My Ex Has No Idea I’m The Reason He Got Promoted

My ex and I worked together both during our relationship and then for a year after we broke up. He received a promotion in that time but to this day, he still has no clue that the only reason he got the position was that I facilitated it. We no longer work together, but the fact that he still thinks he earned the position still legitimately bothers me.

  1. Let’s get one thing clear: he in no way deserved to be promoted. I admit it, I really messed up here. I knew that he didn’t deserve to get promoted due to his poor attitude, inability to be a team player and his constant overestimation of his own capabilities and talents. I later learned that he was deeply delusional about other things and lied all the time. Unfortunately, love truly is blind, and it often makes us overlook the bad qualities in people both personally and professionally.
  2. I thought it would help our relationship. At the time, our relationship was at a crossroads. We’d just taken a relationship break, although we both agreed that we didn’t want to see other people during this time (I later learned he lied about this, but that’s a story for another day). I thought I was in love and I was desperate to make things work. He had been whining about not getting a better position for a while by that point, and our relationship had actually first started to take a dive when I got promoted over him several months earlier. In my own false love-addled brain, I thought that everything would go back to normal if he got the promotion he wanted, regardless of whether or not he deserved it. In reality, it didn’t help our relationship at all and we broke up officially less than a month into his promotion.
  3. I’m kind of the reason for his career in the first place. While we did meet at work, we didn’t have the same job. He started expressing interest in my line of work once he saw me doing it on a daily basis and I eventually began showing him the ropes. Upper management took notice and they asked me to let them know when I thought he was ready to make the change. After teaching him all I knew, I did just that. He no longer works for the same company, but he’s still working in the same field and has said many times that he has no plans to change course.
  4. My superiors didn’t want to promote him but they respected and trusted me. It’s truly awful knowing that I could have prevented the whole thing from happening. Upper management knew that he was interested in a promotion, but they didn’t think he was cut out for it and had no plans to pursue it. Still, I approached them about him once the position opened up. They flat out told me they didn’t think he was ready, but in my foolishness, I told them I thought he was. And whaddya know? They listened to me.
  5. By getting him promoted, I helped create a monster. Considering how bad he was before his promotion, I should have foreseen that giving him more power would only make an already bad situation even worse. As soon as he moved up, he seemed to think he was a god among men. Almost instantly, he began criticizing everyone on his level (me included), saying he was going to bring about “big changes that should have happened a long time ago.” Big changes never happened, except for the fact that he became an absolute nightmare to work with. He was sloppy and the rest of us had to work harder to make up for his carelessness. Worst of all, he never learned from his mistakes, instead somehow insisting that his own errors were made by others. It was madness.
  6. My professional reputation took a diveRemember how I said that my superiors respected and trusted me? Well, not so much after I convinced them to promote my ex. It was obvious to everyone on all levels that he was just a terrible fit for the job, and most people knew that I was the one who had pulled some strings. I heard more than a few comments about him “sleeping his way to the top,” and each time it felt like a very sobering punch to the gut. It took a long time to rebuild my reputation after that.
  7. He ended up getting fired and I feel responsible for that too. As awful as it felt to be the one who got this clown promoted, I still felt really bad when the inevitable happened and he was let go. I’d even been approached by my boss the day before and asked how I felt about it (I was on board). Don’t get me wrong, it was a good thing for everyone at work when he got fired and I personally felt like a very heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Still, it was replaced by a smaller weight that still rang of guilt. I felt like if I’d never gotten him promoted—or hell, if I’d never gotten involved with him in the first place—he’d still have the very simple job he started in. Maybe he’d even be less of a jerk.
  8. I know it would destroy him if he learned the truth. My ex has one of the biggest egos I’ve ever seen in real life, which I do feel formed largely after he got promoted. But because he thinks he’s so great, he has an extremely difficult time handling criticism of any kind. When he got fired, he naturally turned into one of those people who went around telling everyone that he quit instead. If he ever found out that he didn’t earn that position based on merit alone, he’d crumble. I don’t like the guy, but I don’t wish him ill will so I’ve resolved to never tell him. After all, what’s the point now?
  9. The whole experience has made me look at myself differently. I’ve learned a lot over the years, but this was a helluva lesson for me. I now realize that even decisions I feel that I’ve thought out can be very wrong. I can also be very wrong about people, as well as feelings of what I think are love. I also started caring about the day-to-day experiences of my coworkers much more than I did before, knowing that I helped cause them so much frustration (and inadvertently created a toxic work environment) back during my ex’s reign of terror. Basically, I’m a changed woman, and I hope I never make a mistake like that ever again.
Brianna Gunter is an NYC-born Jersey girl now living in the Rocky Mountains. A graduate of The College of New Jersey's journalism program, her work has appeared in a multitude of publications both online and in print. When not writing about life as a millennial, she can be found hiking, hunting for pizza or making new dog friends.