it’s your Friday good news

It’s your Friday good news!

I had two huge professional milestones this year, and both of them were aided by AAM. In late 2022, I pushed for and received a title change that I felt I truly deserved, based on the work that I’d been doing for over a year with a lower title and salary. I was consistent, firm but not pushy, and kept the messaging focused on the actual work. I made sure to repeat that I understood why they had originally selected the title they did, that I was happy to continue to perform the duties of the role, and that I understood the company policy on salary (no negotiations, they’re linked to national pay averages), but asked them to reconsider the title. And eventually, they did!

Part of the reason I pushed so hard for that title change is that the role was A LOT of work, and I felt that being correctly titled and compensated would make it worthwhile. But after more than a year and a half of doing the work, I realized — it actually didn’t feel right. It’s a role that involves both management of people as well as actual problem-solving and project management, and while I got good at the management pieces (also thanks to years of reading AAM), I am drained by it rather than energized. When I get to puzzle over projects? That’s where the fun and energy comes.

So, in a fit of inspiration one weekend, I put together a proposal for my manager. Different title, reduced pay and hours (32 is not considered full-time at our company, so it had to include a pay cut no matter what), and minimal management to focus on the project side of the work. I laid out my arguments based on how I thought it could help the company, and that I wanted to redirect my career to be more focused, rather than continue to climb a management ladder. (I also have a lot going on in my current life season — growing my family, I’m on a few volunteer boards now, and I’m working on creative projects that are getting some traction, so the reduced hours was a really important piece for me.) I researched the salary range for the title ahead of time and made a bunch of budgeting spreadsheets and talked to my partner to make sure that it would all work, and on we went!

I was pretty nervous to present this to my company, though, in part because I had pushed so hard for the promotion earlier that year. It seemed like a big turn-around, and I don’t want to seem flighty or inconsistent. But I’ve also worked at this company for almost a decade and held various roles, so they know my track record. I can’t say it was easy or smooth, and there were definitely some #complicated conversations, but ultimately the proposal got approved (!) to start mid-next year. I wanted to share to let people know that it’s possible to advocate for yourself, AND it’s possible and ok to change your mind! I know not all companies are the same, and mine tries actively to be a good one so I had a better shot than most, but even so — if you don’t ask, you’ll never find out.

{ 9 comments… read them below }

  1. Timothy*

    > .. if you don’t ask, you’ll never find out.

    Yes. This is a Life Lesson that can be hard to grasp sometimes. It at least suggests you’re interested, without making a demand. It gets the conversation started.

    Sometimes, that’s all you need.

  2. Katherine*

    I finally got a job! I worked at an adult education center for a little over two years and loved it, but the center ran into trouble and the workforce got reduced, etc. This actually ended up being a good thing, as I was able to move back to Oregon and in with my mom, who needs a little extra help these days. I started subbing while looking for work, and I finally found a job. I’ll be starting at a huge adult education program in January! Only part time, but as I said, the program is huge, with lots of room for growth. And because I live with my mom, I can afford to take part-time work right now. Very excited to start!

  3. Mrs. Pommeroy*

    Congratulations, LW! I can see why your company must have been reluctant at first but I am also happy that you figured out what actually works for you, and what does not, and managed to act on it!

  4. chewingle*

    OP, who did you have to talk to about the title change? And how did you go about it?

    I’m in a similar situation, with my boss and her boss fighting for me. But the HR dept for the daddy-company keeps denying the proposal/request.

    Initially the reason was that you can’t get a promotion more than one step above your current role (then don’t have people do work more than one step above their current role???). But I’m now one step under where I should be and they just…are ignoring it instead and putting off my boss and grandboss when it comes up.

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