Dear J.T. & Dale: I have been with the same company for four years. When I started, I was told that there would be potential for upward mobility, but despite above-average reviews, I have not been promoted.
I am at the lowest pay grade for my position, even though I have co-workers who were hired at a higher pay grade and my productivity numbers exceed all other co-workers’.
For more than a year, I have been searching for jobs and going to interviews. I am losing patience and am wondering if I should just leave my job and search full time. – Landon
J.T.: Do NOT leave your current employer without a new job. To start, you have not been promoted or given a raise, so by leaving to look for a full-time job, hiring managers looking at your resume are going to assume that you were let go.
Further, in this economy, people are ending up unemployed for much longer than they anticipate.
DALE: Given your productivity and experience, it’s troubling that you haven’t been advancing. It’s possible that you are just not a good negotiator. You might be able to correct this with a simple change in your conversation with management.
Instead of asking management to give you a raise, obtain a commitment as to what you must do to get one. You see where I’m going here – you want to put yourself in control of raises and promotion, rather than waiting and hoping.
J.T.: As part of that conversation with your managers, you need someone to tell you flat out why you have not advanced and make sure you get honest feedback. There may be a reason you’re not getting promoted, and it’s probably not about performance.
Rather, it’s likely that the “soft” skills are holding you back – communication style, attire or even perceived lack of commitment.
DALE: I agree that the problem likely has something to do with style or “fit.” After all, you mentioned that you’ve been getting interviews for new jobs, but apparently you haven’t gotten offers, so it isn’t merely your current employer who is failing to see your potential. Being good on one level doesn’t automatically mean you’re seen as someone who’ll be successful if promoted.
Instead of just focusing on being productive, you need to study people at the next level. Choose one of those people to mentor you and make sure you are perceived as someone who is more than ready for promotion.
Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale via e-mail at [email protected] or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Promotion or quit image from Shutterstock