Those paper promotions

So it’s the end of the year and the list of promotions for the IT department rolled out. My name was once again not present (in spite of winning an award at the department Christmas luncheon), but in a way I’m kind of glad. All of the promotions announced are just on paper. Everyone is doing more work everywhere, and the new titles are just appending ‘senior’ or ‘lead’ in front of their existing title. Nothing else, aside possibly from the money, changes.

This particular company is is generally pretty good to work for, and it’s common for people to discuss coming here and just riding out their career, and I can see why. The fact that we’re one of the very few companies left with a fully funded pension plan means that the older folks are happy to stick it out for an easier retirement. The benefits and bonuses are good too.

But because nobody is actually leaving, new positions aren’t opening up. If I wanted to ascend the ranks out of my group to another technical team, I have to wait on someone to quit. There hasn’t been a departure from a team I’d want to move to in two years. Seriously. As a result, to keep the illusion that people’s careers are advancing, there’s a nasty case of title-creep going on. One of my managers has gone from manager to senior manager to director over the course of those last two years, but new positions aren’t being opened from where he was at. It’s the same across the board.

So it’s creating a weird dilemma. It’s not that our careers are stagnant here, not like it was at my previous employer. I’m learning new systems and new tech reasonably frequently. But otherwise I’m really not going anywhere… and is that ok even if the company is nice?

quick edit- I got to talking with an associate who did get bumped to senior. He said he was surprised not to see me on the list and that he’d actually gone to my manager to tell her I should be promoted. He’s not the only one who’s said similarly over the past year. So in spite of the lack of recognition there, I know I have the respect of several of my peers which is almost more important.