Hi Guys, I'm really fresh to the site and the podcast but I am an avid listener and absolutely love what you do. I have a nationwide role in the UK and spend a lot of time in the car, Manager Tools has made that time so much more enjoyable and productive!. I feel invigorated again with some of the new ideas and have been enjoying putting some of them into action.

However, I could do with your help....

I recently went for an interview for a new role with another organisation. The role was quite a jump in terms of seniority, responsibility and salary but was really exciting and a great opportunity.

Anyway I got down to the final 5 but didn't quite make the cut. During my feedback session with the head of department she outlined that I had performed very well in the interview and that I didn't get the job because my skills were too similar to skills that she already had within her team. She also explained that I had expertise in an area which was perhaps suited to another role which she would happily offer to me if it had been available.

I went away and licked my wounds and got on with the day job and I have been really enjoying what I am doing. I have been managing a number of large projects and they are just getting to the delivery stage which is very exciting.

Anyway, this week I got a phone call from the same head of department at the other seems that a role has become available and, true to her word, she would very much like me to apply for the role on the basis that she would like to have me within her team. The role is not as senior as the previous position and although it would be more money than I am on now and a better package it would not be the sort of salary and package that the previous job offered. On the other hand it could /would stretch me more, offer opportunities for advancement and would be great for my long term career progression.

I'm not unhappy in my current role and I really enjoy what I do but I have limited options for advancement and I don't get a great deal of support from my superiors in terms of opportunities for growth or personal development.

So here's the quandry....

I am about 50 - 50 as to whether I should go for this new role or not...but I can't help but feel that at the very least it is an opportunity for me to have 'that conversation' with my line manager about my opportunities for growth, personal development and hopefully an improved package.

I have a pretty good relationship with my boss and although I have not had any form of appraisal in the last 3 years I am pretty sure that he values me as a member of staff and would not want me to leave.

The problem is that in the back of my mind it feels immoral or wrong.

Any thoughts or advice are welcome



ashdenver's picture

Did your current manager know you had applied for the other position (for which you licked your wounds)?

RobRedmond's picture


Go for the job. Tell your boss you are going to take the deal. Do not negotiate for better pay. Do not try to turn this into a blackmail scenario where you extort feedback or praise from your boss in exchange for you staying. That strategy is likely to backfire and leave you mortally wounded and looking to leave the company. Just go take the job.

There so much I want to say to you - I wish we had two hours to hang out and talk about all of this.

First, I ask that you consider the concept of "Bottom Line Up Front." Your message is long, but you need help. I want to see that you get maximum input from your friends here. In order to do that, put in the first sentence the bottom line of the whole thing. "I've been offered a job in another organization and I want your advice as to how I should proceed." That will get more people to bite and read the whole dissertation which contains many facts. However, with your bottom line on the bottom, most might not make it that far due to limited time and impatience with your storytelling style. Think about this in all of your communications - email, phone, and in-person.

I have spent a little time with Mark and Mike at their conferences, and they are very, very busy. When I approach one of them, I try to make it a one-sentence question or statement and then walk away. They are too busy and thinking of 300 different things - we are all trying our best to put on the most transformational experience anyone can have, and in doing so, their is no time for us to have long talks.

BLUF = bottom line up front. Consider a maxim for all communications.

Next, I suggest you take the job because:

* You cannot change your boss - you can only choose your boss (and only sometimes!)
* Your boss hasn't done reviews with you (that's bad)
* You say your boss doesn't really have a lot of growth for you
* You have to speculate where you stand with your boss, though you seem confident, you indicate you are still guessing.

By contrast, your new boss:

* Kept a promise to you and demonstrated HUGE levels of commitment and trust. That is something to treasure in a boss.
* Apparently has a good idea about what your strengths are and wants to put you in a position to take advantage of them
* Has a career path for you
* Sounds like a stronger manager who is more active

Always choose to work for a better boss if you have the opportunity. It is a powerful thing to do for your career. I made the choice to work for a new boss 2 and a half years ago - I had other options and accepted my assignment on faith. She came recommended. Dude, she was a fantastic boss. I now know the meaning of having a GREAT boss who loves you and does everything they can to help those who try. Take the job.

About your wishing to have "that conversation." Again, trying to control your boss - not recommended. The conversation will result in him asking you to stay. He will resent you for forcing his hand. And did you know that 90% of people who threaten to leave and then receive a counter offer leave anyway within 6 months?

After "that conversation," you are going to be on the outs.

It may feel like betrayal, but that is in your mind. Take the risk, take the new job. Just jump out of the plane. The parachute will open.

I wish you the best of luck. You have some stress ahead of you to manage. You will feel some fear approaching your current boss and saying you are shopping and thinking of leaving. I think you will grow from the experience and gain confidence.


asteriskrntt1's picture

What exactly is immoral or wrong about any of this? Why wasn't it immoral or wrong when you went for the first interview?

Did you sign a lifetime contract with your current employer?

Seriously, if your current boss doesn't have the skill set or processes in place to do reviews and benchmark your value/career development, do you think a conversation now is going to change all that?

Feel free to try to have that talk with your boss but I would not frame it as "Hey boss, I have this other opportunity and I want to give you a chance to match or better it."


reversestick's picture

Thanks so much for your comments, you have really helped!

Thanks for the BLUF suggestion Rob...that's a suggestion that will help me in so many ways. I would very much like to chat also...I work in golf so if you play and you are ever in the UK I would gladly take you for a round and we could chat while we play.

Since my last post I have received a reply from my potential new boss to a series of questions I asked regarding the new role. The questions were mainly about the scope of the the position, the company policy on staff development and how I would fit in.

The responses have been really positive and paint a picture of an organisation that is really serious about it's people and allows for talent to develop and flourish.

Although my current boss hasn't been a strong manager in terms of hands on support he has allowed me a great deal of autonomy to be creative and develop projects using my own initiative. I work remotely all over the country so in many ways the lack of support is maybe a feature of this kind of role. I have had to work like this for most of my career and actually thrive on it but I wonder whether this is because it is what I am used to rather than a genuine way of working.

If I'm honest I have a little concern as to how well I will adjust to a new culture which is more structured!

The other aspect which I didn't make clear is that the person recruiting me would be my boss's boss. She is recruiting for a position within her department but I will be line managed by the guy who got the job that I originally went for.

We had an interview process over 2 days where the final 5 candidates spent a lot of time together and were required to do a series of role play type tasks. I can't be certain but I got the impression that he didn't really like my style and I'm not certain that I liked his!! I would love to work for the person recruiting me...but I'm not sure I would like to work for the person who will actually be managing me. (should I have put this first Rob?)

Any further thoughts?

ashdenver's picture

True, you didn't sign a lifetime contract and you have every right to explore opportunities that would be best for you. Perhaps I can help you pinpoint where those nagging feelings are coming from.

Since your current boss didn't know you had previously been applying to other positions, I would think that hitting him with all of this stuff all at once will be too much and will likely end with you being escorted out - if not literally & physically, at least metaphorically & over the shortened duration of the relationship.

What stuff are you hitting him with?

1. Boss, I applied for this other job a while back. (Implication #1: I'm not content here, it may be personally because of you, Boss. Implication #2: I didn't tell you about it because I don't trust you and there may be plenty of other things I've kept from you.)

2. I didn't get that job. (Implication #3: Now I'm stuck here but you should know that it's not by choice and I will continue to look for ways to escape.)

3. But I did get offered this other job. (Implication #4: Either I kept looking around because you were making my life miserable or I'm just a superstar that you didn't recognize, foster, develop, promote - regardless, someone else wants me and if this gets back to your boss, you'll look like a fool.)

4. Now I'd like to ask you for more money and a better career path and I'll consider staying; otherwise, I'll jump ship in a heartbeat.

Granted, the implications I put in parenthesis aren't terribly realistic insofar as no manager I know would dream of admitting it out loud but I'd be fairly confident that a vast number of managers would [i][u]hear[/u][/i] those things from you when you have that discussion. And then, like many of the bad bosses we've had in real life or seen on the big or little screens, the boss who hears the conversation start out (that way) will act from a defensive, wounded animal place - which may turn vicious.

In the best of circumstances, the boss may simply take the high road & wish you well in your new endeavors and you've effectively been forced to take the other job - your decision made for you.

The "Give me a counter-offer" conversation is tantamount, IMO, to blackmail and/or extortion. Few people regard such discussions well.

Now, on the other hand, had your manager known what was in the works, it would have been a very difficult conversation. The "I want a better compensation package and career track, help me get there, boss" conversation would have been had months ago. The boss and you would have come up with a game plan together, explored options, discovered limitations (yours, his or the company's) and things would have naturally led to "hey boss, I want to continue to do all that I can here for you but it's time for me to start exploring options outside the company" and this wouldn't be a big shock.

People don't like getting blind-sided. They just don't. Adding "give me more/better NOW and I won't ditch you" to the mix won't sit well.

By the way, this is all in addition to the very valid and quite astute observations made by Rob about the choice between jobs itself. (My reply focuses more on talking you out of attempting to elicit a counteroffer.)

FWIW, any time I've ever had a conversation in which the question was posed "Is there anything your current employer could do or say to get you to stay with them? Any kind of counteroffer you would accept?" the answer has always been an unqualified, non-flinching, without hesitation and resounding "NO!" Once I've made the decision to start looking, that means things are pretty bad. Once I make it to the point where I'm enthused and excited about another opportunity elsewhere, my current situation has slipped dramatically down in esteem. When an offer is on the table, I will either accept or decline of my own volition - not from my employer who's desperate to keep me in the desk til they can replace me with someone they KNOW wants to be there.

RobRedmond's picture

One further thought...

Do not be fooled by your current autonomy. It feels like you are being left alone, but it is just complacency. You are in your comfort zone. You're not growing, you don't fail, and you don't have a lot of risk involved of being publicly embarrassed.

Take the new job. New job = growth and discomfort. Old job = stagnation and caving in to the human desire to hibernate having packed enough acorns away.