepare, care and reflect like you are doing. And Wendii would have told you if you were not a true candidate.

*RNTT

jhack's picture

I got passed over for a big promotion earlier in my career. It took me years to fully understand all the reasons for it, but fundamentally I wasn't ready. Live and learn.

It's not clear from your posting: are you currently managing anyone?

There are lots of skills you can work on in your current position: mastering your budget, honing your people sklils (DiSC), etc. If you've got management responsibility (project management or other) then you can hone yet more skills.

Contact recruiters and continue developing your network.

Better performance, career growth, and networking will lead to something. If you want to be a good manager, and you work on your skills, you will succeed.

akinsgre's picture

Thanks John.

I am not currently managing anyone.

I'll definitely keep trying to improve.

madamos's picture

It can be really difficult to focus on your work and continued career at a company once you have decided you want to move on. I have been living a similar experiance for about 18 months now. I am constantly asking myself if I should give up on my current company and agressively look to move out.

One question I would ask you is have you spoken to your boss about your desire to move into management? Having your boss on your side is a huge advantage.

I also wonder if you were too focused on getting a something in a specific department in the company. Make sure you are searching in other departments.

Don't give up so easily on your current company. It is much harder to make a transition to a new company where you don't know as many people.

Of course you should continue to look outside as well.

MadAmos

RichRuh's picture

Greg—

I have the same question as MadAmos- have you spoken to your boss? In particular, have you spoken to your boss about why you didn’t get the job? The results of that conversation are going to help you define the next step. You’re going to get one of two kinds of answers.

In the first case, you’ll get a list of things that need to be improved before you get a promotion to management. In that case, work on the items on that list, and skip the rest of this post.

But you work for a small software company, which from my experience are rarely that organized. People are promoted based on “gut feel”, and you’ll get a response like “we don’t think you’re ready for that position yet”. Follow-up questions asking, “What do I need to improve so that I will be ‘ready’?” are met with blank stares.

This is a great opportunity.

Start by putting together a detailed job description. Mark and Mike talk about this in their annual review casts. Try to focus on behaviors, not vague immeasurable quantities like “leadership”. Be thorough and complete. If you do this right, you will most likely find that you do some, and not all, of the things on that list. (Every company is different, so you should try this on your own, but I can post some job descriptions from my company if you think it would be helpful).

Have management review this list- what did you forget? Do NOT talk about you and your suitability for the role. Your goal at this point is to get agreement on the job description.

Afterwards, well, start doing the things on the list. Consider meeting with your boss periodically to discuss your progress on this list.

Now… management roles at a small software company can be pretty limited, and you might need some patience. However, it should be pretty easy to see if your boss and other managers are supporting you in these efforts.

And… if it doesn’t work out and you decide to leave… you’ve just built a set of leadership examples for your resume and job interviews!

--Rich (formerly a small-company computer programmer)

akinsgre's picture

[quote="RichRuh"]Greg—

I have the same question as MadAmos- have you spoken to your boss? In particular, have you spoken to your boss about why you didn’t get the job? The results of that conversation are going to help you define the next step. You’re going to get one of two kinds of answers.
[/quote]
The reason I was given for not getting the job was that the selected candidate had more experience (he took a down-grade in title to come to our company ,having been a COO at his previous company).

I was told that I was the "second choice'
[quote="RichRuh"]

In the first case, you’ll get a list of things that need to be improved before you get a promotion to management. In that case, work on the items on that list, and skip the rest of this post.

But you work for a small software company, which from my experience are rarely that organized. People are promoted based on “gut feel”, and you’ll get a response like “we don’t think you’re ready for that position yet”. Follow-up questions asking, “What do I need to improve so that I will be ‘ready’?” are met with blank stares.
[/quote]
More the second, for sure.
[quote="RichRuh"]
This is a great opportunity.

Start by putting together a detailed job description. Mark and Mike talk about this in their annual review casts. Try to focus on behaviors, not vague immeasurable quantities like “leadership”. Be thorough and complete. If you do this right, you will most likely find that you do some, and not all, of the things on that list. (Every company is different, so you should try this on your own, but I can post some job descriptions from my company if you think it would be helpful).
[/quote]

That is great advice.. I didn't remember that podcast, but will go back to it.
[quote="RichRuh"]
Have management review this list- what did you forget? Do NOT talk about you and your suitability for the role. Your goal at this point is to get agreement on the job description.

Afterwards, well, start doing the things on the list. Consider meeting with your boss periodically to discuss your progress on this list.

Now… management roles at a small software company can be pretty limited, and you might need some patience. However, it should be pretty easy to see if your boss and other managers are supporting you in these efforts.

And… if it doesn’t work out and you decide to leave… you’ve just built a set of leadership examples for your resume and job interviews!

--Rich (formerly a small-company computer programmer)[/quote]

Mark's picture

Greg-

Forgiveness, patience, and fortitude. Heroism often consists of simply hanging on one minute longer.

Mark