Worst reaction to asking for promotion/ career advancement

(32 Posts)
promotion Fri 08-May-20 09:08:04

Middle manager here

Big org

Last couple of performance reviews I've stopped asking about advancement opportunities because the last time I did

"I'm amazed that you asked, you're so far away from that next level."

What's the worst reaction you've ever had to asking for progression?!

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yellowbrickwhorl Fri 08-May-20 09:28:12

Haha, I was working in a bank at the time. The branch manager told me with a smirk that there was no way I was being promoted, as the job I did wasn't worthy of a higher pay grade.

Luckily, I had already had another job offer, and I was holding my resignation letter behind my back. His face was a picture when I grinned and handed it to him saying oh well, if you aren't going to promote me, you can have my resignation instead. I turned my back on him and walked off. It was one of the best feelings I've ever had.

It dropped them right in the shit, as there was nobody else who could slot into my role and take over. They had to get somebody else transferred in from another branch who hugely cocked it up (Big time. I met another colleague on the train who told me about it). She lasted only a few weeks before they had to get somebody else in to sort out the shambles and do it properly, who was at the grade I had asked to be promoted to.

promotion Fri 08-May-20 09:46:35

@yellowbrickwhorl that's a great story!

I too have the feeling that part of it is that they want me doing the specific job that I have now!

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Dyrne Fri 08-May-20 09:51:27

promotion Oh dear!

Could you turn it around at your next performance review? “You said that I was some distance from the next advancement level, can we plan out a route for how I can gain the necessary skills and experience to get there?”

Then that forces them to justify why they won’t promote you and can give you a bit of a tick list you can hold them to at each review!

2kids2cats1me Fri 08-May-20 09:54:53

I was refused a promotion and then asked to train the person they employed in the role. I handed my resignation in.

promotion Fri 08-May-20 10:22:14


My manager now is supportive but the problem is that the person who reacted like that is now the divisional head

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promotion Fri 08-May-20 10:22:39

@2kids2cats1me how did they react?

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2kids2cats1me Fri 08-May-20 10:33:43

They seemed surprised. I heard after that they had ‘boxed’ me in my role because I was very good at it. The person that I was supposed to train only lasted a month or so after I left.

2kids2cats1me Fri 08-May-20 10:39:09

Oh and I made a great career move to a job I loved with a great manager. OP I would cast your net and try another company. It will broaden your experience and the higher management where you are don’t sound like they will ever value you no matter what you do.

promotion Fri 08-May-20 11:11:55

@2kids2cats1me yeh moving seems to be the only option! I think it's bad for my mental health to have my head chopped off the way this person does

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PeterRabbitt Fri 08-May-20 11:13:14

Not my career but a summer job when I was 16/17. All male team apart from me and the head chefs daughter. Found out I was being paid less than everyone so asked head chef for same pay (we were all the same age/ability) and was told that my knife skills were improving but he'd have to check my blow job skills were up to parr before he'd consider a payrise. I was too nervous/young/stupid to say anything so I finished the summer and kept my head down. Mentioned it in my exit interview with HR and within a week he and his daughter were out on their arse- bullying, stealing, coming on to young staff all came to light... It was glorious to watch the head chef begging all over Facebook for a job for months to come ☺️

MaybeDoctor Fri 08-May-20 11:21:18

That is shocking sad...

I don’t know, I’ve never had much luck with internal promotion compared to moving around. I think that even the best employers tend to get a certain view of you, then it is difficult to disrupt that...It is far easier to come in as a fresh new person in a promoted role.

spongedog Fri 08-May-20 11:36:16

2 for me.
Large consultancy firm (think most staff white, middle-aged, middle-class men). Promotion criteria very vague, so I asked for specific targets to be included. More huffing, puffing, delay of annual review etc. So I used the delay to go and get a new job - good company, better pay etc. It was the penny dropping for me that no matter what I did, no matter how good I was at my job, I was never going to get a promotion.

2nd was when I didnt get put forward for promotion and challenged it. I was told that as I hadn't expressed an interest in promotion, no-one had realised I would want it. I was made redundant the following year (along with many others) and used that opportunity to move on.

Ariela Fri 08-May-20 12:08:39

I was 1 of 4 taken on by a company, straight from school after A levels. We all did the approx same job. We all started on the same day and same pay, however I was a whole year younger than the others. Once our probationary period was up the other 3 all had a substantially larger pay rise - I only found out by accident because the other 3 were complaining the day we got paid the new pay rise that their tax deduction was half as much again as mine.

When I asked why I hadn't had the same pay rise I was told it was because of my age. ... yet I had started same day on same pay and did the same work.
(They did pay me the same next month but it always rankled that first month was at the lower rate, they refused to back pay it, so I took an extra half hour off every other week for months to more than compensate, we worked flexitime and nobody really checked what your wrote in the book ).

promotion Fri 08-May-20 12:26:30

@spongedog this is a very white male m/c corporation. I've watched my male previous peers elbow their way up by threatening to quit etc whilst I've needed the flexibility of an employer that knows me for childcare reasons.

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promotion Fri 08-May-20 19:20:07

@MaybeDoctor I think you're right - it's just that some have managed it (but generally at special times)

It just feels a bit crap to have been written off I guess!

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Whenwillthisbeover Fri 08-May-20 19:30:42

Opposite for me “we’d really like you to go for....” “why don’t you push for....” “we’re very impressed, what are your career goals?”

I am tired of saying “I’m 53, husband has a cracking salary, I’ve worked full time for 35 years, I’m counting down, what’s the chance of voluntary redundancy?” ——light hearted but true——

Notthisnotthat Fri 08-May-20 19:31:47

I asked about promotion opportunities at an appraisal, boss laughed and said he wouldn't have even employed me for the post I was in. I was newly pregnant at the time (but didn't know it), I had a year off on maternity leave and spent the first few months having to redo the work my boss had done in my absence as it was full of mistakes. I enjoy my job, it's flexible and I work the hours to suit my life, but I have no loyalty now and am patiently waiting on a job that I can apply for.

Ilikeanimalsmorethanpeople Fri 08-May-20 20:10:03

I worked for a building society for 8 years and for the last year covered maternity leave on the same pay but acting up as the branch manager.

I was told to apply for the job when it came out just as a form filling excersice and not to worry. I didn't get shortlisted.

At first I thought maybe its someone with loads of experience so stayed put however then the new 21 year old manager started who openly admitted to getting the job because of who he knew.

Senior Management asked me to train him. Senior Management were told I was resigning.

Biggest kick in the teeth ever to happen to me and it was also the day I realised it is unfortunately who you know what not you know!

Looking back they did me a favour but my god it hurt.

It really does blow OP!

MaybeDoctor Fri 08-May-20 21:01:26

promotion I don't think it's always for a negative reason - sometimes you are good at the job you do, fill the niche too well and they don't want to see you move up and leave a gap that's tricky to fill.

MaybeDoctor Fri 08-May-20 21:07:15

I also think that unconscious bias plays a big part here. Someone 'looking the part' (often white, male and middle-aged) may be the name that comes to mind when managers are thinking about who to encourage, put forward or put in line for promotion.

CloudsCanLookLikeSheep Sat 09-May-20 01:22:40

A promotion opportunity came up when my boss was going on mat leave, and I spoke to her boss (recruiting manager) about it, she said ' you can apply for it, but that doesn't mean you'll get it'. ( ie you haven't a hope in hell so don't bother) which I thought was an awful response. Left soon after.

promotion Sat 09-May-20 10:09:32

@CloudsCanLookLikeSheep yes that's so dismissive and similar

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AlternativePerspective Sat 09-May-20 10:19:53

“Well because of your disabilities the system may not be able to be adapted so it just wouldn’t be possible for you to be promoted.”
She tried to deny when she was challenged over it by the equal rights officer who someone else (not me) reported her to. Called me into her office “no, I never said that,there are a number of things on your review which would need improving before you could even be considered for promotion.” So, if I improve all those things, then the disability won’t be an issue and promotion would be considered?” “Um,well, no, it wouldn’t.”

I left.

Some months down the line I heard she’d moved to another company and hadn’t got past her probation period. Karma’s a bitch.

promotion Sat 09-May-20 10:28:45

@AlternativePerspective that's shocking!

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