Hi dear Elpha members!
I have a question about how to deal with a manager who has been dragging his foot about my promotion.
So I'm a relatively early employee at a very fast growing startup (I joined at around series B in March '21 when they were ~90 employees and now we're 1000+ a little over a year later). An average workday is 12 hrs with no breaks and it routinely goes up to 13-15. Nobody puts a gun to your head but you just end up working those hours with the amount of features we're shipping. So 1 year here honestly feels like 3 human years at an average company.
I joined as the first PM hire after the head of product to build from the ground up/productize what came to be the largest revenue generator for the company. When I joined, my title was just "Product Manager" (I didn't think to negotiate title at the time because I was coming from a rather flat organization).
I have a lot of stakeholders and overall, they love working with me. I have consistently exceeded expectations and even got a glowing performance review in December. After the performance reviews, I asked about a promotion, no clear response. Then we basically didn't sync at all for another three months because he was so busy. In March at around my one year work anniversary, I asked again and he said he'd promote me and made it seem like it was imminnent but contingent upon me not messing up a few key releases. Since then, I've released all those big features, onboarded another senior PM to my team and basically continued to perform.
Between March and now, I've been asking him about it in every one on one meeting we have, and he still hasn't provided me a clear timeline or reasoning for why it hasnt happened so far. I have straight up asked and he still wasn't able to produce a proper answer.
I tend to share meeting agendas with him the day before so as part of those agendas, I've even mentioned how disappointed and resentful I was feeling. Some of these notes weren't even read (admitted by him) and the rest he interpreted as me "strong arming him" to give me a promotion now.
Our company is super behind on people/HR, it's just not their priority. Also no PMs have been promoted so far, even though well-performing members of other teams have been promoted, but this is irrelevant, since he already acknowledged I deserve the promo.
One time I had an argument with the CEO where I opposed what he wanted to do, we did it in the end anyway, but I turned out to be right and we are now considering un-doing that feature. Im worried if this is somehow related to it, or there's other politics behind it. I'm in the opinion that the head of product is a great IC, but not an effective manager in general, several other PMs I'm close to feel similarly. I also don't trust that he's really sticking his neck out for me and pushing for this.
I just cannot understand what is holding him back, but I cannot get an answer from him. I am considering going to the CEO directly and asking him (CEO does know me personally bc we worked directly on several projects). Do you think it's a bad idea to go to him? I feel stuck and don't know what to do.
I also don't know how to provide the feedback that he's basically useless as a manager (he's good if you go to him for advice for a product problem, but useless otherwise).
I would normally just quit but:
I love my job and my team members and the product we built is my baby. I really wanna see it through
I work remotely from a country where the economy is doing poorly and there aren't a lot of job opportunities
I'd be walking away from a significant amount of stock options if I were to leave.
So the chances of me finding another high-growth global remote OK job as a PM seems slim. I've started looking around but I haven't come across anything exciting yet.
Thank u in advance to anyone who provides advice/feedback <3