I volunteered to transfer from the software engineering (product development) side of our company to a new services group about 2 years ago, and since then have built highly effective team of about 6 people into an effective organization. We have had a string of happy customers, won a few industry awards, making solid margins, etc.

Even though my job title is Project Manager, I have spent a lot of effort building the services organization - hiring, setting goals and objectives, building an esprit-de-corps around customer service, continuous improvement, process efficiencies, etc. My mindset has been that even though we are relatively small, I approach it as if I was the 'CEO' of our part of the company. I see my career path going to Director, VP, etc. so I figured I would do the job, then get the title.

So about 3 months ago my boss says, she is going back to the Sales organization, so we have an open req for Director of Professional services (she is a VP). So I say, great, I am interested and I think I am great fit. She says, no - you aren't ready. I say why? She says, well remember when you first got here and had some conflict with your peer managers (I am high D)? I say sure, but that was then - and I have improved how I work with others - I have had positive feedback on this point in recent reviews.

So I see the job posting - and its basically the job i am doing now but with a requirement for 5 years of experience in PS. I have two years experience in PS, and I know our business from the inside (been here almost 4). Which seems like an advantage.

Maybe my mission orientation caused some friction with a few people at first. But they sure like the results. But as a former Air Force officer getting 'passed over' for any reason doesn't set well. Getting anything other than a 'ready for increased responsibility" is a bad OPR.

Its a good company, and I can keep doing my PM job no problem. So my inclination is to shrug it off (the boss is going to do what they are going to do), keep doing what i am doing day to day, get a little more savvy with the people skills, and make sure i am in a better position for the next opportunity that comes by.

But it doesn't feel great- sure they don't 'owe' me anything - but I do feel like I really worked hard to build what we have (from nothing) and deserve the chance take it to the next level. The company doesn't have a great track record of promoting from within - they tend to look for the 'outsider' to come in with all the answers (hasn't worked yet). But forcing the issue seems like a bad idea.

I realize there isn't really a question here - but it helped to share my situation.


PierG's picture

Not much to say, really.
I'm just thinking the obvious: a promotion is just A PART of what I need to work for a company.
There are SO MANY factors that keep someone work in a company that's a matter of balancing the whole stuff.


pneuhardt's picture

Too many people look at accomplishments with an attitude of "Nice, but what have you done for me lately" and mistakes with the air of "remember that ball you dropped back in 2001, because I sure do!" Sadly, it sounds like this is what you are running in to, and if there is a way to combat it other than continue to do a good job and hope someone else notices, I don't know what it is.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Great post, and glad you shared it.

First, you didn't get passed over. Passed over is a VERY military term, and it signals the end of one's career. There is NO reasonable equivalent at anything but the highest levels of large companies.

Second, yes, I disagree - in general - with both your boss's rationale (stupid and typical) and the years experience. I recommend strongly weighting internal experience over years (unless years are internal).

Third, good lesson that you haven't convinced them of your ability to be collaborative, for whatever reason. Opportunity to grow.

I would apply and then ask for feedback from the process. Let the system know you're interested. Maybe somebody else says, 'man, why not HIM?" And if not, good practice for when THEY say you are ready.

Let it go. You weren't passed over. This is normal.


mjpeterson's picture

Is the 5 yr requirement really a requirement to apply or can you apply anyways, knowing that they want someone with a little more experience? Is your current boss the one who will ultimately make the decision or is there it someone else? If so, you may have the opportunity to market yourself to this person. However, if your boss already has someone picked out for the position, it may not make any difference.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

And even if your boss does have someone already picked out, once the process is opened up, they have to appear to allow the process to run its course. So apply.


Even if you KNOW the fix is in, apply and interview. The process will be easier when you ARE "ready".


gpeden's picture

A follow up...

Here we are a year and a half later and I not only ended up getting the position (it took about 3 months of my boss interviewing people to decide that i was, in fact, the best candidate), but I have been promoted again since and am on track for the next level.

After getting stressed out about this at the time - i just let go of it, put my ego aside, and focused on busting my butt at the job at hand. The less I tried to force the issue about 'moving up' the easier and quicker I have moved up. Its taken care of itself. In fact, my boss has made it her own 'project' in mentoring me to the next level. Its great.

something zen in here somewhere...


jhack's picture

Excellent work. Congratulations.

I'd call it focus and execution.


AManagerTool's picture


What took you so long coming back to us? Post 1 = Problem, Post 2 = Problem solved. OMG, I want to know more.

Congrats again!

gpeden's picture

thats a good question. I am so busy that get most of my manager tools on the train via iTunes - so don't spend much time on the forums. I had actually forgotten about this post :-)