In my last performance review, we discussed me being promoted to an engineering manager role because I'm already doing a considerable amount of what an engineering manager does. However, we had something big happen (good thing for the company but can't disclose yet) so we had to put this promotion on pause until everything settles down. It has been a couple of months since the undisclosable event and I haven't been able to get far in discussion with my supervisor about the promotion and setting a timeline. I could go elsewhere but I do like the company. Is it still too early?
I’m going to skirt mostly that moving from an IC to a people manager is not, in and of itself, a promotion. It should be a lateral move to a job you’re worse at. I do know some companies pay managers more, but this is my general take. I have moved to manager and back, this is just my perspective.
From there, it sounds like you’re not going to be changing roles until the dust settles on this “event”. How long that takes seems indeterminate right now. You could ask if it’s until whatever deal closes, until a financial audit is complete, whatever, or if there’s a less tangible waiting period. If the latter, it might be good to ask when a concrete date CAN be set. If this is still indeterminate you can assume the answer is never, even if that’s sort of negative.
You indicated that you may leave. This strikes me as odd. Are you just done doing IC work and you must manage people here or somewhere else? Why would another company hire you into that roles without experience? Or you’d leave because you’re being strung along, take an IC job, then try to change roles somewhere else? It just seems odd that a very understandable delay happened due to a major event, and this is making you question if you want to stay at the company.
For me, I’d be asking less about timelines and more about prep. What should you be reading, who should you be asking questions about this, what responsibilities should you take on, and so on. Once the job is yours it’s going to be a firehose. Learning will take a backseat. This period before seems prime for learning. Do that! Read “Radical Candor” and “Mythical Man Month” if you haven’t. Talk to people at your company or that you meet online that has made this transition. Be ready.
Agree with Lee's excellent points. Namely:
In terms of how long you should wait for a promotion in general, it depends as promotions should be lagging ideally. For a senior/staff promotion or a transition to EM, I would expect the person to be performing at that level and role for 6+ months at least.
Lastly, we gave a masterclass about effective engineering management from the perspective of the SWE - I hope it's helpful for you as you explore the EM side more!