Avoiding Promotions Could Radically Save Your Life

Dr Stuart Woolley
Published in
6 min readJul 4, 2022


Promotions mean meetings, meetings decrease efficiency, and when you reach zero efficiency something wonderful may happen.

Photo by Anthony DeRosa from Pexels

Promotion is a thing that we, as progressive software engineers, do not actively seek out. This is, as it’s widely known, in the hallowed halls where we discuss strategy of the grand game that ‘promotion’ as such is very often a double-edged sword — or perhaps something that may initially seem like a thoughtful gift but in fact turns out to be a debilitating millstone hanging forever around your already painful neck¹.

As you may recall we’re primarily in the grand game for the love of the subject, but we also have to make a living and so therefore devote an awful lot of unnecessary time and resources to getting paid a decent market rate wage for our knowledge and experience.

The upside to devoting all of this time to getting paid properly is that it often forces us to change jobs to more progressive employers who, at least for a while, do pay us properly This is a ‘win-win’ as your project manager would say (without understanding what it means) as it also allows us to work on fun and interesting projects and not those in banking, SaaS, or blockchain nonsense no matter how lucrative and interesting a recruiter may make them sound on the phone.

In every software engineering job it’s also a constant struggle to remain technical, as I’ve touched on several times in previous articles like this one and most pertinently this one which discusses my definition of ‘progression syndrome’ and how it can severely damage software engineers.

One thing that I didn’t cover was how hard it is to avoid situations where promotion comes along — not necessarily a managerial one — but one that inevitably begins to dilute your actual, meaningful work.

With dilution comes an increase in inefficiency, the wearing short sleeved shirts, the adoption of pastel coloured chinos, a keeping a record of your working week in Excel, and eventually the making all of your slides in PowerPoint rather than Keynote.
Oh, and getting really mad when someone says golf is boring.

That’s what we’re going to talk about today (to coin a phrase).



Dr Stuart Woolley
Editor for

Worries about the future. Way too involved with software. Likes coffee, maths, and . Would prefer to be in academia. SpaceX, Twitter, and Overwatch fan.

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