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Dear Damien Pt 2

October 12, 2009

(Auto posted post. I am away in Hong Kong till Wednesday.)

From another digruntled corporate warrior whom I ran into, which I again present in the form of a letter:

Dear Damien, I’m at my wits end. They passed me over for a promotion yet again. I don’t understand it. I stay late at the office every day, I meet the objectives they set for me, and I go out of my way to be useful not just to my boss but to everyone in my department. I really thought I would be the one promoted but you know what happened? They put out a job ad and gave it to someone else, someone who I’m told has less experience than I do. Damien I have been stuck in this same position for 3 years. I don’t want to be stuck here for another 3 more. A few people who joined this company the same time I did have already got their promotions. I’m so pissed. What should I do?

Dear Carl (not his real name), it is important that you understand why this is happening so you can avoid a repeat later. As I don’t know the real status of your relationship with your boss, I’ll work with what you’ve told me. Assuming that you’ve met all your work goals and you’re still denied a promotion, ask yourself if any of these is likely.

First, did your department goals change when you weren’t looking? Markets, alliances and strategies can flip overnight and your boss could be under instructions from higher up to get some new skills on board. Skills you may not have.

Second, so you received an award as the guy who delivers on time with zero defects but do the bosses also know you as someone who’s clueless about handling people? Or problems on a bigger scale? To them you may not be promoteable material.

Third, is there some bad blood between you and your boss? If he sees you as a threat or a liability he may have frozen your promotion as a way to make you leave. Unfortunately promotions are discretionary, meaning its entirely up to your boss. Its just  how the system works.

Fourth, are your talents making you indispensable to your boss and will promoting you create a bigger problem than what he’s prepared to handle?

Fifth, have you gotten too close to your boss? Do you know why a wife tells her friends, “My husband? He save money? LOL!! :D” when unknown to her, the husband had been diligently stashing $$ in the bank? Its a fact that some people underestimate those they are closest to. Husbands do that to their wives, managers do that to their staff. It is also known as the familiarity breeds contempt syndrome.

I have a hunch you might fall into one of these categories and if you do, then my advice is simple.

If you can’t climb, jump.

Look for another job that’ll give you a higher position based on your experience.

Don’t give me the thing about losing your seniority because you know why? The world has changed. Speed and talent are the new bargaining chips. You may hang on to your seniority but if your track record shows hostility towards change, you’re toast.

One last thing. You might feel that jumping will defocus you. Not true if you are just switching vehicles while traveling in the same direction. Let us be practical. If you have a schedule to keep and your train is developing problems, you change trains. Getting ahead is not just about keeping focus. Its also about making a few cleverly timed moves while keeping that focus.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2009 9:14 pm

    Whoa, guess i wasn’t the only one seeking you for advice. 😀
    But yeah, what you said here is true. For me, I will stay for 1 year or maybe 2 years if there are some opportunities to get promoted…. if i don’t get promoted still, i will leave. No point working for people who don’t appreciate you and also, no point working in the same place if you can’t learn what you want.

    Uhh… u sure your bosses aren’t reading your comments here? LoL. One thing I learnt is that sometimes you need to ask for things with a thick face, including promotions. If its in the pipeline, they’ll drop a hint. If not, at least you know early.

  2. October 15, 2009 10:30 pm

    asking for promotion? mm some bosses might not be happy because u will appear to be demanding something from them. 🙂 so most probably will drop hints during performance review and stuff, and also see what the boss think of me before i drop hints on the promotion.

    I prefer to take the more direct route myself, no beating around the bush. If my boss takes offense in my interest in my own career path, then I shouldn’t be working for him/her.

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