Last week a long time friend of mine learned that his position had been terminated. Luckily , we work for a company that has compassion. I do not know the details, but they have given him some runway to find a new position. There is no shortage of conjecture floating about.
Most of the theories seem to have a common thread: visibility. Over the years, I have started to learn that it is not only about your accomplishments. To be successful you must also market yourself so that you are memorable, and make sure you are memorable for the right things.
As an engineer we often see other groups pass out promotions like candy (wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t snarky at some point). In all seriousness, there are more positions that can be created to provide upward mobility in areas other than engineering. You can take a page out of their book and learn to self-promote.
To market yourself you need to consider both the audience and the message. Most people in other areas 0f the business wouldn’t understand the importance of the code you refactored or how you wrote an awesome test harness. They will, however understand that you can now deployer faster with a greater level of quality because of some hard work you did.
I think this may have been my friend’s fatal mistake. While he had a lot of accomplishments, I don’t think that he did a good enough job marketing his achievements. I hope that he can land on his feet! 😦