Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

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sometimesinvestor
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by sometimesinvestor »

Rick Nelson (or the author of his big hit) said it best. :You can't please everyone so you've got to please yourself
perikleez
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by perikleez »

flaccidsteele wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 10:44 am In general, company executives offer promotions to their favorites because they want that employee to contribute and to eventually join their ranks

If an employee passes up on a promotion they are quickly forgotten and a new favorite is found to replace them. Former favorites are viewed differently after passing on a promotion and may be sidelined

There are pros and cons of being favored in the workplace

Unless an employee is willing to retire or otherwise leave the company, it’s generally a good idea to take a promotion. Otherwise the employee shouldn’t be upset if they are treated differently after passing on a promotion
Boglegrappler wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:02 am I'm not that familiar with your industry. But there are organizational behavior patterns that recurr in many places.

I have sympathy for the sense that you like where you are, and would rather not make a change. Changes have risks associated with them.

But I think one thing that people can easily underestimate is the risk of simply continuing to do what you currently do. Sheepdog's post above is an example, and there are plenty more. If you are in management, when a time comes to reduce staff, you will get to be on the deciding end instead of the receiving end of the decision. As you get older, this can be very important.

Good luck deciding what to do.
older guy here who is subject matter expert on primary business services, key member of senior leadership team, near retirement age, and has been through a few reorganizations, promotions/"reassignments", and expected/unexpected layoffs situations over the years.

i was young in my career when I first experience an unexpected mass layoff at my IT employer and there were lots of sad faces and salty tears. I had other income options that would help get me through the employment gap, but one of the pearls of wisdom i learned from wiser senior leaders was that they privately saw it coming, that the best thing you can do is to always keep your ear to ground on the business health of the organization, and that those that survived the cuts were those who were identified as "invaluable" to the organization. Note: those who have the same kind of mindset are likely <20% of your coworkers, supervisors, and leaders (pareto principle).

so i am 100% in agreement with boglehead quotes above and thus your post tells me the following:
1. that you do not recognize the impact the current economics will have on your employer's business
2. that your employer is already initiating reorganization plans to reshape it's workforce, e.g., trimming the fat
3. that you have been identified as a valued team player who could continue to contribute the organization in a different capacity
4. that by declining those "promotion" opportunities you have demonstrated self-interest over your employer's business interest, who happens to cut you a regular payroll check that covers your personal and perhaps spouse/family living needs.
5. that you assume that you have very little risk as to continued employment
6. that you have a fair amount of confidence about obtaining comparable future employment if this job doesn't work out for some reason.
7. that you fail to see the dire and protracted job market ahead for many talented and skilled workers

i was once unemployed for 2 years and even though i swam along masking that experience (tried starting a business, went back to school part-time, did contract projects), that unemployment experience forever impacted my desire never to be laid off or unemployed again. so i became good at being a critical team player, invaluable SME, and be "in the know" on organizational developments. along the way, i got a lot of hate from coworkers, which is part of corporate ladder survival (pareto principle)

about 2 years ago i accepted a long awaited and highly competitive position in an office with about 6 colleagues. within months of being hired I became part of the leadership transition team for a major reorganization (the only one from my office group) because of my background and leadership engagement on discussing related topics. we are now at about 40% through the reorganization transition plans, but I also now stand alone and preparing for a new leadership team in my area with --and separate from my old old office colleagues who are still uncertain how this reorganization will impact them. recently as the COO said to me as she was retiring that i was one of the top 2 best hiring decision they had made in the past few years.

good luck in your decision.
Last edited by perikleez on Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scooter57
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by Scooter57 »

How valuable is your expertise to people outside of your current employer? Besides all the issues mentioned by other posters you really have to keep this in mind.

I watched an entire industry (insurance) outsource all its IT in the 1990s. When it was all offshore, they fired all the managers. Most of the IT people were knowledgeable in how insurance systems worked but they had out of date tech skills--some requiring a lot of intelligence, like IBM BAL--that were not needed anywhere else.

I left that world before the roof fell in, but since writing code was what I loved doing, I kept up with new tech that was coming on, taught myself server side code development for web sites and did 20+ years of software development for businesses I and my partner started that gave us a huge leg up. My tech skills were useful to me, not just the employer and I have worked out of my home since 1987.
GreendaleCC
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by GreendaleCC »

PowderDay9 wrote: Are you sure the pay increase is only 10-15k more? That sounds low to go from no direct reports to leading a large team. If that really is the case then I'd suggest staying where you are as you really like your current position.
silverskates wrote:90% of the people where I work start and never leave (30+ years with the company). It is very known by all that there is not much room for advancement.
My perception has been that older companies that rely on an army of "lifers" sometimes don't compensate much for increases in responsibility (or offer as many opportunities for advancement). Has anyone else seen this theory in action?
Bobby206
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by Bobby206 »

Cycle wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:44 pm
silverskates wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 11:40 am ....
As for looking for a different job outside the company, I enjoy the low-stress work, people, 13% match, 8 weeks vacation, 10 holidays, no commute, laid back environment so looking elsewhere isn't my top choice at this moment.
I would literally take a 30% pay cut for this. Especially if the culture is that everyone uses all 8 weeks vacation.
+1 on this.

8 weeks vacation + holidays is a nice arrangement.

I'd enjoy it and not worry about it! Enjoy!
Monsterflockster
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by Monsterflockster »

There’s probably a lot of dynamics here such as if you don’t move up will you upset the dynamics that have made office life enjoyable. So there’s a lot there but really there’s no price on happiness man. Considering your happy and are paying the bills I think being content is worth more than 10k imo.
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tractorguy
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by tractorguy »

My experience as a manager in IT related departments for a non IT megacorp was that individual contributors could have a long and happy career BUT, they had to continually keep their skills sharp and relevant. I knew several who were at the top end of their salary range but kept their jobs through several downturns because they were demonstratably productive on a wide range of projects that dealt with different technologies. The ones who were experts in a narrow field were at high risk when that narrow field was eventually replaced by some other technology. Unfortunately, over the case of a 30-40 year career, every technology you start with will be replaced at least once.

The other problem I saw was the cases of the highly competent chief engineer on a sinking ship. It doesn't matter how good you are, if the company makes a business mistake and goes down, you can be out on the street despite your abilities.

So, if you stay technical, stay current, make sure you keep working on the things your bosses consider essential, and make sure your skills transfer to other companies and/or industries.
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by SteadyOne »

In most organizations it’s move up or get out. It may take some time, but in this economy it is advisable to play management game and not your own. Say, you are promoted tomorrow and informed that the reason is to help your company to prepare for major reorganisation due to a merger with mega corporation. Or major outsourcing. Or something that you never expected because you were lower in the food chain. This happens a lot.

In private sector it is very dangerous to become comfortable for too long. Especially now, things are not what they were 30 years ago with outsourcing, lockdowns, etc.

Government jobs are different matter.
“Every de­duc­tion is al­lowed as a mat­ter of leg­isla­tive grace.” US Federal Court
cogito
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by cogito »

To take the "pro-manager" side, being a Boglehead has given me the confidence to "try" new roles and not be panicked about it not working out. I went into management right before the pandemic, and it's a bizarre time to try to grow those skills. I still don't know if it's gonna stick, but I'm glad that I made the move. In my industry, I could easily move back to individual contributor and just interview by saying "I realized that I just want to support a team by building cool stuff and that's what I'm best at". No problem. But in the meantime I feel like I've learned many new soft skills, I understand more about how a corporate operation works, and if I ever move back "down" I think I'll be better for it, and still able to crush it as a lowly Senior and not a Lead. For what it's worth I only got a 10k raise as well, but my RSUs and bonus increased by 40%. The upside is greater though, if I now jumped laterally I could probably increase total comp much, much higher.
phxjcc
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by phxjcc »

Irony is so IRONIC.

Taking a BH approach to your company’s budget, why would a BH’er pay you to do your job when someone who costs less can do it?

8 weeks vacation?
I fire you, hire someone new and give them the same comp with 4 weeks vacation and I gain 8% productivity.

You have people who argue on here about 0.5% management fees on mutual fund’s.

This is how the accountants will tell your management team to look at their staff.

Not being “meanie mcpoopy pants”, just talking about reality.

Now, make your choice.
VaR
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by VaR »

OP, how well do you perform in your existing role? If you're a developer, your situation is unfamiliar to me despite the fact that I have decades as a software engineering manager.

What aspirations do you have? Do you want to explore new technologies? Build more complex/scalable/interesting systems? What do you see as alternatives to these two promotions?

What kind of role does your current direct manager have? What are the other roles on your team? Are there more senior engineering roles at your company? Just off what you've said, it seems like there should be a technical career track at your company that you should be able to follow.
RJC
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by RJC »

I'm in a similar situation. The next step up is a 5-10% increase in pay and a 50% increase in responsibility.

With FI in a few years, I don't think it's worth it.
zlandar
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by zlandar »

People need to be realistic about their current compensation when it comes to to their job requirements/responsibilities. Just because your current job works for you doesn't mean your employer sees it the same way. Maybe someone in the company has already looked at payroll and asked aloud why you earn $132k in your current job role. I started doing payroll for a company I have part ownership this year and I was surprised at what some of the employees earned for what they do. Some employees were underpaid while others were overpaid. Owners started to shift additional responsibilities to the higher-paid employees and gave pay raises to those who deserve it.

So pretend to be your employer. Do you think you would pass scrutiny if the company came under financial stress?
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by k b »

GreendaleCC wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 7:58 pm
PowderDay9 wrote: Are you sure the pay increase is only 10-15k more? That sounds low to go from no direct reports to leading a large team. If that really is the case then I'd suggest staying where you are as you really like your current position.
silverskates wrote:90% of the people where I work start and never leave (30+ years with the company). It is very known by all that there is not much room for advancement.
My perception has been that older companies that rely on an army of "lifers" sometimes don't compensate much for increases in responsibility (or offer as many opportunities for advancement). Has anyone else seen this theory in action?
Yes. These companies seem to rely on their employees’ lethargy and inertia in exploring opportunities. At the same time, when a lot of employees stay put, a “culture” builds up and people seem comfortable with the trade-off between lower pay and “culture”.
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by Mudpuppy »

silverskates wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:19 am In the past 2 months, I have been approached by managers about taking over positions for people that are moving to more advanced roles. After some thought, I declined both offers because I truly love my current role (love my team, flexibility, feeling like I contribute, no travel, minimal stress, etc.). I've reached the ceiling of my current role but it still gives me the right amount of challenge with very little stress. Sometimes I feel like I should be climbing the corporate ladder and striving to earn more and more but the thought of that is totally unappealing to me. I go above and beyond in my role but I don't want more stress at work just to earn more money. Anything wrong with this? I'm 43 years old.
I haven't read the other replies yet, because I wanted to respond to this fresh. I've personally made the decision to not go further up the management chain due to the disruptions that would cause in work/life balance and caregiving. Like you, I also really like the tasks in the role I'm in right now. I'm not opposed to the tasks in the next higher role, but I can see how many other disruptions that role would create.

On the caregiving side, I have an elderly family member where we've, so far, been able to manage home care without having to regularly hire anyone by splitting shifts between myself and another family member in town. If I went up the management chain, I would have to hire someone to come in for the morning shift, when the other family member is not available. That would cost about $150 per day at local home health care rates. The salary bump at the next level of management is not enough to compensate for this increased $750 per week expense. I'd need an after-tax annual salary bump of 39k just to break even, and the next level of management would only be a pre-tax 25-30k increase.

On a more personal work/life balance level, I am a night owl, with multiple sleep tests certifying this is my natural Circadian rhythm and not just a preference. Switching to a higher management role would mean having to maintain a standard 8am to 5pm (or later) presence once we're back to working on-site. Getting up early enough to be somewhere at 8am breaks my sleep cycle pretty badly. So even without the caregiving costs, I'd stick to the role I'm at right now where I don't have to get up early most of the time. No amount of money in the world can make up for all the negatives of sleep deprivation.

This has come up a lot for me in the past week because my boss has announced she's retiring at the end of the calendar year. I've already had a half dozen people, both in my group and in other groups that report to her, plus one of her peers in another division, ask if I'll be applying for her position. The sleep disorder weighs more heavily on me emotionally in the decision. I know how bad I was in the past when I tried to keep those hours, so I just can't see myself staying happy or healthy with those sort of work hours. Honestly, it's somewhat terrifying even contemplating trying to switch to those hours.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Declined 2 opportunities for advancement. Should I be trying to climb the corporate ladder or is being content okay?

Post by JoeRetire »

silverskates wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 1:19 amI go above and beyond in my role but I don't want more stress at work just to earn more money. Anything wrong with this? I'm 43 years old.
As long as you are willing to remain in your current role, at near your current salary, and as long as it allows you to live within your means, there's nothing at all wrong with this.

That said, some employers will look askance at folks who take this route. In some company cultures, not wanting to get ahead is frowned upon. "We don't want people who just want to cruise through their career" is something I have heard before at more than one company.

But if that isn't like your company, then it's simply your decision to make as you see fit.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
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