Background: I started with my company about 4 years ago in a role that was client-facing and was hired as a non-exempt employee. The culture of the firm is that people work a lot of overtime, especially in the winter months (80 hour weeks are typical, sometimes approaching 100 hours). While I am not a fan of overtime (I have 3 kids so it obviously cuts into family time) at least I was compensated for every hour I worked. About a year and a half ago I had the opportunity to work on the development of an internal software product that would be used throughout the whole US firm and several international offices as well. It as a very large undertaking, with me assuming the lead business analyst/program manager role (though not officially a management position). The project was completed on time and was very successful. Last year my wife became pregnant with our third child and we wanted to move back to our home town all the way across the country on the West coast. My boss agreed to allow me to go and I made the move, working remotely from home and traveling back to the East coast offices every 3 months or so.
Current Situation: We just had our annual review and I was rated the top rating amongst my peers (it's a relative rating scale). The managers were impressed with my work and wanted to promote me to the next level up. All of the levels that are above my current position are exempt, and also as of this year my current level and the one I would be promoted to are not eligible for bonuses (but all levels above that are).
However, I have been wanting to leave the company for awhile so I can focus on growing my career as a business analyst or getting into program management in the software field, which I would not be able to fully focus on in with this company.
Given the following:
- I have stayed at this company due to a prior lack of other opportunities that pay a similar rate (overtime accounts for around 30% of my pay so it's quite significant).
- The software project I work on is mainly owned by me and I'm not sure there would be someone suitable to take over the project in the same capacity.
- The "promotion" would result in a pay cut (approximately a 30% reduction in total pay without a reduction in hours), and raises/bonuses are non-negotiable as they are determined in advance and each level has a certain pay-range.
- My company allowed me to move back to my home city and work remotely
How much of an obligation should I have to the firm to take the promotion I don't necessarily want? How best can I make preparations to leave so that I do not burn any bridges?