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I've had my position for about 12 months and having recently been accepted to a graduate program (unrelated to my current career). I've been planning to leave for some time (approximately 2 months from now) but I have not yet told anyone about my plans to leave.

Recently, I learned that a co-worker who started in my same position about 3 months ago was just promoted over me, but in secret. We have similar educational pedigrees and prior experience and I've helped her out extensively on several projects. She does a fine job, but understandably needs some hand-holding given that she is so new.

Although no one in the company was notified of her promotion (and ostensibly I am not supposed to know that she is now more senior than I), it has become quite difficult to work with her since its obvious that some of her new "seniority" has gone to her head. She consistently challenges me on elements of projects that it is obvious she has no idea how to do. I did some reconnaissance with friends in HR and they told me that she was indeed promoted, but management made a decision not to make her promotion public, implying that it was an attempt to preserve my morale. Additionally, she has not been particularly private about it, updating her e-mail signature with her new title.

I'd like to keep working for the next few months until school starts, but this situation has made it quite difficult. Is it worth bringing it issue up to management? In the best case scenario and I'm promoted, how bad would it look to quit in a couple months for school? In the worst case, is it likely I would be fired for discovering this?

TL;DR Coworker is promoted in secret. Now bosses me around but is clueless and I'm not supposed to know that she's actually senior to me. Quit now or leverage for promotion and quit later?

closed as off-topic by IDrinkandIKnowThings, Jim G., paparazzo, Lilienthal, Masked Man Jun 8 '16 at 11:48

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

  • "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." – Lilienthal, Masked Man
  • "Real questions have answers. Rather than explaining why your situation is terrible, or why your boss/coworker makes you unhappy, explain what you want to do to make it better. For more information, click here." – IDrinkandIKnowThings, Jim G., paparazzo
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  • if you have the financial means, quit now and let the management deal with their premature decision on their own. If you were promoted, it would have look good on your resume but it would be bad if you asked this company a reference for future employment. Losing a supervisory personnel is not an easy thing to swallow for management Because it means they made the wrong decision – MelBurslan Jun 8 '16 at 2:01
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    Depending on the company promotions can be difficult for managers to get approval for. As such if they get permission to give out a promotion don't be surprised if they give it to the employee that is not about to leave in a few months even if they are not as good of a candidate for it. – Anketam Jun 8 '16 at 2:02
  • Company is fairly small, so I would be dealing with the partners directly who have unilateral control over promotions, etc. Currently they are unaware of my plans to quit. – Marcus Halberstram Jun 8 '16 at 2:04
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    If you're leaving in a couple of months anyway then what does it matter? Just suck it up. – TheMathemagician Jun 8 '16 at 8:36
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    @MarcusHalberstram since you didnt get a notice of her Promotion, dont let her Boss you around. Tell her untill I get your Promotion notice, You are still not my Senior and I won't be bossed around by a co worker. – Raoul Mensink Jun 8 '16 at 9:02
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I did some reconnaissance with friends in HR and they told me that she was indeed promoted, but management made a decision not to make her promotion public, implying that it was an attempt to preserve my morale.

I'd like to keep working for the next few months until school starts, but this situation has made it quite difficult.

You will be gone in two months. Even if it's "quite difficult", you don't have to tolerate it for very long at all.

Is it worth bringing it issue up to management?

You could certainly discuss your feelings with management, if that sort of discussion is common in your shop.

But if the company felt it was necessary for some reason to "attempt to preserve [your] morale" by keeping this promotion a secret, then complaining to management would serve to bring this secret out in the open.

And it isn't clear what you hope to gain by bringing it up with management.

In the best case scenario and I'm promoted, how bad would it look to quit in a couple months for school? In the worst case, is it likely I would be fired for discovering this?

You think if you complain to management, you would get promoted too? You've been there 9 months longer than she has - it's hard to see why that would happen just because you complained. Or perhaps your coworker would get demoted and you would take her place? I suppose anything is possible.

It would indeed look foolish if you somehow "complained" your way into a promotion, only to hand in your notice a few weeks later. It's hard to see how that could be very beneficial, and would certainly ruin any chance you could have for a future job reference.

From my perspective, this is one strange company.

I've never encountered "secret promotions". I've never been in a situation where people were compelled to do "some reconnaissance" with HR, and they apparently went behind management's back and spilled the beans. I've never heard of attempting to "preserve the morale" of one employee by pretending that a promotion didn't happen.

Very, very strange.

I think your best option is to serve out your remaining months as professionally as you can. Give your notice at the appropriate point in time. Go back to school and learn. Then carry on with your career.

Leave this job behind and try to find a shop where this sort of wackiness doesn't happen.

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She's been promoted in secret? Yet update her email signature? Thats pretty non-secret. It is already out in the open - your boss just hasn't got the balls to tell it to your face. Likely because he know you will be upset.

Go and ask him what's going on?

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Until and unless it's official, ignore it. If you aren't supposed to know they're senior, you don't know. If they try to boss you around, tell them to take it to your manager; until you are instructed otherwise, only you manager has that right.

When and if it becomes official, you can ask your manager why the decision went that way and what they would have wanted to see from you to put you in that position. That's a tremendously more productive response than being resentful about it.

If you are on your way out, there is really no point in making a stink, and doing so might cost you a good reference.

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