I was shocked recently to learn that a relatively new employee had been promoted into a job equivalent to mine.
Q: I was shocked recently to learn that a relatively new employee had been promoted into a job equivalent to mine. It took me 20 years to rise to this level, while “Mike” just joined our company three years ago. I know for a fact that he is incapable of handling the responsibilities of this position.
When Mike applied for the promotion, my boss assured me that his lack of experience would disqualify him before the interview stage. I have since been told that some policy exceptions were made to allow him to interview, which seems highly unethical.
As peers, Mike and I will be expected to collaborate on a regular basis. Since I know he isn’t qualified, I can’t imagine asking for his advice or assistance. How should I handle this?
A: To avoid damaging your own career, you will need to adjust your attitude. While you may believe that Mike’s promotion was a mistake, someone in upper management obviously has a different view. Making your displeasure known will not only insult Mike, but also offend his higher-level sponsor.
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As a long-term employee, you may not realize that Mike’s lack of tenure could actually be a strength. People with “fresh eyes” are frequently able to spot unrecognized problems and suggest new approaches. If Mike’s superiors are unhappy with the status quo, they may be expecting him to stimulate change.
At this point, you should swallow your resentment and try to act like a welcoming colleague. If Mike succeeds, he could become a helpful ally. But if he turns out to be a dud, you will have the quiet satisfaction of knowing you were right.
Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.