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If you follow me on Twitter, you know that about six months ago, I changed jobs…not to mention fields and careers. It was a big deal for me, and since I had been in my previous company for far longer than seems socially acceptable these days. I had a lot to learn during my job search, being out of the game for a while. Luckily, I have a job-jumper friend (in a good way) who was able to tutor me in the ways of a proper message to a recruiter on LinkedIn and the powers of a skills-based resume.
It’s that same friend that I now go to when I encounter something weird in my new job. Not to brag, but I was the queen bee at my old company, and navigating this new environment has been quite the educational experience. So after a phone call with my new-new boss (you’ll see what I mean in a minute), I sent her this rather rambling text message:
So I feel like I’m being demoted but not demoted. When I started, I was a Director with all of the other senior management, reporting to the President. Then at the end of the year, a few people got promoted to VP or Senior Director, which left me and another lady as the only directors. I was cool with that because obviously I had just started.
Now, they’ve hired a new VP of finance and consolidated all of “admin” (IT, HR, Finance) under him, which I’m also cool with because not everyone can report to the President and I like the new dude.
BUT reporting to this new guy means that I no longer go our weekly leadership meeting or our leadership offsite because only the President’s direct reports are going. Am I crazy for feeling like I’m being demoted?
Her immediate response? “Sounds like you got layered.”
WTF does that mean? The only kind of layers I knew about involve cake (good) and hair (bad). So of course, I took to Google, and the fine folks at the Wall Street Journal informed me that this kind of layering is basically when a new manager is put between you and your original boss. And that despite my initial panic attack of feeling like this is a bad thing, it doesn’t have it be – although I’m not entirely sure I buy that.
According to the WSJ piece (which is from 2005, so I definitely missed the boat on learning about this particular workplace phenomenon), layering can actually be a good thing if you are working in a growing company (which I am) and/or have a boss who has too many direct reports to give each one adequate attention (which I did). It can even give you the opportunity to advance if the person in the new layer between you and your old boss is someone who is knowledgeable and can help you learn (here’s hoping).
So now, 24 hours out from that fateful phone call, I’m left to ask some questions of myself. Am I upset about being “layered” because my ego is damaged and/or that I’ve lost my seat at the big kids’ table as opposed to it actually affecting my career? If my job, title and salary haven’t changed, am I making much ado about nothing? If the answer to both questions is yes, is it possible that it may not be that bad? That being layered could actually be a positive thing? Only time will tell, I guess…but since my initial instinct was to take to LinkedIn immediately (sorry to all of those recruiters I requested a connection from last night), we’ll see if I’m around long enough to figure it out.
Have you ever gotten layered? What did you do about it? Leave me some advice in the comments..
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