Strung along - now what?
I am a CPA with about 7 years experience prior to starting my current role as an financial analyst through a contract. When initially discussing the contract, the next-step was explicitly stated to be a Controller role within 2 years. This contract had a low 70s wage and I assumed everything would fall into place in time - I accepted and began what I thought would be an excellent opportunity. Fast forward a year and, I went perm, my experience and exposure has been great, and I've been recognized as a high performer across many areas within the Company across the world. The problem is I am still at low 70s wage and all career orientated discussions with my boss have gone no-where - it's all talk.
Recently, I pushed to get some answers and here is the outcome:
1. The next move in Finance (manager-level) will only happen if someone retires, quits, or gets fired.
2. I was also told the pitch to get me a raise to be comparable with the market (85-95) is not happening unless it happens to everyone else - there are pervasive issues with wages across the company.
Some additional information is that I was offered a much better paying role after about three months of my original start date within the company. This was outside of the niche finance box and in a different location. My boss convinced me to not take it because I had a better future if I stayed in finance. I also was advised to shop my resume around by my boss to build an understanding of the market for a well-prepared wage discussion (with his superiors). After shopping my resume around for a couple of days, I ended up getting four interviews for 90-100k roles (1 analyst and 3 manager) at different companies - this was not a serious job search (purely wage analysis). The manager-level interviews went second-round (no offers), and the analyst went 3rd where I took myself out of the running because it felt like a lateral move (within the analyst level).
I need your help to assess my situation with logic because it's hard for me to think rationally, ignore emotion and irrational thought, and avoid doing something foolish that would compromise a paycheck (i.e. quit):
1. Was I strung-along and have my actions of getting answers (asking questions) prevented me from moving anywhere in Finance with this company?
2. Should I take this "out-of-Finance" offer to stay within the company (I do like the business)? - The offer is still on the table and I'm reminded of it a few times a month
3. Should I take job search more seriously to leave and think nothing more of it?
4. Am I obsessing about something that means nothing long-term, showing entitlement, or are these legitimate concerns?
If number 3 is the right choice, is it logical to be only applying for manager and above roles? Does it hurt me to jump from one analyst position to another - even though the wage would clearly be something that makes me feel comfortable with? Have I been with this company long enough to even consider leaving?