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Job Hurdles With Potential Holes Behind Them

While reading the Financial Samurai‘s post: “Overcoming The Wall“, I felt the need to cover an aspect the might be darkly invisible to Sam, since his path to promotions has beamed so brightly (nice job Sam, We believe you’ll keep moving, albeit more slowly).  Get promoted depends on a lot of factors, some not so obvious, especially if you are promoted quickly!

Less Than Obvious Factors For Getting Quick Promotions:

  • Managers that don’t fear their employees.  My 2nd manager (my first manager that hired me moved out of state to for a promotion), wasn’t as qualified as I was in our area of employment.  So much so that VPs even asked me if I thought my manager at that time was a hindrance to the department.  Back then, I protected my manager because it’s what I believed was the proper thing to do.  That and the fact that she wasn’t a bad person overall, even though she wasn’t that good at her job.
  • Managers that promote their teams.  In our company, only our segment was and is very slow to promote.  My manager demeans her group, even when compared to other in different states that do similar work.  I think this is related to the point identified above.
  • Proper recognition.  Just this past weekend, I work 11 hours on a Saturday task to help with a major problem.  I was a very important factor in getting our customer facing systems in place and working as expected (with just 2 days of prep time) not to mention helping troubleshoot other problems.  Even though such a feat was accomplished, I’m sure I won’t be part of the team that gets recognized for my efforts.
  • Accepting Management positions when they arise.  I was offered a managerial position in a group that I didn’t want to manage.  I was also offered a higher position that I am currently in a development role that I turned down for the next reason that I will talk about below.  This is my own folly that I regret.  Now my less qualified buddy is the a manager in the group I could have had and obviously more happy than I.
  • False promises.  My 3rd manager has made promises about promotions that he didn’t keep.  He made promises to me and others, but later we found out that he flat out lied.  This manager also had a tendency to tell his employees to do one thing, then at a future time, come back and complain about what he told them to do.  This guy was obviously an idiot.  Ironically he’ll probably be promoted in a few years because he has been kissing up to a VP these past few years.
  • Getting along or making friends with the right group.  It’s hard to predict who will be the stars of tomorrow.  Their brightness in the company is based on much more than skills, even in the technology field (this surprised me).  Kissing up really does pay off, don’t believe those that say otherwise. ;)  If I had to do it over again, I would definitely be more aware of this!

So while I’ve been promoted three times at my current place of employment, I could have moved up much further than I am today.  But I don’t beat myself up too badly!  Sometimes if the combination of factors don’t line up or if you get unlucky and have an incorrect combination of friends when you pull the company friendship slot machine, you might not get the promotions or recognition that you deserve.

So what’s a good/great person to do in a situation that I describe above?

  • Look for a better job when the market is ripe for it.
  • Start some side jobs
  • Look for a new job cautiously when the job market is sour or immature…

Anyway, that’s my take on the matter, keep believing and try to look out for those hidden holes.

Do you have any additional suggestions?

-MR

11 Responses to Job Hurdles With Potential Holes Behind Them

  1. I would add what my boss calls, “hunger”. You can be absolutely fantastic at your job but if you don’t speak up and say, “I want to be promoted” they may or may not promote you. However, if you’re always asking, “What can I do to move up? I really want this, do you have any advice? What can I do to learn more?” even if you’re kind of mediocre, when a position opens up, BAM, they’ll think of you first.

    I’ve had some of my more um… questionable… associates come to me and say, “I want too be promoted, what should I do?” Even if I’m thinking, “Oh, there’s no way in hell I’d promote you,” I still give them a chance and they get a lot of mentoring from me. Even if they don’t get the position they want in our company, the extra experience gives them something to put on their resume.

    So, speak up! You’re not going to get what you want unless you ask for it first. Trust me, even if you are the absolute worst employee, like ever, if you tell your boss that you want to move up in the company, you will receive help. Now, that “help” might be extra grunt work that your boss is more than happy to dump on you but you’ll quickly become your boss’s go to guy since she knows you’ll get it done because you have something (your future) at stake. Eventually you’ll have the experience you need to either get that promotion or the equivalent at another company.

    Speaking of which, if you love money more than you love your company, I’d jump ship once you have the experience. External hires usually make more money than internals.

  2. @Jin6655321
    Wow, excellent add!

    In my industry, it’s a know fact that if you job hop you get ahead. I haven’t done that type of maneuver enough during my working career! Perhaps it’s time I seriously look at doing such a change!

  3. Yeah, I was going to mention job hopping. The only way I will ever really increase my earnings is by leaving this company. I choose not to since my job is low stress, but if that ever changes, “so long sucka’s” as they say, lol!

  4. @Budgeting in the Fun Stuff :) yeah, not a bad idea. My job isn’t too stressful, just uneventful (mostly). Some of the perks are nice too…

    It’s hard to start something new with my kids so young. I don’t want to miss anything! A new job would mean longer more stressful hours initially… I think I’d rather spend that extra time with the kids…

  5. I never had much of a career since my focus has been the kids for so long. However, I learned a few things through both my job and my husband’s:
    *You have to advocate for yourself in terms of salary and promotions
    *The company will take advantage of you for as long as they can. I cannot wait until the economy turns around and employees have more options. I am guess people will leave their current jobs in droves.
    *Staying loyal is a thing of the past, for both employers and employees. In my opinion, job hopping is the only way to go. Had I stayed in my old job this whole time, I would have been so pigeon-holed and finding another job may be difficult since my experience was so narrow
    *Always keep your resume up to date. Be an active member of LinkedIn and network as much as you can. You are right, kissing up is important. Way more important than your pride in some instances. Some people need their egos fed so much that you have to kiss up.
    *If a headhunter calls you about an opportunity, go on the interview. Getting interview experience is invaluable, especially if you have not been in the job market for awhile. You never know – your next job might be just waiting for you, so don’t turn your back at possibilities.

    To answer your question of what to do in the situation you described, I would say start preparing now to leave. Join some organizations, work on the resume, and get yourself out there. It isn’t easy to find a job quickly anymore, so just start laying the groundwork. Call a headhunter that has called in the past if there is one. If not, reach out to a headhunter yourself. (Be careful here if your job would be in jeopardy if word got out. It is a small, small world.)

  6. Hi Don-san, good post you have here.

    How do we know whether our managers will lie? I guess they can get away with it once or twice, but three times,… no no.

    I have a manager who promised a promotion but it didn’t happen… but it finally did the following year. It’s frustrating.

    Would you take a guaranteed written contract raise for two years at another shop, or trust your manager’s verbal promise of a raise??

    Sam

  7. @Financial Samurai
    Easy, it’s when they say something that isn’t true (lol). Yes, this guy promised a promotion to a few of his subordinates, but none of them got promoted. He lied about other things too, but it’s not worth mentioning!

    After the guy that I worked for… I’ll take the written contract :)

    I’m with a different manager now, he’s better, but limited…

  8. @Financial Samurai
    The manager that is an idiot has connections higher up, so he’s got a golden ticket… Even though he shouldn’t be a manager, we’ll do just fine as long as the executive VP is on his side.

    This past Thursday, I’ve even heard his immediate director call him something negative…