Ready for a Promotion?

Promotions Can be Stressful

Promotions Can be Stressful Last year, researchers at the University of Warwick found that the mental health of managers typically deteriorates after a job promotion.  Part of this anxiety is attributable to,

  1. the loss of the security of a familiar role and the established relationships around the role,
  2. perceived cognitive inadequacies concerning demands of the new position, and,
  3. the uncertainty of transition and the innate human resistance to change.

The greater part of this anxiety is a common career mistake. Often, professionals take up new responsibilities for which they are not entirely prepared. Even when management judged them as qualified for the new role, without thinking through a new role before accepting the promotion, these professionals unintentionally position themselves for stressful transitions, bitterness, or eventual failure.

When Is It Time to Move On?

Do not assume that you are ready for a promotion just because you possess the right academic background, you look the part, you have the right contacts within the company, or, you have impressed your management with your capability to develop a few good ideas and articulate them well.

Here are a few questions to reflect on and assess your chance of a successful promotion or a horizontal transition.

  • Are you enthusiastic about taking on a new role? Does the new role fit into your medium- and long-term career plans?
  • Have you been performing your present duties well enough to justify a promotion?
  • Do you have a successor in mind for your current role? Have you made yourself replaceable? Are you willing to entrust your current responsibilities to a successor without a significant interruption in pace of work?
  • Ready for Promotion When Is It Time to Move On Are you qualified or experienced enough to do no less than, say, 40% of the new role reasonably well?
  • Have you demonstrated eagerness to gain knowledge of the new responsibilities?
  • Are you familiar with the responsibilities, autonomy, challenges, opportunities, and deliverables of the new role? Do you know how to get things done in the new role? Do you know where to get help?
  • Are you proficient with the communication, networking and interpersonal skills needed to make it in the new role? Will you get along with your peers, subordinates, and management at the new role?
  • Are you at ease with the demands on the new role: time, travel, pressures, and challenges? Can your family (or other aspects of your personal life) support this transition?
  • Can you swallow your pride if you are rejected for the new role? Are you ready to seek honest feedback about how management values you, listen, and make yourself more promotable in the future?

The more questions you answer with a “Yes” to, the better your chances for a successful promotion. Reflect on the questions you answer with a “No” to. Create a growth plan, improve your professional profile, and, ask for feedback from management on what you can do deserve a promotion.

Job Interviewing #2: Interviewing with a Competitor of your Current Employer

Blog reader Ranganathan from Toronto, Canada asks, “I am interviewing with a competitor of my current employer. Most of my work at my current employer is confidential. How do I describe these projects in the upcoming interview?”

Ethics and Responsibilities

Interviewing with a Competitor of Current Employer: Ethics, Responsibilities Your employers, both current and former, expect you to treat sensitive and confidential information ethically. Accordingly, you must not disclose such information outside the company—in an interview, trade show or party at home.

During an interview with a competitor of your current or former employer, describe your past projects and accomplishments in terms of concepts and particulars that are public knowledge. If the interviewer presses for additional information, be diplomatic and decline to present confidential information. Interviewers will appreciate your reluctance.

Beware of a Trap: Test for Integrity

Interviewing with a Competitor of Current Employer: Test for Integrity Public trust and ethical behavior are vital to organizational and individual success. Recent corporate scandals have underscored the need for organizations to build and foster ethical business environments. Organizations are therefore inclined to select employees who share such moral values.

Good corporate ethics policies prohibit current employees from disclosing proprietary information from/about their former employers. In asking you for sensitive information, the interviewer is probably setting up a trap for you—the interviewer may be checking if you demonstrate a high degree of integrity and professional conduct.

Declining to provide proprietary information will demonstrate your consideration of the ethical consequences of your actions. Consequently, you will earn the respect of the interviewer.

Dissatisfied at Work? Are You Really a Square Peg in a Round Hole?

Dissatisfied at Work? Are You Really a Square Peg in a Round Hole?

If you are not happy at work, you may believe that your dissatisfaction is rooted in your position—in the relationships, the workflows and the demands of the role. You may feel that if you were in a different position or were associated with another organization, you would be more content.

However, there is a good chance that the problem is not with your position per se, but with your attitudes toward various elements of work-life: people you interact with, responsibilities, bureaucracy, office politics, etc. You may not have realized and/or capitalized on the various opportunities that the current position presents.

  • If you feel your work is not challenging enough or if you do not sense career progression, you can request additional responsibilities at work. You can analyze colleagues who have succeeded in similar positions and learn from them. If you want to be promoted, you could assume some of the responsibilities of the position you desire.
  • Even if you do not like your boss, colleagues, subordinates or customers, you still need to get along with them by being open-minded or by discovering common ground. In extreme cases, you need to accept that people will not change and just suck up, no matter how frustrating their actions are.
  • If you want to change to another line of work, you need to realize that the grass on the other side of the fence always looks greener until you jump over. There is no guarantee that the new position or the new organization will be any better. There will be a considerable lead-time to reestablish yourself in the new workplace before you can be eligible to move up. Organizations realize that there is a significant penalty to losing an experienced person and are likely to accommodate your needs and aspirations.

Professional success is often not simply a matter of choosing the right career path or the right company, although these are important factors. The attitudes you bring to your work-life define your career development and contentment. Change your attitudes, adjust, discover opportunities available and thrive in the given circumstances.