Here is the context:
I've been working in this tech company of ~1000 people for the last 5 years.
For the last 2.5 years I've a position of "senior software engineer", where I feel I worked on interesting projects but not on the most interesting / most impactful ones, because it seems that these positions were immediately filled before people like me were even aware they were open.
In the last few years I've gradually been given more and more "ownership" of subjects and responsibilities due to my seniority, even though none of this is strictly official (i.e. my job description didn't change)
In December, I discussed with my manager about what I could do to progress in the company and I told him I could be interested in becoming team lead. I was then directed to a "lead assessment" process where I had 2 meetings with people asking me questions about my motivation for becoming a team lead, what I would do in such and such situation etc.
Last week I got the feedback of this "lead assessment" from my manager, where basically the feedback was that I was not "there" yet, because apparently I showed that I was more interested in managing projects (i.e. project management) than people (i.e. dealing with people's career evolution etc). The answer from my lead was now to make me:
mentor a newcomer in the team
have ownership of an "important" subject until April 1st (subjects change every quarter)
I felt quite frustrated by this, because as I told him:
I've already been mentoring the newcomer in the team (and others before)
I've already had "ownership" of lots of subjects in the last 2.5 years I was senior
So I basically already have a "track record" for these topics, which any higher-up in the hierarchy can look into. Furthermore these "changes" are not really done in any official capacity, i.e. nothing is changed "on paper" and for the "ownership" of the new topic for instance, I don't really have any legitimacy and my manager can decide at any moment to take back control for this topic.
The answer from my manager was basically that these topics were an opportunity to prove myself, but to me this is really not so different than what I've been doing in the past few years. Also these new responsibilities are kind of far from a team leaders.
In the past, I've always fell that new "team lead" opportunities were filled long before I was in the loop, and I fear that this might be the same with this change, i.e. that my name still won't circulate when the higher-ups decide that a new team has to be created or when a new team lead is looked for, and that I will perpetually be thought of as "not yet ready" to be lead with no real opportunities to change this - which is hard when indeed you are never in the loop.
In this situation, what is my best course of action if I aim to get promoted to team lead? I can either:
- push extra hard for one more month on this new "project" in the hope to "prove myself", hoping something will change in April (unlikely)
- continue as usual in the hope that at some point I will have "proven myself" on enough projects so I can get considered for a lead position
- try to circumvent the "official" channels and try to find a lead position internally using my own network
- change job so I start anew and get promoted faster or get hired as a team lead