Q. I have been working overtime with no extra pay for about five years with absolutely nothing to show for it. I thought hard work was rewarded by companies. What am I doing wrong?
A. Promotions are a tricky mix of advanced interpersonal skills, marketing yourself, competent work, responsibility and strategy. If you are missing any one of the elements, you can work for many years for a company and never receive the promotions you deserve.
When I explain this to my new clients, the first reaction they have is to get mad. They tell me it isn't fair and that the workplace shouldn't be this way. I point out that most of us don't like gravity either as we get older, but that doesn't seem to affect the laws of psychics.
Most of life (and work) have laws that work just like the laws of science. You can cooperate with these principles or work against them and complain about being a victim.
If you're tired of not getting where you'd like to go, you'll have to start thinking outside of the principles of success you are currently using. Look around you at the people getting promoted within your company. What are they doing that you aren't?
Realize that we all tend to spend a fair amount of time venting our opinions about how the world should work. Meanwhile, the world is not too interested in our individual opinions. Your company will continue to promote employees based on the unique culture, values, and strategies that work within that company. You can learn the rules and move up the food chain or work hard and feel unappreciated.
Not all tasks in the workplace are created equal. There are tasks you can engage in that will establish you as management material and tasks you can do perfectly that will keep you in the mail room.
I find my male clients find it easier to adapt to these workplace realities. My female clients will often balk at the idea of marketing themselves and asking for what they want.
A good exercise I recommend is to imagine you at 20 years in the future and thriving within your career. Now imagine that you are remembering how you arrived at this position. What do you do? What did you say? How did you manage your job to steer yourself into this reality?
If we are unwilling to get into the driver's seat when it comes to our career future, other people and circumstances will determine our outcomes. If you want to work smart and not hard, have a road map and carve your own path.
The last word(s)
Q. My dad thinks I should take over his business. I've read that you work with family businesses. Is this a good idea?
A. Sometimes, if you love your father's industry and are good at the job -- you bet. Otherwise, disappoint your Dad now before you take a job you won't do well or enjoy.
(Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel's "Workplace Guru" each Monday morning. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at http://www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.)
Want Promotion? Don't Work Long Hours!
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