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Can I ask for a promotion that's 2 levels higher than my current position?

Dear Cindy,

I recently had my 6 month review at my company, which went extremely well! Leadership clearly has great expectations for me, and we identified skill sets that I bring to the company, and that the company needs to develop and grow. I was also asked to put together a promotion proposal.

In reviewing my firm's role descriptions, it is very clear that I am already working at a level higher than my current position, and I see having to write a promotion proposal as an obstacle to what should be a very simple ask.

They also acknowledged me as a leader in a specific work domain and expressed interest in me taking this on as a formal role. This however, would suggest a promotion that is two levels higher than where I am now. Working at a highly corporate firm, I know asking to skip over a step is highly unconventional. However, my current role at the firm is also highly unconventional.

Would very much appreciate your advice and sanity check!


I love this email. And I love that you know your worth and they know your worth too. I will tell you a few things that come to mind as I read this.

You need to get paid more.

You need to be promoted.

Companies are creations of individuals (Protocols are all made up.)

This last point is important. Companies are paper creations around an idea. They then hire people to make those ideas happen. No corporate structure is made in stone. Leadership can revisit hiring, pay structures, benefits any time they want. (It's too chaotic to do it all the time which is why there are annual reviews.) Therefore, although unusual, if you have the skills and aptitude to be two levels higher, you need to be two levels higher. Period. Why not? They need to give you an intelligent reason why they don't want to elevate a growing star. "It doesn't work that way," is not an intelligent or thoughtful response.

I feel strongly that you need to propose a scenario that works for you and them. And be clear about it. Ask them "When do you see me with that title? Is it a year? Two years?" Make sure it has detail and thought. And, as much as you love this place (because it sounds like you value them), there is a disconnect. They don't realize you can leave and take your talents somewhere else. I would have a tough conversation and then plan to take some calls from recruiters to gather some more industry data.

You should stay for now since it looks like you are growing, but prepare to be somewhere if you don't think they will be budging much over the next 12 months. It's a two way street!


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