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.