The Politics of Promotions

A technical post will be coming in the near future. Or, perhaps a recipe, or since it’s getting close to spring time, perhaps a blog about fast-pitch softball. But this time I think I’ll write about myself (again), and what’s been going on from a professional standpoint.

I’ve blogged before about how a Java developer and I had been developing a new website for our company. This website will allow insurance agents to enter client information on-line and have a policy issued within minutes. Our agents and marketing partners have been asking for such an app for a couple years now.

The two of us made a good team. He would do most of the Java coding, and I would work on the database end, designing the database and writing the scripts that would pass data back and forth from the database to the web pages. I’d help out with the Java when I could.

As we got further into the project, there arose some conflicts. Not between me and him, but between the two of us and the project managers (yes, plural). Long story short – the developer ended up leaving the company, feeling he couldn’t continue working with people who couldn’t grasp the complexity of the project and understand the impediments we developers faced. We were to perform “magic” to get the site to work, which was fine, but to produce this “magic” was going to take a lot longer than the project managers were willing to give us.

Another reason he left is that he was turned down for a promotion to Senior Web Developer. I felt he deserved it, but for whatever reason he didn’t get the promotion. Both of us had expressed our project frustrations to our supervisor on more than one occasion, and this was probably the clincher that prompted his leaving. Ironically, we have not interviewed any one else for that open position.

A few of you know that I was also looking for employment elsewhere. I did interview with Jes Borland’s (blog | twitter) company, and was told I’d have a second interview here in a week or two. About the same time of that interview my boss asked me into his office. After being told to close the door, I was wondering if I needed to start finding a box or two to clean out my desk. He informed me that they had created a second position titled Web Infrastructure Administrator. This position would be reponsible for maintaining our web servers. I said that’s great, since with the departure of my colleague we had no one who knew anything about how to configure our web servers (I know just enough to be dangerous). I was then told that they’d like me to take over those repsonsibilities. I asked if it was a grade bump and was told “no”. I mentioned that if they wanted me to maintain both the web servers and the SQL Servers, I felt that deserved a bump in position. My boss said he’d take it under advisement. Great. To me, that still meant “no”.

Two days later I was again called into my boss’ office. After talking to his boss, and ultimately the president of our company, they were all in agreement that my new duties did deserve the grade bump. I thanked my supervisor and asked what that meant in terms of a salary increase. He didn’t know, the salary committee still had to discuss that matter. Fast foward another couple of days, and I was told my new salary would include a raise of 4% of the mid-point of the next grade’s salary range, “plus something extra. We realize we’re behind when it comes to technical salaries, and we need to catch up”. I had mentioned that I could probably be making a lot more money than I currently am if I went to work somewhere else.

So, whether I deserved this “promotion”, or if they were scared that I’d leave the company too, I don’t know. It seems to have worked out to my benefit. At the end of February my company is sending me to Atlanta for Websphere Application Server training. I know my way around Websphere OK, but I don’t know a lot of the detailed stuff. I’m excited to be able to receive this training. Maintaining both our web servers and our SQL Servers is going to keep me busy well into the future.

So, Jes, it doesn’t look like I’ll be coming to work at Kimberly Clark anytime soon. I don’t know that they’d let me telecommute from Madison anyway.

Oh, did I mentioned that I’ll have an office now? No more cube farm for me!


About Gill Rowley

I live in a Madison, WI suburb, working as Owner/President of White Knight Data Solutions. I like hunting, fishing, working out, my boat, my motorcycle, playing with my rescued bull terrier Lola, and gourmet cooking. Oh, yeah, and I play men's fastpitch softball, and chess. Let that sink in. :-)
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