Author Topic: Approaching the boss  (Read 2981 times)

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learningtofly

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Approaching the boss
« on: May 15, 2014, 09:24:06 AM »
Hi Ehellions,
I’m hoping you can help me approach a problem at work.
 
I changed careers last year and while I had been working in my new career part-time at my old job, I was thrilled to find a company willing to take me on full time.  I came in on the bottom rung of the ladder as I thought it was the appropriate place to start.  I would welcome the opportunity to help someone else into this career. 

My coworker (who was a step above me) left in a hurry about a month ago and it was a shock as he had not been with us very long.  My boss really needs to fill the position, but there wasn’t any interest.  And then yesterday I received a resume and a time to interview a person.

She’s a friend of an employee and used to work here once upon a time.  But not in the type of work we do.  In fact, she has no training in the type of work we do.  She seems to be very good at what she does and I have no doubt that enthusiasm will transfer over to a new career, but again no experience in the area I work in. 

She’s interviewing for the position above mine.  Did I mention no experience in this area?

How do I politely talk to my boss about this?  I’m waiting for my annual review/raise/bonus and have already asked him what I needed to do to get a promotion.  When my coworker left he told me he thought I had earned the right to his job title.  And now someone with no experience is being considered for this level/title. 

Boss likes my work, but I’ve had bosses in the past who don’t seem to notice things like title and promotions.  I won’t be able to stay if this person gets hired in above me (and yes I know I’m getting ahead of myself).  How do I bring this up?  The HR person was as bewildered as I was that this person is being interviewed. 

lmyrs

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 09:37:13 AM »
Did you actually apply for the position? Because bosses don't read minds. Just because you've spoken about promotion in the past.

And are you actually doing the interview for someone who is going to be senior to you? That seems odd


camlan

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2014, 10:02:22 AM »
Sometimes bosses don't want an employee to move up a position. Right now, you know your job and I'm guessing, since you were asked to interview this person, you do it well. If you stay in your current job, your boss has to hire and train one new person.

If you were to be moved up to the open position, your boss would have to train you in that job, and hire and train a new person for your old job.

So it would be easier for your boss for you to stay right where you are, at least short-term. Which may be why your boss hasn't said anything to you about moving up or applying for this job.

In your shoes, I'd go to your boss or to HR, whichever is more logical in your company, and ask what you need to do to apply for this job as an internal candidate. Then apply for it. This will show your boss that you are serious about moving up. It's possible that in your company, people don't get promoted into open positions without going through the application/interview process.

It's always possible that someone who is qualified for the open position will apply and get hired. But you can still use the interview process to find out what skills you currently have and what skills you need to work on, in order to be considered for the position when it becomes available again.

(Although I hope you apply and get the job!)
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Yvaine

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2014, 10:20:16 AM »
She’s a friend of an employee and used to work here once upon a time.  But not in the type of work we do.  In fact, she has no training in the type of work we do.  She seems to be very good at what she does and I have no doubt that enthusiasm will transfer over to a new career, but again no experience in the area I work in. 

Let's start with this part--do you know for sure that she hasn't received this training since she left? It sounds like it was a long time ago that you last interacted with her.

That said, if she is wildly unqualified, can't the interview process weed her out? Is she the only candidate? If her inexperience still exists, it'll be in evidence in her resume and in her interview, and you (and any other interviewers--not sure if you're the only one) will have good reason to not choose her. I also agree with lmyrs that you should apply for it if you want it.

learningtofly

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2014, 11:39:09 AM »
OP here.  I should have clarified.  It's like an associate and a senior associate.  We do the same job, the senior associate just has more experience.  The job has the same description and education requirements as mine.  My boss wouldn't mind two senior associates.  He just wants two people doing the work.  It's on my goals for the self evalution that he has and we talked about three weeks ago about my wanting to move up. 

Yvaine-since leaving here her career path has stayed the same.  At no point in her career, here or elsewhere, has she received this training.  She is the only applicant at this time. 

Yvaine

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2014, 11:45:38 AM »
OP here.  I should have clarified.  It's like an associate and a senior associate.  We do the same job, the senior associate just has more experience.  The job has the same description and education requirements as mine.  My boss wouldn't mind two senior associates.  He just wants two people doing the work.  It's on my goals for the self evalution that he has and we talked about three weeks ago about my wanting to move up. 

Yvaine-since leaving here her career path has stayed the same.  At no point in her career, here or elsewhere, has she received this training.  She is the only applicant at this time.

Then I suggest you apply! :) If you've got more experience, then they may find you the better candidate.

Zizi-K

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 12:14:19 PM »
OP here.  I should have clarified.  It's like an associate and a senior associate.  We do the same job, the senior associate just has more experience.  The job has the same description and education requirements as mine.  My boss wouldn't mind two senior associates.  He just wants two people doing the work.  It's on my goals for the self evalution that he has and we talked about three weeks ago about my wanting to move up. 

Yvaine-since leaving here her career path has stayed the same.  At no point in her career, here or elsewhere, has she received this training.  She is the only applicant at this time.

Then I suggest you apply! :) If you've got more experience, then they may find you the better candidate.

I agree! The only way to move up is to apply for a more senior position. Just submit your cover letter and resume along the normal channels, and then mention to your boss that you have done so. Then see what happens.

lmyrs

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2014, 12:41:18 PM »
OP here.  I should have clarified.  It's like an associate and a senior associate.  We do the same job, the senior associate just has more experience.  The job has the same description and education requirements as mine.  My boss wouldn't mind two senior associates.  He just wants two people doing the work.  It's on my goals for the self evalution that he has and we talked about three weeks ago about my wanting to move up. 

Yvaine-since leaving here her career path has stayed the same.  At no point in her career, here or elsewhere, has she received this training.  She is the only applicant at this time.

Then apply. If she's the only applicant and if you don't apply, then it's hard to begrudge them hiring her.

TootsNYC

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2014, 12:44:04 PM »
Draw up your resumé as if you were an outsider applying for this job.

Pump up the section that is for your -current- job, and write it to emphasize how much your current tasks are so very similar to the open position's responsibilities.

Hand it to your boss and say, "I want to officially apply for that open position, actually. Here's a resumé that shows how my skills have grown since I was first hired. And of course, I'm familiar with the company, so training would probably not be needed."

Goosey

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2014, 12:45:53 PM »
I've always come from the school of thought that you've got no room to complain if you didn't do anything to at least try and change a situation.

From what I've read:
(1) You started at this company in a job lower than you are qualified for
(2) A higher level job is open and has no applicants except for one person you know is underqualified.
(3) You have not submitted an application OR talked to your boss about the possibility of promoting you.

The best way to talk to your boss about a promotion is to say, "Boss, I'd like to be considered for this job. Here's my updated resume and a completed application. Thanks!"

That Anime Chick

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2014, 01:08:16 PM »
OP here.  I should have clarified.  It's like an associate and a senior associate.  We do the same job, the senior associate just has more experience.  The job has the same description and education requirements as mine.  My boss wouldn't mind two senior associates.  He just wants two people doing the work.  It's on my goals for the self evalution that he has and we talked about three weeks ago about my wanting to move up

Yvaine-since leaving here her career path has stayed the same.  At no point in her career, here or elsewhere, has she received this training.  She is the only applicant at this time.

Then I suggest you apply! :) If you've got more experience, then they may find you the better candidate.

See the bolded above. Apply for the job. If you didn't want to move up, then why bother mentioning it on your goals in your self evaluation? It seems counter productive to say one thing and do another. What's the worst that can happen?
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Miss Marple

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2014, 03:32:43 AM »
I agree with the others that say apply. Even if you are unsuccessful you are letting your boss know through the formal channels you want to move to the next level.

Even if you do not get it and she does, as least you know where you stand. 

Years ago I held off applying for a promotion because I felt I wasn't ready (and I wasn;t). An internal person less qualified than me applied. He did not get the job but the boss made a point of saying to me he admired that this other person had the confidence to apply.

Six months later a similar job came up and I remembered my boss's word and applied. I was successful in getting the promotion.

Another Sarah

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2014, 05:39:20 AM »
OP here.  I should have clarified.  It's like an associate and a senior associate.  We do the same job, the senior associate just has more experience.  The job has the same description and education requirements as mine.  My boss wouldn't mind two senior associates.  He just wants two people doing the work.  It's on my goals for the self evalution that he has and we talked about three weeks ago about my wanting to move up. 

While the senior associate job may be almost the same as yours, that little word "senior" and the application process probably means a salary change. I've been suckered into that position before and ended up training someone less qualified who was being paid more for doing work I'd have to check.
Apply for the job. Even if it's only the words on paper, apply for it. Show your boss that you mean what you say and that you value your own experience. It's easy to accidentally sideline yourself by showing willing and waiting for what you think the next promotion should be.

DCGirl

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2014, 09:43:07 AM »
I have to agree with everyone who says that if you are interested in the position, you need to formally apply.  I also have to say that that your statement that you will have to leave if this individual gets hired in above you does not serve you well.

In my department, we  have Senior Specialists and we have Specialists.  I was hired in as a Senior.  I had not previously worked in this industry (let's call it widget making), but have extensive experience in other industries.  One of the two Specialists who was here when I was hired was very, very unhappy that she wasn't promoted to a Senior position and that I was hired from outside the company.  She deeply resented my lack of widget experience.  Like you, she'd been here a year before the Senior position came up.  She viewed promotion to the Senior position as simply a function of time at the company, and she treated me miserably when I arrived.  Eventually, our manager and our vice president had to sit her down and have a talk with her about the fact that there is a difference between the two positions, even though we both do essentially the same work. 

At my company, the Senior is expected, in addition to knowing all about widget-making, to have stronger project management skills and the ability to run larger, more complex widget projects.  The Senior is expected to be able to represent the company externally, if necessary, and to interface more with senior management outside our department.  The Senior is expected to be able to serve as acting manager if the manager is out of the office, to have a greater ability to see the big picture, to be able to manage the department workflow, and to be able to solve problems without involving management.   

So, even though I had no widget experience before I came here, I was hired because I had all those other, more intangible, skills and abilities.  My co-worker was not promoted into the Senior Specialist because she had not demonstrated to management that she had those skills.  It took me three months to learn how to make widgets.  In the year that she was here before me, she had not shown to management that she had learned those other skills.

If this individual has worked in an another position at the company, she may have more big-picture skills or other intangible attributes.  So, before you go all stompy boots about someone being hired in above you, I would suggest that you ask management what is the difference in expectations between an Associate and a Senior Associate and what you need to do to get to the Senior Associate position.  There may be some other skills that you need to develop. 
« Last Edit: May 16, 2014, 09:46:10 AM by DCGirl »

TootsNYC

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Re: Approaching the boss
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2014, 02:24:31 PM »
Or, identify what other less-industry-specific strengths you have from any of your work before entering this career (see DCGirl's list of possible strengths), and present them to your boss as a value-added thing.

Get the conversation started by applying--then you can ask about what areas they see a difference in, and you can think through your previous experience and identify things that demonstrate what you've done or are capable of.