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I have been in limbo for a promotion at work for a long time, and I’m not being given any clear answers. Reading between the lines, I’m assuming this is a “no”.

I was hired into a job and it quickly became apparent based on the responsibilities and the expectations that my title was not inline with my industry, experience, and even other people doing similar type roles at my company. I performed exceptionally my first year. At my performance review, I mentioned that I would like to obtain a new title. I asked if there was an appetite for another individual at that level in the company, and if so, what is my development path to reach it. I was told that yes, there was an appetite, and then given some very subjective goals they would like me to hit (completely unmeasurable goals). I took this in good faith and continued to work hard. At least quarterly, I checked in with my boss and showed him how I was progressing. I was met with indifference - no encouragement that I was trending in the right direction, but no feedback that I wasn’t either.

At my 2nd annual review, I once again received exceptional marks. I brought up the conversation of a promotion again. I was prepared with the goals he had requested previously and what I had done to achieve them. This time I asked what else we needed to demonstrate. I was told that we would discuss it “later”. No feedback, no timeline. It felt like a very soft no. I was a bit discouraged but left the review still feeling valued by the company, and decided I would more actively pursue the topic in one on ones.

2 months later, we had a significant event where I rose to the challenge and led the organization out of the catastrophe, saving the company millions of dollars. I met with my boss and said that hopefully this demonstrated that I was operating at the level that I was asking to be titled at. I decided to take a more aggressive approach and asked if they were now prepared to address my title. My boss said he was thinking about it, but it isn’t the right time to have this conversation. I asked when we could revisit. He said 30 days.

I waited a month and a half and brought it up again. I again got the messaging of “not a good time”.

At this point, I feel like I’m being blown off and there is no intention of promoting me. If there are gaps in my performance, I would be fine being told “no”, but I haven’t received a single piece of tangible feedback in my tenure at this company of things they expect of someone at that level. If I was told that I was deficient, I would be fine with the “no” as long as there was a development plan to help me get to that next level. Likewise, if the company does not want a person at that title, I want that feedback as well. I would probably move on, as career progression is important to me. If I had to guess, I would assume this is what is happening. My manager is kicking the can down the road because he knows I’m going to hit the market if I can’t advance.

At this point, I’m ready to move on because I am not feeling like there are any options for me here. Before I start looking, are there any other methods I should pursue to get a clear answer on the promotion?

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    Can you elaborate what a promotion means? Do you get a pay rise? Do you get moved to a different part of the company? After promotion, what happens? – Gregory Currie May 16 at 3:51
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    The post is surely lacking in details. You are being had. You are in an industry/place where they do not value or view with suspicion IT people. Why not moving on? I would not accept a counter offer with another offer in view. – Rui F Ribeiro May 16 at 4:04
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    You helped the company save millions and they didn't even give you a bonus, at least it's not mentioned. Why are you still working for them? What is it that makes you stay? Is the pay really good? Is the balance of work and personal life perfect? – Mari-Lou A May 16 at 6:59
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    You've been approaching this for how long? 2 or more years? Are you being denied a promotion? Yes. – joeqwerty May 17 at 1:06
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You are being told no.

You would know if they were saying yes, because you would have the promotion. Everything else is an exercise in wishful thinking.

They are not even meaningfully engaging with you on a path to get there. You are never getting that promotion without something drastically changing - and apparently saving them millions does not meet that category of “drastic.”

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    In other words, get out and don't accept any counter-offer... their loss. – Laurent S. May 16 at 8:26
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You've already received your answer indirectly, at least SEVEN times according to your post. You probably should have left after no movement on the title change concern. But your manager figured that if you stuck around THE FIRST TIME after receiving no feedback, the company would continue to benefit and he could continue to receive the benefit of your labor without increasing his department's costs at all.

Gather what's left of your self-respect, examine other opportunities in your field of expertise, and go get your money. Leave quietly. Avoid accepting a counter-offer, because then you'll be stuck in the same indifferent culture and just be making more money. It will become just less rewarding over time.

Sometimes the best way to assert your value is to stop talking and start moving. Do not give the next employer so much leeway!! Best of luck on your next job.

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