I Need a Chance

Dear Dr. Lisa:

I am so angry. I have been with my same employer for more than 17 years and in the same role for more than 15. I have tried everything to get promoted. I got a degree and Management still bypasses me and promotes other people. I have a lot of knowledge about the business and could really help them, but I have stopped trying because they just seem to take from me and give nothing in return. I want a new role. How do I get one when they won’t consider me! I don’t want to leave the company but its harder and harder to stay.


I Need a Chance


Dear I Need a Chance:

I so appreciate your desire for a chance. I applaud you for getting a degree to increase your chances of getting promoted. Investment in yourself is critical. Important to know is that in today’s job market, longevity with a company and degrees do not guarantee promotions. There is definitely something in your way of promotion. And this something is clearly not known to you. You need a plan. And this plan should start with getting information.

First, speak with your employer about the promotion you want. You may have already asked before, but let’s do it again. This time you will ask with a new clarity and fresh ears to hear what is really being said to you.

Second, ask your employer what is required to be considered for that job. If the requirements seem fair, be ready, willing and able to go above and beyond to satisfy those requirements.

Third, you need to know the truth about what has been getting in your way. Reach out to current or former employees who will tell you the honest to goodness truth about why you’ve never been promoted. What is your personal brand (reputation) within the company? How do the managers view you? Are you considered a team player? Are you known for just doing the bare minimum? Do they think you are trustworthy? How do co-workers and clients view you? You get the idea. Is it possible you have unknowingly created a negative personal brand? Your employment reviews are another excellent source of information. Review them again and look for consistencies in feedback and language. If your brand is tarnished within the management ranks, that can be very difficult to overcome. It certainly takes time. It may be that your fastest move up will include a move out to another company for a fresh start.

The last thing I want you to think about is your strategy of withholding your full effort. If you have a tarnished brand, this behavior adds to that tarnished brand. You are only hurting yourself with limited production. You will not hurt the company, but you will hurt your chances for forward movement and you limit what you learn because you cannot grow if you do not produce. I would stop that right away.

Dr. Lisa

P.S. Your theme song is, “My Shot” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Hamilton Soundtrack.



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