Six months ago I become responsible for an important engineering task within my company, since the person previously occupying that position was forced to leave (ahem). So far I have done a good job and everyone seems to be happy with me. However, I feel slightly uncomfortable with the situation since the task in question exceeds what is supposed to be my role in the company. Not in terms of skills -as I mentioned, it seems that I'm doing well-, but purely in terms of position. To give you an idea of the mismatch, the other two people from my company working on similar tasks are two steps up from me in the ladder.

At this point it seems that I could ask management to recognize the new landscape and compensate me somehow:

  • Promotion: I was recently (<1 year) promoted, and unfortunately some corporations have this unwritten rule of a two-years gap between promotions. So the expected answer is "too soon".
  • Bonus or Salary Increase: The company I work for is pretty cash-strapped (our salaries were frozen this year), so the expected answer is "as you know, we are undergoing financial difficulties so blablabla...no"

What can I reasonably ask for -if anything- in this situation, and when? While I understand the caveats (recent promotion, little $ available) I find it contradictory that management feels perfectly OK with asking me to perform a task that greatly exceeds my position, but then I seem to be handcuffed with respect to any reasonable demand.

  • 1
    I have to tell you that your biggest mistake was in wating this long. Typically you need to ask for the promotion in order to take the position or help out in the short-term until then can decide who to hire for the postion and then after showing you can handle it, ask for it. If you wait longer than 1-2 months they will be less likely in my experience to give you the promotion.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 19:17
  • @HLGEM Your comment corresponds to the when part of the question. The reason why I did not ask for anything so far is that we have a important deliverable in two weeks. So every is going fine so far, but technically speaking I can only claim victory after the deliverable, since a few important people in the company will only see the result of my work by then. Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 19:34
  • possible duplicate of How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid?
    – gnat
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 20:01
  • @gnas I believe is a different question. This is one of the differences between a more technical Q&A site (like StackOverflow) and Workplace: the question (and the answers) has many angles depending on the details described by the poster. For example, I acknowledged that a raise might be unlikely to happen in my company - but one-time bonus or a promotion could be valid rewards. Furthermore, part of the intent in my post was to figure out if I should ask for retribution at all: maybe people expect me to perform well for at least a year before I can ask for anything Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


It's perfectly fair to request a promotion if your responsibilities are expanded well beyond the original scope of your position (even if you were recently promoted for other things)

Even in a large corporations with unspoken promotion rules I would simply be direct about the matter.

"I was hired to do X, Y, Z. The past few months I've taken on A, B, C, and D. I've done well with these new responsibilities and would like to continue to in these tasks, however; I believe it is only fair that my title and compensation better reflect these changes, based on these responsibilities I believe title XXX is more appropriate, and I am hoping to get a raise of XXX. I am willing to negotiate though."

Essentially you want to make it clear you want to keep doing what you're doing, but at the same time express you'd like "reasonable compensation" for these changes. Even if you were just promoted if your title and pay isn't up to snuff it's still perfectly fair to ask for more.

Edit Even cash strapped, a company should pay it's employee's fairly based on their day to day duties.


You are certainly entitled to ask for recognition, and hopefully the will respond favorably, but you should not approach it like you are owed something. Many companies expect you to prove you can do the job before they will give you the title/promotion.

Having worked in the engineering/IT field for 25 years now, every job/company situation I have been in required me to do the new job or level of responsibility for some amount of time to prove myself before I got the promotion.

6 months is definitely a reasonable amount of time for you to use as a basis for asking for recognition, but understand their position. They aren't going to give you the promotion because they think you can do the job, they will give it to you because they know you can do the job.

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