I read and implemented a lot of the advice from Taro on building my relationship with my manager. I also worked closely with him for a year to position myself for the promotion to Senior. Every two weeks, I would meticulously document senior behavior in my "brag document" that I shared with him through Microsoft OneNote. Every month during our 1:1, I would ask him for feedback on what I needed to continue doing or change to reach Senior. During performance review each quarter, I used all of this to officially document my growth, and secured 3 Exceeds with 1 Meets. By the end of Q4, he was primed to go to bat for me.
Then he suddenly got laid off a month or two before names are submitted up the chain of command for promotion. I imagine others might have or will encounter a similar situation. In addition to layoffs, company reorganization or your manager jumping into another opportunity might have similar effects.
It feels like so much of my effort over the past year was futile. What makes this sting even more is that I'm fully aware of my company's promotion cycle, which is once a year in March/April. Promotions rarely happen outside this cycle.
What are some tactics to navigate this current situation and a strategy to avoid this single point of failure in the future?
Here's what I've done so far
Here's my thoughts around strategy moving forward
This is an unfortunate reality of career progression: if you deal with many manager changes, you'll have a harder time for promotions and good ratings.
I like your strategy. Having occasional meetings with your skip is valuable to get broader feedback and so you can keep them up to date on your progress.
Two other thoughts:
Thanks for providing some perspective and brainstorming with me Rahul, you brought up some good points
For some context, no one saw the layoff coming, so I'm inclined to say it was immediate. Which goes to show that being proactive always pays off.
It looks like you are already doing the best practices here which we cover in Taro:
You can dive deeper here: "Transition period with old manager and working with a new interim manager"
While not getting a senior role would suck given how close you are now, I recommend keeping an open mind as level is just a string next to your name at the end of the day and they're not standardized across companies. SDE 2 at Amazon is supposedly "mid-level", but it's a really wide band and many Amazon SDE 2s are equivalent to senior engineers at other companies. More thoughts here: "How should I think about levels when it comes to evaluating jobs and in my career overall?"