Dear Dan, I Was Enticed by Another Company and They Let Me Down

Dear Dan,

I read your blog My Boss Didn’t Keep His Promises. I would like your advice on that issue. I was at a good company and making good money, however, management opportunities were slim.

I was enticed by another company. The manager promised me that I would be making in a year what I was making with my prior company as well as being a senior employee after a year, as I was at the top of the food chain at my prior employer and in line to be a manager.

With my prior employer, once you leave they will not take you back.

Sooo, the promises were not upheld by my current employer that got me to come over, even though trust, respect, honesty, and fairness are their core values. My manager’s boss, told him, “No,” to the increased salary and a senior employee position.

I feel like I was lied to in order to get me and my skill-set to come to this company. Now I am stuck as I can’t go back to my former employer.

What are your thoughts?

Can’t Go Back

Dear Can’t,

Your email is a sad illustration of making decisions based on promises about the future. But I don’t understand why you want to go back to your previous company.

You wrote that you were at the top of the food chain and management opportunities were slim.

Stop longing for a past that was dissatisfying.

You made a decision to take a new job that had opportunities. Those opportunities didn’t work out. Who’s to say they won’t work out in the future?

Assume the best about your immediate manager. Perhaps he intentionally deceived you, but I doubt it. Where’s the win in disappointing you? 

Have a conversation about your disappointment.

  1. Clarify how past expectations were disappointed.
  2. Explain your hope for advancement.
  3. Describe your commitment to serve well. This is no time to be a half-hearted employee, even though you’re frustrated.
  4. Show compassion toward your current supervisor based on the assumption that the original offer was sincere.
    • How do you feel about not being able to give me advancement?
    • Did this situation put you in a difficult situation?
    • How can we best move forward from here?
    • What can I do to move the agenda forward?
  5. Keep looking for the position you hope to achieve. It may be good to buckle in for two or three years. That depends on your age and opportunities that come along.

I wrote in My Boss Didn’t Keep His Promises that, “Some bosses make foolish promises. The promise of a promotion, for example, is a foolish promise. The future is uncertain.”

Don’t make future decisions based on promises.

Stay in your current position until a new position comes along, either inside or outside your company. 

The next time an opportunity like this comes along, say, “I’d love to come to work for you. When the position opens up, please give me a call. Until then, I’m all-in where I currently work.”


Entrepreneurial opportunities are another story. If you’re entrepreneurial and you’re offered ownership in a company that isn’t worth much, you might take that promise.

In this case, if you can afford the loss, you might want to make a decision based on promises, as long as they’re in writing.

Thanks for your email.

You have my best for the future,


What suggestions do you have for Can’t Go Back?

When is it OK for leaders to make promises about promotions to employees?

*I suspend my 300 word limit on weekends.