I like the company I am currently with as a .NET Software Developer - high-tech, great atmosphere, great people and great cause. I also have a fair bit of flexibility and resposibility in that I try to keep us up to date with recent technologies and come up with the architecture for our desktop applications, when we have to design something new, a rare occassion. Overall, it is a great place, albiet with mediocre compensation.
It has been almost 4 years and things are getting stagnant in terms of growth and challenges. There is currently a good growth prospect with a previous employer that I am entertaining and will have a good chance with sufficient effort. But I have neither asked for a promotion nor thoroughly expressed my career ambitions to my current manager. So there is this feeling I am putting him at a disadvantage.
My current manager is a level headed guy which makes me think I can discusss this challenge with him. After all, he could act as a reference for me in the future. Also, I am sure there are good thing to be said about honesty and professionalism and trying to avoid using the other offer to gain internal promotion. I want to grow professionally but cannot affort to jeopardize relationships or burn any bridges.
Would you talk to your manager about entertaining a position somewhere else? If I were a manager, I sure would appreciate if one of my employees came up to me to talk about this. If he were one of my key guys, I sure would do what is neccessary to keep him around.