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Old 03-13-2013, 09:46 PM   #1
Ronald
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Default Need Advice: Handling Promotion Amongst Crazy Supervisor

During my recent evaluation, my boss (Marlon) suggested that I become graphics manager. As I’ve referenced in a previous thread, my manager (Tara) is manipulative and paranoid, taking everything personally and being biased by giving me difficult assignments and giving her immature husband (the other illustrator) the easier work while simultaneously downplaying my superior abilities. She manages two departments, is chronically late or absent, and often doesn’t get her 40 hours despite living just down the street (I have to drive 35 minutes).

Upper management is already considering hiring someone to manage the graphics dept. but I spoke with a separate manager today (who has more pull than Tara; we’ll call him Bob) about my boss's suggestion, expressed frustration with Tara’s leadership, and discussed my innovations as an illustrator. He validated many of my complaints and said that if I were to manage graphics, I won’t draw as much (which is disappointing) but that they would hire a third illustrator that I would train (I know the software better than anyone). He also said we will schedule a meeting with Marlon for me to pitch my management ideas.

During my meeting with Bob, Tara was nervously pacing around and asking my coworker about my conversation. After I emerged, Tara immediately asked if everything was okay, said that we should keep communication open, and that she'll try to do a better job with communicating. I said it was fine. Bob soon after told me that she spoke to him, too, and he kept his response vague. He then asked if I’d like us to sit with Tara and talk about my transition into training to become manager, and that if she refuses the idea, Bob and I will then talk with Marlon about it anyway. I wasn’t sure and he said we’ll decide tomorrow. In a few days, I go on vacation for a week, so I’ll have time to figure out our meeting with Marlon.

I’m wondering if Bob and I should talk with Tara or just skip her drama. Much of her management problems involve personal issues like her husband. But she also just can’t dedicate herself with managing two different depts., so a transition is inevitable. The talk with Tara would not go well and we’ll inevitably talk with Marlon anyway, so I’m having a tough time deciding. Would it be hypocritically unprofessional not to talk with her? I also hope she doesn’t ask to privately speak to me within the next two days; I would just keep it vague and tell her there’s nothing to worry about, but it is uncomfortable.

Last edited by Ronald; 03-13-2013 at 10:18 PM.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:49 AM   #2
Andrew B.
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I guess your concern is that not telling feels like you are going behind her back. But I'm still tempted to say don't tell her. You are not friends with her, and so this becomes strictly a business deal. In business, you are no obligated to tell your supervisor about every effort you make to promote. You are only obligated to give notice if a promotion is in the works.

The only down side of not telling is if you think this will lead to ongoing problems in months or years to come.

   
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:36 AM   #3
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I guess your concern is that not telling feels like you are going behind her back. But I'm still tempted to say don't tell her. You are not friends with her, and so this becomes strictly a business deal. In business, you are no obligated to tell your supervisor about every effort you make to promote. You are only obligated to give notice if a promotion is in the works.
Thank you. I feel that simply from a professional standpoint, perhaps we should have a meeting with her since we're planning on relieving her of one of her duties; however, that's going to happen to matter what. Plus, Bob and I will talk with Marlon regardless of having a meeting with Tara first, and she will almost without a doubt refuse the idea. Maybe we could flip it and first give my pitch to Marlon, and after he makes his decision, we could talk with her to get the wheels in motion. They're planning on having hiring someone to work in our department in some capacity, so she'll have to relinquish it either way.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:24 AM   #4
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Thank you. I feel that simply from a professional standpoint, perhaps we should have a meeting with her since we're planning on relieving her of one of her duties
From what you said, this is not a done deal. It is only under discussion. And if it did happen, wouldn't it be up to her supervisor to tell her.

OTOH, I can see your point. You are going after one of her jobs. So it would feel more above board to tell her in advance. OTOH, why would she feel any less miffed this way? Why stir things up, considering this is not actually approved. It might create bad feelings for nothing. Unless, of course, you think the office politics mandate this.

   
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:50 AM   #5
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From what you said, this is not a done deal. It is only under discussion. And if it did happen, wouldn't it be up to her supervisor to tell her.

OTOH, I can see your point. You are going after one of her jobs. So it would feel more above board to tell her in advance. OTOH, why would she feel any less miffed this way? Why stir things up, considering this is not actually approved. It might create bad feelings for nothing. Unless, of course, you think the office politics mandate this.
I guess I'm not sure what the angle of the hypothetical talk with Tara would be. Would Bob be telling her that we're already planning on training me to become manager, or would he simply say we plan on talking with Marlon about the possibility and ask for her feedback? If it's the latter, we might as well just talk with Marlon and then Tara second. It's not ultimately her decision anyway. I'll see if Bob speaks about it with me today. If I don't hear about it before my vacation, I'll deal with it in two weeks.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:24 AM   #6
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He then asked if I’d like us to sit with Tara and talk about my transition into training to become manager, and that if she refuses the idea, Bob and I will then talk with Marlon about it anyway.
Don't pay too much attention to me since I've never been employed in the USA (not literally true but for this purpose it is) and it's a long time since I retired as a CEO of a small company .....

But my view is that Bob's offer is the best solution since you can't stop her coming to talk to you and his 3 party meeting not only pre-empts that but puts a referee and witness in place and shows the boss that you really tried to avoid the upset that may happen anyway

If you are happy with the talk you had with Bob I'd go for the joint meeting with Tara.....

Very much FWIW

Good luck

   
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