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 Make Sure You Really Want That Promotion

By Joe Stein

In theory, we all want to get ahead in our career. Who doesn’t want more money, greater status, and perhaps better benefits? This is especially true if you are really good at your current position, in a prime age for a promotion, or have been in your current role for quite a while. Unfortunately, there is often a trade-off accepted by employees when they either accept a promotion with their current company or take an advanced job with a new one.
For many Job Seekers, the view of that promotional position is purely a one-way perception with this being only the positive aspects. It would be great if this would be the situation, but often, like most things in life, there are negatives that come with the positives.
The key for a Job Seeker is to do the self-analysis needed prior to accepting the position. This way you know for sure whether you (and your family) are up to the task and you are not jumping into a role that you will quickly regret. Let’s take a look at some of the aspects that should be considered prior to taking on that promotional role.
• Do You Have a Choice? – I guess we always have choices in life, but some have negative consequences that make you feel like you don’t. If you are being internally promoted, you may not have much of a choice about accepting. If you don’t accept, you may find yourself permanently slotted in your current role, or perhaps be up for release the next time budget cuts come up. If you are unsure of taking the internal position, try to read the clues given to you by your Manager and others regarding whether the role is truly an option or not. You can always use this situation as a cue to start your external job search. Regarding an external promotion, perhaps your current financial situation forces you to jump for a position with a salary you can’t refuse. Or, it could simply be that you can’t stand working in your current role anymore and have to leave for your own sanity. Unfortunately, none of these situations are an optimal scenario for taking a promotion.
• Are You Prepared to Do Less of What You Are Currently Doing? – You are most likely really good at your current position. When you are promoted, you will be doing less of this work, or perhaps none of it at all. Are you OK with this, in essence, starting over? You will most likely have a learning curve where you will be learning new tasks or skills…are you up for this effort? You will probably find yourself not very good at it right away, so are you good with not being a superstar for a while? If so, then you are ready for the next step in your career; but if not, then you might want more time to pass before you leap forward.
• Can You Give More? – Typically, promotions do not mean you work less or not as hard. If you are someone who values your downtime for other activities, then consider whether you will be happy with the promotion. You may now have to take work home with you at night or on the weekends. The position may require you to travel away from home. All of this creates stress that you will need to keep from impacting your home life. Try to obtain an understanding of what will be expected in terms of work-life balance. This is easier to do for an internal promotion, as you can visually see what those at a higher level have to endure.
• OK with Being Responsible for Others? – This may be the toughest part of being promoted into a position with supervisor responsibilities. You probably just have to worry about yourself currently and you are solely judged on your performance (and if you are up for a promotion, you are probably really good). Now, you will be evaluated not only on your personal output but also on what your team does. A leadership position also comes with all the other burdens, such as resolving issues, listening to complaints, and explaining decisions. The days of just telling someone what to do passed long ago.
• Ready for New Colleagues – One of the great parts of working for many is the relationships built with co-workers over the years. A promotion will usually upset this situation. If your promotion is internal, then you may now supervise these colleagues, therefore, completely changing the relationship dynamic. If the promotion you accept is external, then you will be severing the day-to-day ties with these people and, most likely, will only maintain contact with a few as you move on.
There is usually never a perfect time or situation for your career change and promotion. If you are waiting for everything to be aligned, you will probably find yourself watching as your colleagues pass you by due to accepting other positions externally, or becoming your new boss internally. You don’t, however, want to jump ahead if the promotion is just not right for you either due to the position, timing, or what you value. Please make sure you really want that promotion before you say “Yes”. As always, best of luck in your job search!