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If management is aware, you're not throwing anyone under the bus.

Dear Prudence,

I am currently in line for a promotion within a team that has a difficult and demanding team lead. She is demeaning, condescending, and difficult to work with and has lost several employees due to her attitude. Recently I was approached by a manager who is looking to hire for a position that would be a lateral move with less pay than the promotion that I believe will be a better fit. Although a promotion and more pay are appealing, I am not willing to deal with my current boss much longer and would rather accept the lateral position if extended. How do I explain my decision to decline a promotion and pay increase without throwing my current boss under the bus? Management is aware of her attitude from previous employees and has failed to act.

—How to Decline a Promotion

Re: If management is aware, you're not throwing anyone under the bus.

  • "I have been working under [current boss] for [x years] and I have learned so much but I think [other department or team] would provide me with more opportunities to expand my knowledge of [area of expertise] and I am looking forward to learning new styles and techniques."

    short+sassycharlotte989875thisismynickname2MNNEBride
  • PPs have good examples of exactly how to do this!  There are nice and positive ways to explain why someone doesn't want a particular promotion/pay raise, without throwing this manager under the bus.  And, quite frankly, upper management will know EXACTLY what's really going on (they already do) and will probably appreciate LW's diplomacy and tact.  
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    eileenrob
  • Definitely be diplomatic about it, but depending on the culture it might not be a bad thing to make it known to management that were it not for the tram lead you’d take the promotion. LW does say management knows but has failed to act, but they may be waiting for other things to happen before taking action. If LW and the group leader have a good rapport it might not be a bad thing to talk to that person before making the move.

    Turning down a promotion and pay for a lateral move could send the signal you’re not interested or invested in moving up and taking on more responsibilities, which might have future ramifications for promotion. 
    MyNameIsNotshort+sassyeileenrob
  • Definitely be diplomatic about it, but depending on the culture it might not be a bad thing to make it known to management that were it not for the tram lead you’d take the promotion. LW does say management knows but has failed to act, but they may be waiting for other things to happen before taking action. If LW and the group leader have a good rapport it might not be a bad thing to talk to that person before making the move.

    Turning down a promotion and pay for a lateral move could send the signal you’re not interested or invested in moving up and taking on more responsibilities, which might have future ramifications for promotion. 
    At many organizations though - it could be seen as a GREAT move to accept a lateral position as a way to move up. Most executives I've ever worked with have extensive experience in many facets of the organization because it helps to inform a more cohesive viewpoint of the entire business. I agree LW should let HR or higher-ups know the reason he/she does not want to take the promotion. However, if the person gets along with the other department head and thinks the work would be interested and add to their overall skillset, I would try really hard not to think about it as a "demotion" which is kind of the sense I get from the implied tone of the letter.
    short+sassycharlotte989875
  • I can't edit, but wanted to add that it obviously depends on their path. For example, if your goal is to be a controller or Tax VP or accounting head, it likely doesn't make sense to veer into operations or sales because you need the deep specific knowledge in your area to be able to move up. But in most cases I do think it's beneficial to have experience in various areas.
    charlotte989875
  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited November 2018
    Casadena said:
    Definitely be diplomatic about it, but depending on the culture it might not be a bad thing to make it known to management that were it not for the tram lead you’d take the promotion. LW does say management knows but has failed to act, but they may be waiting for other things to happen before taking action. If LW and the group leader have a good rapport it might not be a bad thing to talk to that person before making the move.

    Turning down a promotion and pay for a lateral move could send the signal you’re not interested or invested in moving up and taking on more responsibilities, which might have future ramifications for promotion. 
    At many organizations though - it could be seen as a GREAT move to accept a lateral position as a way to move up. Most executives I've ever worked with have extensive experience in many facets of the organization because it helps to inform a more cohesive viewpoint of the entire business. I agree LW should let HR or higher-ups know the reason he/she does not want to take the promotion. However, if the person gets along with the other department head and thinks the work would be interested and add to their overall skillset, I would try really hard not to think about it as a "demotion" which is kind of the sense I get from the implied tone of the letter.

    I agree with you both, haha.  It does depend a bit on the culture and "vibe" at the company.  Because I did think about after my post, the LW also doesn't want to give the impression that they don't want to be considered for other promotions/positions.
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    charlotte989875mrsconn23eileenrob
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