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first: I work in a very different environment and have been a free-lancer for
seven years now. But I way employed before.
JE> When my manager is out of the
JE> office, others in the company come to me for their requests. In
JE> addition, my manager
JE> has informed me that he considers me the best editor in the
JE> group (including himself).
sounds like you are a well-adjusted deputy.
JE> I received "excellent" and "outstanding"
JE> ratings throughout)
JE> My manager informed me that such a title is "not in accordance"
JE> with his "model,"
He seems quite confident that you cannot do anything.
JE> In addition, I happen to know that the last writer hired makes
JE> over five thousand a year more than I do.
This is not no uncommon. You have been there for a long time and might be
considered another piece of furniture. He had to be fetched from the market.
JE> I feel discouraged. If there is no promotional system, what is
JE> my 5-year goal supposed to be? To always be a "staff writer"?
Here in Germany, job hopping is a quite dangerous thing. But it might be time
for you to change your employer. You did not write how long you were in this
position. By German standards you should stay some 5 to 8 years with one or
two promotions. I could imagine that the optimum time per job is a bit
in the US.
If you stay to long in one position, it is a bad sign in your resume: "Not
good enough for something better."