Why High Performers Aren't Promoted?
You must be able to pinpoint the areas that are holding you back from true success. It was a horrible idea to come in early, work late, worry, and bust my tail for a whole year in the hope of possibly being promoted. It was a risky gamble. Sometimes it worked out. Sometimes it paid off. Other times I was angry and red-faced when I left the office.
It was a horrible idea to come in early, work late, worry, and bust my tail for a whole year in the hope of possibly being promoted. It was a risky gamble. Sometimes it worked out. Sometimes it paid off. Other times I was angry and red-faced when I left the office.
My illusions of grandeur aside, I have seen fantastic performers burn at the altar. Here are the reasons.
An infertile environment
I visited the headquarters of Home Shopping Network during one of my last corporate interviews. As I pulled up, this is what I saw:
It was like heaven in a mirror. I stopped and admired the parking lot. The clouds briefly captured the perfect reflection, and then the clouds flowed back into the sky.
Nevertheless, HSN inside looked like an earthquake had struck. Everyone was evacuated.
Tables were covered with mice. Extension cords were pulled from the wall and thrown to the ground. As if to create a barrier, clumps of chairs were pushed together. The vast office was quiet and eerie.
Finally, I asked my interviewer: "So I noticed that there were a lot of empty desks?"
He smiled and explained that they were "realigning" their company to make it more efficient, and everything was fine.
It was not something I bought. I spoke to the security guard downstairs as I was about to leave. When I explained the interviewer's explanation, he laughed at me. He grumbled, "They cleaned the house." Amazon is kickin' their asses."
This wasn't a place that I wanted to work. My experience has taught me that if the company's finances are not in order, a business cannot have a positive culture and opportunities.
Remember: No matter how successful you are, your company's health is at stake.
Specific job titles have hard limits, and some companies will freeze raises. Sometimes, there is no job available. Managers are not able to create a new job title, especially if the company is in trouble.
It's like cursing the ocean because it has water.
The newness factor
Colleges are terrible at preparing students for the workforce and helping them navigate large companies. It is understandable. The majority of professors have little experience in the private sector. For them, data and research are the most important aspects of life.
A career week should include information about 12 jobs and their actual daily tasks. My experience with finance was very different from that of a financial analyst.
The learning curve for corporate employees is steep. No matter how talented or ambitious a new hire maybe, they will need to wait longer before receiving a significant raise.
To all college students who are reading this, please don't knock on the door of your boss asking for a raise after three consecutive months. This is not how it works. To prove your worth, you will need to walk across the water to demonstrate your value.
It's a good thing to be a little bit restless. This shows you are ambitious. Keep the fire going.
They don't want a promotion.
I used to frequent the company gym for lunch. It was like a company watering hole. You could get information about people and current affairs at the company. Todd, a programmer and a gym buddy, was great at his job. He earned $95,000 per year, which is fantastic for Tampa.
I asked: "Why don't we go for management?"
Todd responded, "Look at Joe (his boss). He's miserable."
I nodded my head in agreement. Todd was always in his office and always had dark circles around his eyes. Each department was sending him emails about their problems. His phone rang constantly. He had to fire people who were otherwise good and had families to support. It was extremely taxing to pay an extra $10K-15K.
This was a common theme in every company I worked for. People felt trapped and could not keep up with the pace or chase the C-suite.
On some levels, Todd is not a good candidate for promotion. He is a master at programming code. It's a good thing for the company. He's not a manager until he is. There's always a queue outside his office waiting to be pushed by stupid problems.
They don't know how to sell themselves.
Most bosses won't take the time to look at your reports to find out what you've done. They are often too busy.
Great performers have shown me how to keep their heads down. This is a good thing in some ways. However, this did not reflect their intelligence and ability. They were replaced by inferior candidates who could play the game.
Speak up when you are having a problem or need an answer. Send your emails to CC people. Being assertive can increase paychecks. Enhance processes. Do not just add rules or things that people must do. You can combine two steps to make one.
There's a phrase incorporate, "Be a leader before you have the title."
Do your part. Show concern for the organisation. Show maturity, competence, and proactiveness. This means being proactive, learning new systems, and not wasting time on social media.
Our value is based on how easily we can be replaced. Be challenging to replace.
There is one secret to getting promoted (or not).
My friend is an HR manager for a Fortune 100 company. It attracts a highly skilled workforce, just like its competitors.
One problem is that a department may have too many stars, while only a few promotions.
One of my best friends was a Google programmer. Although he did well on his reviews, he didn't move up as quickly as he would have liked.
Recently, he moved to Georgia to be close to his family. He immediately stated, "Man, these programmers aren't as good here as they are in Cali."
He's quickly landed massive promotions since his arrival and is now a VP.
This illustrates the problem with highly competitive environments and the influx of talent to large tech companies. Superman would not be as powerful if surrounded by other supermen.
It's fantastic to work with intelligent people. It's worthwhile to ask the question: "Do you want competition with a bunch of Ivy Leaguers?"
Your job is to do the best for yourself. If a company doesn't value you as much as it should, you have the right to leave.
Business is a tough-and-tumble business that eats up people and then spits them all out. Be kind and hardworking, and be ethical.
Why high performers don't get promoted
- The company is in serious trouble and is sinking.
- They don't want to be promoted (it's a trap).
- These are too new and require more experience. Be patient.
- They don't know what it takes to market themselves and get the job done. Market yourself.
- They are in a highly competitive environment.
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