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Ask Liz: will my manager halt my career?

Dear Liz, there has recently been an opening in my agency that I want to apply for. I am worried that this will annoy my manager and afraid that it will put a strain on our relationship, especially if I am not successful in getting the job and have to continue to work together with him. I am not sure how supportive my manager would be and I do not want to leave my agency but am simply interested in this new role so I want to give it a go. Will I be shooting myself in the foot if I apply?


Career progression is so important yet often gets caught up in a web of internal politics. Understandably all managers like to keep hold of their best talent as they can do the job very well and the client likes them. The notion of losing this talent is often met with lots of tears and resistance. Silly really, because if we don't make the paths of progression smooth, then our people will move on regardless. So, before you enter into this you need to be clear that before you announce anything to anyone that the job is what you think it is and that something might come of it. No point upsetting anyone before you have your facts straight. Get hold of the job description and candidly assess your suitability.

So, I would suggest that you check out to see what the internal move policy is in your agency. Best to play by the rules. And rules vary by agency and group. Once you know the rules you can then navigate a way around them and involve the right people. Do you need to speak to HR? Do you need to talk to the hiring manager for an informal chat to check out that you do actually have the skills and experience they are looking for? Did you have a good appraisal? Have you told your current manager that you are interested in progression and promotion - would this be a surprise to them? Are there any reasons why you might not be suitable? Would they be interested in you pursuing the role, or are you not the right fit? So, do some ground work first to establish whether this has legs or not. Once you know what you are doing, then discuss an approach with the hiring manager that will have to include your current manager in the process. I would hope that they would understand and be pleased that you are staying within the agency. They too were once keen for promotion and recognition at your stage in your career.

If you have an HR-related issue that you need answering by our expert Liz Nottingham, HR Director at Starcom MediaVest and VivaKi Country Talent & Transformation Officer, please contact her via Any questions published will appear anonymously.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and were submitted in accordance with the IPA's terms and conditions regarding the uploading and contribution of content to the IPA's newsletters, IPA website, or other IPA media, and should not be interpreted as representing the opinion of the IPA.

Last updated 15/01/2013

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