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A bit of a knock-back after applying for regrade

(13 Posts)
daisychain01 Thu 13-Nov-14 05:09:43

Having been in my same IT role for a few years, I have been working towards being regraded, by working with my manager to on some agreed tasks to show I can cope. I was on the Grad scheme for 3 years and ended up in the same dept. moving around on different projects.

My manager has put forward my position twice, earlier in the year was told I haven't had enough time to prove myself, now I'm told I am too fixed in my views. This is despite some significant feedback from internal customers giving me a strong vote of confidence. And a long list of proof of what I have done, none of which was difficult, just slog slog slog for a whole year, which now seems a waste of effort!

I know I won't be regraded, no point in asking again, but where do I go from here? It has deflated my confidence sad My manager says I have done a great job. Lots of mixed messages. I am now feeling under pressure to find a new role because they may feel they need to get rid of a problem person, who won't be satisfied.

Has anyone been in this situation? And moved forward to a different role? Should I just take any role, just to get away from this dept, or is that a mistake? I would really appreciate a bit of hope, I feel lost!

pippop1 Thu 13-Nov-14 09:36:16

Have you considered moving to a different company where the prospects are better? Your achievements may be valued more highly elsewhere.

daisychain01 Thu 13-Nov-14 10:05:24

hi pippop - yes, that is an option, but it would mean starting over (I have been with my company for 15 years). I didn't want to think "the grass is greener" - and just trying to share experiences with anyone having had a similar situation, and how they got things back on track. Emotionally and motivation-wise, as much as anything!

It feels like I've had the rug pulled out from under me, and a bit negative about myself - I was probably unrealistic thinking I just needed to work harder, and harder, when that probably isn't what was needed sad

pippop1 Thu 13-Nov-14 10:42:39

If you were once recruited as part of a Grad scheme then you were seen as someone with bags of potential. This company don't seem to have that view now but another employer may well consider themselves very lucky to recruit you. Why not write an up to date CV and start applying for jobs. You could also contact a specialist revruitment agency to see what they can offer and go in for a chat with them.

pippop1 Thu 13-Nov-14 10:45:39

Don't see it as starting over. See it as getting a higher level position in a different company. I wish you luck.

flowery Thu 13-Nov-14 10:52:59

As an aside, regrading normally applies to a position, not to the individual in that position and how they are performing. Individual pay rises within a grade would normally be about individual performance.

Anyway, it does sound like you've had some mixed messages and are obviously feeling demotivated and undervalued.

15 years is an awful long time at one employer these days, and it's easy for the relationship on both sides to become a bit stale. Careers for life are a thing of the past!

Moving on is just that, moving on. It's not starting over. Starting over would be changing career completely and having to retrain or start at the bottom. Using extensive experience to gain a suitable position at a new employer isn't starting over, it's career development.

Notbythehaironmychinnychinchin Thu 13-Nov-14 11:00:47

I think, even if you don't necessarily want to go elsewhere, having an offer from another company can crystallise tings. It may be that your current employer thinks "er hold on, we don't want to lose her, let's see if we can offer her something" or they may say "cheerio".

Staying with the company...I couldn't tell what you want from your post. You've been knocked back for a regrade and said "no point in asking again". When you wonder whether to take "any role" do you mean "any role with a similar or better pay and responsibilities"? Because I think you may find it hard to recover from a backwards step in the same company - there will be a perception that you've been demoted.

Who knocked back the regrade? HR? Your manager's manager? As if it was HR who blocked it, then moving to another department may not actually make much difference. Is it a company that invests in staff? Is there a culture of transparency?

Not entirely the same but I went for an internal promotion once and didn't get it. It went to an external candidate and the reason given was so ridiculous (and believe me I can take criticism) that I took it as a personal slight. I started applying for jobs elsewhere. Then I got informal feedback from someone else on the panel who actually gave some substance to the reason I didn't get the job - that was much eeasier to take and I used that the next time I went for an internal promotion.

So I suppose, if I was you, I owuld want to have a clear discussion about whether the company has any intrest in matching your commitment to your own development. If there's anything tangible you can take away and use for next time that may help you move forward.

daisychain01 Thu 13-Nov-14 12:13:12

Thanks to everyone for your great insights - I appreciate you helping me see the wood for the trees.

chinnychinchin I guess I feel the same sense of confused that you felt with that feedback - it doesn't tally with my manager's comments about my work (day to day). But I wonder if they had to give some sort of 'reason' even if it seems weak.

As an aside, regrading normally applies to a position, not to the individual in that position and how they are performing this may be the situation I am up against - I have to be realistic that if they don't have approval for the new position, I didn't stand a chance. Probably a big reality check!

JustSayNoNoNo Thu 13-Nov-14 22:50:48

I say move on. You have 15 fabulous years of experience, and you are unappreciated. Why stay?

EBearhug Thu 13-Nov-14 22:55:35

Go back and ask for specific examples of how you're too fixed in your views. It's a bit vague and meaningless otherwise, and they can't expect you to improve if they can't tell you what they mean. They need to give specific examples, and just saying, "Well, I don't hear anything good about her work," (just quoting feedback I got last week following some of the best feedback of my career...) means there's nothing you can work with. I'm quite sure I don't do everything perfectly, and I can provide lists of stuff I need to improve on - but they're specific examples around communication and technical areas, so I can work on them. "Nothing good" could refer to technical, or communication, or time-management, or... there's no focus. (And it probably just means the people I've had good feedback from haven't spoken to him at all.)

At ours, we have a list of technical competencies and one of leadership competencies, and a guide to what sort of thing you should be able to achieve at your grade - so for a particular grade, you might need to be advanced in at least 3 competencies, competent in 5, and learning in no more than 2. It gives you a good idea of what you might need to achieve to be considered for a grade promotion, and where the gaps are, that should be feeding your development plan. I've been through each of ours and rated myself against each of them, with examples as evidence.

Also, take advantage of any training available, be it classroom, online, book-based or whatever. Look for something on managing change, to show how you're addressing the criticism of fixed views. Maybe also communication skills or negotiating skills, or assertiveness or dealing with difficult people?

Are there any other opportunities outside your core job to show your skills? We have various voluntary community projects going on, working with schools and so on, encouraging them to consider IT careers, and also boosting our image in the local community. I've been involved in organising a couple of events, and it really does give the chance to be in control and prove what you can do, which if you've got a narrow-minded manager who won't give you the chance to express yourself can be really valuable. Also, it gives you the chance to network beyond your own department, and get allies elsewhere, who can advise you on other ways of approaching it.

But you do also need to consider looking elsewhere - either within the company for another department, or further afield. I found it very instructional being offered a job I wasn't actually that keen on, which made me much harder-faced about salary negotiations. I was really taken aback when they took my very high salary request seriously, and it made me look at myself differently. Also, just updating your CV makes you focus on your strengths and achievements, and it's good for that reason alone.

I am going through something very similar at the moment, and if I'm not happy with the response I'm due to get next week, I am strongly considering putting in a grievance (it was HR who suggested that to me, so I think they think I've got a case, which surprised me.) I can totally accept that there maybe a quota on the number of higher grades they can have in a department, or they just don't have the budget, and if they come back with that, fine - but it's absolutely not acceptable not even to give me a fair hearing when I've put all the evidence together. If there are areas that mean I'm not ready for it, that should feed my dev plan; if it's just because of budget/organisational quotas or whatever else, then so be it, but they can at least acknowledge that I am otherwise good enough, and that's the only thing in my way. But you do need to be sure if you're going to go down the formal grievance route, because if things are bad now, they're likely to get quite a bit worse if you go that way, and they will do all they can to discredit you.

One other question HR asked me when I saw them earlier this week was do I think it's because I'm a woman? Do you think there could be any discrimination like that in play? It's definitely not unknown in IT departments, unfortunately.

daisychain01 Thu 13-Nov-14 23:24:05

eBearhug thank you for your wealth of experience and common sense. I need to think through what you have said, then I can respond - so much of it rings true with me that you could be me! I'm so sorry you have been going through this, it is awful isn't it. Let's support each other!

nonono I feel I need to work this one through with my employer. They have been a marvellous support to me through my DPs illness, but on this matter they really have disappointed and surprised me.

I feel they have handled the situation badly.

EBearhug Thu 13-Nov-14 23:29:53

Feel free to PM me if you want, and I can go into (even more) detail and specifics.

EBearhug Thu 13-Nov-14 23:32:36

They have been a marvellous support to me through my DPs illness

That rings bells, too - apparently the fact that they were supportive when my mother died a few years ago (and they were - I do acknowledge and appreciate that,) means I can never ever criticise anything or ask for anything ever again, or so you'd think from comments made during a previous disagreement.

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