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Bouncing back after promotion being blocked

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community2 months ago

My manager and skip both put me up for a promotion, but I was told it was blocked because it is not in the budget. They seem to empathize with me and was told there is a possibility for promotion during the midyear cycle but it's not certain, so I don't want to get my hopes up.

I'm really disappointed because I been working hard and taking on additional responsibilities that are beyond the scope of my level. I have received feedback that I am a "top performer" and "workhorse" of the team, so this is a hard hit to my morale. I feel I have done everything I could do, but it seems like there is nothing more I can do and that is what's bothering me. I been trying accept that is out of my control but it lingers in the back of my mind.



  • 4
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    2 months ago

    Failed promotions are difficult since (1) you don't have much leverage and (2) you must wait for some time, usually 6 months, before you get another attempt.

    We can assume good intent by your company, but be mindful that some companies will dangle the promotion carrot in front of you even when they know the likelihood is low.

    I don't have a good answer here unfortunately:

    • If you feel underpaid, you can share market data to still get a comp increase. Threatening to quit is risky, but could work well depending on the company.
    • Create the team and work you want. e.g. find projects you genuinely enjoy and do them with good people. Given your strong reputation at the company, your manager should help you in this effort.

    Some additional helpful links:

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    2 months ago

    Sorry to hear about this - This is happening a lot in the current market as budgets contract and almost every company is entering a "year of efficiency" type era.

    My advice is to separate your drive to attain the skills of a senior engineer and your drive to get the title of a senior engineer. One is far more important than the other, and it's the former.

    At the end of the day, level is just a string next to your name and is a lagging indicator. If you're truly operating at senior, you will eventually get that title - It's just a matter of time. There's a similar discussion that covers this: "Feeling stuck at Senior Software Engineer"

    You seem to be in a good team where both your manager and skip are fighting for you. Most engineers aren't in such a position. If you enjoy working with your team and they push you to get better and regularly challenge your current skills with exciting work, I would continue staying within your team. If not, then you can switch.

    Some more good advice here: