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I have been at a mid-size company for a while (over a year) in team X in a software capacity. I am not growing as well as I anticipated within X and I have been more than patient with regards to the attempts by my line manager (and subsequently, his manager) to improve the situation for me, all of which have failed. This has been going on for many months and I have been looking for employment elsewhere until recently when a position opened up internally to join team Y.

I am seriously considering applying for the transfer but have some hesitation due to the potential awkwardness this may cause me. The company is small enough such that it is quite probable I will cross paths with ex team members on a regular basis. Furthermore, Team X harbors somewhat of a negative view of other teams, predominantly team Y, which makes me worry that I will more than likely become a sort of target too, especially as I have moved.

I am asking how to deal with the awkwardness that will more than likely occur should I transfer teams.

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The fact that your employer facilitates internal transfers indicates that - in a broad sense - it's acceptable to the company culture.

On the other hand, it is always possible that certain individuals will resent you for moving. That said, this can happen for internal or external moves, or a variety of other reasons. It's important to realize that other people's resentment is out of your control. Throughout your career, you will surely make someone resent you at some point, no matter how "careful" you are.

So - as long as you are playing by the rules and behaving in a respectful manner (i.e. you're not blowing off some critical responsibility or otherwise causing serious damage), go ahead and make the transfer.

And if you do find awkwardness, keep the following points in mind:

  • Focus on your new job. You have a new boss. It's that person's opinion which really matters.
  • The fact that you got selected for the new position means that others - those who actually matter - have faith in you. Reflect on that if you find your confidence shaken.
  • Similarly, you chose this new role based on your own goals and preferences. There must certainly be things about this new role that make you happy or excited. If you find yourself getting caught up in awkwardness, remind yourself to focus on those exciting factors.
  • If there are conflicts between the teams, don't let yourself get dragged into the middle. React according to company policy or at least typical practices between teams. Don't let others make things personal.
  • Focus on your deliverables, and if the other team interferes with them, report that factually to your manager and let them handle the interference.

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