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Help! I’m tired of working in the same position for years with no promotion

Friday March 13 2020

career, career growth, career development, job promotion,  growth,  progress,

Without continued growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Q: I have been working for two years in the same position, and would like to get a promotion. I believe that I have been performing very well in my position and meeting my obligations, yet growth is not forthcoming. I feel really frustrated because my best friend seems to be growing fast in her career.  How do I raise this issue with my bosses? 

In a world where organisational structures are increasingly growing flat, opportunities for frequent promotions are few and spread apart. As such, managing one’s career growth requires a perspective that goes beyond just rising vertically in an organisation. Making horizontal career moves and focusing on personal growth in spite of rank, are fertile opportunities to prepare oneself for eventual promotion. 

Although opportunities for promotion may be few, you could reflect on the following questions. How would your boss describe your performance in the past two years? Yes, you are doing your best, but does your organisation take the view that you are making a valuable contribution? Do you consider two years sufficient to demonstrate sustained performance and value to the organisation? What makes you stand out from the pack of colleagues in similar positions with whom you joined the organisation at the same time? 

Ambition is the fuel required for career growth, yet it is important to keep it in check, as it is highly flammable and should be accompanied by a keen appreciation of what it takes to reach a certain goal, the willingness to persevere, work hard, and be patient. Some of those who now occupy top positions at your workplace had to pay a dear price, even if no tag hangs on their brow.

It is futile to believe that you deserve a promotion if other stakeholders in your career do not share your view. Ask your boss or HR colleagues what attributes, other than posting positive performance, are necessary for promotion. Would you be required you to manage others? If so, what are you doing to prepare yourself for that? Once the requirements for promotion are clear in your mind, request a meeting with your boss and demonstrate how you have met them. If you are unsuccessful in your attempt, take the feedback and use it as additional fuel for your ambitions.

Fred Gituku, Human Resources Practitioner ([email protected])