Being Promotable Versus Getting Promoted
Dear Kate & Dale:
I've been at my current job for over six years.
It's a good job, but it has no obvious avenues for advancement. How does one
know when it's time to move on?
Kate: Here's what you should ask
yourself, Russell: Are you (a) gaining new skills that increase your
marketability, while (b) getting closer to your long-term goals? If not, you
must either improve your present position or else move on.
Dale: The more I learn about human
nature as applied to employment, the more I've come to think, "When in doubt,
get yourself out." We are genetically programmed to belong to clans, and our
instinctive loyalty often causes us to stay too long. Don't be content,
Russell, with a "good" job -- find yourself a great one that you never want to
Kate: I have, however, worked with
many clients who passed through good jobs to get to great ones. That takes us
to the big issue of promotions. Let's bring in a related question, then analyze
Dear Kate & Dale:
I'm very ambitious and I'm killing myself in my
job. But I'm starting to doubt when, if ever, I'll get promoted.
Kate: There is a HUGE difference
between being "promotable" and actually being promoted.
Dale: We all know people who have
the qualifications to move up, but who just... never... do. Why? From her years
of working as a career counselor, Kate put together a list of promotion issues,
which I adapted into...
"THE KATE & DALE TALK JOBS" PROMOTABILITY
(150 points possible)
1. Are you READY? If...
- Your next career move makes sense to you: +10
(If it doesn't seem logical to you, it probably won't to anyone else, either.)
- You have analyzed the jobs at the next level
and have gotten the necessary skills (management, finance, etc.): +15
- You have a record of success:
- +0 (All good employees have such a
- You are considered a "star": +20
- You are active in your industry: +10
2. Are your INCLUDED? If you
3. Are you ACCEPTABLE? If
- Assigned to represent your department on
important projects and task forces outside your department: +10
- Invited to meetings where your other peers
are excluded: +15
- Given critical responsibilities, including
tasks for which your boss is responsible: +20
- Get along well with your peers: +10 (Those
who are disliked rarely become the boss because the danger of subsequent
resignations is too great.)
- Like your boss: +20 (If you don't like your
boss, chances are he/she doesn't like you and will undermine your chances, even
- Have ever undermined your boss: -100 (You
don't necessarily have to be a total "team player" to get promoted, but if you
have any history of being anti-team, then your advancement is doomed.)
- Are known to, and accepted by, your boss's
peers: +20 (Few promotions are made without some involvement from the company
power structure. While being disliked leads to being "blackballed," being
unknown is also a problem -- power structures don't like unknown
Kate: For those of you keeping
score, as you approach the maximum 150 points, you know you are doing all you
can to make yourself "promotable." The next questions assess the likelihood
that you'll actually be promoted....
4. Are you in the RIGHT PLACE at the RIGHT
- Is your company doing well? Even if you have
a high Promotability Index, a stagnant company doesn't produce many openings,
and is reluctant to incur the expense of creating them.
- Is your boss going somewhere? Bosses can pull
you along in your advancement, or sit there as giant roadblocks.
- Have you trained your replacement? An
organization doesn't want to create a "hole" in the organization chart. Not
only should your promotion be logical, but so should the one that will fill the
"hole" left by your promotion.
Dale: These issues make clear that
moving up is much more than a reward for doing a good job. A promotion is the
intersection of your future with that of the organization.
BASED ON THE RESPONSE TO THIS COLUMN, DALE UNDERTOOK
AN EXPANDED, INTERACTIVE WEB VERSION....
CLICK HERE TO TRY THE
Popular Past Columns