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      10-14-2013, 03:47 PM   #1
youngnastyman
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Conflicted about getting recommendation letters for Grad School

I feel like This is part 3 of a string of threads I have started recently in OT.

My first was questioning whether a top-tier MBA is worth the 6-figure price tag. General Consensus here is that it is.

The Second was about potentially moving to the West Coast in attempts to get into Berkeley or Stanford and work in Silicon Valley.

Now - As I am getting serious about these changes I am about to make in my life, I am getting to the point of submitting applications for Grad School.

Every Grad School (especially the top tier ones) wants recommendation letters from someone who is a direct supervisor or can credibly comment on the value of your work. I have a stunning reputation with my management in my current position, from my technical lead up to the Director ( who reports to our CIO ), and I am positive that a recommendation letter coming from my Senior Manager or Director would give my application the extra push I would need to make my portfolio profound and warrant my acceptance into a prestigious school like Berkeley.

The problem is - the company I work for is very conservative. Promotions and raises are often not given by merit alone. People many times have to threaten to leave before the company will consider give out any type of promotion or change in pay-band.

Unfortunately, I cannot just have these managers write a generic recommendation letter on the company letterhead and send it out to these schools. Each Grad School has a form that must be filled out by the recommender, and clearly shows where I will be applying to.

I am afraid that if I approach my management with these requests, they will realize that I am looking to go to schools that are potentially out of the city, if not the state, and therefore will likely no longer be working for this company if I am accepted. This puts me in an uncomfortable position, as once I make my intentions known, they will see me as a flight risk.

I am sure they wouldn't use this as a reason to give me a bad recommendation, but in the event that I end up staying in Houston, there will always be that uncertainty.

I find it hard to believe that trying to get an education from a great school would be frowned upon, but I also know that the company will do what is in its best interests. Therefore, an employee who is seeking to leave to another city will probably no longer be considered for raises, promotions, and may even possibly be the lucky winner in the next round of workforce reduction.

I threw the idea around with my team lead, who happens to be a good friend of mine, and his response made me even more uncertain on what to do. In his eyes I am a flight risk. He mentioned that he and a few other peers of mine stuck their necks out for me when I was trying to get promoted a few years back, and comments were passed that I "live a rockstar lifestyle, only want more money, will not stop at the next promotion, and am generally a risk for the company to invest in". This constantly is thrown in my face any time I consider doing anything that involves not spending the rest of my life here at this company.

I have poured the last 6 years of my heart and soul into this company, and the results show it. I am the youngest person in our organization (by ten years), and hold a Senior role, my peers and managers constantly look to me for input and feedback, and I play a central role in many projects that the organization engages in. Yet, I feel its all for naught as I am conflicted about asking these people to help me in my quest for a higher education.

Has anyone ever been in a similar position? How can I go about strategically doing this without burning any bridges, or potentially putting myself in a risky situation?

Last edited by youngnastyman; 10-14-2013 at 03:56 PM.
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      10-15-2013, 09:21 AM   #2
youngnastyman
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For all you TLDR punks out there:

General message is - Can my company hold me back from applying for school out of state? Is it really frowned upon?

How do i approach them to get recommendation letters?
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