I was hired to run a department — but the old boss is still there, 10 months later

A reader writes:

I took a job under perhaps unusual circumstances and was hoping for a little insight on how to move forward.

I was recruited by a company, in a situation where the director of teapots was looking for a new job and wanted to have someone in place to take over his role once he left. The Big Bosses were fine with this and appreciated his advance notice and planning (the director had been there several years in this high-profile role, so they understood why he wanted a change).

The director created a new assistant director of teapots position for me and brought me on with a sense of urgency, indicating that he’d probably be gone in the next few weeks and wanted to make sure he had time to train me. He said he was interviewing other places and had things “in place” to be leaving shortly. He pushed HR to fast-track my materials so I could start ASAP. The assistant director role was a lateral move for me, and I only agreed to it because he would be leaving so soon, and I’d soon get a promotion into his Director role (this was all discussed in advance — this isn’t speculation on my part).

Fast forward 10 months, and the director still hasn’t left yet. I realize that there was no guarantee that he’d ever actually leave, even though that’s the express purpose that he brought me on board. But, I never wanted to work for him or in this particular role (i.e. a #2 instead of a #1), and I can’t shake the general annoyance I have every day that he’s still here. We have very different working styles and are driving each other nuts, so that’s adding to my annoyance. We work extremely closely, as our job duties are identical – he just made up the assistant role as an excuse to bring me on board.

Now that I’m approaching my 1-year mark with the company, do I bring this up with him somehow? As in, asking whether he’s still job searching and planning on leaving soon? Perhaps in my annual review? Do I just try and find a new job? Or do I stick it out silently as to not make things awkward between us? I’m frustrated and want to leave (this isn’t what I signed up for!), but I’m not sure if I’m being too impatient.

You absolutely should address this. You were brought on board under one set of assumptions, and those assumptions proved wrong quite a few months ago. There’s no need to wait for a formal review to have this conversation; it’s one that probably should have happened eight months ago, so don’t delay it any further.

As for awkwardness, yeah, it might be awkward. It’s an awkward situation. That’s no reason not to discuss it, though. And you can minimize some of the awkwardness by framing it not as “hey, when you are going to leave?” but rather as “I’m trying to figure out what makes sense for me” (which is indisputably your purview).

I’d say something like this: “I’d like to talk to you about what the future for my role looks like. When I originally came on board, you were planning to leave fairly soon, and I took the assistant director position on the understanding that it would soon be transitioning to the director role. Since our plans have ended up changing, I’m trying to figure out what makes sense for me. I wouldn’t have accepted a #2 position if I’d realized it was going to be long-term. I realize that plans are never written in stone, though, and I’m trying to figure out what makes sense for me now. I’d love to hear your thoughts.”

Before you have this conversation, though, you need to figure out how you’ll respond if his answer is, “Yeah, I changed my mind. I’m not going anywhere.” That seems like a pretty likely outcome, given that his actions are already basically communicating that, so you want to figure out how to respond to that ahead of time.

In addition to that, you should figure out what you’d want to do if you were told that the director is never leaving and plans to stay in the role for many more decades. Would you stay and be reasonably happy in your current role? Or would you start actively looking to move on? Regardless of what your director says when you talk to him, it might make sense to move forward with those plans — because at this point, any promises from him to move on aren’t credible enough to stake your own career planning on, short of “I formally resigned yesterday and my last day is Friday.”

Read updates to this letter here and here.

{ 75 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia*

    I would have started networking and job searching 6 mos ago. People do what they do. This guy isn’t planning to move on. So yes, have this discussion with him and don’t threaten to move on but get your ducks in a row to do so and quietly and earnestly begin looking for the kind of position you want to have.

  2. AdAgencyChick*

    For once, AAM and I disagree — mostly because I would feel pretty uncomfortable stating flat out, “I wouldn’t have taken this job if I had known it would be what it is now,” even if you follow it up with, “I know nothing is set in stone.” I have a feeling that will lead to, “Well, if you’re not happy with things as they are, we’ll have to transition you out.”

    Might it be better to have the conversation in a “What are your future plans, so that I can figure out what my role looks like as we move forward?” This makes it sound like you’re more amenable to whatever answer he gives — knowing, of course, that if the answer doesn’t satisfy you that he plans to leave in the foreseeable future, that you’d be best served to start hunting for your next gig.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      I agree with your phrasing. Saying “I wouldn’t have taken this job if I had known…” is venturing very close to accusation, or even ultimatum/threat territory. Some people may be able to deliver this in a conversational tone, but most people probably can’t pull this off. I know I couldn’t. No matter what flowery language you use, you are still saying that the boss’s presence is your problem, and I cannot imagine too many people not going on the defensive.

      Another way I’d phrase it is make it all about you by using I statements: ,When I interviewed for this position, it looked like it was on a directorial path. Where am I at on that path? Being a director is an important career objective for me, so I’d like to understand if there are any obstacles I need to overcome.”

      1. Mister Pickle*

        I was idly wondering about “So how’s the new job coming along?”

        Probably not a good idea.

        The OP states that it was discussed in advance that they’d be promoted to the Director position. Still … keeping in mind that I’m not any kind of mgmt expert, I think I might start with

        “I’d like to talk to you about what the future for my role looks like. When I originally came on board, you were planning to leave fairly soon, and I took the assistant director position on the understanding that it would soon be transitioning to the director role.”

        And then stop and wait to see where the conversation goes.

    2. OP*

      Thanks to AAM and everyone who replied! I greatly appreciate the advice. I agree with AdAgencyChick that the reason I haven’t brought this up already is that I couldn’t find the right way to phrase it. “Your presence in this company is a problem for me; can we discuss when you’re leaving?” isn’t exactly an easy conversation to have – and it doesn’t help that I’m generally non-confrontational by nature. I feared it’d jeopardize my reputation if word got around the company that I was being pushy, and I thought that bringing it up would imply that I could do the job better than he could, at a point when I was still learning the ins and outs of the company. Not good excuses, admittedly, but at least that might explain my frame of mind.

      Someone mentioned talking to HR – small company with no HR, so that’s not an option. Even if it were, I’d be most comfortable addressing it with my boss first, as awkward as that would be. Going to HR would feel weird. Now that I have some good ideas on how to phrase this, I definitely agree with everyone that addressing it head on is the only option.

      Some folks have asked why I didn’t start looking for a new job already. First, I didn’t want to appear flaky by having such a short gig on my resume. It’s a small community, and everyone would know that I left suddenly. Second, I do actually want the director position. It’s a good career move for me and will give me great experience in line with my career goals – if I ever get there. Job searching isn’t fun or easy, and I feel like I’m THIS close to the job I want, which is why I’ve hesitated so much about rocking the boat. I guess I’ve finally hit the frustration point where I need to take action.

      1. Amber*

        If his answer sounds like he’s going to stay for awhile, be prepared with some options to help with your career growth. Such as “I’d like to be able to do more and take on additional responsibility, is there anything that I can take off your plate?”

      2. T*

        I understand that you took this job as a way to advance your career, but I am concerned by the suggestions that you frame the conversation in regards to what makes sense for you. Although admittedly better than saying “When are you leaving?” it still comes across as if you are only looking out for yourself, which is not a good quality for a manager, anyway. Is there some way to frame it so that it appears that you are looking out for the good of the department/company as well as yourself?

        If the director is planning on staying or won’t be leaving for awhile yet, you don’t want them to second guess having you on board. If he’s staying, they could possibly say that they don’t need two people doing essentially the same job (how does that work, anyway?). I would guess that in reality, he still wants to move on but is taking his time about it because he can. He can be selective about what new role he accepts, and he can be selective about his replacement. If this is the case, you don’t want to look like a poor fit because you only care about your own advancement. I agree with Alison’s suggestion to plan how you will handle it if the director plans on staying much longer. I also think you might come up with some solutions if he plans on leaving, but at an unknown date (months or longer from now). For instance, is there a way to redistribute the work so that you aren’t duplicating each other’s responsibilities, yet you still have a role in keeping with a director? I think this could be significant in lessening your frustration if it takes very long for him to move on or for you to find a new position. You would also want to continue doing work that translates as director rather than assistant director so that at least this can be a stepping stone to a directorship here or elsewhere. Good luck.

  3. Joey*

    I don’t mean to be critical, but if you waited this long to have this conversation with your boss it’s not going to get any easier manging a department.

    1. Swarley*

      Agreed. It makes me wonder if there isn’t more to this story than what the OP mentioned. I don’t see how you can work side by side with someone who you are supposed to be replacing for 10 months and not even mention the expected transition.

    2. Cheesecake*

      I am not supporting “it’s actually your fault, OP” comments. But here is an exception.

    3. Mallorie, the recruiter*

      She also says this in a comment above:
      “Your presence in this company is a problem for me; can we discuss when you’re leaving?” isn’t exactly an easy conversation to have – and it doesn’t help that I’m generally non-confrontational by nature.

      I’m a little concerned because as director, she will be having a lot of “difficult conversations” and being “non-confrontational” isn’t going to make things easy. As a manager, I have to bring up (or confront, if you will) things to employees all the time. This conversation with her manager should really be seen as a dry run for being the director her self – as the director she’s going to have to manage down, up, and sideways to get things done.

    4. OP*

      Ouch. Valid points, definitely. Early on, the transition was mentioned regularly; then it eventually tapered off. I manage staff in this role (and have in previous roles as well), so I understand that tough conversations are part of the ballgame. I’ve known this guy for probably 10 years and have worked alongside him before when we were both in different gigs (obviously in a much more limited capacity than boss/employee), so our prior relationship probably plays into why I’ve hesitated to bring this up – I suppose I didn’t want the “when are you leaving” awkwardness to kill our relationship. I appreciate everyone’s comments – y’all made me realize that I need to just suck it up and say something.

  4. Mister Pickle*

    I wonder if the Director had a job lined up but it fell through?

    Implicit in this situation is the question: “so why didn’t the Director leave?” But that might be best left unvoiced.

      1. Stephanie*

        That or he could be looking at positions that have a lengthy interview process or have a start date months after the offer acceptance (like government jobs, jobs requiring security clearances, university jobs, etc). My friend just started at one of the intelligence agencies and it took a few months between getting an offer and actually starting (and she already had a security clearance).

        1. some1*

          Or he’s been offered a job where the salary, benefits, PTO, commute or what-have-you isn’t as good as what he has now.

          1. AnonyMouse*

            Yep, my guess was that he was at the negotiation stage somewhere and for whatever reason they couldn’t make it work.

          2. Bwmn*

            This was my guess.

            Particularly if he’s been in the role for a while, there may be a variety of benefits/perks in addition to salary that make transitioning far more challenging than just getting an offer.

            I think the best case scenario from the OP is to hear that some kind of family “something” (either a minor issue not brought up in the office or something like a wedding that would require using more PTO than usual) came up and made it a less convenient time to change jobs.

        2. Tara B.*

          I doubt it. If that were the case, he would have told the OP. The OP wouldn’t be writing in because there’s now a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m more inclined to think his original plans fell through and he’s keeping mum and just pretending (or not pretending) that this was the plan all along.

          1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

            Eh, if I hired someone to replace me and then the offer didn’t come through, I’ probably be pretty embarrassed. I could easily see this situation starting out as an awkward embarrassment, and then snowballing to “It’s been 2 months now, I haven’t said anything yet, so now I can’t say anything” and then, with OP not bringing it up, it becomes an elephant in the room that nobody talks about. Given OP’s assertion that they don’t get along particularly well, that conversation would be hard to start, and the boss might think it unnecessary if he’s still looking for work, and it’s just taken longer.

            I think OP’s real challenge is what to do if the boss says (and I actually think this is the most likely scenario) “I’m still looking, I didn’t like the last offer, so I’m expanding my search, but I’m still totes outta here in like a week” knowing that if it’s taken 10 months already, it’s not likely to actually wrap up in a week.

      2. AVP*

        Thats what I’m thinking…he was planning to leave and had a few interviews lined up, got nervous that he wouldn’t be able to train a replacement in time, and then those interviews didn’t pan out, leaving OP stuck with him.

        This is something that I always worry about in my job – I’m going to need to train my replacement but there’s no natural job for them here, so I’m totally going to be the person who gets stuck like this and totally awkward about it.

      3. Golden Yeti*

        I had the same thought. Job searches take time (in my experience, a lot of time), so if he’s been out of the game for awhile, maybe he thought it wasn’t going to be that difficult. Or he had a handshake agreement that didn’t pan out. Either way, though, OP deserves to know what to expect.

    1. The IT Manager*

      This is exactly what I’m thinking because he expected to be gone in the next few weeks. I’m betting that he thought he was a front-runner for a job he did not get offered. It could have taken longer than expected – a few months rather than a few weeks – but right now the LW doesn’t even know if he’s still job hunting. This is a conversation that needs to happen and probably should have happened about 8 months ago.

      This sucks. I know no one wants to go around announcing I didn’t get the job I wanted especially to subordinates, but given the way the LW was hired, he deserved to know.

    2. Busy*

      Or maybe he was planning on retiring and changed his mind? I had something pretty similar happen on my team where someone told me to hurry up and replace him because he was going to retire in two months. I was very thankful for the notice, and scrambled to fill the position because my boss was thrilled that the retiree might be able to train the new hire. … Then the retiree waited almost an ENTIRE YEAR after we hired someone to actually retire, and I was stuck with two people on my team doing identical things with not enough work to go around. Yes – shame on me as a manager for letting it happen for that long, but there were cultural issues (workplace culture) there that I had to finagle (don’t get me started on the cultural stuff at that place) where I wasn’t allowed to say about retiring because it would upset the retiree. I actually got hauled into HR several times for asking what their transition timeline was going to look like. I finally decided that it was killing the morale on my team, so I stopped giving the person work and took the internal PR hit for being “mean” to a “loyal employee” so that the retiree would finally leave because he “didn’t feel valued.” I hated … HATED … taking the passive aggressive route but it’s all I was left with at that point because I wasn’t allowed to manage my darn employee. Urghhh … it still makes me so darn angry and it’s been almost five years! :) So basically, I feel ya, OP!

      1. Bea W*

        Something similar happened many years ago at one employer. A woman was promoted from within to take the place of one of the owners who was supposedly retiring. 10 years later…

        Pretty sure he’ll still be running the business from his grave.

  5. Mishsmom*

    i wonder if the director is afraid to leave because the OP doesn’t do things his way (“We have very different working styles and are driving each other nuts”). not that it’s an excuse, but might be a reason he’s delaying it and may still want to leave.

    1. My two cents...*

      our ‘president’ of our tiny 15-person company was like that…once he sold us off to a giant company, he was contracted for another 6 mo to streamline the acquisition process and tie up any loose ends.

      i couldn’t tell you the number of times that big baby would run his mouth about something, and his replacement manager (that he personally hired on) had to go smooth things over. such as…upon discovering that an employee had a resume posted on Monster, he chewed them out, comparing it to him ‘looking for a new wife while he’s still married’.

      1. Elysian*

        ‘looking for a new wife while he’s still married’

        What a horrible analogy! It’s more like looking for a new house while you’re still under a lease/mortgage… cause you need a place to live in the meantime… It’s not like you need a wife or you’ll die or anything. Man.

  6. Robin*

    OP, no matter how awkward you might feel about this, I bet the director feels even more awkward. It is probably time to break the ice.

    1. Kyrielle*

      This. Also, if he doesn’t see it easily changing in the foreseeable future, maybe he hasn’t wanted to say that or deal with it…and maybe once it’s in the open, you and he can come up with a forward path you *do* like. Even if you can’t, you’ll have more info and can make your decision with a little more confidence.

      (Bearing in mind that, as Alison notes, “I’m almost out the door! Really!” maybe isn’t a reliable data point.)

    2. Molly*

      If he’s a jerk/weirdo I could see him feeling fine and kind of saying “sucks to be you! shouldn’t have taken the job” to OP.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I bet some of the bickering will stop after they have an honest conversation with each other.

  7. Molly*

    Why mention him leaving at all? It’s not really relevant (aside from you not liking him haha). Could you just talk to HR and say “I came here under the impression that I would be in a management position; will that be happening by XYZ date, or should I start job hunting?”

    1. Melly*

      I think the fact that his presumed departure was so transparent in the beginning means that it should be ok to inquire about it directly now.

    2. blu*

      HR doesn’t have a crystal ball. The manager is the only person who can actually answer that question.

  8. Jenny*

    This happened to my brother-in-law and he ended up quitting. He was brought in to be an eventual department director as the current one was retiring. He comes in, works two weeks and then the current director said “You know, I think I’m going to keep working for another year or so. I don’t think I want to or can afford to retire.” My brother-in-law quit and went back to his previous position so his family didn’t have to relocate for a “maybe promotion in a few years or so.”

    In general though this is a rough thing. A close friend of mine took a lateral job (manager title) because she’d actually have direct reports for the first time in her career and she wanted the experience of managing people. As soon as she started, one of her direct reports quit and then the other person’s position was eliminated due to budget cuts. So she quit for the experience of managing people only to be right back where she started. I think bait and switch happens quite often in jobs and usually the only option is moving on.

  9. AnonyMouse*

    Seconding all the comments that you need to have a discussion about this, asap. And like a lot of other commenters, I’m not optimistic that the current director will be leaving any time soon. So I think if it seems like he’s got no plans to leave, you need to decide whether you want to start job searching, or whether you’ll be able to stay on in your current role if he stays too. But if it does turn out that you’re both staying on, I don’t think you’re necessarily stuck with things the way they are. You said your job has significant overlap with the director’s, and was designed rather hastily when he thought you’d be taking over for him in a matter of weeks – now that that’s obviously not the case, I think it makes sense to revisit your division of labour. You know more about your department’s work than I do, but is it possible there’s an area you could take more ownership of, or another way to carve out a more distinct niche?

    If you ask him about his plans and it sounds like he’s staying, you could try following up with something like, “Given that, I think it might make sense to rethink the responsibilities of my role. As I recall, you drew up this job description when it was meant to be temporary, and since that hasn’t turned out to be the case, I feel like there are some areas where we’re duplicating each other’s efforts. My background is really more in dark chocolate teapots, so I was thinking it might make sense for me to take more ownership of those projects and step back slightly from the milk chocolate side of things. I’m of course happy to hear any ideas you have as well, but I think we should work on defining the scope of my role a bit more clearly now that we’ll both be staying.”

    1. Dasha*

      “Given that, I think it might make sense to rethink the responsibilities of my role. As I recall, you drew up this job description when it was meant to be temporary, and since that hasn’t turned out to be the case, I feel like there are some areas where we’re duplicating each other’s efforts. My background is really more in dark chocolate teapots, so I was thinking it might make sense for me to take more ownership of those projects and step back slightly from the milk chocolate side of things. I’m of course happy to hear any ideas you have as well, but I think we should work on defining the scope of my role a bit more clearly now that we’ll both be staying.”

      I really like AnonyMouse’s wording! If I were the OP, I think I’d go with something a long those lines:)

    2. Artemesia*

      This invites the obvious response; ‘well I’ve been reluctant to say anything but under the circumstances we really don’t need you.’

      1. AnonyMouse*

        True, but in this situation I think that may be unavoidable. I can’t imagine any company that would be happy to keep a director’s replacement on indefinitely if the director had no intention of leaving, and frankly, I doubt there’s anything the OP could say that would make it suddenly occur to them…because it probably has already. In fact, if anything I think if the OP could come up with a way to define and differentiate their roles a bit more, that could be a way to make the case for having them both stay on. But either way, I would start looking around as a back up.

        1. Labratnomore*

          I am very surprised it has gone on this long. In my company once the replacement is hired, your retirement will happen there is no changing your mind. I actually believe you have to have a hard date before HR will being looking for a replacement. We had one hard to hire for position where the employee gave an 18 month notice. They hired someone a little faster than expected so they had a couple of months of overlap, but the retiring employee turned over the department after a couple of weeks and was in more of a consultant/clean up loose ends role for the rest of the time. She couldn’t change her mind because she her position was already filled! I would say if the Director is not leaving, differentiating their roles some would be the best idea. Maybe follow up the conversation with the Director with one with up a level, maybe they would prefer to put the Director in a more indirect role in department. That may be the best way to ensure that Ops need are met as much as possible, especially if the OP frames it as being better for the company to not have duplicate roles. Director will only do what is best for them not what is best for the company or the OP, that has already been shown.

  10. C Average*

    I think you want to consider carefully the outcome you’d like and structure your conversation around that.

    Obviously the big outcome you want is for the director to leave and for you to take his place or, barring that, for leadership to be honest about your future prospects so you can make informed choices.

    Based on your tone, though, I think you also want some acknowledgment that this was handled badly by the business and by the director: they misled you, the director dithered and didn’t follow through on a promise, your time has been wasted, you’re working in a role you didn’t actually want after having been put there based on what turned out to be bad information. You probably feel played and taken advantage of, and you probably want someone to admit that mistakes were made.

    If you don’t get that–if the conversation is purely forward-looking and transactional in nature, and the company and the director take a them’s-the-breaks perspective and don’t offer you any empathy or apologies–can this still be resolved in a satisfying way for you? I’d ponder that a bit before going into that meeting.

    1. Mister Pickle*

      I completely agree with this. But I’m too cynical to believe that anyone is going to admit to any serious fault.

      But I hope that deep down inside, the director and the company’s management feel responsible enough to work out some kind of compromise – a new position? – that offers the OP an upward path within the company.

  11. Another HR Pro*

    OP – Did you interview with anyone else in the process? Did your “thought-he-was-leaving-but-didn’t-Director” hire you or did his boss? Because in a situation where you were being hired to replace the Director, I would think that job’s boss would be involved. If so, you may want to have a conversation with them. It sounds like they were aware that the Director was leaving and you were being hired as a replacement. As everyone else has said, this conversation is very over due. I recommend that you brace yourself for the fact that your management may have been delaying having a conversation with you that your position isn’t needed given the fact that your Director is never actually leaving.

    Good luck and please give us an update on how this goes.

  12. Mena*

    Um, if the Director has decided to stay, I would be very concerned that the Assistant Director role may be deemed redundant and eliminated. Be prepared!!

    1. Helka*

      Agreed! This conversation with the boss might even catalyze that decision — “Oh, well I guess if I’m staying on, we really don’t need OP around after all…”

    2. MaggietheCat*

      That’s what I was thinking. Everytime someone wrote “expected outcome” I thought that’s what they were leading up to. Hopefully that doesn’t happen to the OP.

    3. chewbecca*

      I was wondering the same thing. I’m sure the company isn’t exactly pleased to be paying two salaries for one job.

  13. Seal*

    Years ago I had a friend take me on as an assistant coach for a HS performing arts group. He worked with several such groups and was stretched thin, so the plan was that I would take over as head coach while he phased himself out of this group. For most of their season, I did the vast majority of the work with great success; my friend showed up once in a blue moon and wasn’t involved in any of the behind the scenes work essential to the success of the program. Come the end of the season banquet, I was stunned to find out that my friend had never actually told our boss that he had been transitioning out and that our successful season had in fact been almost entirely because of me. I had to sit and listen to our boss give my friend credit for the work I did. Our boss barely even mentioned my name; of course my friend didn’t bother to correct him.

    The kicker is that after the banquet, my friend told me that he had changed his mind and want to continue working with the group after all. And, that in talking with our boss, they decided the group would be better off without me. Had I not just sat through this horrible banquet I would have been blindsided. The kids and their parents – all of whom liked me quite a bit – were told that it was MY decision to leave. Because we never put anything in writing, there was nothing I could do. The whole thing was very awkward and painful.

    Needless to say, I never spoke to my “friend” again.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      With friends like that who needs enemies.
      That is awful. I am sorry that happened to you.
      Karma will do its thing.

    2. Artemesia*

      I know a circumstance almost exactly like this where the old coach hung on and took the stipend while the transitioning new coach did the work for two years without any real credit.

    3. BobsUrUncle*

      I had that happened to me when I was an ‘assistant’ (more like I did her job for her and made her look great) and had to suck it up when our boss praised her and then turn around and tell me “I don’t know what you do.” Turns out I did a lot as the person I was ‘assisting’ had to leave her job because of her poor performance.

      Karma is a B!tch

  14. LizNYC*

    Not advice, but did anyone else start singing to themselves the song from the Muppets Most Wanted movie (the latest one). ‘I’m Number One, You’re Number Two”?

  15. Michele*

    Be careful though because you don’t want to sound ungrateful for the opportunity. My guess is that either 1) this guy is discovering that it’s a lot tougher to get a new job and/or a job with the same or more pay that he’s currently making or 2) his job offer was rescinded or fell through. I would approach this very carefully, by asking him a general question of whether or not he is going to stay permanently.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      “Ungrateful for the opportunity?” The OP wouldn’t have taken this job if they weren’t promised a very quick transition to the #1 spot. Yes, the OP should be professional when they approach the boss but I think it’s asking too much to pretend to be grateful for being misled.

  16. Aam Admi*

    I am surprised the senior management has not done anything to fix this. Having two individuals doing the same director level job would be a big hit to the department’s budget. OP mentioned the company is small so their budget cannot be all that big to accommodate a redundant position.

    1. MR*

      I was thinking this same thing as I read this. I presume that the OP is being paid at a directors level, having come into the company/position that s/he would be the director within a short time.

      I find it difficult to believe that someone isn’t wondering why they are paying for two directors. Unless this company isn’t well run, in which case, there are bigger issues to be had within the company.

  17. Angora*

    I am surprised that this situation was allowed to go this long due to budget concerns. Did the company state in the Offer Letter a time line that the OP would be stepping in the boss’s shoes? or have a statement in it clearly stated that there was a training period that would translate into a promotion? If it was in the hiring paperwork, than there some legal issues all parties involved need to address. I would start job searching, get a few interviews and see if you are offered a new position that meets your goals.

    They did a bait and switch on you. I’m not sure if a conversation regarding the transition to the boss’s job would give you the answer you are wanting. But it might speed things up if you have an offer letter in hand from another company.

  18. Lightly Salted*

    Since this ended up as a lateral move for you, would reaching out to your former job be an option?

    1. OP*

      Probably not. I left Old Job because there was no room for upward growth (which unfortunately is same position I’m in now, so no reason to move back).

  19. marvin flores*

    I would not hesitate and start looking elsewhere. Use this as a pivot to get a better position, stating you are the official pm. Hope this hiring was in writting, its disturbing and shows your lack of character.

  20. ProcReg*

    I’d love to see an update on this, now a month on.

    I just left a situation where the company was transitioning many hundreds of jobs from one city to another, and left the employees losing their jobs to train the new employees (me included). One year later, not only are most of the old city employees still there, they are further entrenched in an adversarial relationship with the new city.

    This is unfortunate. If the conversation ends with anything other than “I didn’t get the job/promotion”, you should probably re-evaluate your future with the company.

  21. budding manager*

    With a competitive job market, it seems that it would be in the best interest of the OP to find a way to be irreplaceable. I am hoping that this is part of the outcome of this story. Any update, OP?

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