I work at a large Fortune 500 company, with many different departments and teams. My team consists of 5 people, and we report to the same manager. When it comes time for yearly performance reviews, the manager stacks us up against one another. Even though the culture of the company as a whole is big on work-life balance, the other members of my team stay super late, and always go beyond the work required (e.g., reading up advanced programming books for a project that doesn't require it).

While I agree this can be an admirable trait, the thing is I am not like them. I work regular 9-5 hours, as long as my work is finished. I don't tend to work overtime, and prefer the extra time to pursue non-work-related hobbies outside of the office. However, this has put me at a disadvantage during reviews, as I'm always rated at the bottom among my team, and hence passed on for promotions.

The issue: In terms of employees among my same pay grade across other teams, I am well in the top 15%. People frequently come to me for help, and I've done work that is similar to those above me. Other managers have come out and commended my work. However, because my own team has high standards, I am only ranked average when viewed against my teammates.

In these cases, is the best course of action to find another team? If I stay, should I just accept the fact I'll probably never be promoted, unless I put in crazy more hours?


2 Answers 2


In these cases, is the best course of action to find another team?

There really isn't much you can do except to change teams or employers. Even then, this will only be a benefit if the team you join isn't also full of overachievers / workaholics too.

If I stay, should I just accept the fact I'll probably never be promoted, unless I put in crazy more hours?

Yes, you may have to accept you are where you are if you stay with your current team / company. For what it's worth, I think you're being very smart not letting work consume your entire existence. As long as your boss is happy with your work, the pay is reasonable for your experience and skill set, you are in pretty good shape IMO.


You actually have a few options here. I'm just going to lay them out, in order of what is most in your control.

Change Companies

You can always go to a new company if you find that your title and compensation do not match your skills.This is the quickest way to align your career with your skills.

However, we all know how job hopping goes. I assume you don't want to do this. Personally, I would consider this a last resort.

Change Teams

Most large companies make this fairly easy if you want to do so. This could possibly allow to be a relative hot-shot on another team.

However, you could also be placed on a team exactly like the one you're on now. Or you could be placed on a team with under-achievers, which is probably much worse, especially for your work-life balance.

I'd say this option is a gamble. Also, you'd likely have to explain why you want to switch anyway, which leads me to....

Talk With Your Manager

When performance comes around, or you're getting close to promotion season, or whenever you find an appropriate time, set up a 1-to-1 meeting with your manager.

Explain that you feel your performance isn't being appreciated in the context of a whole. Most reasonable managers (or people in general) would see why you are feeling that way.

Do not go in asking for a promotion or being defensive about your performance. Simply say that you feel your performance would look better if it was compared to the rest of the employees at your title, company-wide.

Don't suggest you're in the top 15%. I'm sure you are, but it's critical to not make assumptions.

Be aware that your teammates probably do deserve promotions before you. But maybe you deserve promotions before those on other teams.

I think as long as you're being humble, honest and polite, your manager will at least understand your issue. If this is true, there's at least nothing to lose.

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