12 reasons you aren’t getting promoted

You’ve been angling for the big promotion for almost a year now, but no luck.  You’re more than a little frustrated since others are moving up the career ladder and leaving you behind. Of course there’s the possibility that external factors (holding the line on headcount, budget concerns, etc.) are limiting the number of promotions in your organization. Yet the biggest single factor in determining promotion readiness is…you.

Might you be sabotaging yourself with one (or more) of these twelve career-limiting behaviors?

1. Being the lone ranger

You know you’re smart, technically brilliant, even, and work aggressively to get every special project assignment. You highlight your skills at every opportunity, perpetually reminding your boss of what you - and you alone - have accomplished. You’ve been known (why tactfully, of course) to throw a colleague under the bus when it appeared they might be selected for the plum assignment over you.  And every once in a while, you do wonder why no one invites you to lunch.

2. Squeaky wheel is your middle name

Your boss can count on you to be the first to raise your hand in the staff meeting and point out the three reasons why the new sales program won’t work. Everyone in the HR department knows your name, and they regularly tease you about putting the suggestion box right your desktop. You have the emails for everyone on the executive team and regularly send them messages about their latest mis-steps.

3. Listening skills aren’t your strong suit

You’re known for asking someone a question - and then answering it yourself. You always volunteer to be the speaker or facilitator; and if you aren’t selected, you figure out a way to co-opt the agenda so you can share your ideas anyway.

4. You think dress codes are for wimps.

Hey, if customers and the folks on the executive floor don’t like your piercings and tattoos, well, that’s just their problem, not yours.

5. Your plan is to get the needed skills once you get the promotion.

You’re busy, so who has the time to take classes, volunteer, read books or work with a mentor. You know you’re a fast learner and will quickly pick up what you need to know once the promotion is yours.

6.  No time to network.

All that brown nose stuff isn’t your cup of tea. You think going to company functions, trade association meetings and industry conferences is a prime waste of time. You know your work speaks for itself, why should you bother to interrupt it?

7. Your work ethic is so-so.

You do just enough to get by and have occasionally missed a deadline or two. People know to not get in your way come 5:01 PM since you’re always the first out the door every day. Asking for more responsibilities isn’t something you’ve ever done or intend to do.

8. You tell people you deserve to be promoted because you’ve paid your dues.

You’ve put in your time with the organization; three years is ample time for them to recognize your brilliance and reward you.  You’re allergic to helping out a colleague and figure the newbies can learn the job on their own since that’s how you did it.

9. Getting to know the company culture is a waste of time.

You think culture is one of those HR buzzwords that needs to be buried. You’ve got better things to do than determine the ins and outs of office politics or learn the company history.

10. You communicate when it’s convenient and makes sense only for you.

Everybody knows meetings are a waste of time, so you can’t remember when you attended your last one. Answering emails and returning phones isn’t on your radar screen. You believe the higher-ups aren’t really interested in what you have to say anyway, so why bother to participate.

11. Your boss is a waste of time.

It’s totally unclear to you how your boss got to be your boss. You’re way smarter than he is and have occasionally pointed this out, usually in a public venue.  You barely listen to the feedback she shares in performance reviews. You’re the first to slam his performance around the water cooler.

12. Building relationships isn’t what you get paid to do.

Getting the job done is what you’re paid to do, not building connections or making friends with your colleagues. All that warm, fuzzy stuff is a waste of time. You’ve never attended an office potluck or birthday party. Whose got time for idle chit-chat when there’s work to be done?

Image from Read Solutions Group





4 Responses to 12 reasons you aren’t getting promoted

  1. Jane, this post is hilarious and spot-on. You’ve painted such a vivid portrait. I’m pained to recognize my younger self in some of these portrayals. I’m in final edit stages of an eGuide about Influencing the Boss to propel your career and look forward to sharing with you, as we take a similar approach to getting promoted. It begins with your own attitudes and only you have the power to change you. Staying in victim/victor mode where the boss/co is the bad guy will get you no where (except maybe unemployment) fast.
    All my best, Denise

    • Denise - you couldn’t be more right that we are the same wavelength and your comment that “only you have the power to change you” really points that up. A truism that so many unfortunately overlook. Look forward to hearing more about your eGuide! Thanks for stopping and sharing!

    • MacKenzie - you raise an interesting point, i.e., that sometimes bad behavior does get rewarded. All the more reason for us to begin to change the practice, stories and language of leadership. Thanks for sharing!

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