Promotion denied

The Senior’s Guide To Being a Senior Forever

We focus a lot on the newbies and managers around here but what about that forgotten demographic: the senior? Lest you all feel ignored, we wanted to offer a few tips to those of you who have hung around at the senior level just a tad longer than you should. Don't think of it as […]

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Will Be Having a ‘Big Party’ to Celebrate Her Retirement

Sharon Allen has spent 38 years at Deloitte. Doing the math on that, it probably feels more like a millennia. Accordingly, Ms. Allen has decided to hang up her green dot and chillax in Pasadena (Q&A with Accounting Today and we’ve picked out some of the highlights, including yes, a par-tay.


For starters, Sharon is a closer!

It’s a good time to leave when you’re on a high. I feel very confident in future leadership and the direction of our organization, and I think it’s just absolutely the right time to turn the reins over to others and proudly watch them continue to lead the firm in a good direction.

There will be a retirement rager, natch.

I’m going to have a big party. Yes.

Retirement will involve quality time with the hubby (but not so much that he goes nuts) and leading the Village People.

First of all I plan to spend a lot more time with my husband, family and friends, but of course there will probably be a limit on how much togetherness he can stand.[…] I have already committed to becoming the chairman of the board of the national YMCA board, which is an organization I’ve been involved with for over 25 years. I’m sure I will find ways to keep productively busy.

In case you weren’t aware, she doesn’t have a Y chromosome.

I am proud of many firsts that are in front of the titles I have carried. I was fortunate to be the first woman to become an office managing partner, the first woman to become a regional managing partner, the first woman to be elected to the board at Deloitte, and that’s been some years ago now. But I have to say my proudest accomplishment, I believe, was to have been elected as the first independent chairman of Deloitte’s board of directors. We separated our chairman and CEO role and created a full-time independent executive chairman of the board. It is an elected position by our partners, and I was very proud to be elected to that role. I always say, “Oh, by the way, I’m a woman.” It’s a very important distinction for me.

She’s more like you than you think – she got passed up for a manager promotion because her supervisor was clueless!

[P]erhaps one of the most important challenges that I had as I was coming up through my career also turned out to be one of my best lessons. That was when I was about four years into the firm and I expected an early promotion to manager, and I was passed over for that promotion. Interestingly, as I walked into my supervisor’s office and clicked off all the reasons why I thought I should have had the promotion and had earned it, he kind of sat back in his chair and looked at me and said, “I didn’t even know you did all those things.”

What about this boys club mentality?

I do think that there still is an underrepresentation of women in senior leadership in business generally and certainly in the board room of corporate organizations today. I do believe that organizations need to examine how they are recruiting, how they assure women are proportionally given the best assignments.

You know, back in the day, we basically had to come to work in drag.

There is a very big difference between today’s women and women of my era when I started in the profession because, in those days, honestly, you almost had to pretend there were no differences. I came up in the business world of wearing a suit and a little bow tie and trying to dress like the men and, of course, fortunately, men and women both can acknowledge the difference and benefit from that.

Leave Sharon your well wishes (or food and entertainment requests) below and if you get invited to this party, email us the pictures.

Grant Thornton Didn’t Promote Me, Do I Go to PwC?

Today in accounting firm musical chairs, a SA3 who got passed over for promotion at GT has an offer to joining soon-to-be rebranded PwC as an SA1/2. WHAT TO DO?!?

Have a question about your career? Worried that you’re too hot for the Big 4 and your hot brain will be overlooked? Trying to decide if you should give it all up and join the circus? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll let you know if you should consider becoming the next human cannonball.

Back to our accountant in peril:

I’m a recurring S3 (financial) who was passed up on the manager position because of internal politics [Ed. note: reader admits that this is their opinion]. I have a offer with PWC to join their asset management group as a S1/S2.

Is this career suicide? I have until today to tell GT if i’m leaving or tell PWC that i have to rescind the offer.

I’ve had it with GT and although they said there is a good chance next [year] to make manager, i dont believe the hype.


Timing if of the essence, so we’re on this – Looking forward to a promotion to manager and getting passed over is a tough pill to swallow. All of your hard work that you’ve put in over the last five or so years (that feel like ten) no feels wasted. As you say, you’re not buying the hype any more and we don’t blame you. However, succumbing to your frustration and allowing PwC to knock you down a notch (or two) on the ladder is the last thing we think you should do.

You shouldn’t let any firm take advantage of your vulnerability and devalue your experience just because you were in Casa de Chipman. If you were an associate, the situation might be different but if you’re on the throes of making manager and now it might be at least another year before you’re even being considered for manager, feels like a disservice.

That being said, it doesn’t sound like you’re happy at GT. And being miserable at work sucks. If you’re crawling out of bed, hating your commute and the faces of your co-workers make you want to projectile vomit on their laptops, that’s a serious sign that you need to GTFO.

Luckily, you’ve got options, friend. If you trust your performance coach/counselor, ask them if there are possibilities within GT that you can explore (possibly a practice rotation?).

But if you’re truly burned out on GT, don’t do something rash like take the first offer thrown in front of you. Take your time and make the next career move that’s perfect for you. Don’t settle for the glitz of PwC just because they make it sound like the best shit since paperless audits (they aren’t that cool anyway). Your experience is valuable, go find a company that will reward you for it.

A Lawsuit Seeks To Find Out How Old is Too Old to Become a Partner at PwC

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Or any firm for that matter. There’s probably some opinions on this but allegedly at PwC it’s 54 on the low end and if you’re approaching the firm’s mandatory retirement age of 60 then you’re definitely not getting the bump.

The reason we bring it up is that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has granted new life to an age discrimination lawsuit against PwC. Two advisory professionals, Harold Schuler and C. Westbrook Murphy’s lawsuit alleges that P. Dubs de-nied their admittance because they were close to the Firm’s mandatory retirement age.


The partner track at accounting firms is a long and tough road the way it is and for partners to allege age discrimination seems like insult to injury.

The DC Circuit ruled that the plaintiffs deserve some closure on whether or not the bigwigs in New York really snubbed them based on their age:

Judge Douglas Ginsburg said a 2008 D.C. Circuit ruling involving Schuler entitled the plaintiffs to a “reasonable inference” that PricewaterhouseCoopers’ decisions not to promote them were made in New York, where the firm is based.

“PwC says (the earlier case) ‘does not control’ because it addressed only PwC’s adoption and maintenance of a discriminatory policy, not the ‘discrete decision’ not to admit (Schuler) to partnership,'” Ginsburg wrote. “To which we say: Pettifoggery and piffle!”

Nice touch, Judge Ginsburg. So this means the case goes back to the district so they can get to the bottom of this.

We left messages at the other firms to find out what their mandatory retirement policies were to get some context on the age issue but so far we haven’t heard anything back. We’ll update you with those if we hear back from anyone.

It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out since we’re pretty confident that their is no document anywhere at 300 Madison that says Schuler and Murphy were just too old to become partners. If we were to take a wild-ass guess, we’d say that the firm will point to performance reviews, etc. to rationalize the snub even if these guys were rainmakers.

PricewaterhouseCoopers age bias lawsuit revived [Reuters]