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I got into a tricky situation at the office. First, let me explain the people's chain: Me -> Manager A (my direct almost-ex-boss) -> Manager B (my manager's manager) -> Manager C (boss of the other two managers).

My direct manager("manager A") is leaving and his position is open now. When managers A and B announced this news, they said that they've found a replacement and that person will step in soon.

He and his manager("manager B") are aware of my intention to take on a managerial role. I asked them if I was considered at all and the manager A replied that there's a plan for me in the next 6 months. He encouraged me to talk to manager B and get details from him(since manager A won't be here by that time).

I did talk to manager B and he was very vague with his explanations. He said, he knows I am looking forward the new role but he can't promise anything and he has no plan yet. Maybe, next year. Maybe.

Now, I had a smalltalk with a boss of manager B - "manager C". He has an impressive career and I asked him for career advice. He suggested that I apply for my direct manager's position even though I might not get it. IMO there is really no point in doing so because the replacement is found - I said to him. He was surprised that there was no fair competition because "it's not finalized and everyone should have a chance to apply". According to his words, it's worth applying in order to let HR & everybody know that I am interested in that kind of position.

Overall, all three of them seem to be on completely different pages. I am concerned that I got involved into their games unintentionally and would like to get out of them. Questions:

  1. Should I still apply for the open position? This can bring some misunderstanding and trouble from my managers chain.
  2. Should I worry about opening the surprising information to manager C(that somebody got hired without going through the regular process)?
  3. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

closed as off-topic by scaaahu, Masked Man, Michael Grubey, Mister Positive, Draken May 2 '17 at 6:43

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for advice on what to do are not practical answerable questions (e.g. "what job should I take?", or "what skills should I learn?"). Questions should get answers explaining why and how to make a decision, not advice on what to do. For more information, click here." – scaaahu, Masked Man, Michael Grubey, Mister Positive, Draken
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • @JoeStrazzere, the question suggests more than "different viewpoints". The two lower-level managers had different answers on whether there is a concrete plan in place for the OP's promotion. They may disagree about whether to promote an employee, but this is something they need to discuss between themselves and then be on the same page when actually communicating to the person. Also, manager C's surprise and unawareness at hiring decisions seems like evidence of dysfunction in the managerial structure. – user45590 Apr 12 '16 at 6:33
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Should I still apply for the open position? This can bring some misunderstanding and trouble from my managers chain.

Yes, you should apply. There is no harm in showing your interest in taking on a managerial role (and indeed you have already done so informally).

The disagreement between managers is not something that you should worry about. You haven't done anything improper.

Should I worry about opening the surprising information to manager C(that somebody got hired without going through the regular process)?

You did not set out to reveal anything about your bosses: you assumed that Manager C was aware of what was going on, which was a perfectly valid assumption. If the lower level managers were relying on keeping the hiring decisions secret from him, that is dysfunctional.

Note that manager C has already given you a good reason for applying, even if it is true that the job is not really available: to register your interest in this type of position. So applying for the job doesn't necessarily contradict what they previously told you. Given that you already discussed this with managers A and B, I would let them know that intend to apply, and give this reason.

While it is not impossible that managers A and B will be annoyed at you over this situation, you should not worry about this. The fault is theirs, not yours. And, should this lead to any conflict, you appear to have their boss on your side.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

You seem to be in a workplace that is somewhat dysfunctional (like most of them!). The best way you can act in this situation is for you to be completely above board in all of your dealings, and assume good faith on everybody else's part.

Don't get sucked into such things. Resist it whether it is to your benefit or your detriment.

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A very similar situation happened when I worked in Human Resources at the state university in my city. "Manager A" discouraged a person from applying for the position he was leaving because the "Big Boss" (Manager B) had already chosen someone to replace him. "Biggest Boss" (Manager C) was actually aware of all this (as I suspect your Manager C is actually aware as well--I would be surprised if he really doesn't know what's going on under his nose, meaning that someone has already been chosen to replace Manager A).

The person went ahead and applied for the position anyway. She didn't get it (as expected) but Manager C was VERY happy she had applied for it, because it was really the only way to be sure that this person really wanted to move ahead in Human Resources. She received the very next promotion available.

You are not actually going behind anybody's back by talking to Manager C, because it's reasonable to assume he knew someone had already been decided upon for the managerial position. All you need to say is, "I'm applying for the job to show Human Resources and high level management that I want to move ahead. And it never hurts to get practice interviewing for a managerial position." Don't let anybody pull you into gossip mode-stay professional in your verbalizations and you will be fine.If Manger B asks you why you spoke to Manager C, tell him the truth--that Manager C has had a wonderful career and you thought he could give you good advice. Leave it at that. Good luck!

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Should I still apply for the open position? This can bring some misunderstanding and trouble from my managers chain.

As far as you should be concerned, there never really was an open position. There's nothing wrong to see if you were being considered to be his successor, but once you found it that you weren't, you should have left it alone. Manager A didn't really expect you to go to his boss - and if he did, he's doing it because he already knows what the answer would be. It only makes you look bad if you push back at this point. Thinking that there is one and voicing your thoughts on this will not only eliminate your chances at a management job at your current company, it may actually get you fired as well. Drop it NOW!

Should I worry about opening the surprising information to manager C(that somebody got hired without going through the regular process)?

I don't think you understand how companies work. If you were ready for the job or if your boss' boss thought you would be ready within six months, you would have been the one that was selected to replace him. He would not have had you wait six months because he knew by then the job would have already been filled making the whole conversation moot.

The fact that the job was already filled is actually how most companies work - it's called "succession planning" - that's how companies normally do it.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.

Yes - if you want a job in management, find another job; this place isn't the one where you will get that chance for the foreseeable future (if ever).

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