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I currently work on a project for a senior manager as their ‘number 2’, often attending meetings and deputising on their behalf. I was told that a new person is coming onto the project to be their deputy (with a more senior job title) which feels very similar to the work I am doing.

In a different conversation, not linked to the announcement about this new role, I was asked to work in a different area, in a different role, although on the same project.

This would be 100% of my time, giving up the work I am currently doing. I have always been told the work I am doing is excellent, and always receive positive feedback so this move was a bit of a surprise.

I have been asked to decide whether to accept the new role or not but it feels like I am being moved and don't have a choice as it is implied the new deputy is my replacement.

The new role is OK, but it is not a new challenge, or a promotion - but a side step.

What things should I consider when making a career move which feels somewhat forced and isn't exactly desirable?

  • We cannot decide this for you, since we don't know you. But it sounds like your options are A) accept or B) find another employer. Which is best for you, is something you'll have to figure out yourself. – Erik Oct 1 '18 at 8:42
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    I made an edit to focus on an actionable question here and have raised a request for it to be reopened on meta. – enderland Oct 2 '18 at 23:52
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There might be some much simpler explanation for your situation. Lets say what you are currently doing is Job A, and what you are asked to move to is Job B. Consider the possibility that they need a new person for Job B, but while interviewing they find a very nice candidate that would fit perfectly in Job A but is not qualified for Job B. They don't want to miss the opportunity to hire him and the solution is to ask the person doing Job A to move to Job B.

Saying all that I don't think there is anything to lose by just asking the higher ups. You can explain that you were enjoying Job A, and looking forward to the opportunity to do Job A+ (which would be the higher position the new hire will fill) while inquiring about more details about Job B and the opportunities to grow there.

It is understandable if you feel a bit disheartened as the situation might be interpreted as management not thinking you can do Job A+ but it doesn't mean that is necessary the case. A short conversation with them about it should put some more light on what is happening and it is perfectly normal for you to be concerned why they are asking you to move and if the other person would take your old responsibilities.

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What things should I consider?

Consider accepting it, for your job security. If not permanently then temporarily whilst you look for a new job.

They have brought in a new 'deputy' to replace what you are currently doing (non-officially) so either they're not convinced you are cut out for this job or they simply want someone official to do it.

They offer you a new role as they value yourself as a good worker who produces good results. If you decline this offer it is likely you may run out of work in your current role as the new hire will take over most of your tasks as 'deputy' and if worst comes to worst you may be released.

If you take the side step you guarantee a job and it's not the end of the line, all though a side step there is no clear position for you to be promoted into so you may as well accept it as there is still chance to be promoted from your new role instead of your current.

If you find you do not like this new role, you can always look for another job. At least this way you'll have one whilst you look.

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