Question: “When I was recruited by this company, I was told I would be reporting to the vice president. But when I started work, the VP said I would report to one of his directors instead. He went on to say this director has no future here. The VP said he wanted to watch my performance before replacing the director. However, no time frame was mentioned. He also said the director has close friends in the department. He said if I have any concerns, come directly to him. Now I’m not sure how to work with my director.” — Confused
Marie’s Answer: Replacing someone who doesn’t know they’re leaving requires tact, subtlety, and the ability to keep a secret. Your vice president obviously possesses none of these qualities. Telling you about this hidden agenda was both tacky and stupid. However, now that you know, you must act as though you don’t.
Focus on your current job and avoid acting like the heir apparent. Don’t get in the habit of going around your boss, despite the VP’s invitation to do so. With your crafty VP, just be pleasant, helpful and cautious. Your misleading job offer was the first clue that he can’t be trusted. This charade with the director is the second. Only time will tell if you’re going to be promoted. But if you handle this tricky situation properly, at least no one can accuse you of trying to overthrow your boss.
If you’re at all concerned about your own job security, you’ll find some job-saving advice at YourOfficecoach.com, “How to Avoid Losing Your Job.”