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What if you don't want the promotion?

archi_dude

Just curious if anyone has turned down a promotion before? It's not that I don't want the promotion ever but just would prefer to not turn into all those terrible bosses I've had in the past. I.E. over their head and stressed which turns into frustration at the team ect. I'm currently in the scenario where they are letting me "run free" on the new job, translation, doing everything on both the junior position and PM position while getting paid as a junior. I'd rather have a PM for another year or so and actually learn my job before racing off to the next position and be barely treading water again doing long days becuase I dont know what I'm doing. However, a little afraid that it seems if you mention that you dont feel as though you are ready it gets waved off and if you share its becuase youd rather run your career like a marathon than a sprint with work life balance, you are labelled as lazy. Any similar experiences?

 
Sep 14, 20 10:56 am

No experience myself (yet?) but I think the Peter Principle is a real thing and kudos to the people who understand they aren't ready for a promotion and turn it down. 

Sep 14, 20 11:31 am  · 
1  · 
SneakyPete

Be honest about your reasons, but don't couch it in terms that denigrate yourself. You "want to become completely familiar with the skills needed with the role", not you "aren't ready." That sort of thing. If they insist, then I would, if it were me, admit some trepidation. 

Are they asking this of you because of budgetary reasons (underwhelming fee on the project, etc) or lack of PMs available, or are they trying to juice you for more work at a lower pay rate? If any of these are true, they may deny you and you won't have much of a way out. It would also, in my opinion, point to a less than great firm leadership.

I have never experienced what you're asking, but have seen it happen a lot. I have actually experienced the opposite, where I got a job as a higher position than they utilized me for. It's one of the main reasons I feel that pay scale and firm leadership ranks should be decoupled from project responsibilities. Why force your best PA to become a PM in order to advance within firm leadership?

Sep 14, 20 11:54 am  · 
2  · 
square.

this is a huge problem; i really hate the narrow track of upward progress in the architecture profession. i'm really no fan of what actual project management means (i prefer the pa side), but as you say the only way up is to become an overworked, over-stressed pm. not interested at the moment..

1  · 
archi_dude

Interestingly enough, there is plenty of budget (now I can see these things lol) for both a PM and junior) my main issue is if you want me to do PM stuff i need a junior staff otherwise not only am i getting under paid I'm doing 2x jobs.

5  · 
SneakyPete

You and I rarely see eye-to-eye, dude, but you seem to have your head screwed on completely straight here. I hope it works out for you.

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midlander

what's described above is weird and i've never worked in an office that operated that way. PM/PA/Designer were roles, not titles or pay grades. A strong team has seniors and juniors in each of these roles.

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SneakyPete

It's quite common in my experience. We HAVE had different experiences, though.

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midlander

right. do you see any advantages or reasons for promoting up into pm rather than tracking people into roles but promoting on some combination of seniority and management capabilities?

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SneakyPete

Of course not, but the people that do it must. I would ask you to trust that, while I haven't worked at very many firms, I have not made my statement up from whole cloth and quite a few of the firms I encounter blend their leadership and job roles regarding pecking order. I don't feel like naming names, but they exist, and a couple of them you'd know by reputation, and not solely bad reputations.

1  · 
thisisnotmyname

You are not wrong to turn down a "promotion" of this type.    People that excel at design and technical documentation shouldn't necessarily be pushed into the staffing and financial side of things in the name of "advancement".

Sep 14, 20 12:12 pm  · 
6  · 
JLC-1

be the change you want to see in your office

Sep 14, 20 12:13 pm  · 
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Jay1122

First you should clarify on the firm size, project size.Its really different if it is a small firm vs big firm. Small firm you will likely continue to "run free" as PM even though you may take on more management related tasks. Big firm, they may expect you to transition into pure management and start delegate more technical works to junior people. I personally would not turn down promotion. Promotion is mostly a recognition from your supervisor and a way to reward you to stay at the current firm. If you don't feel certain of some tasks and skills, discuss it with the supervisor and maybe ask for some assistance in that area while you step into the new title. Honestly, you should take it. Your boss will not expect you to suddenly turn into pro manager after you accept promotion. It is just a title and salary raise while expecting you to take more responsibility as you progress.

TL;DR 

Just take it. Do you know how many people are complaining about getting pigeon holed with no growth opportunity.

Sep 14, 20 12:50 pm  · 
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randomised

I once had to take on the responsibilities of my direct superior/supervisor (without the pay of course) due to her burn-out within my first month at a new job...I so wasn’t ready for it but had to make it work somehow. Those were some very stressful months until she returned, but things never got back to normal, as far as I was aware of what normal was. The balance was off and she left. A new director came and her position was divided between the both of us...my responsibilities grew but I also had proper backup and supervision, turned out to be a great learning experience.

Sep 14, 20 12:53 pm  · 
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Aluminate

This type of promotion is often a strategic expense-limiting move by the firm, especially during difficult or uncertain economic times.  An in-house, newly-minted Project Manager typically costs less in salary and benefits, and saves all the search-related and on-boarding costs that come with hiring a new PM from outside.  Sometimes an unstated goal is also to move up one or more lower-level employees into starting PM roles, so that more expensive senior PMs can be laid off if/when it comes to that.  

It sounds like you're already being tossed into the role, so if you turn down an official promotion then you're likely to find yourself doing the PM job anyway, but without the salary and title to go along with it.  If I were you I'd take the promotion, while stressing that you need adequate mentorship while you're learning it.  If you get that, then great.  If you don't, you're not really in a different spot than you already are, except that if/when you decide to leave this firm you're in a better negotiating position with the next firm, based on previous title and salary.

Sep 14, 20 1:01 pm  · 
6  · 
archi_dude

Spot on. Probably the best approach, cheers!

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Rios

It's always important to show appreciation for a promotion, even if you don't want it. ... In many ways, accepting or declining a promotion is like considering a new job offer. Evaluate the position as you would an entirely new role, and think about how it will fit into your life and career plans.

Sep 14, 20 4:49 pm  · 
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senjohnblutarsky

I didn't have any choice.  I was on a track to end up where I am, but my situation got advanced by a year or so. I've probably grown faster, and more, because I had to, rather than taking the extra time. If I hadn't taken on the role, the company would have had a fairly major disaster to clean up.  They still did, but it wasn't as bad. 

If anyone expects you to be perfect from the outset, they're probably looking at things the wrong way.  

And regarding being swamped, it's not necessarily just that job position.  It's the industry, the clients, the firms, the available staff. Somewhere, someone (you) has to define what you expect out of the position if you're going to occupy it.  You need to have an honest conversation about your expectations and theirs.  I've been clear throughout my employment at this job about my feelings towards overtime, understaffing, and workload.  They're accommodating for me as much as possible.  I try to accommodate in return, when they need some extra help.  There isn't a perfect balance, but it's as good as I can ask for. 

Sep 14, 20 5:14 pm  · 
1  · 
Jay1122

Dude, you need backgrounds to set off your story. We want juicy details.

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archanonymous

Seriously, we were expecting backgrounds last week - due to the delay we'll need at least an extra two weeks to get you new plumbing drawings.

Our drafting team are now staffed on other things. Oh and the extra week it'll take to complete the work? We'll send you an add-service for that.

2  · 
senjohnblutarsky

25-ish person firm. I was set to take over for a retiring PM/Owner, just the PM part. ~7 months before he retired, the head of the architecture department announces he's taking another job. The heir apparent announces he is as well. The former was a surprise, at that time; the latter was not a surprise. That left me as next-in-line. I was preparing for the projects from one PM. I was not preparing for projects from 3 PM's. There were really no other PM's, aside from the CEO, who should really be doing marketing and not managing projects. So, I go from expecting to handle about 10%-20% of the company's project billings, to something closer to 50%. And also handling the staff workload distribution. Luckily, the staff was incredibly cooperative and helpful. They've taken on a lot of the production -side things that I would have been more involved in. This let me do more of the CA and management tasks on our current projects. Right now, it's hindered our marketing ability a bit. Aside from that, it's not the disaster it could have been had I not taken on the job. They would have had to hire someone and try to float for months until that was done.

1  · 
midlander

it's not usually a favorable sign when the owner plans retirement and the next-in-lines all leave. has it all stabilized since then?

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senjohnblutarsky

An owner. There are still three other Owners around. The departures had little to do with retirements.

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Jay1122

I feel like this is a great opportunity for you. If you do it well you will be in line for the partner role next, and then principle. Woohoo, road to success.

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sameolddoctor

Don't be stupid - a promotion without more moolah is not really a promotion.

Sep 14, 20 6:17 pm  · 
3  · 
proto

Sounds like merely amateur motion

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