the person I was hired to replace won’t leave

A reader writes:

I was recruited by a company, in a situation where a director was looking for a new job and wanted someone in place to take over his role once he left. The big bosses were fine with this and appreciated his advance notice and planning.

The director created a new assistant director position for me and brought me on with a sense of urgency, indicating that he’d probably be gone in the next few weeks and wanted to make sure he had time to train me. He said he was interviewing other places and had things “in place” to be leaving shortly. He pushed HR to fast-track my materials so I could start ASAP. It was a lateral move for me, and I only agreed to it because he would be leaving so soon, and I’d soon get a promotion into his director role. This was all discussed in advance — this isn’t speculation on my part.

Fast forward 10 months, and the director still hasn’t left yet. I never wanted to work for him or in a #2 role, and I can’t shake the general annoyance I have every day that he’s still here. We have very different working styles and are driving each other nuts, so that’s adding to my annoyance. We work extremely closely, as our job duties are identical — he just made up the assistant role as an excuse to bring me on board.

Now that I’m approaching my one-year mark with the company, do I bring this up with him somehow? As in, asking whether he’s still job searching and planning on leaving soon? Perhaps in my annual review? Do I just try and find a new job? Or do I stick it out silently as to not make things awkward between us? I’m frustrated and want to leave (this isn’t what I signed up for!), but I’m not sure if I’m being too impatient.

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

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