I have been working as a compliance specialist for approximately 6 months. My supervisor who is general counsel for the company manages my department. She is leaving for maternity leave for an undetermined period of time. She infomed me that I will take over the management of my department and take on her responsibilites as in house counsel. I have a law degree but decided not to practice as an attorney so although this opportunity seems like a career advancement it is not the direction I really want to be heading. I am somewhat upset that the company expected me to take on these roles without discussing a pay increase or bonus. In addition, I have not been told whether my new responsibilities will continue upon my supervisor's return. I have asked the advise of friends and some say I should discuss the issue with our manager and gain a better understanding of my role and pay status. Others have suggested that I avoid rocking the boat. I'm confused....I don't want to be too pushy but I also don't want to be a pushover. I greatly appreciate any suggestions you have in how to handle a situation such as this.

jhack's picture

Some companies give you the raise and the title, then see if you can do the job. If you can't, they have to let you go or demote you.

Others give you responsibility, to see if you can handle it. If you can, you get the raise and the title. If you can't, you simply continue on at the level you were at, with no demotion.

Sounds like you're in the second situation. Schedule a meeting with whomever the general counsel reports to. Ask for clarification on responsibilities and time frames. You're likely to hear that you're being asked to take these on until what'shername returns from maternity.

You should make it clear that you relish the opportunity to take on the role, and that you expect to step back upon her return. And, if she is not to return, you expect to be considered very seriously for the job of general counsel.

This is a tremendous learning opportunity. It has a fixed time frame, so you know when your next decision point is. Take it, do a great job, and you'll be in a great position in X months.


tomas's picture

I really don't see anything wrong with seeking clarification about the role and responsibilities and the arrangements for your bosses return from maternity leave. You absolutely should be clear in your understanding of what is expected of you.

Salary is a little harder. Some companies (especially banks and government) will pay people at a higher rate for the period they are performing higher duties. This might depend on whether the new role is expected to be permanent. In any case, one would imagine that it would be discussed at your next pay review assuming it isn't dealt with right away.

bflynn's picture

One point - you have not been promoted. It is very conceivable that your boss will return and take over her old duties and you'll return to yours. It is quite a compliment that you've been asked to run the show in her absence.

Smile, step up and do the job. Yes, it is extra work. Do it the best that you can. In the event that your boss does not return, you will be the only candidate for the job. If the boss does come back, you're still the designated successor.

This is common. If someone gets promoted and doesn't work out in the new role, the company has choices to fire or demote them, neither is appealing. By making the work come first and the official promotion later, there is a graceful way to fix it if the person can't handle the job. The company just hires a new boss and the person returns to their old job with grateful thanks for filling in during the tough transition. This is the way many/most promotions are handled in the US corporate world.

If you don't want to do the job, then you should decline this role and seek other opportunities where you do have a chance for promotion. Unless you're happy being in your current job until you retire (a possibility), then you should never been in a position where you don't like the advancement path.


ccleveland's picture

[quote="edween4"]I have a law degree but decided not to practice as an attorney so although this opportunity seems like a career advancement it is not the direction I really want to be heading.[/quote]

Do the work.

Get clarification on current expectations of your roll when your boss returns. Be honest about your career aspirations.

Do the work.

Plan your future: Ex: What would you do if your boss doesn't come back and they offer you that position? What would you do if your boss does come back and...?

Do the work and implement your plan, as appropriate.

As far as money goes? Asking for more money now seems inappropriate for the reason's others have mentioned; however, if this change becomes long-term (>3 mos.) and they haven't offered you anything AND you are being payed below the market rate for your responsibilities, go for it.