Today, the founder and CEO of my company told me he wants to promote me. Now, before you go congratulating me, let me give you a little bit of background:
This is not the first time since I've been here that I've been told by someone that they "want" to promote me. In fact, it's more like the 10th time. I used to get really excited a la Sally Field ("You REALLY like me!"), but after about the 3rd or 4th time, I finally realized that when people here say they "want" to promote you, it is akin to when I say I "want" a penis for 24 hours. As much as I dream of peeing my name in the snow, it ain't gonna happen.
But today was a little different. I was in his office having just gotten off a conference call when he said, "Amber, I have to talk to you about something. Actually, I don't have to talk to you about it. I want to talk to you about it."
Queue the red flags.
"How do you view your role in this company going forward?"
Uh oh. I don't view myself as having a role in this company going forward. I am moving to Chicago in 2 months. I wisely decide it is not the appropriate time to bring this up. I decide instead to take the extremely rare opportunity to give him some insight into what I do think.
"Well, I'll be honest with you. I think my skills are being under-utilized in this company. I am capable of handling much more analytical work than the things I am currently responsible for. I once was getting to do some of that work, but when the new system was brought online and didn't work, I had to stop doing that, and concentrate on getting done what is basically busywork for me. I was very disappointed." Yes, I really did use the word busywork. How many chances like this do you get?
"I understand how you feel. I'd really like, in the next few weeks, to start to transition you out of that role, and into a role of greater responsibility. [The Gander] has been asking me for a while to transition you to a support consulting role and assign you exclusively to him."
I kind of knew this already. There was even a time when I thought that was something I wanted. The Gander and I used to be friends, pretty close friends actually, but his tantrums and seizures became unbearable to me and ultimately destroyed not only my desire to work with him, but also our friendship. I no longer wish to fill this role. "Uh huh," I say.
"Now I know he can be hard to work with sometimes. [The Gander's] problem is that he overextends himself, and then he doesn't know how to prioritize all the work." (The Gander's problem is that he's a dick.) "He needs someone that can help him with setting those priorities and help him to get the work done." (He needs someone to kick him in the nuts and tell him to shut the fuck up.) "I think you are a person who could handle helping him do that." (I think I am a person who can handle kicking him in the nuts and telling him to shut the fuck up.)
At this point, possibly because he sees the maniacal look on my face as I imagine caving in The Gander's nads, he changes course a little bit. And here, dear reader, is where it gets REALLY good.
"Ambitious people need to look for companies where there is growth. Companies that are growing offer opportunities to ambitious people for greater responsibility and compensation." So I've heard. But I wouldn't know that firsthand, because I work here, and this is not one of those companies. "I think this is one of those companies." For the record, he also thinks the phrase "What is the process of statement processing?" is a double entendre, and that there is "a right way and a wrong way" to go about sleeping with your secretary behind your wife's back. But I digress. "Now when you are given an opportunity for greater responsibility, the greater compensation does not come with that right away. When you are given an opportunity, you need to prove yourself. Then you can come back in 6 months to a year or so and say, 'Look at all I have accomplished. I deserve greater compensation!' and no one will be able to argue with that."
Put your eyes back in your head; you read that right. He basically just told me that he wanted to promote me, but not pay me more. This is not the way I understood promotions to typically work. I think it goes like this: You get promoted BECAUSE you have proven yourself, and you get paid for your newly earned responsibilities accordingly. Right? Is that right? I think that's right. I've never heard of it working where the dude in charge said, "Well, we don't really know about her abilities. Let's give her something harder to do, and if she doesn't suck at it, we'll give her lots more money!!!"
"I think sometime next week, you, me and [The Gander] should sit down and talk about this a little more. What do you think?"
"Okay. That sounds fine."
"Good. I'll set it up. Thanks a lot lady." (he calls me that sometimes, I think when he forgets my name.)
I think when this resumes we should continue the discussion in MY office, where I can use my giant desk for support while I bend over.