Every New Year, we look and think: How can I make things better next year? How do I make me better? Granted, after a few glasses of champagne, generous bites of food and savory desserts, there’s more of a focus on the whole weight thing and promising that on day ONE of the New Year, there will be a gym membership and a good riddance to the muffin-top acquired from a blend of Holiday goodies. But some of us step back and take a general look at our lives.
It’s another year come and gone. Where are we in life? And most importantly, where are we going? Our thoughts wander and settle on our jobs, our careers- factors in our lives that contribute to our identity. After reflecting, a percentage of us choose a promotion as our New Year’s Resolution. It’s very easy to make a promotion your goal, but it can be fairly challenging to realize it.
First of all, ask yourself why you would like a promotion. Is money the main motivator? Are you after the recognition? Or is it in your mind the obvious “next step”? In my experience, the above reasons are never quite good reasons. At a previous job, I had a co-worker who went hard after a promotion for all three reasons. The raise was good, the recognition was great and it was the “obvious” step-up in the proverbial ladder.
Three months after the new pay rate and title, he was ready to leave. The new responsibilities were heavy stressors, he didn’t get along with his new boss and the hours were long and thankless (weekends and holidays were not expected but demanded). Going from an hourly employee who could make a killing working overtime to a salary employee hit hard.
He was shocked to find out that he was actually losing money at times! When he did his research and found a position that suited him more, he could not be considered because he had spent five years in the same field and had little to no experience for the field he wanted. It was either enter the field at intern level with much lower pay or stick it out and remain unhappy. Not the best choices.
Before taking the steps for a promotion, make sure that: 1. You are willing and ready for the new responsibilities of the position you’re going for. 2 – Your new title can “take you places.”
For example, is it a wonderful addition to your resume? Can it take you further up? Consider this, in the Food & Beverage field, you can work your way up from Dishwasher to Executive Chef. (Granted you work hard and receive the proper training). Now, as a Telephone Operator, well, there’s not much of a ladder to climb. Furthermore, it’s a not a versatile enough job that would easily jumpstart another career.
Then, you also take in consideration what you have to offer. How is your track record? Your reputation at work? Are you known to be punctual? What was your biggest achievement? What skills do you have that no one else has? In this multicultural environment, are you bilingual in any way? How responsible are you?
Take a good, honest look at yourself and what you have contributed to your job but more importantly, what more do you plan on contributing to your workplace? Find an answer to these questions and you figure out if you’re ready to go for that promotion. If you do find that you are in some way lacking, improve. Make steps to be more on time, take some classes in another language and/or computers.
On another note, even being a 100% sure that you’re ready, that you can handle all the position entails-there’s no guarantee that you will realize that goal. After all, you are not in control of the final decision. You can be the all-star of your company and still not be guaranteed that next step. It’s difficult to accept true but, where that door has closed, try opening new doors.
After all, it’s a New Year. Maybe it’s time to consider a new job or going back to school for a new career. It is all up to you. This is a time of planning, of reflection and if your current position is an issue in your life, don’t be afraid to take the steps to change that. Time is only moving forward, so should you.