My employer is looking at creating a Media Specialist position. This theoretically would lead to a higher pay grade and hence be a promotion. However there are a couple aspects of the situation that make me rather uncomfortable, and I'm unsure as to what the best way to handle it would be.

There is a job description and title written up. They want me to start doing the job almost immediately, however the county is in a hiring freeze and there is a re-assessment of the various positions w/in the county behind handled by an outside agency that is currently going on. This means any raise wouldn't actually happen until next fiscal year, but I also wouldn't actually know the specifics until then.

I have been doing the kind of work this position would entail as "Other Duties as Assigned" for a few years now, and I am interested in the position, but agreeing to it before the specifics are even written on paper, much less known to anyone, gives me definite pause.

What should I do?

  • sounds fishy to me. But life is about taking chances you know, so if you can afford to take the risk. Do it. if after a while you don like it, well, walk out. Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 15:42

4 Answers 4


I think I'd take the opposite approach of what Dibstar offered. Leaders lead because they are leaders, not because they have a certain job on paper with title. If you want to grow in your career, take every new responsibility given to you whether it is formal or not. Grow your organization; don't wait for someone to give it to you.

Titles, money, status, recognition will follow in due time. If they don't at this organization, another will offer that to you after you have grown your abilities and built a reputation.

You've heard of the: dress for your next job. Kind of the same thing here.

  • +1 for if they don't another will. I spent 3 years basically working as a team leader, lead developer and architect at one job, eventually became the guy who proved that the vendor's solution wouldn't work and got the project shut down in such a way that the company had legal grounds to go after the vendor for misrepresenting the product and at the end of all of that, they put me under someone who had been my peer and done far less. Shortly there after, I was offered (I wasn't even looking) a job as a software architect at another company which I jumped on and have been running with since. Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 4:43
  • I would advise caution regarding "take every new responsibility given to you whether it is formal or not". They say the reward for a task well done is more work. However if you overstretch yourself, become the go-to guy for every little thing that needs doing, and you end up drowning in work you'll just end up looking bad. You need to know when to say no. Shoulder responsibility, yes, but no more than you can responsibly handle. Don't work yourself to death only to later find that you're getting no credit, no promotion, no raise, and no official job description of your many tasks.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 3:31
  • Without the title or authority I wouldn't lead nothing.
    – lambdapool
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 15:40

At the risk of sounding cynical, I would not agree to anything until the specifics have been nailed down, put onto paper and wrapped in a contract.

The best case scenario is that you get the job you want, with matching pay and sign the contract after you take on additional responsibilities. However, it could easily be the case that you take on additional roles with only an informal nod to the new title (and pay), which in effect means you are working harder for free and with no title to reflect this.

You can be proactive in this and offer to help with the construction of the role duties and responsibilities, and mention some of the ideas you might have for shaping the role (as long as they have indeed mentioned that you are their best choice for this, otherwise that would be incredibly arrogant!) to show your commitment to the organisation, whilst avoiding agreeing to a role which is undefined.

Ultimately, waiting for the role duties and responsibilities to be fleshed out before signing a contract benefits everyone, as you can be sure that your remit is in line with what you want, and the company is sure that you can do it.

  • This organization has "Other Duties..." as their builtin loophole regardless of title.
    – user8365
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 17:46
  • I agree that this is a a pretty big leap of faith on his part. Maybe ask for the agreement in writing, with a set, or at least "soft" target date? Even if they refuse, the way they answer the question might be enlightening.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 3:33

A couple of things you need to assess. First is your current position more or less likely to be deemed redundant than the new one by the outside agency doing the assessment and if it is, do you have the seniorirty to keep the postion or would you be the one who is moved out? The one you choose could have great deal to do with whether you have a job this time next year.

But you not only need to assess the likelihood, but the job prospects if you become laid off (It is a bad sign that they have an outside group doing an assesment and a hiring freeze, they are clearly looking to cut costs) and which professional area you want to continue to work in. If Media Specialist is the area you want to go towards, you will find it eaiser to qualify for other government postions in this area if you have held the title. If your current profession is where you woudl more easily find a new job, you might not want to do that.

  • +1 for addressing the pink elephant in the room: the external agency auditing the county.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 3:34

Couple of points to consider:

  • It is not unusual for the promotion to be granted “retrospectively”, i.e. to the individual who’s been already performing necessary duties hence has proven he is capable of doing the job
  • If you’ve been asked to extend your responsibilities and refuse it puts negative spin on your perceived corporate loyalty. I.e. you are not where your firm needs you when it needs you…
  • I won’t be necessary fixated on full list of duties if it is already (broadly) within the scope of your past experiences. This might simple be unknown upfront for the new dynamic role. Instead I’d ask for a clear career progression path. I.e. what is the best possible outcome for say within 5-8 years horizon if you sign.

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