Long-term lurker and very occasional poster here!
I've been working for a fairly large UK company for the last year. I'm in their head office; they have various branches around the world. A few years ago, they bought Other Company. Other Company still operates under its old name, has a separate website, and is based in a totally different part of the country, but legally belongs to our 'group'.
What I'm doing now is a very long way from being my dream job. A vacancy arose at Other Company which was my dream job. I was told about it by a friend (as it actually used to be her job!), and she recommended that I apply. The job was not advertised internally at all- it was mentioned on Other Company's website, but not on Current Company's website.
I'm at the stage where I'm applying for other jobs (jobs totally outside the company in addition to this one). I don't see the experience I've gained in my current job as worthless, but I feel like I've given it a shot and it's really not for me, and the reality is that I'm pretty unhappy in my current role. On the other hand, I don't let this show during working hours and still act in a professional way. It's a bit difficult because I find the role extremely stressful, and became ill a couple of months ago as a result of this stress. My managers were fully aware of the situation and didn't do much to help (more on this further on), although I've been doing much, much better with the help of my doctor.
The trouble has arisen because this vacancy's being treated as more of an internal role than I'd anticipated. I thought that the vacancy would be handled by the personnel/HR department at Other Company (because the job was aimed at external candidates), and that nothing would be mentioned at my current place of work until I was offered an interview. This hasn't been the case. Possibly I'm an exception because I'm the only internal candidate, but I had to do a short exam, which I did during working hours, at Current Company. Because I was going to have to be away from my desk during working hours, my departmental manager found out through personnel.
She's not at all happy that I didn't tell her beforehand. I didn't tell her for a variety of reasons- partly because I was thinking of it more as an external vacancy (although I know it's not that straightforward), partly because I didn't want to alert her to the reality that I'm also applying for other positions outside the company, and partly because we don't have a fantastic relationship. I've had a tricky year in terms of my personal life, as well as the work-related problems, and I don't feel as though she's been very supportive. But the main reason was because my rule of thumb was that it's best not to let managers know when you've applied for other jobs, simply because you might not get it. It would be of no benefit to her to know as soon as I'd applied- as I see it, you can't go looking for a replacement until the candidate's actually got the job, but in the short chat we had, she mentioned the inconvenience of having to replace me.
For what it's worth, this would be considered a lateral move. The job pays a little less than what I earn now (although I'd be better off overall due to cost of living differences), and I mentioned what my dream job was in my interview with this manager. We're very rarely told about internal positions by our personnel department- I think it's happened twice in the year I've been around. The turnover rate in my department is high- people tend to leave after a year. And my Other Manager (with whom I have a REALLY strained relationship because she's been bullying me since I started, which I told Departmental Manager, which she didn't really help to resolve, hence the strained relationship with BOTH managers, and yes, I'm aware that I'm condensing this part of the story, but it's because I could go on about this for hours!) has been especially snappy with me over seemingly unrelated things. This has the potential to become awkward(er).
I know it's polite to inform your manager if you're applying for an internal vacancy normally. What do you think- have I made a big mistake?