Monthly Archives: October 2013

I want a promotion, but do I deserve one?

You’ve got to admit it.

Promotion time at the workplace does add spice.

Dare I hope? Dare I not? Anticipations whisper in your heart.  Will I this time? Will I not? Expectations bounce off the walls of your mind. And this is if you are the milder type.

And then there are the more aggressive ones. I hope I am in that list you send up the leadership chain, hints one to the manager. You know what will happen if I do not get the leg up this time – this is a more explicit message. And just so that everyone is on the same page, a ‘I-mean-business’ e-mail is sent to the manager and copied to the powers above staking his claim among the prescribed numbers.

Everyone thinks they deserve a promotion. But how do I know if I truly deserve one?

Early on in my career, I had an interesting conversation with my dad as I was chewing my nails out during one such nerve-wracking time of the year. “So why do you think you deserve the promotion”? he asked me.

For the next half hour, he decimated my arguments as I presented my case to him. It was one of the greatest and humbling lessons I learnt in my professional career, one that helped me realistically peg both my expectations as an employee and apply sensible criteria as a manager.

In making their decisions, managers look for different things, and look at things differently too. But forget managers for a minute. What are the candid questions I should be asking myself? How can I honestly assess myself and accept what I see with equanimity? The illuminating discussion with my dad pointed me to the following questions against which I must exactingly evaluate myself.

* Have I exceeded all the goals and targets that had been set in the past two years?

* Have I quantifiably increased my efficiency at my job and role to benefit my organization?

* Do I add measurable value to all the work that passes through me?

* Have I learnt everything I could possibly learn in my present position?

* Are my superiors happy with me? My team members? My peers?

* Have I developed and visibly demonstrated any new skills that are necessary to move to the next level?

* Do I work at my level but perform like the level above me?

* Will I, in all honesty, be able to do justice to the new responsibilities of my higher position?

And then let me look at my attitude.

Am I engaged in my work? Am I focused on the future? Do I handle change well? Do I display a positive attitude and never drag anybody down? Do I volunteer for tough assignments? Do I look for ways to grow in my role my career, my organization and in my field?

If the answers are ‘yes’, let me make my claim with responsibility, meticulousness and firmness.

If the answers are ‘not yet’, let me admit it loud and clear to myself. I do not deserve a promotion now. Neither am I entitled to it. I need to earn it – perhaps when the next year comes around.

And what happens if I do not get it even if I have earned it fair and square?

I have a choice. I can do nothing. I can wallow in the unfairness of not receiving in proportion to what I have given. Or, based on my inner sense of knowledge and approval of who and what I am, I can charge myself and take a different route.

The elevator, if you please, instead of the ladder.