Help with my promotion

Hi everyone! I posted a similar post to this one a while back, but things changed a little. So first, I would like to add a little context to clarify my situation.

I’m a graphic designer with 20 years of experience. I’ve been with my current employer for almost two years. I’ve been a senior designer at previous places, but something always happened (Covid, layoffs, etc.) that forced me to go back to accepting mid-level graphic design positions. I have a family so there are bills to pay after all.

Back in January, I was telling my boss that over the past year I’ve had time to see things that could be improved on in our department. One of them having someone with a design background review the junior designer’s work and just keeping the brand consistent throughout. Right now I have the most design experience in our department and my boss knows nothing about design (he comes from a writing background) so it would only make sense for that person to be me. During our one on one a couple of weeks later, he suggested promoting me to a higher position. He suggested an art director, but I don’t know if that’s what this small company needs. It might be overkill. Plus, this would not be a management position. I don’t want to be stuck in meetings all day. I’m a designer and don’t have any interest in that, at least for the time being. Now he wants me to write up a “review policy” that covers what items need to be reviewed that the junior creates and when. Not only that, but there’s a marketing coordinator who resizes ads and other pieces so I would definitely need to see those. I was thinking this is more of a senior designer position, but now I don’t know. If I’m going to be reviewing work and suggesting art direction to keep the brand in one voice, then it might be an art director.

I don’t really know what I’m asking for here. I guess I just need some insight. I can do the work as a designer, but I lack the experience in leadership. Any suggestions, comments, insight is appreciated.

Two weeks ago in your other thread you were saying this was an unofficial promotion and that you were hesitant to oversee people’s work without them understanding this was part of your job.

Has this changed? Did you get your supervisor to agree to make the promotion official? Did he agree to communicate to others that part of your job will be to help coordinate their work and make suggestions regarding that work?

If so, why are you still hesitating to accept the promotion? Will you get a pay increase? Even without a pay increase, why would you not accept the job? You mentioned that you came up with suggestions to improve various aspects of how things work in your department, which tells me that you’re thinking about these things. That being the case, why are you hesitating to accept an offer that will enable you to implement your ideas?

You mentioned having a family to support. Why would you consider turning down a promotion that would set the stage for a better chance at doing that now or when looking down the road five or ten years? Do you really want to freeze your career at some mid-level position or do you want to answer the door when opportunity knocks?

Maybe the job promotion isn’t exactly what you want (none ever is), but it provides you a chance to make the job into what you want it to be and set the stage for something more in the near future that will be even better. You really ought to keep moving forward when an opportunity is presented unless you’re satisfied with the status quo. But the trouble is the status quo will change whether you like it or not, and if you don’t keep moving forward, you’ll find yourself falling behind.

Your reasoning on this baffles me. It sounds as though you’re looking for reasons to turn down an opportunity. The title of “director” is a management position, whether or not you, your supervisor, or the company currently think of it that way.

Unless there’s something you’re not telling us, if it were me, I’d accept the promotion in a heartbeat and deal with the consequences. Some of those consequences might be problematic or frustrating. However, there are also opportunities to grow and develop. If you find those problems and frustrations to be insurmountable, you will have set the stage to jump ship to a bigger, more savvy company as their art director in a couple of years.

You mentioned not liking the notion of having to attend more meetings. I’m sorry, but this is part of what comes with more responsibility. It’s also your chance to shine and make a positive impression on the higher-ups in those meetings. It’s also your chance to make those changes and improvements you want to make that will involve persuading others to buy into those ideas. The title of Art Director will mean little if you don’t assume the role and behave like one. In addition, it will mean meetings and developing your interpersonal skills of persuasion

I seem to remember you saying you’re in your late 20s. In this business, if you don’t keep moving up the ladder, you’ll eventually be pushed off the ladder or sidelined into a dead-end situation where you’ll stagnate. By your late 20s, you should at the very least be a senior designer. By the age of 30, you should be an art director.

You have several decades left in your career. Unless you have a completely different personality from mine, you don’t want to sit still and turn down challenges. Do that, and you’ll soon find yourself hopelessly stuck as you sink further and further into the mud as others drive around you.

Some thing here does not add up, whether I can count or not.

I should have checked because I apparently misremembered.

With 20 years in the business, yeah, I’d definitely take advantage of any opportunity for a promotion from a mid-level designer.

Thanks! I’m definitely taking it, that’s not an issue. I’m probably just thinking about it too much. Writing policies and my own job description is just something I’ve never done before. It has its plus and minuses I guess.

Think like a designer. Isolate the problem that needs to be solved. There’s your job description.

Your promotion, surely, is all about fixing evident issues in your company, otherwise any promotion would be merely figurative and pretty meaningless. The role and responsibilities becomes exactly all those holes that you’ve discovered need plugging. Don’t overthink. Bullet core issues, then elaborate and extrapolate.

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