Why you're not getting promoted | Diversify Your Self Esteem

Diversify Your Self Esteem

Synthesizing ideas from crazy adventures into philosophy, finance, engineering and psychology…

Why you’re not getting promoted

If you’re waiting for the job you think you deserve to give your maximal effort then you will never become the person you need to be to earn that role. To get promoted you need to already be that person.

Take a second to take that in.

Why would they promote someone doing the bare minimum with no passion? I decided that I needed to stop thinking about getting promoted. Stop waiting. Stop coasting. Stop shirking responsibility.

Doing a good job, not just a fine job, is a work of art. It takes emotion. People appreciate it when they see it. Good art blows them away.

It isn’t about getting more money. More prestige. More recognition. What will come first is a joy in your work. If you try to do what you love for a living you’ll probably start to hate it. If you start to love what you do, that love will grow as you do. The other things will follow.

Who’s happier getting up everyday?

K: “UH, I’m not getting paid enough for this…”

J: “What does that mean?”

K: “Why should I go above and beyond when they’re barely paying me market rate? I don’t even enjoy my work, I would work harder if they promoted me. I’d be a great manager, I know I would be – they’re not utilising all my skills…GAH so frustrating”

J: “I’m sure you could be a great manager, but – and I’m saying this as a friend who cares about you – imagine you had an employee who thought how you’re thinking now? Would you be likely to want to promote them into responsibility if they aren’t taking their current responsibility seriously?”

Venting vs Shirking

Venting is fine, but not taking responsibility of your situation is not going to help you progress. Why would anyone believe that if you just get promoted you’ll turn your behaviour around?

I’ve been there, in this situation. I’m exploring this by reflecting back on my own experience and the experiences shared by my friends and contacts over the years. Finding the patterns in the inspirational high achievers I’ve been surrounded by.

Maybe you ARE being passed over unfairly, but if everywhere you go smells like manure…check your shoe.

getting your shoes dirty is not a prerequisite to promotion

You get a choice, an uncomfortable and honest evaluation of whether you have earned what you’re fiending for, or live in denial and get a healthy dose of regret later on? I know which one I’d rather take.

I’ve been in situations where I felt like I could do more. Where I could contribute more to the project. But I just sat and waited.

What was I waiting for?

Fearing fear itself

Reflecting back to all those years ago, I’m not really sure I was truly waiting. Why didn’t I just DO?

I was just scared, projecting that fear onto my manager. Impossible that I could be to blame, right? 

I was scared that I’d fail and my persona I’d worked so hard to build would be destroyed. Honestly, my eyes were probably bigger than my stomach, I was so young, inexperienced, naive. 

In some circumstances those are your biggest assets, but not when you mix them up in a big cauldron of arrogant wilful blindness.

It wasn’t until I accepted that fear, recognised and named it, that I could move forward. Unpacking this repressed aspect of yourself is called integration. Extracting the good and processing the bad. If I failed it was on top of my normal work. No-one even needed to know. Despite that, my autonomy and prerogative always impressed them.

If I had a way to make a process more effective, I just did it in a risk-free way on my own. Show don’t tell. 

When you change a protocol, you own the wins but you then also are taking responsibility for any failures it brings. 

Usually protocols are there to remove risk from employees by synchronising processes. Most average employees LOOoOOoVE this, they’ll likely reject your attempts to change the status quo.

When you go to your manager to ask for more responsibility you’re saying you deserve it. When you go with an improvement you did on your own volition you’re showing you earned it. This is emotional labour. A labour of love. It demonstrates passion, shows you are not here to do your bare-minimum work with distain and take home a market-rate paycheck. 

gotta be rearing to go if you want a promotion

It shows you have untapped potential.

Create value and you can step into the drivers seat.

Do you own your job? Feel pride in your work? Are you building a legacy, long term value?

Sometimes the work really IS wasteful. Not all organisations are efficient and utilise all their staff properly. 

But if you’ve just started your role and are frustrated that your first task is perfunctory busy-work designed to get you acclimatised to your new role and the systems that run the company you have missed the memo.

If you want to improve a system it pays to know how they got to where they are. If they are in a place to be paying you to do your work there’s likely some value in their current processes. No doubt, they’re flawed, they’re inefficient, they’re painful at times.

Become a Risk-Eater

New projects that are novel and exciting often carry risk for the business. If you compare your current image in the business to some of your coworkers, would the energy you’re bringing to the table make you the logical delegate for taking on that risk? 

Would they be able to trust you? More importantly, would you be able to trust you?

I was naive, and I was wrong. Man, that’s still tough to swallow. Fundamentally, I didn’t know how hard it is to do something important. How much work it takes to build something of merit. Don’t worry, I’ve since learned the hard way. It was the gateway to much personal growth. 

“People overestimate what they can do in a year, and underestimate what they can do in a decade”

Bill Gates

I wanted to succeed NOW! Why was I doing boring refactoring of code, or documentation writing. As a young impatient dev I was chomping at the bit to get going on some new and exciting…

So I allowed myself to start to feel like I was wasting my time going to work. This began a spiral where I became disenfranchised, unmotivated and even a little bit resentful. I have learned from this petulance. I’ve learned never to go back to that mental place.

Because if I can do more, whining will get me nowhere, I needed to instil confidence in those that rely on me.

getting promoted is like playing jenga

Summing it up

Hopefully me sharing this personal revelation from when I first got into the world of business is valuable for you. Follow along my journey of self-esteem exploration.

If you’re waiting for the job you think you deserve to give your maximal effort then you will never become the person you need to be to earn that role. Why would they promote someone doing the bare minimum with no passion? Stop waiting, coasting, and shirking responsibility.

Doing a good job, not just a fine job, is a work of art. People appreciate it when they see it. Good art blows people away.

It isn’t about getting more money. More prestige. More recognition. What will first come is a joy in your work. If you try to do what you love for a living you’ll probably start to hate it. If you start to love what you do, that love will grow as you do. The other things will follow.

You can wait for a job you think you will love, or you can choose to love what you do.

Who’s happier getting up everyday?


Also published on Medium.

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