My (previous) colleague feels as though she has been passed up for multiple promotions. Her junior colleagues are being promoted, but she is not.

What advice or guidance can I offer her?

First thing I want to point out is that this has nothing to do with salary, just the title, hence I don't believe this is a repeat.

Second thing is that this is actually about an ex colleague of mine, from the company I used to work for and left.

The company I used to work for is small (60 people) and I left as I didn't feel like I was valued; that I was being micro managed; and that I should have been promoted to a management position as I was doing that job already. I'd like to point out at this point that the salary was generous and I may have stayed if it was something I loved doing. It was an account management job, but I always wanted to be a techy so felt a change was needed.

A colleague of mine, who joined around a year after me, and who I trained up is now in a similar position. She does, however, enjoy the job a lot more than I did and it is in her desired field and a good career step for her.

Now that I have left, a lot of people who joined after are now being promoted to account managers (from account executives) on different client accounts. My friend feels like she also deserves to be promoted. Each person works on one client account only (for the most part) but there can be multiple people on each account.

One example of this issues is that someone, who joined the company after my friend on a different account, was moved onto our account when I resigned, so that I could train her. She has now been promoted to account manager, although the company says that it's due to her work on the previous account, it does make her more senior than my friend, who knows more about the account and systems on the account.

My friend is concerned that this other person has been promoted because of her close friendly relationship outside of work with the senior account manager (the account director is currently on mat leave).

I have said she should mention it to the senior account director (who oversees all the accounts) and maybe bring it up in an email so that there is a paper trail of her comments and concerns, but she isn't sure how to approach it. She feels like she is being pushed out of the account and I have suggested she asks to move accounts because of it, but now she is worried that if she kicks up a fuss that they will be less likely to help out with her visa sponsorship.

It's really getting her down and I'm a bit stuck on what to suggest now. (I did suggest she posted on here but she is a bit less outgoing so I thought I would help out). Leaving isn't really an option because her visa is going to run out soon and it would be tricky for her to get a job which will sponsor her for a new one.

  • 3
    Your friend might be a great worker, but perhaps the company feels she doesn't have management skills. She might know the systems and account better, and maybe the company feels that is where she would be most impactful. You said yourself she loves the role, so maybe the company wanted to leave her where she is if she never expressed interest in management.
    – dfundako
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 15:25
  • @dfundako, I may have worded this badly but its actually not a role where she would be required to manage anyone, it's about managing the account, which is part of what she already does as an account exec. It wouldn't make her anyone's line manager and the role wouldn't change a lot, it just means slightly more responsibilities with the clients, which she is definitely capable of. The company promotes people based on the work they do, and she is already doing the tasks required for this promotiob
    – Gamora
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 15:32
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    @Bee If there are no changes to neither salary nor responsibilities, does it really matter?
    – rasan076
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 15:40
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    Every company I've ever worked in is that way. Managers tend to promote those they trust will do the job. Hate to say it, but that's just how business works.
    – Keith
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 16:26
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    @aaaaaa She wants to have the job title "account manager" which is well deserved in my opinion
    – Gamora
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


You are starting this question from the position of:

Joe got promotion but Jane deserves it much more. How can she use that in an argument?

In reality we should assume that promotion and demotion decisions are based not on "who deserves it" but on business needs and value to the company. I put quotes around "deserve" because that is your opinion and you don't know how these decisions are made.

I would suggest, given your friend's situation (I am an international person too by the way), to suck it up, accept the nepotism at the workplace in exchange of visa and job.

After that, your friend will write to the manager, saying these nice things you said about your friend in the comments:

Plus the tech team and the client both like her more, so in general projects go more smoothly when she is working on them. I know the senior account manager trusts her to to the job as she gives her more of the complicated projects

Your friend should ask "the senior account manager" for a recommendation or support. If your friend wants, they can start the conversation with "I want position X what should I do to get there?"

Most importantly, never mention "X got promotion but I deserve it better". Your friend can't compare themselves this way. This is basically saying that your manager doesn't know what they are doing.

  • Thanks, I mentioned to her she shouldn't bring it up from that point of view, but I do understand where she is coming from with it as I was in a similar position. A lot of it is about not feeling like she is being valued and, with it being a small company, one of their strong points is about rewarding hard work and a job well done. To add to that, certainly when I was employed, I was assured that I'd never miss out on a promotion because there was no "space", since they are happy to have multiple managers (for instance) if all the employees deserve it.
    – Gamora
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 16:51
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    +1 for talking to management and asking "what should I do to get there". If they don't know you're interested, you may never be on their radar.
    – Smock
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 13:41
  • @Bee not bringing up is right, but also you should not think about promotions in that way. It is bitter and pointless and just increase frustration without helping anything Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 14:40
  • @aaaaaa although I gave a +1 for the main answer, your comment is not a massively helpful reply. You can't tell someone who is feeling upset and frustrated to just not be
    – Gamora
    Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 14:48
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    As an update, she did get the promotion in the end, around 6 months later
    – Gamora
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 17:02

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