When Moving Up the Corporate Ladder Requires Jumping Corporate Ship

There was a person hired for a very important executive role at my company, only to turn around and change their mind when their current company gave them a huge promotion, a fancy title, and a lot of power there was no other way that person could have earned. This is how the game is played, I took mental note, and tucked it away in a neat file in the back of my mind.

Millennials¬†typically leave their jobs after 2-3 years, and I certainly understand the itch. The longest I’ve been in any job is 3 years and even that position was part time for the whole first year, attempting to secure a full time job. I’ve been extremely fortunate through both luck and playing my cards right to get where I am today. I don’t feel ready to move forward yet (still getting comfortable accepting that I deserve to be at the level I’m at and believing in myself, which is a challenge in its own right) but at the same time opportunities are presenting themselves that at the least cause me to do a double take.

The more successful my company gets, the more recruiters and the like send me inquiries regarding interest in job opportunities. I usually ignore these (after all, recruiters usually are just putting out a bunch of feelers to people who aren’t qualified for their positions anyway) but today the CEO of a company I know quite well reached out and asked if I’d be interested in taking a leadership role in his company. I have not responded yet. The company is somewhat of a competitor to my current company, which makes the entire situation all the more confusing.

The easiest thing to do would be to just ignore the inquiry, or write back a nice “thanks but no thanks” note and move on. But as my company grows my role is getting smaller and smaller, and I don’t see any space for me to move up. For better or worse, I’ve cut my teeth in this job. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, had successes, earned respect from some, lost it from others. There’s no erasing the past in the eyes of people who know me already. Would I be in a better place in a company where off the bat the CEO respected me enough to personally reach out and ask about my interest in taking on a new role, vs my current one with a leader who probably under appreciates me as an early employee (ie someone who would work for relatively cheap when the company wasn’t successful yet)?

That said, I have so much to learn still, and I genuinely feel like staying in one place, at least to ride out the growth and learn from our team successes and mistakes on the trip up (hopefully not the trip down, but there’s a lot to learn there as well should that be the end result) is highly valuable. Jumping into a leadership role right now, despite it being an amazing opportunity, may be a terrible career move.

That said, if you want respect in your current company, do you need to get an offer elsewhere? I don’t want to play that game, I just want to get my job done and do it well. I wish I was the type of person would could land a higher position and then use that to negotiate on both ends to obtain a higher salary, title, and most importantly, respect. But the thought of it leaves a very sour taste in my mouth. If I’m going to leave, I want it to be for the right reasons. I’d love to one day lead the department for a fast-growth company, but today is probably not that day. It’s frightening how close it could be to it, and equally terrifying to pass on such opportunities when you don’t know if they’ll come again at a more opportune time.

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One thought on “When Moving Up the Corporate Ladder Requires Jumping Corporate Ship”

  1. is there any harm in responding to the CEO and being fairly open and honest about your feelings? Maybe he will offer the support you think you'll need while you grow into the role. I don't think I could just ignore an approach like this, as he may come to a less than positive view of your lack of response. Good luck!

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