Yesterday in my regularly scheduled "one on one" meeting with my manager I was ambushed not only by my manager but his manager (a member of the executive team) and an human resources person. This was quite out of the ordinary to say the least.

The first thought that popped into my head was "Oh no is the company downsizing? And/Or Am I being let go for some reason?"

I was immediately reassured that was not the case and not to panic. But what followed never the less did incite some stress/anxiety/panic.

I was told my manager was moving on to a new position in a different company - which was a little unexpected given how (relatively) new my manager was to his position (less than 2 years). On one hand I was happy for him, but on the other hand I was a little upset - maybe even angry. (We've had a great working relationship which I am sad to lose).

At the same time I was told we were undergoing an re-organization. Two of my colleagues who were formerly peers were being promoted. One of them would now be my direct manager. Effectively I would no longer report to my manager's successor but an intermediary who was formerly a peer.

As if that wasn't enough I was next told, that two people that formerly reported to me would be now reporting directly to my new supervisor. Effectively cutting my team in half.

This was framed in a way such that I was told this was not a demotion but rather an effort to redistribute work and alleviate some of the workload that had been placed on me.

To be fair my workload has been unreasonable and my work/life balance has suffered as a result. But I can't help but feel like I have been demoted by this intermediary management layer being introduced between me and my current supervisor.

I feel slighted, and again angry, upset and worried about the future. I've maintained complete composure and avoided expressing any concerns about this change. Mostly out of shock but also out of fear of saying the wrong thing and/or alienating anyone.

Obviously I don't want to start off on bad terms with my new manager and anything I say to either my current boss who is departing (or my bosses boss) could be leaked back to my new boss. It will be awkward and challenging enough to report to a former peer without souring our working relationship before we even start.

I should say I generally have an ok/good working relationship with my former colleague (although I've thought that about other peers and then been surprised when I discovered accidentally that sentiment wasn't reciprocal.)

I'm also worried that the new person hired to fill my prior boss's roll won't have the same chemistry and working relationship. And honestly I no longer even report to that person. Effectively I feel I lack even less influence to affect change or have autonomy than I did previously.

I really do like my company - BUT - all of these changes have caused me a fair bit of distress and unsettled me. I've immediately started updating my resume, and changed my LinkedIn status to "open for work".

Is this overreacting? Quite possibly. But being able to take some action made me feel less helpless even if was mostly symbolic.

But I am very much torn. Am I best to wait it out and see how things progress?. Or is preparing to leave myself just a prudent/sensible precaution? Would it be out of line to casually ask my current boss if he has any openings in his new company to keep me in mind?

Does anyone have any advice for me in terms weather I should just sit tight and wait, or should I be more direct and express my concerns to either to my old manager (who is departing), my new manager, or my new managers, managers, manager?

Any feedback or advise would be grateful.

  • 1
    If its at all pertinent I should also mention this is a relatively small company (fewer than 75 people) despite the multitude of management layers.
    – Brad
    Mar 30, 2022 at 23:49
  • 1
    I'll also say that I am relatively new to managing myself (within the past year and a half). My two colleagues who were promoted have been doing it longer and are more experienced. That being said I have been with my company for quite a long time - just not in a managerial capacity.
    – Brad
    Mar 30, 2022 at 23:53
  • 2
    Can I suggest changing the subject to "Is this management reorg a demotion"?
    – Adam Burke
    Mar 31, 2022 at 4:56
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    I'm not sure what your problem is, and what you are asking. Companies are getting restructured all the time. And yes, if a company grows and a new layer of management is introduced, it can happen that you find yourself further away from the CEO as you have been. Depends on your career aspirations if that is a problem. You said you were overworked to a point that it affected your private life. So shouldn't this restructure be something positive? I also don't understand your "anger" about your manager leaving. There is no obligation to stay, just because you liked working with that manager.
    – jwsc
    Mar 31, 2022 at 6:33
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    What is the actual question being asked here? It seems to be for general-purpose career advice, which we can't give. One thing I will recommend is to try to remove emotion from the situation as far as possible (you're only human). Your boss getting a new job should not make you angry, that's absurd. You also talk about fear and stress and panic and feeling helpless. None of that is helpful. Try to set all that aside and understand: what is the situation? What resolution do I want? Is it something I can get? If so, how? We might be able to help with the "how", but probably not the rest. Mar 31, 2022 at 7:11

3 Answers 3


Is this overreacting?

Very much so. Not exactly "over" but mostly "wrong". Most of what you write is about your feelings, which are almost entirely irrelevant to the question. If you want to deal this this effectively you need to shut your emotions off and turn you brain on.

Let's dissect what really happened here.

  1. Your boss left: Perfectly normal. Happens all the time. If you are reasonably observant you should have an idea who is on their way out, so ideally that should not have been a surprise to you.
  2. Reorg got triggered: Again perfectly normal. The red flag that you missed here is that you weren't part of the re-org planning, which is an indicator that management doesn't feel you are good at this type of thing or can be trusted to handle the professionally.
  3. A peer promoted over you: Again perfectly normal. Whenever you are promoting someone, you are NOT promoting their peers. One gets it and the others don't. Instead about being angry about it, you should analyze why. What does Peer do that you don't, what are they key behaviors and skills that make Peer the better choice? Management typically doesn't just pull a name out of a hat, they try to find the best candidate for the role.
  4. You lost two reports: This may or not be a ding on you. This depends on whether it makes business sense or not. You already conceded that there is a workload problem, so this reasonable. If you were the department director, how would you have organized it differently and why?

Is this management reorg a demotion?

Depends on the details but I'm guessing yes. Based on your emotional writing and lack of rational analysis, I would assume that you are currently lacking the maturity for a more senior leadership position and management knows it.

Does anyone have any advice for me in terms weather I should just sit tight and wait, or should I be more direct and express my concerns ...

Neither. You should carefully analyze the situation using all available data and specifically your own strengths and weaknesses. I'm guessing that you are technically good at your job but way too much focused on your own feelings and emotions, which makes you ineffective. Fix that first.

Would it be out of line to casually ask my current boss if he has any openings in his new company to keep me in mind?

Yes. Very much out of line.

  • I wouldn't say I am given to being overly emotional. In fact quote the contrary - I get accused of being stoic and difficult to read. I shared my feelings/emotions here simply because I acknowledge my feelings may in fact be coloring my perspective and so in sharing them I'm hoping to get the best and most useful advice/answers.
    – Brad
    Mar 31, 2022 at 12:26
  • So far I've been neutral and/or positive to my colleagues. I have congratulated everyone on their new positions and wished them the best. And I mean them no ill will but that doesn't change the fact that I feel slighted. Now with that said doing a self evaluation I am less experienced in a managerial role than my two peers.
    – Brad
    Mar 31, 2022 at 12:42
  • That being said we just did a reorganization 1.5-2 years ago where my title and their tittle was changed. Their responsibilities remained mostly the same as did mine - although I was asked to also manage five reports which I have historically not done.
    – Brad
    Mar 31, 2022 at 12:44
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    This is a great answer except the last line. There is nothing wrong with using your personal connections to further your career. If you worked well with your previous boss then letting them know you would be open to working with them again is standard networking.
    – User65535
    Mar 31, 2022 at 13:45
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    @Brad: my recommendation (which you are absolutely free to dismiss) is "stop justifying and blaming and start with a little honest introspection": What are your weaknesses and how are they holding you back and contribute the current situation. If you can't find any, you are doing it wrong: Everyone has weaknesses.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 31, 2022 at 14:58

You got demoted.

They know it, you know it.

You can tell them you don’t like it, but it won’t change anything.

Your options are enjoy the demoted life or move on to another role.

  • Thanks for the feedback/input. I do feel like demoted despite their indication to the contrary. This was very much framed like "we're trying to help you" and alleviate your workload but I couldn't help but question if it was disingenuous.
    – Brad
    Mar 31, 2022 at 0:01
  • I'm still a bit in shock and processing it and I am trying to keep my reaction as neutral as possible - especially to my employer. I'm just questioning if that's counter productive. If I don't speak up am I essentially just accepting it. Is expressing unhappiness just a waste of effort and/or will make things even worse by saying something?
    – Brad
    Mar 31, 2022 at 0:05
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    It’s disingenuous. People they want in leadership they have in leadership and give reports to “alleviate workload” and it’s an excuse to take you out of power in this case. Saying something won’t change what they are doing, they don’t expect you to like it.
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 31, 2022 at 0:41

If HR was there to witness, you've been demoted. The HR role is to document what's said and the reaction of all the parties involved. They already knew you'd be upset and the management was just covering their own behinds by having HR present. And, no notice? Yes, demotion.


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