Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ask for a Promotion

As we head toward the end of the year, I know people start thinking about the new year and their future, including making decisions about their careers. For some people, there is a fear of change. Some people dread interviews. Some people feel they are on a dead-end path. Some people don't know what to do to move forward or to change career paths.

Then, there are those who want to stay where they are, but feel that they want upward mobility. They want a promotion!

Promotions are often a difficult subject for many Black workers because we just don't know if we should ask for a promotion, if we have a right to ask, if we will be taken seriously or if doors will be slammed in our faces. Some of us even fear retaliation for having the nerve to suggest that we should move up within the company.

Here's the thing...

There’s nothing wrong with sitting down with a supervisor or manager and telling them that you want to be promoted. You should make your argument for why you have already demonstrated the capability to work at the next level and present that case.

Any good manager should be focused on ensuring that his or her staff are being challenged and are moving in a path that gives them no other choice except to develop new skills, overcome weaknesses, improve on areas of strength, and to advance.

You don't have to wait for your supervisor to tell you that you’ve reached a point where you can take on more work and/or be promoted.

You should perform your job to the best of your ability, try to exceed expectations and requirements, and make your case that you are ready to continue to the next phase of your career path.


If you have not had the opportunity to perform higher levels of work and feel you legitimately need to build up your skills before advancing in the company, tell your supervisor or manager that you’d like to know:

-- What skills are needed to be promoted?

-- Is any training or are any special skills needed in order to be considered for a promotion?

-- How do I currently stack up for a promotion?
-- What are my strengths?
-- What are my weaknesses?
-- How do I improve my weaknesses?

-- Can I get more advanced assignments to show that I can work at a higher level?

-- Can I be placed in charge of small, mid-level or advanced projects (depending on your level)?

-- Can I have or have more client contact?

-- What suggestions do you have for me as I work towards a promotion?


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