When high-ranking employees leave a company, there is almost no way to avoid a bit of upheaval.
Simply put, anyone that important has their hands in so many roles with some many people that a sudden absence triggers more than a few ripples.
And as a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit showed, filling that vacancy can bring just as much commotion.
The Original Poster, known as equitymeister1 on the site, teased at the outcome in the post’s title.
“AITA for not promoting a long time employee?”
OP kicked off with some background, a news of a recent shakeup.
“I’ve run into a recent dilemma with regards to my business. I (57-year-old male) own a private equity firm. We’re no Warburg, but we’re pretty well off.”
“Some background: For the past 20 or so years, I’ve had a trusted second in command, let’s call him M, who recently retired, which created a vacancy in the company.”
“Technically, the next highest ranking person is a senior executive, let’s call him J(51-year-old male). He’s been with the company for around 12 years, and I hadn’t have any issues with him prior to March of this year.”
There were dramatic rumblings even before that.
“The office had been experiencing financial instability, and J had been exploring openings in other companies.”
“I didn’t hold it against him, especially since he was so open and honest about the offers he received from other firms(many of which paid better than his current salary).”
“After some negotiations, we were able to decide on a raise for him and get him to stay with the firm.
Fast forward to 1 week ago, when M’s retirement became official.”
This all coincided with a recent family event.
“Since March, circumstance had changed, largely due to the graduation of my son, B(25-year-old male). He had graduated from a VERY prestigious university, and joined our firm soon after graduation.”
“I had been seriously impressed by his work thus far, and that is where the problem arose.”
This all played into OP’s recent decision.
“After careful contemplation, I decided to give the vacant position to B. This action was purely for the well-being of the company.”
“Our success over the years has been largely through passing the company down from father to son, which is how I got my start in the firm.”
“It was only right for me to continue this tradition and set up our future for years to come.”
“When I revealed this to the rest of the company in our weekly meeting, the announcement went smoothly. Everyone took the news well and congratulated B.”
Not everyone liked the move though.
“However, I could tell J was upset by the news, even though he was trying to hide it.”
“My suspicions were confirmed when, after the meeting, he told me he felt betrayed and shocked by what he called the ‘sudden promotion of B.’ ”
“The promotion was anything but sudden in my eyes, as I felt B had earned it.
Though he didn’t say it outright, J told me he felt he was owed the promotion, especially after I ‘guaranteed the spot to him in March.’ “
But OP saw it all a different way.
“While I did mention the possibility of mobility in the company, I feel like this is disingenuous on his part, as he is twisting my words to make it seem like I’m breaking some imaginary promise.”
“I can understand where he’s coming from, but this is simply not the way to go about it.”
“He said I was being underhanded by lying to him about his promotion.
“I have asked for the opinion of the other executives, all of whom agreed with me that I was not being unreasonable.”
OP closed with confidence.
“If anything, I am more confident in my decision after this meeting with J.”
“I was already suspicious of his actions in March, but I never brought it up out of respect for his time spent with the firm.”
“But now, I feel as if he violated that respect by trivializing my son’s accomplishments and accusing me of being a liar. AITA?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors agreed that OP was in fact an a**hole. For many, it was all very simple.
“YTA. There’s no way a 25 yr old has the experience and institutional knowledge of an older person who has been with the firm for years.”
“And of course everyone is congratulating your son. They want to keep their jobs. Same with the execs agreeing with you about J.”
“That job should have gone to a senior exec.” — mybloodyballentine
“YTA. I don’t understand how an employee who’s been at the company for 12 years is somehow less qualified than your son for such a role. I seriously don’t.”
“It’s fine that you want to hire your son, even to groom him to taking over some day. But, honestly, 9 months? 9 months from entry to second in command?”
Maybe I’m missing some context. But based on what you wrote here, big YTA. I hope J finds a place that values his experience.” — primabelladonna35
Some called out OP’s delusional thinking.
“YTA If J is the 3rd highest ranking employee and you are the 1st, then how else was he supposed to interpret your suggestion of ‘mobility in the company’ other than that he would potentially replace the the 2nd ranked employee?”
“It sounds like J was honest and up-front with you when he was looking for other jobs and you said what he wanted to hear to get him to stay and now you’re trying to gaslight him into believing you didn’t.”
“Good luck with all of that.” — personofpaper
“YTA, but as the owner of the company you have every right to be. Just don’t try to pretend this is anything other than good old-fashioned nepotism. It’s not like your son has proved himself worthy in just a few months.” — MinGosling
“YTA you seriously came here to ask if its an asshole thing to give your child a job right after they graduate instead of the next in line who has 12 years of loyalty to your company?”
“Yes, you are a huge a**hole” — JenWess
The only question now is how long OP must sit with J’s anger. And that depends on how long J sticks around at all.