I am currently competing with colleague in the WA office for our company. I am one of two people (with my colleague included) being considered for a major promotion from senior engineer to senior manager, which results in a large pay increase and more responsibilities.

I frequently out-preform my colleague, but the promotion has a requirement that the individual be required to be available to work extra hours per week. I am able to put in up to 50 hours per week (which I often do, to get ahead) but the other colleague competing for this role can put in more than 110 hours per week.

I regularly outperform him, and can do more in 40 hours than he can do in 60. However, my employer is looking just at how many human-hours the candidate can produce per quarter. I am concerned that, even though I outperform him, this puts me at a disadvantage because my colleague is a single man with no responsibilities while I am a mother with childcare obligations that take time.

He can put in more excess hours, but I do better work. How can I convince my supervisors to consider efficiency and how I can become better than my colleague (in terms of work done per week) given more time (and maybe a better daycare arrangement for me)?

  • @Omegastick We get a well above average/mean pay (i.e. nobody earns less than $140,000 USD per annums). – Jinrya Apr 24 '19 at 1:33
  • @PeteCon That "comes with the job". I'm fine with this for 5 more years at the next "pay grade" above mine, then retiring. – Jinrya Apr 24 '19 at 1:33
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    @Jinrya I made some edits to your question (based on comments, which I've now cleaned up). It sounds to me like you are concerned about losing out because you have less free time, which in turn is because you have family obligations, but that you aren't asking about a broader pattern of sexism or discrimination at your company. If I've misunderstood or if you want to add more information, please feel free to edit further. Thanks and good luck with this situation. – Monica Cellio Apr 24 '19 at 2:21
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    Have your supervisors explicitly told you that they're only looking at "hours worked", or are you assuming it? Given that your response to an answer was to swear at the answerer in a (now deleted) comment because you didn't like what they had to say, there may be other reasons that your peer is being considered over you. Management is about dealing with people, and being aggressive/rude towards people is a great way to create a toxic work environment. – Player One Apr 24 '19 at 2:45
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    Programmers (experienced programmers) barely get out of bed for 140k. If you make that much @Jinrya you're no longer a junior and you must - surely - have a good grasp of the industry. Why oh why would you work there? Just leave and within a day or two you'll have a new job with a non-silly company, and making more money. – Fattie Apr 24 '19 at 10:48


  1. Work longer hours
  2. Find a measurable KPI and openly brag about it to your manager setting yourself above your competition


  1. Find another job

Your post comes across as a bit of a rant. Obviously it is very frustrating to be in your situation and if your manager is narrow minded and shallow he will pick the "long hours" guy. Unless... something changes his mind.

Only you can find a way to do that. You said your output is better, can you prove this? Then now is the time to do it.

On the other hand if you can't prove it on paper unfortunately the "dedicated guy putting in the long hours" will always look better.


People don't produce human hours. It's an abstraction used to try to allocate effort. You appear to recognize this, as it's the crux of your argument why you're a better choice than your coworker.

It's also an abstraction that a good manager recognizes as such. If you have a good manager, then you don't have a need to worry. If you have need to worry, I'd recommend finding a good manager.

Edit: In response to comments, I am not intending to imply the OP should find a better job. I don't know if that's needed or not. I'm saying that from the OP's description, it sounds like they should already be a sure thing for the promotion, at least in terms of the capabilities so far discussed, unless their management does not understand I feel is pretty fundamental to being good management.

It should be about results produced, not hours worked. There's also the message given by whom one chooses to advance, and if the sole winning factor is the number of hours worked, that's predicting many long hours ahead.

That having been said, I think I've seen in one of the OP's comments that they have an eye on retirement in five years. If their competition is intending on sticking around longer, that could be a reason that they'd get passed up for the promotion even if they have a manager who understands the difference between quantity and quality, and why quality is better.

Also, having thought about it more, it sounds like a lot more of what good management should be concerned about isn't being considered here. A good manager also knows the importance of team efforts versus individual contributions, how to handle conflicts between employees, how to manage budgets, motivate employees, prioritize objectives, and a lot more. Most of the times I've been under consideration for a promotion, the other person has been more capable of some of these things than me.

A good manager is skilled at dealing paperwork and bureaucracy. Every time I've been under consideration for promotion, there's been another candidate who has been better at this than me. These are key enough that I've never gotten a promotion past team lead. My employer values my individual contributions enough I'm not hurting for salary, so I'm not complaining. I'm just saying.

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    @EdGrimm Oh no, you didn't do anything wrong. Jinrya insulted you in Chinese, but the comment is deleted now. – Omegastick Apr 24 '19 at 9:45

It's important to recognize that promotions aren't the same as pay increases. They often come together, but the skills necessary for one role may not match up with those necessary for another role. Some people excel with their hands on the tools, some people excel with managing schedules, some people excel at managing people. So your performance in your current role may not have a strong bearing on your performance in the role that is being considered.

If higher than 50 hours a week is a hard requirement for that role, then you're not a suitable candidate for it. If you can resolve that problem, then it's still up to your manager to decide the criteria that they promote for (excepting protected classes, etc).

So while that is the case, I don't think you should donate time to your employer in some desire to get promoted like that. A better(?) company will recognize the value of your contributions, and promote according to suitability, and capability, for a role. Please recognize that taking on 60 hours a week versus 40 is an effective 33% reduction in pay for you. Maybe that person feels bigger, but your effective pay rate is possibly better, for less stress.

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