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Should I tell my manager I plan on leaving if I don’t get promoted?

funnylikesmart
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If you are
1. really convinced you are ready for the promotion and you are held back for commercial or political reasons
2. Are able and willing to get a competing offer (ideally at the level you want to be promoted to)
3. Are ready to walk if the promotion does not happen

-> sure, why not.
But do it smarter - have open conversations with the people who decide about the promotion. Explain why you feel that way and why they want to keep you (at the next level).


I know of enough cases at multiple firms where someone is held back because it’s cheaper for a partner/firm and they can do it, not because they are not ready (tbh, usually not at S& or MBB as far as I remember, rather at firms with fixed partner pyramids/p&l). Why not have an open discussion about that?

likesmart

At most consulting firms, your manager has little say in your promotion… the best you can do is get them to be ally for you.

So it shouldn’t be, “John, if I don’t get promoted, I’m leaving”; it’s “John, I want to get promoted to X, what do you think my chances are and can I count on you to help make the case to Partner McPartner?”

Agree with others, the only time you want to say “If you don’t promote me, I’m leaving” is if you have an offer in hand and you’re ready to walk. And even then, it may not be a great move because you’ve essentially communicated that you have no particular loyalty. So you may get what you want, but then the next time that times are tough and they need to cull the herd, you’ll be on the chopping block.

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Lol are you 12

likefunnyhelpful

Not OP being a cry baby to their employer.

like

No, not unless you already have an offer

likesmartfunny

And don’t do ultimatums. I really wanted to stay, but I have to look after myself. Unfortunately, I’ve not felt valued/ not felt like I’m moving up/ not seen career progression so I’ve decided to look elsewhere.

like

Would this not incentivize them to promote me?

funnylike

The idea that you might be lost without a promotion might incentivize them. You telling them explicitly is merely confrontational which works against you.

I did. Didn’t get promoted. Put in my notice and the company flipped. “Name your title and your price.”

In my situation, I had been offered and then guaranteed a promotion and it kept getting kicked down the road, so it wasn’t out of left field.

like

Not a principal in mgmt consulting. Work for a consulting adjacent start up (we have two lines of business that consult in my background field). It happened at my last role, which was in industry (first post consulting gig). It led to me getting this role.

like

Make sure your manager understands how important it is to you, but not that you’ll leave. They’ll already know it’s a risk.

likehelpfulsmart

This. I do think you should let them know but find a better way to word than the OP

No, you're giving your manager an ultimatum. This is not a healthy professional relationship when you have to resort to these tactics. If they weren't going to give you a promotion originally that should speak volumes to you about what they think about you. If you get an offer and want to stay then allow them to counteroffer.

like

This will hurt you more than help. Most people respond negatively to threats.

likefunny

There’s def a better way to say it - something along the lines of “I’m really looking for growth and at this point I know I’m ready to move to the next level with a promotion. But I did want to be transparent, if that’s not possible I have to reconsider if staying here is the best decision for me if I want to grow in my career. I’d love for us to reach the right alignment that works for everyone.” You can say this with or without another offer in hand in my opinion.
Don’t act on emotions.
Also identify who is actually making the decision of promoting you bc it may not be your manager.

likehelpfulfunny

Don’t settle for the one on one. After that one uncomfortable call the MD is still an MD, making more money than you. They’ve taken food out of your mouth and then said sorry. Start interviewing elsewhere immediately.

like

no.

like

No

like

I’m calling your bluff.

likefunny

No one likes to be threatened...

likesmartfunny

😬 no

like

Totally. You seem like quality.

likefunny

I’ve felt like you before, you are subconsciously seeking validation while hoping they would realize the impact of losing you. Just make sure if you leave, it’s not because of your ego. There is no value in telling your current manager what you plan to do in the future, they are just one component of your promotion, they don’t get to make the decision for your group. As you progress in your career, for example M-SM promotion, it’s common that people leave if they don’t get promoted within a certain timeline. I am staying with the firm for another year to determine if I could make early SM promotion, and will leave if I don’t. It wouldn’t be because my ego is hurt, but rather because I am burnt out, and doing many things above my level.

like

Naah was thinking the same but only thought about the money.
But it was better that u did not get promoted because the raise I got from switching companies would've taken years to receive if I stayed

like

No

If he skips the promotion, just do it

like

It's okay, I've already notified them. They'll reach out tomorrow but just as a quick heads up, you'll be getting rolled off at the end of the month. Please wrap up any outstanding action items by Friday evening. Expectation is that you will have everything fully completed and submitted before 7am Monday, and that all transition documents will be drafted by 5/19 and over to me for review. You'll spend the final week holding workload transition discussions with the rest of the team, so please get those scheduled by tomorrow afternoon. Good luck on the bench!

I kid I kid 😂 overall, it's not a smart strat. Just keep the positivity and promotion case discussion center-focus; if you aren't promoted, just start looking for opportunities and then leave.

funnylike

I don't give that take. But I have made it clear that I do expect to be promoted and have been in constant communication

likesmart

The bottom line is that if you have a strong relationship with your management team you should be able to have frank and respectful discussions about your goals, but if you don’t have that positive foundation to work from it could be a risk.

like

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