Academic common room
Anyone here "forced" a promotion by successfully applying for another job?
aridapricot · 13/02/2022 14:07
So, despite my publication and grant capture record being very strong, I am starting to realize that it will likely take me several years to get promoted to professor in my current place due to us having to tick various other boxes (which to a great extent come down to being a "people person", which I am not, good at networking, etc. This is mixed with some disillusionment more generally, in that: a) my (mostly male) department puts on a facade of being "colleagial" and "helping each other", when in reality it is a small number of us who constantly get stuck with the menial tasks (the ones which don't give you brownie points for promotion) that others cannot be bothered to do; b) the subdiscipline I am in apparently not being cool or inclusive enough for my place.
Now a job has come up at professorial level at other place. On paper this sounds like a job I'd absolutely want to do, and I think I would do it well. I also think I would stand a chance.
I know, or have heard stories about, people who were offered a professor post at another uni and then they went back to their own uni and gave them an ultimatum: either they were promoted to professor there, or they would leave for the other place. I was wondering if anyone here has been in this position and could give advice on how to approach it? The thing is, there seems to be a lot of secrecy around these things - in my university's promotion guidelines they are very adamant that everyone is treated equally and has to stick to the rules, etc. - so officially there's no mechanism for these kind of things, although they do happen. How did you play it? I think I would feel extremely embarrased to go to my line manager and say, "Hey look I have this other offer so if you don't promote me I'll leave".
(Of course I am still to apply for the other job, and to be considering all of these things seems premature without even knowing I made it to the interview stage!)
HalfShrunkMoreToGo · 13/02/2022 14:13
Yes although it wasn't the intent, I applied for an internal role at a more senior level and it ended up with me being offered that role and my current line manager saying he didn't want to lose me so offering me an equivalent position and salary within my current team.
acfree123 · 13/02/2022 17:54
I know, or have heard stories about, people who were offered a professor post at another uni and then they went back to their own uni and gave them an ultimatum: either they were promoted to professor there, or they would leave for the other place.
It's good to be aware that such ultimata are not always successful. I have declined counter offers to several people who had professorial offers from other universities, but who didn't meet the threshold for professorships at our university. You would usually only stand a chance of success if the other university is of similar ranking to your current university.
You would usually start the discussions with Head of Department/Dean, copying in your line manager if that isn't the Head of Department.
In general I think people should only go down this route if they would seriously consider the offer from the other institution. Regardless of whether you are successful it's likely that your own department will hear that you have applied elsewhere & this wouldn't necessarily go down well. And if you get the offer from the other university but they then get the impression that you only wanted the offer to trigger promotion, this could hit your reputation within your academic research field.
bigkidsdidit · 14/02/2022 07:05
This happened to a few people in my department in the past but I am not sure it happens so much now. I think the department takes the opportunity to lose the salary costs of a reader, tbh.
I would try it but only if you actually want to work in the new place and would be ok if they called your bluff.
aridapricot · 14/02/2022 08:44
Thanks very much for your replies.
Yes I had figured out that the "gamble" would require me to follow through and accept the new job if I was offered it with no alternative... the other place (a "specialist" institution rather than a university, very very highly rated internationally in my subject, but not directly comparable in terms of RG, post-92, etc.) is not exactly nearby. My partner is currently supportive but this would mean considerable disruption to our domestic life and so we have a lot to discuss before I even submit the application.
parietal · 14/02/2022 16:35
I think it is rare in the UK for that kind of strategy to work. It may be more common on the US.
OTOH, when I got a big grant and then immediately left Uni1 for Uni2, I found that Uni1 offered me a rapid promotion / corner office / fancy stuff to try to make me stay. But I definitely didn't want to.
I think setting this up as a strategy to force a promotion is the thing that makes it feel odd. Either you are good enough for promotion at Uni1 and you like it, in which case you stay & get promoted without a counteroffer. Or you don't like Uni1 and so you actively want to leave. Trying to force the hand of Uni1 & make them bend their rules for you is likely to leave them (and you) feeling awkward & antagonistic rather than friendly and positive.
Catabogus · 15/02/2022 12:55
How would this actually work in practice? Would your current institution have to bend the rules to offer you a professorship if you did this - or would you still have to go via the normal promotions round?
acfree123 · 15/02/2022 16:41
If you have an offer from elsewhere universities may consider your professorship out of rounds following similar processes to usual in terms of external references, interviewing etc.
poetryandwine · 19/02/2022 19:47
Would you be the first person in your current place to attempt this strategy, as far as you know? What are your relationships with your line manager and Head of School or equivalent like? Can you execute this strategy comfortably?
IMO @parietal might be missing something. Budget constraints may limit the number of candidates put forward in a given year and those who are considered retention risks will inevitably have an advantage. The lucky few tasked with thankless chores are not usually among them
You can probably only do this once.
hernamewasrio · 20/02/2022 21:45
Yes I did from grade 9 to top of grade 10. Rolled the dice - got a good offer and went to my department asking them to meet it so I would stay. I had to be prepared to leave though if they chose not to!
aridapricot · 20/02/2022 22:00
Thanks all - still haven't started my application (but I got some time), as I agree with the views expressed here that I shouldn't do it without being sure that I would take up the offer.
@poetryandwine I don't know anyone in my department who has taken this route (at least since I've been here) but I know someone elsewhere in the university who did - she's rather an acquaintance of my DH's, probably not close enough for me to discuss the matter with her openly. Recently I've seen a couple of quite sudden professorships in subjects closer to mine which I've wondered whether they were achieved by similar means - but it's difficult to find out all this gossip right now with most people still working from home most of the time.
The "other" job is really a dream job in many respects (unless the place is secretly toxic or something like that) - but it is the potential "commute" (or rather: uprooting ourselves, or me living apart from DH for a good chunk of the week) that I find daunting...
ThePlumVan · 20/02/2022 22:05
I never understand why people accept a counter offer and stay somewhere where, had they not forced the issue, they would continue to undervalue & underpay.
If you’re not appreciated just move on, they don’t deserve you.
bigkidsdidit · 21/02/2022 07:09
Because everywhere ime acts poorly towards their existing staff. Or more poorly than they do to new incoming staff
Tonsiltrouble · 21/02/2022 07:15
I have seen it, but not recently. When I have seen it, it tends to be in STEM departments, and with good candidates who are just ‘jumping the queue’ slightly.
I have also seen it backfire, most often in the humanities where people have had to move institution as a result.
teaandquiet · 18/05/2022 15:17
There are huge expenses and costs associated with staff leaving, so we would always make an effort to try to retain our staff. It doesn't necessarily involve a promotion though, but in some cases there have been pay rises, allowing staff to drop "menial tasks" (as you call them), etc.
KILM · 18/05/2022 15:37
I have seen it work, however i would say if you are not considered a 'people person' and you feel thats whats holding you back, i would be surprised if you did get a counter offer, as they wont see you as losing 'part of the team/fabric of the place' they will see it more as 'losing a head we could feasibly replace'
Hope that makes sense. Its shit, but its what it is. I say this as someone whose also not naturally a 'people person'. I've had to work on it to get ahead.
If you were in a job like sales, and you werent a people person with your colleagues but great with customers and a top performer who made them millions, then even if they werent keen on you personally they might fight to keep you, but a bit trickier in your area as its less black and white.
Fingers crossed a good opportunity with less travel concerns comes up for you soon.
bge · 18/05/2022 16:34
namechanged to say I just told my job I was leaving and got a whopping counter offer (promotion, staff members, resesrch funds, reduction in teaching). So it does happen!
bge · 18/05/2022 20:01
I am not extra specially super dooper either. I’m good but so are many others. I think they have a lot of leeway at the moment, not sure exactly why
NearlyAlwaysInsane · 19/05/2022 11:59
Tried this at my old employer and they offered nothing and told me people like me were a dime a dozen. I blinked and stayed. 6 months or so later I got another offer I actually wanted, and left - with two large grants, two postdocs and dumping the Masters and 5 modules I was convening - and the employer reacted with a massive panic (as this was in the summer and they had nobody to cover the amount of teaching I was doing, which is also part of why I left). The bonus for me was my new employer gave me a step up from SL to Reader as part of the deal.
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