updates: fantasy football offensiveness, the extra work with no promotion, and more

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager and I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are four updates from past letter-writers.

1. Offensiveness in the fantasy football league

I wish I had a better update for you. I’m pretty low in the HR hierarchy with my company, so all I could really do is tell my boss that we need to keep an eye on this manager because his response was incredibly concerning. This concern was well placed as someone else reported him to HR shortly after I wrote you for his public conversations on LinkedIn- more abrasive and politically controversial stuff the company does not want to be associated with. My boss had to speak with him again, and this time he sent her a wild 2 page diatribe on feeling persecuted at work. I wish I could send it to you because I’ve never read anything like it before, especially in a professional context. My boss, again, simply took note and moved on. She has since retired and her replacement thankfully takes these things way more seriously than she did. We now, months later, have someone transferring out of this manager’s department solely because of personality conflicts due to the manager’s abrasive demeanor.

The manager is excellent at a very difficult job and his boss loves him, but in my opinion he should not be managing people at all. He has since completely cleaned out his LinkedIn profile. He seems to have finally decided to keep his beliefs to himself, and my new boss is keeping a close eye on him to ensure he stays in line. I think that the changeover in HR was more necessary than anyone realized, as my former boss was more willing to accept some of these behaviors than my current one. People are more engaged in the culture and we’ve had more referrals than ever before. I wrote to you because I was questioning my reaction in comparison to my former boss, and you gave me the reality check that I wasn’t overreacting but rather she was underreacting. I am much more confident in my position now and know that if something like this happens again I won’t let it get pushed under the rug.

2. My boss says I’m not ready for a promotion, but is giving me work above my pay grade

In my original letter, I wrote about how my boss has been giving me work above my pay grade but said I was not ready to get promoted. I am happy to report that I started a new job shortly before the letter was published, which came with a 25% salary increase and a more flexible work-life balance! I had the best interviews of my career.

There are some things I wanted to touch on in my original letter. A key element that I did not include in my original letter is that my boss said that our department would be hiring for a newly created position, a Senior Z, which would have required several more years of experience and I knew I wasn’t qualified for it.

In addition to “not being ready,” my boss said that creating this new position would not leave enough room in the budget to promote me. I did not include this information because I thought it would out me if my boss reads AAM. It is possible a lower budget was a legitimate reason for being able to promote me, but there was never any conversation about other jobs that would fit me at our university. (“We can’t promote you to Senior X in our department, but this other department is hiring for a Senior Y which has a very similar role”).

I work in higher education, and I was surprised to see that so many of the commenters went through similar experiences. Contrary to what some commenters guessed, I do not work in Res Life or in any student-facing role. I do not envy anyone in those positions – y’all are seriously doing the Lord’s work!

I honestly did not want to leave the university or the people I worked for. I tried very hard to stay within the company – I applied to 5 different jobs in my field and while I came close a few times to a job offer, nothing really stuck. But at the end of the day, you have to look out for yourself and that’s what I did. I chose my career – and more importantly, me – over my employer, and I don’t regret it one bit. I like my new job, but I will keep the same mindset.

Thanks again to all of the commenters and of course to Alison for giving me helpful advice that I’ll take with me throughout my career!

3. My boss interrupts me while I’m presenting (#2 at the link)

My 20-minute presentation was sandwiched between two other 20-minute presentations that hour, so nobody had extra time. The boss didn’t have time for comments or impulsive encouragement to add to my talk, but I did write down some of those phrases to remember, because that’s really what I needed; a polite and pointed way to remind her to let me give my talk in the order of my slides. And trust that I know more about the topic than she does (which I do).

My talk went well enough that I have been asked to do a more in-depth training for the leadership in our company on the topic. This might be where those interruptions happen, but now I will be prepared.

Thank you and your readers for the advice!

4. Can I contact a CEO who offered me a job previously to ask about job openings now? (#4 at the link)

tl;dr: I didn’t reach out to the CEO but I did get a new job!

I work in tech, and obviously there have been lots of layoffs and hiring freezes lately. Shortly after I wrote in, the CEO’s startup took all their job postings down, so I figured it wasn’t a good time to reach out. I also hadn’t heard back from any of the companies I had been applying to, so I was feeling discouraged.

But! It was a blessing in disguise! I spent some time getting extremely clear on what I want in my work life: what I liked about my job, what adjustments I would have to make to find it tolerable, what an ideal job somewhere else would look like. When I eventually did start getting interviews, that clarity became super helpful! I was able to pretty quickly rule out roles that would not have been better than the job I was in and to find a few that were all green flags. I started at my new job a few weeks ago and so far, it is wonderful.

{ 18 comments… read them below }

  1. Sunny days are better*

    LW2, I feel for you.

    I get so angry when I hear stories about people who have to keep proving themselves to actually get paid for the more senior responsibilities they have taken on.

    I’m so tired of hearing people being taken advantage of.

    1. Alternative Person*

      Same, I feel like companies just don’t want to pay to develop and keep their employees these days.

    2. This_is_Todays_Name*

      It is so common though! At 2 of the BIG govt. contractors I worked for, the culture was “if you want to be promoted to, say Senior Associate, you had to be performing at that level for a couple of years and bringing in that level of clientele, etc… I took on the work of a higher level colleague while he was on “special projects” for 3 years, and each year was told I was doing great but that there was “no business case” for promoting me. When I finally gave my notice, they were SHOCKED… shocked I tell you. I now make 35% more money, for probably 40% less work (no marketing, biz development, etc…requirements anymore) and instead of managing ~25 people, I manage 6. I wish I had done it much much earlier. When you’re constantly given the message by your company that “you’re good but not good ENOUGH”… it’s time to GO.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, especially as the person who succeeded you probably got hired at a higher salary from the start… Or else they learned that it takes two salaries to do your job. Congrats!

  2. A Simple Narwhal*

    So happy for you #2! There’s nothing worse than being told that you’re good enough to do harder work but not good enough to be paid for it. I’m glad you saw the writing on the wall and got out of there.

  3. Daisy-dog*

    Good luck at your next presentation #3! It’s good that you had such a good first run-through and hopefully that gives you the confidence that you need to redirect your boss at the next one.

  4. Contrast*

    LW1–that’s a pretty good update. Sure, there are still improvements to be made, but the things you report are good steps.

    1. MEH Squared*

      I agree. It was better than I expected given the first sentence. OP#1, your current manager took action and there have been changes. You stood up for what’s right and things improved. Change comes incrementally sometime, but if the end result is that this manager keeps his heinous opinions to himself, well, that’s a win.

    2. JayNay*

      yes, I’m glad OP1 got the support for their bad gut feeling with this manager. That said, it irked me to read “The manager is excellent” about this guy. This is someone who is abrasive to his employees, making off-color jokes at work and is sending unhined political diatribes to HR. This person is not an excellent employee. I doubt OP would be saying the same if the person in question were not a (likely white) man.

  5. JelloStapler*

    #2- I knew it was Higher Ed before it came up in the letter. They LOVE doing that.

    1. Artemesia*

      And then some young inexperienced guy comes along but has lots of potential and they have no trouble hiring him and having you train him and paying him twice what you are making because ‘that was what it took to hire him.’ Seen it more than once.

      1. gsa*

        I don’t know who was hired first, but once my wife found out she was getting paid 2/3 of what the male intern was so she she quit. Equal titles Architectual Intern.

        And she was doing/producing twice to work.

        Not a rage quit. It was time for her to move on.

        Don’t forget to raise your daughters, right. My father-in-law did part of why I love my wife.

        1. metadata minion*

          While you’re at it, raise your sons right and tell them not to pay men more than women for the same work, and to stand up for their female colleagues.

        2. This_is_Todays_Name*

          Not sure what “raise your daughters right” means. We did our best to raise ALL of our children to be kind, independent, productive members of society who are supportive to others, regardless of gender.

      2. Chilipepper Attitude*

        What Artemesia said happens to faculty and there is no room at all for adjustments or promotions to create parity.

        For example, my spouse’s first position, they were hired at say 50k, 1 year later new hires were paid 60k and spouse was still at 50k. Next year, new hires were paid 65k, spouse still at 50k. Couple that with how difficult it is to move to another tenure track position without starting the tenure clock over and no cost of living increases most years they have worked and someone hired at a lower rate will fall farther and farther behind.

  6. Mrs. Pommeroy*

    I really like updates from long ago letter writers, generally, but I am also really happy to read updates to more recent letters! Their content might still reverberate in my brain and it’s lovely to get a closure.
    Thanks to everyone for writing in with their update! And congratulations to all for being in a better off/prepared place now!

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