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I have had 6 managers in as many years. The organizational shifts may make sense at a higher level, however I find myself spinning my wheels over and over for the past 5 years. Each time I change managers, it seems that every bit of initiative, extra load and perceived seniority I’ve worked to attain is wiped out as I have to train a new manager on the work that I handle. With each new manager, additional workload is usually added to my responsibility. All of this throughout the years has dampened my hope that any advancement will ever be possible. It turns a job and role that I used to enjoy and was excited to be a part of into a recurring nightmare, knowing that anything I have done until now is considered distant past, and leaving me with no hope that anything I do moving forward will be considered in any future organizational changes.

Each time I move, the org under me stays with me. To my teams (yes there are multiple), the shifts are mostly transparent, the biggest change for them is that I use a different name when referring to our leadership. This most recent change has me assuming responsibility over an additional team, bringing my headcount from 12 to 19.

I’m not demanding that I be advanced without merit, but I am very concerned that I am being shifted from manager to manager, and sometimes org to org, without consideration of the single employee it impacts the most, me.

Do I have any foot to stand on with an HR complaint? Should I be hopeful that anything will be done? I don’t even know what I would expect to be done in this situation.

  • Have you ever raised any of these concerns with your manager(s)? Talked about your goals? Good managers should take the initiative to discuss this kind of move (before, during and after) and will notice that something's up. If they don't you should start these conversations yourself. Upping your report headcount from 12 to 19 also seems like a pretty decent advancement. What is the actual issue? Remuneration? Recognition? ...Titles? – Lilienthal Oct 22 '15 at 15:59
  • Yes,I have. Every one of them. Goals are set each year. Every review I get is good, and each manager I transition from and to reminds me that I am a "Critical person" on the account. Of course they tell me about it before hand, but it is always a notification that I will be moved again, rather than a discussion about my thoughts on it. The actual issue is that I continually lose traction and time by having to train someone new above me each year. – constantflux Oct 22 '15 at 16:17
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    Do you have a clear picture in your mind of what advancement looks like? Some folks might consider increased headcount as advancement. It may help to write out exactly what you want your role to be in an ideal world. Sometimes that's not a promotion in the same sense that the company thinks of it, but getting closer to your ideal situation would be progress for you personally. Getting to train a new boss could be an opportunity to reshape your role, not just backtracking over what you've done before. – ColleenV Oct 22 '15 at 17:39
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Do I have any foot to stand on with an HR complaint? Should I be hopeful that anything will be done? I don’t even know what I would expect to be done in this situation.

Certainly HR knows that you have had 6 managers in 6 years. So that fact wouldn't be a surprise to them.

Thus, complaining to HR is unlikely to change anything. It might be possible that HR would get a better sense of the unease these reorgs are causing you. And they might commiserate and try to make you feel better. But they clearly cannot just go to your bosses boss and say "stop reorganizing".

You need to use your 6-year knowledge of the company to conclude if this is a cultural thing or not. Some companies reorg/transfer all the time. If that's the case, you'll need to learn to live with it, or move on to another more stable company. Or, this may be an isolated case where you just happen to be in the center of some instability, in which case it might end now.

I recently worked for a company that constantly reorged. My team was split, reformed, and split again. I was given offshore teams, they were taken away, then given back again. In one period I worked for 4 different managers in 3 years - a few local, a few remote. And when I resigned, I was told to stick around because they were reorging me yet again. That's not how I wanted to live/work, so I left.

In some cases, a large company has several divisions - some stable, others not so stable. If that's the case in your company, and if you are in the unstable division, you might look into the possibility of transferring in hopes of more stability.

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    Your situation and mine sound similar, some of the reorgs have had me adding or removing teams previously. I've been with the company for much longer than 6 years. I have worked my way from entry level into Management over my tenure here. I suppose I feel that i am being artificially capped by being reorganized each year. – constantflux Oct 22 '15 at 16:19
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Probably not what you want to hear, but I'm confident in saying this because the same thing happened to me.

The fact that you haven't been promoted...could be your fault.

I for the longest time assumed that if I worked hard enough that someone would tap me on the shoulder and I would get that magical promotion I always wanted. That's not how business works all the time, for sure mine doesn't. I had to make some noise.

Look at it from your company's perspective. Year after year they're getting good work out of you and they can't read your mind. They're not going to just give your more money because they're feeling generous right?

I would, sit your new manager down and do some sort of career path charting. Gather some data on the market wage for your responsibilities put together a good summary of your work and go from there. Don't threaten to quit, but signal to them that you're not satisfied with your current situation, that you want to move up and why. Just be honest with your manager. Then it's documented, the next manager you get will have the information too.

  • I could accept that it would be my fault If I were not getting high marks on reviews and consistently producing and improving results with more efficiency. Recently the company has moved to a "Role Based" HR methodology. In doing so they have muddied the waters as to what is actually advancement, regression or a parallel move. Also it is not that I haven't been promoted. I have been promoted, into this position 6 years ago. My issues is the loss of traction, and quashing of any hope that advancement would come before I'm ready to retire. I have raised this after the first 3, to no avail. – constantflux Oct 22 '15 at 16:25
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I've been in a similar situation where we frequently shifted managers due to reorganizations. The problem as you said is that each time you get a new manager, you have to start fresh again. Of course, it's never a bad idea to bring this up during your yearly reviews (or whenever that happens) and being sure you're very vocal about what sort of advancements you had in mind. The best case is to have it documented with HR and your review that you wish to advance your career to whatever you want.

Aside from that, the next best thing to do is simply quit. I would say hold off on that until you done the above to gauge if the company cares about its employees at all.

  • I bring it up in every review that I have. I'm vocal about it with my Directors. Quitting is not what I want to do, as I said, I used to enjoy this role. – constantflux Oct 22 '15 at 16:59

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