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A little bit of background, first off I've been working as the lead developer at my current company for just over 2 years. When I started I was on track to just outright replace our previous CTO but we ended up gelling and both felt it was healthier to work together and for me to find my bearings.

I got our whole small (12 person company) into a daily standup routine to help better communicate across the board even on topics not strictly related to development.

Our videos used to be shot on iPhones and were poorly edited and I took it upon myself to teach myself videography and editing all of our videos across the board while doing all my regular programming work. Before finally finding a real video guy and giving him the reigns. (He's doing amazing work for us now)

I've single-handedly developed our entire subscription billing platform and have seen year over year growth of over 200%.

After my first 6 month review, I had a chat with the CEO and he was very impressed and told me that he would give me a small but deserved raise. I have never received the raise.

I put in my two weeks notice about a month back after receiving a better offer and out of frustration for my boss taking credit (our CTO) for all the initiatives that I put in place. When my old boss caught wind of this he started by quickly saying that he could find a million people like me and that I was nothing. (Our CEO even showed me the messages from him)

Abruptly a week into my 2 weeks notice our CTO quit out of the blue, dropped his partnership with the company and hasn't been heard from since. Our CEO told me that there is no way that I could leave now and the real work is just beginning. And it has, my role hasn't changed only grown into taking on some of the more business related and administrative duties.

Still, he never told me that I've been granted a new title no raise no sit down discussion just go go go, but this morning I started interviews for a graphic designer which my new boss the CEO wanted to be a part of and he took the reigns and introduced me as the CTO. Nothing is official but that's the way he put it. I still don't know how to approach this whole situation. My ideal outcome is that I am named and officially the CTO and treated as such.

How can I raise the issue of what I want in order to stay, now that I'm "The CTO"?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Dan Pichelman, IDrinkandIKnowThings, gnat, OldPadawan, The Wandering Dev Manager Jul 28 '18 at 12:54

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    Do you have a question? – mob Jul 27 '18 at 21:23
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    I'm left wondering why you're still there ? ... What's the question? What do you want help with? – rkeet Jul 27 '18 at 21:34
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    "Our CEO told me that there is no way that I could leave now". Just watch me. – DJClayworth Jul 27 '18 at 21:41
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    You have a communication problem with that company. They aren't communicating with you, and you don't feel comfortable telling the CEO when there's a problem. That needs to change immediately if you're going to stay there. – Kathy Jul 27 '18 at 21:46
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    The old CTO just disappears from one day to the other, and ends any connection between him and the company? Many possible reasons for this boil down to "the company stinks, hurry to find something better". Several promised/deserved raises that never got real, not having interest to clarify what your role is, trying to manipulate and lowball you, massively downplaying your work, and this boss-CEO duo where one acts like he is on your side, are fine signs too ... Get out. The amount of exploitation and abuse will continue to grow. And when ("when") the company collapses, it's not your fault. – deviantfan Jul 27 '18 at 22:07
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The single biggest point in your question is this one:

After my first 6 month review, I had a chat with the CEO and he was very impressed and told me that he would give me a small but deserved raise. I have never received the raise.

You were promised something, and it didn't eventuate. Now you're being told something else after you have already resigned, but there is still no firm offer in hand.

My advice to you is, if you couldn't get what you were promised before, why would it change, now or in future? Your boss is desperate to keep you now that he realises that with the other person gone, you are suddenly irreplaceable. The fact that the other person left and you are now in this position is really not your problem or issue, it's something your CEO should have managed a long time ago.

I strongly urge you to round out your notice period if you haven't already and move on. Having to resign to get either a raise or a promotion is a poor long-term strategy.

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Much of what others have said is valid, especially questioning why you would want to stay at this company, but you also need to consider why you are trying to become CTO and whether it is the right role for you.

Nothing you have said in your question suggests it would be a good fit: you are clearly a high performer doing technical work, but the CTO role is one of leadership and strategy, not strong technical performance.

On the other hand one thing you have said in your question suggests it would be a bad fit: the fact that you're not able to communicate well with the CEO. Were you to become CTO, you would need to be able to speak clearly and authoritatively to him (not with authority over him, but with authority over the strategic direction for the company's technology, which you need to represent to him); if you can't do so over a simple job title and salary, are you confident you would be able to do so when the fate of the company rests on a decision? Also the CTO would typically be negotiating salary with new technical hires, do you feel confident doing so when you're not confident negotiating your own?

I may have misjudged you, obviously I only have a few paragraphs to go on. And as I said you are clearly a high calibre technologist. But speaking as someone in a senior technical role, with absolutely no ambition to be CTO because of the actual job description, I think it's worth keeping in mind that just because a position is as high as you could aspire to, doesn't necessarily mean you should actually want that position.

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If you really want to stay (and there's plenty of reasons why you should just go with the other offer), ask the CEO what your formal title is and what the salary is (and other benefits). Make sure you're actually getting that salary. Check with whoever's running payroll.

You can't be a C-level officer and be afraid to ask the CEO questions and to stand up to him. If you are reluctant to do that, don't take the job.

Remember that what the CEO says isn't necessarily true. You can leave the company (and, in fact, I think that's your best bet).

  • Don't ask what your salary is. Tell them what it will be if you're going to stay. Get it in writing. – Glen Pierce Jul 28 '18 at 15:24

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