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Asked for the title I deserve, and was shot down. Advice?

LouiseHeite's profile thumbnail
I would definitely ask to understand. Ask them further questions so you can better understand what drives them to do it this way. Once you have more answers you'll be able to make a better, more informed decision on your future in or outside the company. I hope this helps. Rooting for you!
It sounds as if you've approached them openly and given them several opportunities to provide you with constructive feedback and address your request. Unfortunately from what you've said, I think the company has already given you their answer. I was in this situation myself last year: I am a mid-senior level professional and was managing a small team. I was underpaid by $20k compared to my male colleague who was recruited to the same role. When I asked for a review cycle and requested recognition, I was told to wait because I wouldn't get a promotion or levelled until the first company-wide review process was rolled out much later in the year. It didn't get rolled out for another 10 months. In the meantime, two male (never any women) colleagues in other teams received promotions outside of the so-called new review cycle ... a lot to unpack there! Are you willing to pin your career development waiting on promises from someone who doesn't have your interests at heart? The way I would approach it is to start looking for new opportunities elsewhere, and when you have some solid leads, is to explain to your company that unless they are able to recognise your value and contributions, you will be looking to take your skills elsewhere. The company will either realise what they're about to lose and try to counter, or they will let you go, so be prepared for either response. I really sympathise because not being valued at work is incredibly disheartening. Best of luck!
melaniecrissey's profile thumbnail
Put the hurt feelings on pause for a second. Push back to the founder and request a 1:1 meeting. Thank them for the information about the upcoming review cycle and state to them it’s necessary to execute a title change earlier than the planned review cycle as a correction to reflect your current role and responsibilities. The worst thing they can say is, “no” which leaves you no worse off than you are now. Meanwhile, start applying and interviewing for new roles elsewhere! This will allow you to validate that your skills match the title you’re asking for, and will give you a way out if conversations at your current company don’t work out. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can simply refuse to do your job until they apply a new title for you, although I can understand where that feeing comes from! Hang in there!
ToryWobber's profile thumbnail
I hear the hurt here. It sounds like you're looking to be seen, and feeling invisible and overlooked. One thing I'll say here around your phrasing "title I deserve." You deserve to be seen for the amazing human you are - first and foremost, by you. You've got to know your value and your worth, which doesn't stem from this title or any of the other boxes that you've checked. Your worth comes from you just being uniquely you, the only you on this planet. Happy to share thoughts on tactics for next steps if they'd be helpful, but thought I'd pause just to reaffirm your worth first since that matters more! How does that sit with you?
KashaH's profile thumbnail
I hate to hear this, and have been in your shoes. I wonder if you are already looking to leave and looking for new roles, if you'd consider the idea of an external versus internal title. It is not the best route always, because it doesn't allow you to get compensated at the correct level, but if you're using the title to more accurately reflect the level of work and you are using it to look for new work, and you've confirmed your current place won't budge til Oct anyway, I would consider it. You could always ask for forgiveness rather than permission, too. Say to the founder that you want to chat 1:1 and if they say no to a review before Oct. suggest as a compromise that you use an external title based on the accountabilities that you can list, and then use that on your LinkedIn/resume. It also helps if you can have references that can go to bat for you in future job interviews, so they can relay that you were working at a much higher level than your title suggests, so you might consider coaching your references on that.
sophieaigner's profile thumbnail
Sounds so frustrating! One question - how recent was it that you took on the new role? I think that will determine whether or not you can use that as leverage. Also, I definitely agree with @melaniecrissey's comments - you definitely need to have a proactive conversation about this with the founder.
I'm sorry you're dealing with this! It sounds really frustrating. That said, it's not inherently problematic to defer a raise conversation to a review cycle. To be super clear - I'm not making excuses for your employer! It's not a great look that they weren't previously transparent about the existence of a review cycle, or that they ignored you for a month. They sound like poor managers and poor communicators. But many companies do operate on a scheduled raise and promotion cycle.If you're at all interested in staying - at least through October - then I think you should schedule another meeting with the founder and get very clear on what their expectations for a future title bump would be. Say something like, "When we last spoke, you let me know that any changes to my title would need to be determined in October. I want to clarify how that process works and what your expectations would be for a title move at that time. Is there anything you would expect to see from me that you're not already seeing to formalize a move to manager?"Of course, this all assumes you're at a company where formal promotions are the accepted way to get title changes. At some startups, it would be appropriate to use whatever title you feel accurately reflects the work you do, even if there hasn't been a formal title change. But that's a matter of knowing your company - I work for a 3000-person company that has a very DIY approach to titles, but I have friends at 50-person companies with very rigid title structures.And if you leave, you should feel free to let them know that not being promoted off-cycle was the reason for your departure (assuming you don't think it will impact their reference - if it will, you're under no obligation to be honest).