Monday, February 21, 2011
How Not to Get a Promotion at Work
I recently got a promotion at work. I was going to write an article on how I did it and what you could do at work to get a promotion. But I thought about it and realized that that would probably be a pretty boring topic so I decided to write about something different. I am going to write about the things people can do to ensure they will not get promoted. Perhaps you don't want to get promoted because you are pretty happy doing what you are doing now. Perhaps you like making less money. Or perhaps you want to get a promotion but are doing these things and don't even realize it. Whatever the case may be, I decided to tell you all the things you can do to ensure you stay right where you are.
1. Don't let anyone know you would like a promotion
Sounds pretty basic huh? But it is the #1 thing you can do to be sure you never ever get promoted. I have gotten several promotions in my life . I have asked for every single one. I know, you want your employer to fall all over themselves and give you the promotion you deserve. It is so obvious to yourself that you should get a promotion, why isn't it obvious to your boss? Believe me, it isn't. Here is one little secret. Promotions don't often mean you are going to do anything different than what you currently do. Promotions are give to the stars at work. If you are a star, you most likely have already picked up the extra work you will have to do when you get a promotion (see #4 below). Why should an employer give you more money and a title bump when you will likely do the same amount of work you have always done? It may be the "right" thing to do but your job has an incentive to not give you a raise or a promotion. If they don't know you are unhappy, they won't do anything to fix it.
2. Let your work suffer because you are not getting a promotion
Your boss wants to give a promotion to someone who does excellent work and who is mature. Letting your work suffer in some sort of protests because a promotion is not coming or is taking longer than you want is sending the exact wrong message at the most crucial time. A very common attitude with people who are disgruntled after not getting a promotion is to show them "just how important I really am" by not dong the great work that you think should give you a promotion. Doing this doesn't prove anything and pretty much will put you in the doghouse with your boss.
3. Dress provocatively/sloppily
You need to be taken seriously at work. One of the ways to ensure that will never be taken seriously at work is dressing too provocatively or dressing down. You want the higher position? Start looking like you already have it. It may not seem fair, how you look does not generally affect your work performance, but whoever said life was fair?
4. Keep doing your job
Here is one of the biggest misconceptions that people have about promotions. Just because you do your current job great does not mean you should get a promotion. Do you honestly think that writing great code is at all close to being able to manage people? Completely different skill set. So if you want to be sure to never get a promotion, just keep doing your job and never reach beyond that. Don't show any initiative to take on things that are outside your job description. Do not volunteer to do extra work. Just keep kicking butt at whatever it is you are supposed to do and you will stay right there.
5. Don't tell other people about the work that you do
Nobody is going to be a bigger promoter of you than you. It is important that you let others know of the good work that you do. This is not to say that you should constantly sing your own praises; nobody likes a braggart. But you also should not quietly go about doing your job. The thing is your boss, even if she works with you closely, does not know the full extent of everything that you do. Your promotion is going to have to be justified by more than just your boss. It makes your boss' job much easier if he and others can easily recite your accomplishments. If you are not interested in a promotion, then just keep your accomplishments to yourself.
6. Do what you are told
Huh? How the heck can doing what you are told be a bad thing? The problem is if you ONLY do the things that are being asked of you. Part of being in management is dealing with ambiguity. You can't be told what to do in certain circumstances because there is no plan to get there. If there was a ready-made road map for the business to follow everybody would follow it and there wouldn't be any winners. So one of the things you are going to have to deal with is not being given explicit instructions on what to do. If you have never shown the ability or inclination to reach beyond the instructions of your boss, your boss won't be able to trust you with the things that are the most important; these are the things that she can't describe in exacting detail. So if you want to stay at your current level, juts keep doing what you are told. Better yet, when given an assignment that you can't figure out, just complain about it. I guarantee you, you will look like you can't get to the next level.