Dear J.T. & Dale: I have been “on loan” to another department within my company. I enthusiastically accepted the assignment, and when I found out that the manager had put in a proposal to bring me onto the team, I was thrilled! I’m a salary grade of four, and the job I’m working is a grade six. While waiting for upper management to approve the proposal, a grade five position was posted. I wanted to apply, but my manager told me to “sit tight.” In the meantime, another candidate accepted the grade five. When I asked her about it, she said she had no control over the posting, that the grade six proposal was turned down and that I would be returning to my original position. What did I do wrong? – C.M.
J.T.: In hindsight, you can see that applying for the grade five job would have covered your bases. However, it’s odd that you weren’t approached about it formally as an alternative to not getting the grade six position.
DALE: Whenever things get odd, the explanation usually comes down to company politics. Your boss may have discouraged you from applying because she knew she would be hiring someone else. Perhaps someone more influential in the company asked her to add that person, perhaps she spotted someone with unique talents, or maybe your old manager came to her and declared, “I want C.M. back.” You’ll probably never know the real reason.
Nevertheless, every event in your career is an opportunity to get better. Forget the job you didn’t get, and start work on the next possibility. Invite your temporary boss out to lunch and ask her for advice on how you could improve. Keep getting better, and so will your assignments… IF you accept that part of getting better is becoming more skilled at office politics.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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