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A promotion isn't always the most important thing

Getting a promotion may not be the only goal in a job. One TechRepublic member is getting valuable experience instead.

I got an email from a TechRepublic member who expressed frustration that his job at a small company has changed drastically, yet he hasn't had a title change. His email:

I have been working in the IT business for over 12 years. I've gone from corporate environments, to contracts with the local government. From large manufacturing businesses to small financial offices. I went from working full time to being laid off for 6 months.

I am now working in a small financial business. I was hired as a computer programmer (my trade) but quickly found myself in an environment with no real internal structure to talk about and a large project ahead of us (PCI Compliance). This allowed me to "shift horizontally" and got me involved with project management, policy writing, management meetings and sort.

Don't get me wrong, I like all of this. I am a "challenge lover" type of person, but I do realize that I am doing more than I am supposed to and frankly I don't see a promotion at all ahead of me (again, small shop, no structure, owner micromanaging without ever being in the office... yeah... that bad).

Hopefully that gives you a good enough picture to answer my questions:

- Should I assume this "informal promotion" and discuss with my colleagues the need for a programmer, considering I am too busy with everything else?

- I know that my education doesn't warrant me for a management position (high school), even though I started my college education for a bachelor degree, but is this experience going to help me when I present myself to another job? And how do I present this "informal promotion" in a resume?

My answer:

Let me start by pointing out that the experience you're getting outside of your specific field of expertise, computer programming, will definitely help you when you present yourself to another job. That's one of the best things about working for a small shop or start-up -- you get lots of great experience that looks good on your resume. Small shops, out of necessity, often have staffers working in several areas.

I don't know if the company you're working for is working to expand. If so, you're in a good position for seniority by just hanging in there. Either way, it wouldn't hurt to approach your boss to ask about a change in title and salary.

If I were you, I'd approach your colleagues with the idea of hiring a programmer to help you since your duties have increased. You might even offer to supervise this employee, teaching him/her the ropes, etc., since you, more than anyone else, knows what this person should be doing. At the same time, you are gaining "management" experience that you can also list on a resume. That and your newly acquired hands-on experience with a compliance project will look very good on a resume should you decide to look elsewhere.

Now, of course, since it's a small shop, your request for a raise may be turned down. In that case, I would ask about a title change to something more representative of your full role -- this also will help on a resume. Trust me, having on your resume that you worked on compliance is a big plus.

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

15 comments
dstadler66
dstadler66

Yes, you should be paid more - in theory. But that is market-dependent as well. I've improved immensely the past decade, but so have the folks in India, and they cost 20% of what I do. So one can improve and watch one's salary decline, though not the title. One thing to work toward is to learn skills which India either cannot or will not do - Yet. The Yet is the crux of the problem; you have to stay ahead of India & not compete exclusively on commodity skills. As for me, they can call me 'the big ugly ape' if they are paying me $100 an hour..... ;)

omaye1
omaye1

i agree with what ToniBrowers has said because i also work in telecomms company where i only have my diploma but my 4years expirience have leaverge me to hight where i have even graduates with degree holders will have to listen to me when instructions are given concerning a particular project or a job that need to be done. i am also working to get my degree so that i can be

reisen55
reisen55

A very good friend of mine is a brilliant naval engineer, worked for Gibbs and Cox on and off over a number of years - works on stealth ship design - and was offered, at one time, a management position with a salary heft. He declined it, not that he was not making bad money, but he loved his JOB as an engineer per se and did not want to get into people management. His wife, of course, never forgives this decision and raises it at every career discussion, which is terrible. Once you have your niche, do not go beyond the Peter Principle.

santeewelding
santeewelding

"I am doing more than I am supposed to" Be clear about supposition, and a whole lot more may become clear to you.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Assuming that the pay is Representative of the new responsibilities what's it matter what they call you? The reality in a small Shop you'll be known as The Geek, The Go To Guy for Computer Problems or whatever else is actually what you are doing so why is a title important? The big problem here with requesting more staff to do the job you where employed to do is that the Owner/Manager may rescind your added responsibilities and appoint someone else to do the job that you are now doing and reduce you back to what you where employed to do. This is quite common in some places where people like to Micro Manage everything so only you can answer what is the best way to look forward here. Col

dmilesnc
dmilesnc

You've got to know that working in a startup or small firm, they are expecting you to be flexible and work outside the normal job title tasks. Stick it out. The more you stretch, the more chances you have to grow.

mafiachild1985
mafiachild1985

seeing how you have some experience in this field what advice would you give to a new guy trying to break in to the business. I have a job interview Tuesday (got my shirt and tie all ready) I am going for a help desk position. Any advice?

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

Mind you, for a Desk Position they're not really necessary! :^0

santeewelding
santeewelding

Be sure in any written communication at the time to contract "in to" into "into".

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Are you having some fun tonight, or what? :^0

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

but fark it, with egg on my face it can't really get worse ... [i]"seeing how you have some experience in this field what advice would you give to a new guy trying to [b]break in[/b] to the business"[/i] A sledge hammer and bullet proof vest, one might suggest. Sorry ! :)

santeewelding
santeewelding

And re-read speedily, but could not find the construction you mention by either the author, her correspondent, or me. Advise. Where have you been? I have missed you.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

... add a hyphen between 'break' and 'in', and become a memorable interviewee for a whole new range of reasons!

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