I don't know how common this is, but being my first professional job, this is new to me. I apologise for the long back-story, but there's quite a bit of history difficult to condense. So bear with me.

The company I currently work for, I have been with for nearly seven years. I am a Senior Software Developer with them now and started with the company straight out of university (after graduating in Computer Science). When I started, I was very much the sole developer and built the initial product from the ground, up. The product was rapidly growing and about 4-5 years ago, another developer was employed by the company and it was my job to train them. This new developer has a degree in Chemistry so there were a few more hurdles to overcome initially to teach them best practices and why/why not to do things in certain ways. But, they are bright, so it wasn't a great challenge.

This was all good, for I was making the career progress I wanted. It started to go a little south just over two years ago. I was told that the junior developer would be promoted to my equivalent level (after I had just been promoted to a Senior Developer myself), after them being there for two years. "OK?" I thought. The reason I was given for this decision was to relax the pressure on myself a bit. But he would be lead of UI/UX, and myself, lead of logic. So there was still some separation and I was still in charge of what I wanted to be. I personally advised against the promotion to management. Not to spite the individual, but because of the lack of experience they possessed and I knew what was expected of a Senior Developer, and knew it could not be taught in the few years this person had been there. However, it happened. So, I let it be.

The power went to the developer's head and every time we would need to decide something, there was always a reason not to do it my way (despite me exercising experience in my approach and always giving a plausible reason). It became a real task, and an unpleasant one at that. However, I pursued despite feeling drained. I put this down to myself avoiding confrontation.

This went on for quite some time until late last year, we employed a new developer. And the new developer could see just how difficult this Senior Developer was. And brought it to upper management's attention, which I verified after they asked me if it was true. It has since receded a little after some talks but still goes on with less severity. At the start of the year, both my title and this other senior developer's title were changed to the same, so we are now equivalent for an unknown reason. Speaking to my manager in a recent appraisal, I suggested the development team needs some structure and somebody to take charge. I said it was silly to have two Lead product developers and there was no degree of separation. I suggested there should be a Head of Development. Being the one with most experience, I suggested that person should be me. Whether that was a good idea or not, I am undecided.

However, I was fed the typical hyperbole of how the product should not be led by one person and by promoting me to the Head of Development, the other (now) senior developer would feel undervalued. And generally, having somebody in charge was ill-advised since the product and its decisions were a team effort. However, on the contrary, I felt by not having my experience valued, I began feeling undervalued... so catch-22, one of us was going to be unhappy regardless of the outcome. It was agreed that I would have some management opportunities trickled to me, but there still would not be one developer who is the lead. Instead, I would have more involvement with some management meetings, reflecting my experience and time with the company.

This didn't sit with my goals quite so much, so I decided it was time to move on. So I looked for a place elsewhere. I received an offer for a position which aligned more with my career goals and handed in my notice. My manager said he was frustrated, because he had presented me with these opportunities and, basically, I had thrown it back in his face. So, when my departure was announced, the additional news came that my counterpart, the other senior developer, would be stepping up to Head of Development!

I was so angry, I've not said anything but I have my appraisal tomorrow and don't know what to say. It's as if they have promoted him to spite me for handing in my notice. I don't know if I have the right to say anything, and if so, how to word it. How to express my anger. Being a very proud person, I want to avoid giving the impression it is affecting me. Since they likely think "You should not have left." But it is. Any suggestions? Maybe I am the one in the wrong from the start, I don't know? I feel emotionally and physically drained.

tl;dr, a position I have been fighting for was not granted to anybody on the merits that there should not one lead developer. However, after resigning since this did not align with my goals, the position was automatically given to my counterpart... not sure what to say, if anything.

  • 4
    Is there a question here? We sympathize with your anger and disappointment... But that's not what SE is for.
    – mxyzplk
    Apr 23, 2018 at 1:51
  • 2
    If they did it in that particular fashion as a jab at you before you leave, that's amusingly childish, and adds to the evidence that you made the right choice by leaving.
    – rooby
    Apr 23, 2018 at 2:43
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    To the OP, I did not read your post, only the title. I then read the accepted answer, enough for me to know what happened. My advice, please don't waste too much time on this (your post is too long). Life goes on. Just concentrate on your next job.
    – Nobody
    Apr 23, 2018 at 3:35
  • 1
    @StephanBranczyk - You've clearly not read enough to comment. You seem to be telling the OP off for wanting X, when in actual fact the company was doing X and the OP campaigned for not X!
    – AndyT
    Apr 23, 2018 at 9:22
  • If it makes you feel better, you can consider it as you having promoted him to Head of Development - by having left him all your responsibilities...I imagine that won't make you feel better though...
    – user81330
    Apr 23, 2018 at 14:58

4 Answers 4


You've resigned. So instead of two senior level developers, they now have one. They're going to promote him immediately, in order that whatever reason caused you to leave is not going to make him leave (you know your story, but not what they see from their position). They're sweetening the pot with a set of golden handcuffs for him - and as you're leaving, there's nothing you can, or should, do about it.

For now, concentrate on a graceful exit, and build a successful career at the new company.


You are leaving, so it's none of your business any more. The company needs to do what they think is best for them and you need to do whatever you feel is best for you.

These are two separate things now and arguing about the company's decisions would be pointless and counterproductive. Move on and focus on your new opportunity.


Once you put in your notice you can't look back. You need to look at this situation from the employers point of view. Business is nothing about fairness. One can only assume once you had put in your resignation there was no way they could afford the other developer to leave too, hell he might of just said:

If you don't make me head of department I will leave like SDevSMurphy

Who knows. But to be honest I believe you made some critical mistakes, but that you have learnt allot from this experience, so you need to just take this with you and move on. Trying to analyse what happened:

Your aim as I understand it was to gain the title of Head of Department. The first mistake you made was opposing your colleague's promotion. This was an extremely risky move. You could have used this developer as an example that you are ready for a promotion yourself as you successfully trained him so well, even though he does not have a software engineering background but is now contributing well to the project because of the time you invested in him. This was critical IMO.

The next was then how you asked for a promotion. By saying it was silly to have two Lead product developers could have been construed as criticising your manager's management style. It really just sounded like to me that you wanted the authority based on seniority to overrule your colleague on decisions. Now it doesn't matter if that's what you meant or not, it's how it all looks. It looked like you can't work with your colleague without a third party resolving conflict or having seniority. Not a good look when seeking a promotion.

This working conflict you had with your colleague. I don't think is something your manager was going to do anything about, and that it was a bad idea to go to him with this problem. Instead if your colleague was head of UX and you of logic, then you handle the backed and him the front-end. If you have trouble separating the two then you can try and improve the modularity of the product so you can, or you just let these go. From your prospective this wasn't ideal, maybe even dysfunctional at times. From another this is just the normal day-to-day working relationship and is perfectly acceptable, and doesn't warrant giving you increased powers.

Coulda woulda shoulda: I beleive you should have taken a different approach with your manager and made a strong case for the Head of Department, that you brought the product up from almost nothing, successfully integrated and trained a new developer who is now Lead of UX, and if not now, then you would like a pathway to become Head of Department. The company is doing well, you were instrumental in its success and deserve a reward, and you have a vision for how development can progress.

But don't dwell on the past. Some people in this industry are just sitting in a corner growing cobwebs on them, you pursued your ambition even though it appears you made some grave mistakes, that's what humans do, learn from it, take it with you. Next time I suggest proactively seeking mentoring before consulting your manager for promotions and working relationship issues. All the best NO REGRETS!


You left because they wouldn't make you Head of Development. So, they had to ask themselves would the other guy leave if they don't make him HoD, and they figured either the answer was yes, or they didn't want to risk the answer being yes.

Plus at the moment it's a meaningless title -- why would they not give it to him? Conversation probably went something like this "Alice, Bob has just left, we need you to take over his duties as well as your own while we look for someone else. We'll give you a .02% raise (that's two cents for every $100) and the title Head of Development. When we hire his replacement, he'll either report to you or to me, we'll work that out later."

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