8 Reasons IT Pros Need To Reject A Promotion - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Life
News
1/30/2015
09:06 AM
David Wagner
David Wagner
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

8 Reasons IT Pros Need To Reject A Promotion

You got promoted within your IT organization. Good job. But do you really want it?
Previous
1 of 11
Next

(Image: Search Engine People)

(Image: Search Engine People)

Congratulations. You've just been promoted. Now, take a minute to stop and think about rejecting it. Reject it? Reject the money and the power and the boost to the ego and the parking space and everything else that comes with it? Yup. At least think about it. Some studies show that as many as 60% of new managers fail at their job. The odds aren't looking so good for you there now, chief.

"Oh, but that's them," you say. "Not me. I'm one of the 40%. I'm a winner," you say. Good for you. But even if you are the best manager on the planet, it may not be for you.

One of the tragedies we see repeated over and over in IT is that someone who is a really great engineer or developer, someone who is just a game changer in terms of getting things done, is promoted as a reward for great service. The way companies structure pay grades, it is often the only way to reward a brilliant engineer. You can make them senior this or senior that, but eventually, to pay people what they're worth, you have to make them executive this or manager of that.

That's when the whole thing falls off the rails. The game-changer engineer is now in a position where his or her best skills are not being put to the right use. And even if the engineer is a great manager, there's a hole in the team where that great worker was.

There's another story we see too many times as well. There's the story of the engineer or developer who is not that great, but has a couple of soft skills. He or she is nice. The person is pretty clear at explaining things, but not that great at the job. Someone thinks, "I know. We'll promote Mr. Nice Guy. That way I can hire a better worker and Mr. Nice Guy is out of the way."

[Hired the wrong person? Find out here.]

It sure sounds good until everyone else figures out that Mr. Nice Guy doesn't understand the very thing he's managing, or those soft skills didn't come with the necessary experience or training to be a real manager.

A lot of times, a well-meaning organization can promote someone with honestly good intentions but that absolutely destroys the career of the person they are promoting. Are you that person?

And that's not even getting into work-life balance. Are you prepared for the extra hours on the job? Is the money you get from the promotion going to offset your changing lifestyle?

There are actually a lot of reasons, once you get past the excitement and the ego boost, to reject a promotion. We've gathered a bunch of stuff here to think about, so check out the reasons you might want to say no, before you dive right in.

David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 11
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
2/2/2015 | 6:04:55 PM
Re: Falling on Deaf Ears, I'm afraid
@mejiac- Thanks. I think that's really smart. Growing your skills and planning carefully means you'll be ready when the time comes. A legitimate raise seems like the best of both worlds there. Congrats.
Susan_Nunziata
50%
50%
Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
1/31/2015 | 9:28:23 PM
Re: Falling on Deaf Ears, I'm afraid
@asksqn: To your point, I've also see situations where failing managers were promoted again and again in hopes of "getting them out of the way."

The biggest failure here is not on the shoulders of the person taking the promotion, but rather on the company for failing to be realistic about the person's abilities. In my ideal dream world, every opportunity to advance would come with company-provided training to help the individual learn the leadership or other skills that they may need to develop in order to grow in their new role.

Unfortunately, most companies executives I've seen simply toss folks into the deep end of the pool with zero support and then scratch their heads as they watch the person drown.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Author
1/30/2015 | 10:33:57 PM
Re: Falling on Deaf Ears, I'm afraid
It's the Peter Principle of the '80s, and I too have seen it starting to make a comeback -- partly because of a broken compensation system and how difficult it's gotten to fire poor performers.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/30/2015 | 5:45:17 PM
Re: Falling on Deaf Ears, I'm afraid
@asksqn- Well, you're probably right. I don't think too many people would ever turn down a promotion, but there's got to be a turning point, or as you say, everyone is worse off. The person who took the promotion is worse off because their career stalls. The enterprise is worse off because it has to deal with the worse performance. It is just a mess as you point out.
David Wagner
50%
50%
David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
1/30/2015 | 5:41:48 PM
Re: Another Reason
@Moarsauce123- Wow, terrible story. I guess if you're in the fiscal situation to do it, the best thing to do is quit when they ask you to take the demotion so you can look for the new job with the old better title on your resume. But that's just alousy thing to do to anyone.
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
Remote Work Tops SF, NYC for Most High-Paying Job Openings
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/20/2021
Slideshows
Blockchain Gets Real Across Industries
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  7/22/2021
Commentary
Seeking a Competitive Edge vs. Chasing Savings in the Cloud
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/19/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Video
Current Issue
Monitoring Critical Cloud Workloads Report
In this report, our experts will discuss how to advance your ability to monitor critical workloads as they move about the various cloud platforms in your company.
Slideshows
Flash Poll