Career advice

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Supurdueper
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Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

Ok Bogleheads. Need a little advice. I’ve been in a job for 2.5 years, my former boss retired end of June. This Tuesday I have a meeting with my new boss and the next level boss about ‘concerns’ with me and my department after she met with my team individually on job duties.

I feel like I’m about to be blindsided, not totally sure. My retired boss raved about my performance and during the interview process he wanted me to get his role. Amazing what 6 weeks can do.

I guess in this meeting I plan to sit back and listen and nod? Anyone been in a similar situation?
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Re: Career advice

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (career guidance).
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wackerdr
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Re: Career advice

Post by wackerdr »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:54 pm Ok Bogleheads. Need a little advice. I’ve been in a job for 2.5 years, my former boss retired end of June. This Tuesday I have a meeting with my new boss and the next level boss about ‘concerns’ with me and my department after she met with my team individually on job duties.

I feel like I’m about to be blindsided, not totally sure. My retired boss raved about my performance and during the interview process he wanted me to get his role. Amazing what 6 weeks can do.

I guess in this meeting I plan to sit back and listen and nod? Anyone been in a similar situation?
Wow.. looks like political land mine . Based on my own experience, it may not end well. Good luck. Be emotionally well prepared, and of course about your own performance, department and the plans.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Career advice

Post by LadyGeek »

The presence of a 2nd level boss can mean 2 things:

1. The next level boss is there to observe how your new boss handles the situation. It's a way to ensure the new boss does what's expected.

2. The news is bad and the next level boss is there as an enforcer in case the discussion goes south.

I've been in both situations. Given that you've already had an interview regarding roles and responsibilities, the odds are more than even it's (2).

Your former boss may have raved about your performance, but the numbers are showing otherwise. This will be a business decision and your prior performance isn't enough to sway things favorably.

You could discretely ask your coworkers on Monday if anyone else has a meeting. However, it won't help the situation.

The best thing you can do this weekend is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Do you have a plan on handling your finances if you lose your job? How's your Emergency fund?

If you don't have a monthly budget for a loss of job, make one now. It will be tough, but having a plan in-place is much better than no plan. No doubt, this will be an emotional shock. However, you'll be prepared for whatever happens on Tuesday.

If you don't need the plan, it's a great relief. If you do, just follow the plan.

FYI - You won't lose medical benefit coverage if you are terminated. You're covered by COBRA.

Update: 000's post below is good advice.
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000
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Re: Career advice

Post by 000 »

Spend the weekend updating your resume. Being able to describe skills and accomplishments will be helpful no matter how the meeting goes.
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

I should clarify. Interviewed for the same role was runner up and didn’t get it. I think it’s more political or my peer trying to show her muscle. I have 13 employees report to me and going through my head 10 I know appreciate me, confirmed with a few. It’s a few of my directs that put something in their head.

Not sure they can let me go without a PIP plan as of yet. and I feel I do a great job or have done one to improve many processes.

I think it’s political and a certain group that wants me out.

Financially I’m good for awhile and a wife that does well. I’m a saver and ahead of the curve I think.
slyfox1357
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Re: Career advice

Post by slyfox1357 »

Get out while the getting out is still good. Danger, Will Robinson, danger! :shock:
Mudpuppy
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Re: Career advice

Post by Mudpuppy »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:54 pm I should clarify. Interviewed for the same role was runner up and didn’t get it. I think it’s more political or my peer trying to show her muscle. I have 13 employees report to me and going through my head 10 I know appreciate me, confirmed with a few. It’s a few of my directs that put something in their head.

Not sure they can let me go without a PIP plan as of yet. and I feel I do a great job or have done one to improve many processes.

I think it’s political and a certain group that wants me out.
It is entirely possible this is not about you specifically, but is about a business decision related to the entire department. During these hard economic times, restructuring is rampant and departments are eliminated regularly. If you are the head of the department, then meeting with your boss and your boss's boss is less alarming on a personal level, but still alarming for the department as a whole.

That is to say, you're assuming it's some sort of attempt to force you out because you were the runner up for the position. That is your own personal bias coming into play, which is a fully understandable emotional response. But it could be something entirely different.
anoop
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Re: Career advice

Post by anoop »

How was your rapport with the next level boss before your immediate boss retired? If that is good, you will be fine. If you didn't know them, or especially if it was not good, then you might be in for a tough time. If you are good at what you do, this usually means someone else will be getting credit for your work and/or only projects that are in crisis will be sent your way. If you are dispensable, there's a good chance you will be managed out, but that will take a year or so.

Some folks are politically savvy and know how to turn some really ugly situations from "against them" to "for them". I know a few such people. I am not one of them. These folks are able to gauge what the other person needs to hear and somehow are able to connect with them at a personal level.
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

Obviously I’m disappointed I didn’t get the promotion, but it’s not in my demeanor to stop working but to still do the best I can at a job. I thought I was being too sensitive but I’ve seen a few things recently which almost made me call a separate meeting but they beat me to it.

I may be making it a bigger deal than it might be, but always anxious before one knows.

And historically I’ve been a great employee, worked my way up, employees loved working for me. I get along with many types of managers, except micro and authoritarian. I guess if this meeting goes accusatory I’ll have to stop it and demand HR be involved.
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

My new boss and I were peers. We were cordial and talked a few times. We did have 1 run in where I disagreed on how an item should be treated, and actually I think about it 2 other petty items that she ignored.
DSBH
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Re: Career advice

Post by DSBH »

Could be something totally different as other(s) already stated. Why not fight for it, and prepare to show them that you understand the challenges that your company is facing, and that you know how to best position your team forward.

Be positive and give it the best sales job you can. Actually, stay positive no matter what.
Normchad
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Re: Career advice

Post by Normchad »

As Don Henley says, “the wolf is always at the door”.

But hey, who knows, maybe they don’t like the current boss and want to size you up for replacing them. You just can’t tell from the info you provided.

To prepare though, be sure to go in with a super positive, supportive, happy to do anything to help the team, attitude. “Yeah, I see what you’re saying. It’s tough with all the changes, what can I do to help?”
random_walker_77
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Re: Career advice

Post by random_walker_77 »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:17 pm I guess if this meeting goes accusatory I’ll have to stop it and demand HR be involved.
???

If this isn't a government job, I'm having a hard time understanding this statement. I can't really begin to fathom a situation where calling in HR on a meeting with your boss and boss' boss can improve the situation for you. You do understand that HR is there to protect the company, and they generally answer to management? If your next two levels of management want you gone, assuming nothing illegal is happening, HR is going to be looking at how to make that happen in the safest and most expeditious manner.

In my opinion, if you ask for HR, you're basically declaring that you're throwing in the towel. Especially as a manager or lead, when your problem is with upper management, that's not going to end well for you. If, as a manager, you need help managing out a problematic employee then HR is there to help you. But to call them in against your boss' boss? You've then declared that you're hopelessly estranged with your management superiors. And when an organization's leadership hierarchy has lost trust in a low-level manager, what do you suppose that company will do with that manager?
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

It is a government job. I wouldn’t bring in or request HR unless it goes to some accusations that aren’t true work process related. And I honestly doubt I will. Just trying to brainstorm. I’m most likely going to sit in there, smile beneath my mask and not in agreement and be all on the team.

I’m just amazed at how fast a new manager of 6 weeks can destroy great performance of 2 years.
Barsoom
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Re: Career advice

Post by Barsoom »

It's possible that you're being put on a probationary performance plan, and the 2nd level manager is there as a witness.

In many places, one cannot be terminated directly; they have to be put on a monitored performance plan first. If the person fails to meet to goals of the performance plan (which is documented all along the way), then they can terminate that person with cause.

I'd start by not being defensive and hear what they have to say. Don't make accusations or declarations about HR during the meeting, but afterwards you could pursue an ombudsman (if your company has such a program) or then talk to HR on your own without laying that gauntlet on the table during the meeting.

-B
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

Right. My plan is to sit and be quiet. I’d still question a pip plan when nothing before 6 weeks ago even alluded to it.

We will see what happens. I’m a nice guy and very flexible but sometimes that doesn’t even work. And a lot more details I can’t even get into on this without writing a novel.
jmw
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Re: Career advice

Post by jmw »

I've seen non-unionized management employees pushed out the door just like a regular private sector job despite this being a government job. Another tactic is they could make your life difficult and trick you into leaving voluntarily when civil service rules make it difficult for them to fire you or demote you. The career purgatory you seem to be entering could last for many years or even decades until those above you move on or retire or you move to another department or leave the government job.

If you are in a union, you need to speak to your union's business representative and not the local union rep, who may be one of your enemies.

Do not involve HR.
bampf
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Re: Career advice

Post by bampf »

First, this is a crummy way to treat people when things change. I have had to have meetings with folks about "concerns" but I don't pre-announce and let it fester over a weekend. Even if its a benign meeting, I try hard not to instill fear, uncertainty and doubt into my team.

You should know this: Fear can make a spectacular employee weak. It can take a high performer and make them doubt themselves. Fear changes behavior, changes the brain and changes the dynamic.

Here is the advice I would offer you as a high performer that was almost destroyed by people that used fear as a weapon: Don't let it win. If you are good at what you do, you will rise to the top of any challenge. This position may or may not be the final position for you. Don't let uncertainty fuel anxiety over the weekend. It will change your response on Tuesday. You may end up just feeding into those behaviors that give them ammunition. Be serene in your abilities and know that if it is unfair you have the skills to triumph at either this position or the next one.

What will be said in this meeting on Tuesday is already writ large and nothing you can do will change it. The only thing you can control is your response and if it is bad, you can transcend it. If it is merely a meeting to make sure you are ready for the new change, lean in. It may be good. Dont pre-fetch. Be eager, excited for the future and ready for what is coming.

Breath deep and overcome your doubts. Don't give them ammunition.
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Re: Career advice

Post by Mudpuppy »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:15 pm It is a government job. I wouldn’t bring in or request HR unless it goes to some accusations that aren’t true work process related. And I honestly doubt I will. Just trying to brainstorm. I’m most likely going to sit in there, smile beneath my mask and not in agreement and be all on the team.

I’m just amazed at how fast a new manager of 6 weeks can destroy great performance of 2 years.
Unless there is more about your behavior / attitude / demeanor when you disagreed with your new boss in the past than you're letting us know about, I'm not sure why you are so adamant this meeting is about you. The budgetary sky is falling in the public sector right now due to the economy. If my boss and boss's boss called a meeting with me now, I'd assume the meeting was about budgetary cuts or restructuring / elimination of my team, not about my position.

I've even seen my previous boss get into a very unprofessional argument with one of my team members over a performance evaluation, but that team member was not fired. That boss definitely played favorites in the people supported for promotion, but never actually fired anyone over their squabbles. We are a union-protected state agency though, so that may have tempered things. I still shudder to think what the newspaper article would have looked like if someone had made a public records request on that boss's emails.
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Re: Career advice

Post by stimulacra »

You said three of your direct reports are poisoning the well with your new boss. In my experience that's more than enough…

How similar were you to your previous direct manager in terms of demographic affinity?

The 10 direct reports that will advocate for you, how similar are they to you in terms of demographics? How different are the three that have issues with you?

Were you an advocate for people who looked different or come from different backgrounds from you, would you mentor them or make an effort to include them? Are you guilty of any unconscious biases during your tenure as a manager?

I don't know what sector you're in but I've heard numerous anecdotal accounts from non-profit, government, and other social enterprise areas that there is a bit of a reckoning happening in many organizations, where people in positions of privilege and power are suddenly being held accountable for every minor grievance they might have accumulated as humans during their entire tenure. Everything is being seen through a new lens.

I think there's definitely a confluence of events in 2020 that's forcing organizations to re-evaluate their values, their relationship to the communities in which they operate, and the composition of their leadership, the pipeline of new leadership, and aligning all of those values and renewed sense of mission. Anyone that might have an ax to grind, now is an opportune time to grind it.
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

bampf wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:00 am First, this is a crummy way to treat people when things change. I have had to have meetings with folks about "concerns" but I don't pre-announce and let it fester over a weekend. Even if its a benign meeting, I try hard not to instill fear, uncertainty and doubt into my team.

You should know this: Fear can make a spectacular employee weak. It can take a high performer and make them doubt themselves. Fear changes behavior, changes the brain and changes the dynamic.

Here is the advice I would offer you as a high performer that was almost destroyed by people that used fear as a weapon: Don't let it win. If you are good at what you do, you will rise to the top of any challenge. This position may or may not be the final position for you. Don't let uncertainty fuel anxiety over the weekend. It will change your response on Tuesday. You may end up just feeding into those behaviors that give them ammunition. Be serene in your abilities and know that if it is unfair you have the skills to triumph at either this position or the next one.

What will be said in this meeting on Tuesday is already writ large and nothing you can do will change it. The only thing you can control is your response and if it is bad, you can transcend it. If it is merely a meeting to make sure you are ready for the new change, lean in. It may be good. Dont pre-fetch. Be eager, excited for the future and ready for what is coming.

Breath deep and overcome your doubts. Don't give them ammunition.
Thanks for this one. Sound advice. It’s taken control of my sleep tonight but I know my skills and i know I’ll overcome. It’s a blow to the ego though.
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

stimulacra wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:37 am You said three of your direct reports are poisoning the well with your new boss. In my experience that's more than enough…

How similar were you to your previous direct manager in terms of demographic affinity?

The 10 direct reports that will advocate for you, how similar are they to you in terms of demographics? How different are the three that have issues with you?

Were you an advocate for people who looked different or come from different backgrounds from you, would you mentor them or make an effort to include them? Are you guilty of any unconscious biases during your tenure as a manager?

I don't know what sector you're in but I've heard numerous anecdotal accounts from non-profit, government, and other social enterprise areas that there is a bit of a reckoning happening in many organizations, where people in positions of privilege and power are suddenly being held accountable for every minor grievance they might have accumulated as humans during their entire tenure. Everything is being seen through a new lens.

I think there's definitely a confluence of events in 2020 that's forcing organizations to re-evaluate their values, their relationship to the communities in which they operate, and the composition of their leadership, the pipeline of new leadership, and aligning all of those values and renewed sense of mission. Anyone that might have an ax to grind, now is an opportune time to grind it.
I’d say 3 but maybe only 2 are poisoning the well. In terms of demographics I am 25 years younger than my retired boss.

In terms of my team. I’m a male who leads 11 females and 1 other male and now report to a female of similar age To me. All varying in age and ability. I came in from the outside over 2 years ago and definitely noticed there had been favoritism, which included 2 of the 3. In that time I promoted 2 of the 3. I never tried to play into having favorites, and felt to be very flexible in work life balance.throughout my career I’ve been well received and fortunately not part of much gossip. However this place is a little different so one never knows. It’ll be an interesting conversation
sd323232
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Re: Career advice

Post by sd323232 »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 11:43 pm Right. My plan is to sit and be quiet. I’d still question a pip plan when nothing before 6 weeks ago even alluded to it.

We will see what happens. I’m a nice guy and very flexible but sometimes that doesn’t even work. And a lot more details I can’t even get into on this without writing a novel.
Question is why do you wanna keep working for someone like that? if i were you, i would be already looking for new job, going to interview. I control situation, not them.
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

I’m already looking. I had a hunch this was going to go down when they put that person in the job, but you always hope it wouldn’t be the case. Bright side it’s making me look for my next move rather than sit and be stagnant.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Career advice

Post by LadyGeek »

I want to emphasize the prior statements that HR represents the company. They already know what's going down.

A rookie mistake is to say "I'm going to HR!". It's nothing more than the corporate fodder they give to new employees to make them think they have someone on their side. HR takes the company position and wins. Every time. Been there, done that.

As for the meeting itself, drop all emotion and stay factual. That's how it will be communicated to you and you need to respond in-kind. "You haven't been meeting our expectations". "I'm surprised to hear that. What am I doing wrong and how can I improve?". Expressing anger or blaming others will do nothing to further your cause and can only get worse.

There is one thing you will always have - respect of your peers. If you treat your boss and next level boss civilly and with respect, they'll remember that. When the time comes to push you out the door, they'll try and help you instead of letting you figure it out on your own. It's not much, but remember that it's a small world out there. You may run into them again at some point.
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Mudpuppy
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Re: Career advice

Post by Mudpuppy »

Supurdueper wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:09 am I’m already looking. I had a hunch this was going to go down when they put that person in the job, but you always hope it wouldn’t be the case. Bright side it’s making me look for my next move rather than sit and be stagnant.
If you are placing this much weight on this one person, to where "‘concerns’ with me and my department" become 100% just about you, then I have to wonder what are you not telling us about the disagreements you had with her when you were peers. I've never had someone fire me over a professional disagreement, not even the one with whom I was very blunt (polite, but brutally honest) when he asked me for feedback on a couple of draft memos when we were peers. I would say we had several disagreements in that role, but they were always polite, professional, and well-reasoned, with a strong attitude of keeping an open mind and being okay with agreeing to disagree. Over time, he has now been promoted to my boss's boss and there have been no consequences to my job for my past feedback.

Alternatively, you are fixating on the wrong thing, spending the whole weekend worrying, and it might turn out to be more about concerns with your department than about you personally. The mind is a wondrous thing, but it has a tendency to spin elaborate internal narratives that aren't reflect of what others perceive or think about you. I've had it happen to me as well, particularly when it comes to promotions given to someone else. But assuming you haven't been discriminatory or harassing or displaying micro-aggressions, and that you've always kept disagreements polite and professional, then you might be reading more into this request than what's actually there.
FoolStreet
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Re: Career advice

Post by FoolStreet »

stimulacra wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:37 am <snip> I think there's definitely a confluence of events in 2020 that's forcing organizations to re-evaluate their values, their relationship to the communities in which they operate, and the composition of their leadership, the pipeline of new leadership, and aligning all of those values and renewed sense of mission.

<paragraph break made by foolstreet for emphasis>

Anyone that might have an ax to grind, now is an opportune time to grind it.
Your first sentence doesn't jibe with your 2nd. The first sentence is a message of hope and the OP should align with new mission and values -- what a great time to be alive. The second sentence is difficult for me to digest. I don't doubt that there are office politics at play in any business or government job, so maybe it is just that. This line is probably off-topic...

Regardless, my suggestion to OP is in support of previous advice to be prepared with value statements, keep EQ in check and be practical about the new power situation. I approach some things with a bit of naivety and gung-ho attitude and sometimes that helps me to not be considered a political opponent. In this case, I would read a few articles from HBR on losing a promotion. Addressing the situation and clearly stating that you recognize the competition for the promotion is over, and you are now aligned with new management is the advice I have heard. The advice is to address it clearly once, don't dwell, and move on.

The other advice to OP would be to read books akin to, "The First 90 Days" by HBR press, to get a feel for what your new leadership is trying to do. OP effectively has a new job and has a new 90 days to establish their credibility in their new bosses, "new job."
FoolStreet
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Re: Career advice

Post by FoolStreet »

FoolStreet wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:11 pm
stimulacra wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:37 am <snip> I think there's definitely a confluence of events in 2020 that's forcing organizations to re-evaluate their values, their relationship to the communities in which they operate, and the composition of their leadership, the pipeline of new leadership, and aligning all of those values and renewed sense of mission.

<paragraph break made by foolstreet for emphasis>

Anyone that might have an ax to grind, now is an opportune time to grind it.
Your first sentence doesn't jibe with your 2nd. The first sentence is a message of hope and the OP should align with new mission and values -- what a great time to be alive. The second sentence is difficult for me to digest. I don't doubt that there are office politics at play in any business or government job, so maybe it is just that. This line is probably off-topic...

Regardless, my suggestion to OP is in support of previous advice to be prepared with value statements, keep EQ in check and be practical about the new power situation. I approach some things with a bit of naivety and gung-ho attitude and sometimes that helps me to not be considered a political opponent. In this case, I would read a few articles from HBR on losing a promotion. Addressing the situation and clearly stating that you recognize the competition for the promotion is over, and you are now aligned with new management is the advice I have heard. The advice is to address it clearly once, don't dwell, and move on.

The other advice to OP would be to read books akin to, "The First 90 Days" by HBR press, to get a feel for what your new leadership is trying to do. OP effectively has a new job and has a new 90 days to establish their credibility in their' 'new job' under their new boss*.

*Edited who has the new job...
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

Thanks to all for all the posts. My plan is to go in and nod and be on board as I’ve even been from not getting the promotion (well aside from that first few days right after - you know how I learned I didn’t get it? The standard HR rejection email). I’ve been cordial to the new boss on many If not all occasions. It’s a 180 on management styles and I’ll have to decide if it’s best for me. I’ve been in the corporate world for many years and this is new territory.

I will also be looking as I realize the growth in this company has been stalled and I would not be in a different spot in the next 3-5 years. The excitement and challenge has worn down. I’m fortunate to have a strong support system in my wife, have my emergency fund set and if it is the end, not likely, it’s 3 months of a buyout. If it’s 10 years from now I’d probably be contemplating retirement.
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NewMoneyMustBeSmart
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Re: Career advice

Post by NewMoneyMustBeSmart »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:54 pm Ok Bogleheads. Need a little advice. I’ve been in a job for 2.5 years, my former boss retired end of June. This Tuesday I have a meeting with my new boss and the next level boss about ‘concerns’ with me and my department after she met with my team individually on job duties.

...

I guess in this meeting I plan to sit back and listen and nod? Anyone been in a similar situation?
I've been in this position.

Sit back and listen is a good plan. Maybe don't nod, quite yet.

About 1/2 the time it's not really a bad thing. They want to change focus/priorities or they want to adjust things.

About 1/4 of the time it's a real problem that I'm not aware of.

About 1/4 of the time it's a problem I'm aware of that has been misunderstood or blown out of proportion.

This too shall pass. Relax and be comfortable that you are financially stable and have made good decisions.

If the company wants to burn you for something petty, good time to leave. If they want to discuss something, treat it either as A/ court where anything you say can be used against you or B/ your supportive colleages who want you to be supportive. You choose which.

If you find you're in position A/ your days are numbered and you can delay but not present unless you change people/orgs.
-- | Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts - Einstein
stimulacra
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Re: Career advice

Post by stimulacra »

FoolStreet wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:11 pm
stimulacra wrote: Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:37 am <snip> I think there's definitely a confluence of events in 2020 that's forcing organizations to re-evaluate their values, their relationship to the communities in which they operate, and the composition of their leadership, the pipeline of new leadership, and aligning all of those values and renewed sense of mission.

<paragraph break made by foolstreet for emphasis>

Anyone that might have an ax to grind, now is an opportune time to grind it.
Your first sentence doesn't jibe with your 2nd. The first sentence is a message of hope and the OP should align with new mission and values -- what a great time to be alive. The second sentence is difficult for me to digest. I don't doubt that there are office politics at play in any business or government job, so maybe it is just that. This line is probably off-topic...

Regardless, my suggestion to OP is in support of previous advice to be prepared with value statements, keep EQ in check and be practical about the new power situation. I approach some things with a bit of naivety and gung-ho attitude and sometimes that helps me to not be considered a political opponent. In this case, I would read a few articles from HBR on losing a promotion. Addressing the situation and clearly stating that you recognize the competition for the promotion is over, and you are now aligned with new management is the advice I have heard. The advice is to address it clearly once, don't dwell, and move on.

The other advice to OP would be to read books akin to, "The First 90 Days" by HBR press, to get a feel for what your new leadership is trying to do. OP effectively has a new job and has a new 90 days to establish their credibility in their new bosses, "new job."
The first sentence is about organizations as a whole, and the people that lead them.

The second snippet was more in regards to OP's direct reports who might have a grievance and now has a golden opportunity to be heard and acknowledged by "fresh leadership".

The First 90 Days is a great book. I second your recommendation.
tnr
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Re: Career advice

Post by tnr »

Sorry to read about your situation. I have never been in this exact situation so my advice is not from any personal experience.

I think not saying much during the meeting is wise. I would treat it like a grand jury hearing and you are being asked questions. Don’t lie but don’t give more information than absolutely necessary. If you are uncomfortable, ask to get back with them with more info at a later time. Be polite but not friendly. Do NOT lose your temper or get agitated!

Take lots of notes. Ask them follow up questions if you are unclear. If you think something they say is unfair/wrong, note the exact wording and ask if you got what they said correctly. (for your future documentation).

Keep looking for another job. Reassess the situation after your meeting. Good luck.
3of10
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Re: Career advice

Post by 3of10 »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:54 pm Ok Bogleheads. Need a little advice. I’ve been in a job for 2.5 years, my former boss retired end of June. This Tuesday I have a meeting with my new boss and the next level boss about ‘concerns’ with me and my department after she met with my team individually on job duties.

I feel like I’m about to be blindsided, not totally sure. My retired boss raved about my performance and during the interview process he wanted me to get his role. Amazing what 6 weeks can do.

I guess in this meeting I plan to sit back and listen and nod? Anyone been in a similar situation?
You know your environment better than anyone on this forum. If you feel that you're in trouble, then act accordingly. Just be discreet about it. With you already being a manager, you should already know the protection protocol that should be in place for a worker dealing with a rogue manager.

With that said, there's something here that doesn't add up. Things just don't change overnight in regards to a performance rating with a new manager. If you got a good performance rating from the old boss, then it means that you're operating with a high efficiency within the performance plan that's in place for you. Those same few people who disagreed with you now, should have said the same thing to the old boss. How come it didn't affect your performance rating back then?

When you meet on Tuesday, have your performance plan with you, along with how the previous manager rated you based on that plan. If any complaints fall outside your performance plan, then defend yourself accordingly. If the complaints fall inside your performance rating, then explain that you were not told about it, so there was no way you could have known about it in order to address the issues (it should have been brought up earlier and not now).

Also, if possible, later contact your former manager to see if these complaints were sent to him? Either he didn't do his job in addressing these issues, or those people who now disagree with you are complaining out of order (should have been done earlier).
"You don't stop playing because you're old. You're old because you've stopped playing"
Stick5vw
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Re: Career advice

Post by Stick5vw »

Will HR be attending the meeting? If they are in the room when you arrive, it’s probably not a good sign.

Otherwise the presence of second level boss seems odd to me. (Maybe they’re just cc’d on the message for awareness but won’t actually attend?). Surely they would have enough confidence in the new first level manager to handle this meeting by themselves? And if not how did this person get the job?!

But overall feels like a poor way to handle this, sending an ominous note about “concerns” with no context provided.
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LadyGeek
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Re: Career advice

Post by LadyGeek »

From a cautious perspective, take all personal items home on Monday.

Also, don't even think about using your work computer for personal business. Just about every company has a "Don't use company computers for personal business" and "We own this computer. Anything you have on it is ours." policy. They can fire you from this aspect alone.

Delete all personal files. Clear your browser cache. Don't surf the web. If you want something to do at lunch, read a business related website.

Let us know how things turn out, but please wait until you get home.
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

Stick5vw wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:01 am Will HR be attending the meeting? If they are in the room when you arrive, it’s probably not a good sign.

Otherwise the presence of second level boss seems odd to me. (Maybe they’re just cc’d on the message for awareness but won’t actually attend?). Surely they would have enough confidence in the new first level manager to handle this meeting by themselves? And if not how did this person get the job?!

But overall feels like a poor way to handle this, sending an ominous note about “concerns” with no context provided.
Not sure if HR will be there, but yes if they are then I know something is going down. Although not sure with a state job they can do much without a PIP plan first.

Second level boss will be there. We are at separate locations and the meeting is at his location.

I agree with the delivery of this meeting. Providing no details before so I can’t prepare for anything seems like I’m walking into some type of ambush.
toocold
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Re: Career advice

Post by toocold »

An additional consideration is the current economic environment, which will make looking for new opportunities tough. Projecting out, you don't want to be in a situation where you need to explain a gap period or take a position you would normally not take. Both of these may impact your career trajectory.

I would go into the meeting, emotions in check, and ensure that there is no acceleration of actions. I would put my head down and do my best, while putting out feelers and pursuing opportunities in and outside the company. Just know it may be an uncomfortable (and humbling) situation, but it's best for you and your family.
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

Yes current economy is a concern. The wife and I were already going to relocate cities in about 5 years (can’t now due to family reasons) not getting the promotion derailed the career trajectory slightly for the move in 5 years. I know i can’t stay in the same position for my own sanity for the next 5 years as well so a move of some sort is needed. Which with that mentally I shouldn’t be that concerned as to the outcome, but it could be a hit to the confidence if I let it (which I won’t)
Lee_WSP
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Re: Career advice

Post by Lee_WSP »

It sounds like they can't actually fire you on the spot? If so, just be prepared for the worst, hope for the best, start looking for the next opportunity.

What exactly is the worst case scenario? They issue you a PIP?
Last edited by Lee_WSP on Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kimura king
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Re: Career advice

Post by kimura king »

I disagree with the "go in and nod" approach. You could find yourself politely nodding in agreement with something you do not even agree with. Just sit back and listen. Whether it is a good meeting or a bad meeting, ask questions and for additional feedback if possible. Then listen to the feedback. You can then professionally choose to agree to disagree with the feedback, or take time to reflect.

Fortunately, it sounds like you and your wife have saved well and you would be fine if you needed to find a new employer or change roles.
harrychan
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Re: Career advice

Post by harrychan »

I think you are overthinking it. Have an open mind and don't stress on the unknown or create unrationalized fear. Be prepared and have your ducks in row. Remain factual and remind yourself not to get emotional and take a breath and pause before saying anything that you might regret. I've been in similar situation and its gone anywhere from xyz in another group filing a discrimination complaint against me to my boss's boss asking me if I would be interested in taking a high visibility stretch project.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
Normchad
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Re: Career advice

Post by Normchad »

harrychan wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:32 am I think you are overthinking it. Have an open mind and don't stress on the unknown or create unrationalized fear. Be prepared and have your ducks in row. Remain factual and remind yourself not to get emotional and take a breath and pause before saying anything that you might regret. I've been in similar situation and its gone anywhere from xyz in another group filing a discrimination complaint against me to my boss's boss asking me if I would be interested in taking a high visibility stretch project.
+1. Do this.
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Re: Career advice

Post by Mudpuppy »

Supurdueper wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:59 am Not sure if HR will be there, but yes if they are then I know something is going down. Although not sure with a state job they can do much without a PIP plan first.

Second level boss will be there. We are at separate locations and the meeting is at his location.

I agree with the delivery of this meeting. Providing no details before so I can’t prepare for anything seems like I’m walking into some type of ambush.
When you said government job earlier, I had assumed federal. A state-level agency changes things a bit, depending on what state we're talking about here. If you are at a state agency in a position with a collective bargaining agreement, the CBA should have very clear guidelines on who can be fired and what is the proper procedure. At my agency, it would have to rise to the level of fraud, felony criminal activity, severe neglect of duties (with strong documentation), or discriminatory/harassing behavior for a team leader or anyone with seniority to be fired. Even those in a probationary period have protections, particularly if they've already had multiple satisfactory reviews.

I advised countless people of this back when we had the bad boss who really did love to yell and play favorites. That boss counted on people not knowing their CBA rights and tried to bully people into quitting on their own rather than firing them. The ones that did quit regretted that when the boss was on to another job in a couple of years, since it's not easy to get hired at my agency. The one adage of state agencies with good CBA protections is bad bosses come and go, but, if you ignore the drama, act professionally, and get your work done, you'll usually be fine.
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Kenkat
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Re: Career advice

Post by Kenkat »

Speak softly and carry a big stick - Teddy Roosevelt

Speak softly: go in open minded, listen to what they have to say and be a team player and company man. It could be as simple as we know you applied and may be disappointed, but we value your contributions and want to be sure you are “in”

Big stick: if it seems to be going South, mention your prior good performance, how surprised you are that they feel differently and (in my experience, this is big) how you think if they’d talk to some of your peers in other departments, business contacts in other lines at the same company, etc., maybe they’d get a different opinion. Your network at the company is key, don’t be afraid to use it. Put a little doubt in their minds. “What, you got rid of Supurdueper? That’s surprising, he seemed like a good contributor”. Let them think there’s a political price to be paid for pushing you out. On top of all that, be ready to look for something new.

Good luck!
manatee2005
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Re: Career advice

Post by manatee2005 »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 7:54 pm Ok Bogleheads. Need a little advice. I’ve been in a job for 2.5 years, my former boss retired end of June. This Tuesday I have a meeting with my new boss and the next level boss about ‘concerns’ with me and my department after she met with my team individually on job duties.

I feel like I’m about to be blindsided, not totally sure. My retired boss raved about my performance and during the interview process he wanted me to get his role. Amazing what 6 weeks can do.

I guess in this meeting I plan to sit back and listen and nod? Anyone been in a similar situation?
Dude, don't worry about it. As a new manager she feels it's her job to make sure the department runs smoothly. So she talked with the people and some things bubbled up to the top. I doubt they'd fire you, they can just tell you about the concerns and to fix them. You don't fire people without giving them a chance to fix them.

Now, she could also be like Stalin and eliminating anyone who can threaten her in the future. I think the first part is more likely.
3of10
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Re: Career advice

Post by 3of10 »

Supurdueper wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 7:59 am
Stick5vw wrote: Sun Aug 09, 2020 6:01 am Will HR be attending the meeting? If they are in the room when you arrive, it’s probably not a good sign.

Otherwise the presence of second level boss seems odd to me. (Maybe they’re just cc’d on the message for awareness but won’t actually attend?). Surely they would have enough confidence in the new first level manager to handle this meeting by themselves? And if not how did this person get the job?!

But overall feels like a poor way to handle this, sending an ominous note about “concerns” with no context provided.
Not sure if HR will be there, but yes if they are then I know something is going down. Although not sure with a state job they can do much without a PIP plan first.

Second level boss will be there. We are at separate locations and the meeting is at his location.

I agree with the delivery of this meeting. Providing no details before so I can’t prepare for anything seems like I’m walking into some type of ambush.
You are over-analyzing things. Go back and read my previous post. I've dealt with many of these manager confrontations. You stated you have a performance plan. If this is true (you didn't comment back), then they can only review your past performance. Bring your performance plan with you, and how you were rated by your previous boss.

Your interaction should center around the "2nd level boss". The new boss knows nothing about your performance. If there is a problem with your performance plan, then ask the "2nd level boss" why he approved for it to be implemented by your previous boss.

If you suspect that someone is going after you, then go back and review your paper trail with these people. Did they request some things, or issues that you had ignored? If they did, then be prepared to explain yourself. If there isn't anything, then you're good (hearsay means nothing in a business setting). Now you're prepared.
"You don't stop playing because you're old. You're old because you've stopped playing"
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Supurdueper
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Re: Career advice

Post by Supurdueper »

Well all. It was an ambush. I’m on a special review, still in shock. 3 petty employees think that I don’t listen to them and now I’ve created this hostile place where I use my seniority to dominate and I have anger issues. Whoa, I’m stunned. Oh and one of my employees was not feeling well this past Friday and i didn’t know about it. I didn’t realize I’m supposed to check in everyday on someone’s health?

Good times. It was tough for me not to quit right there.
rich126
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Re: Career advice

Post by rich126 »

Supurdueper wrote: Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:54 pm I should clarify. Interviewed for the same role was runner up and didn’t get it. I think it’s more political or my peer trying to show her muscle. I have 13 employees report to me and going through my head 10 I know appreciate me, confirmed with a few. It’s a few of my directs that put something in their head.

Not sure they can let me go without a PIP plan as of yet. and I feel I do a great job or have done one to improve many processes.

I think it’s political and a certain group that wants me out.

Financially I’m good for awhile and a wife that does well. I’m a saver and ahead of the curve I think.
Good luck. Hopefully it goes well.

I would be careful not to count on who appreciates you and who doesn't. That may not matter. People often go into survival mode and if they think their appreciation of you doesn't reflect management's current view of you, they may move more neutral or to management's side in order to avoid having the target on themselves. Sad but does happen. I've often had people complain to me about various things in private but the moment there is an open forum, those people clam up and won't speak their minds (matter of survival I suppose).

As an engineer the political games people play to get advance is rather maddening since it is clear to me what they are doing and I don't understand why others can't see it. This happens way too often in government (and I'm referring to NON-political jobs like tech) where it is hard to fire people and they manage to talk their way into management roles and just make a lot of people miserable.
kimura king
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Re: Career advice

Post by kimura king »

What is a "special review"?

Good job not quitting. Get your ducks in a row first. Take it all with a grain of salt. Listen to the song by Paramore - ain't it fun - while having a beer tonight. Good song after a hard day.

Btw - this is why I didn't recommend nodding in agreement with whatever they say.
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