I graduated magna cum laude with an engineering degree from a good university and was immediately recruited as management trainee by a multi-national company. Together with several others, also honor graduates of their respective schools, we underwent rigorous training and enculturation. I’ve been working as assistant manager to a department head in our plant for almost three years now and I’m wondering how I am really doing and when will I finally be promoted. Most of my batchmates have been promoted to full managerial positions and even to executive level. My immediate boss keeps telling me to be patient because I’d have my promotion “soon”. The big problem is when is this “soon”? It seems I’m stuck now. I’m so frustrated to the point of being demoralized and desperate. What shall I do?
Your impatience for promotion is brought about by the promotion of your batchmates to higher positions in the organization and your perception that your boss is not doing anything to help you in this regard.
The one who can help you assess if you are ready now for promotion is your immediate superior. I suggest you set an appointment with him/her and ask:
- how you have improved since your last performance appraisal
- what are your chances for promotion or career advancement
- why you have not been promoted.
- how he assesses your promotability to the next level in the plant organization
- does he/she think you are ready now
Suggested Steps To Take. However, before you have a career discussion with your boss, I suggest that you do the following:
First, be clear about your career goal. Be able to state it in a clear, specific, measurable and achievable manner and with a time line. Ex. “At the end of two more years, I am promoted to department head and in another three years to Assistant Plant Manager. My long-term goal is to be Vice President for Manufacturing.” Do you want to remain in your current department as a possible successor to your boss? Into what other department in the plant do you want to work? As management trainee, you had an opportunity to work in the various functional areas in your organization, not just in your field of specialization so you would know which one matches your skills, aptitudes and career interests.
Second, as a result of your performance appraisal, ask yourself if you have addressed the areas for improvement cited by your immediate supervisor. Have you followed up on these with him/her? Have you improved on these areas according to his/her standards?
Third, how is you impatient attitude showing? Sometimes our impatience is shown in complaining, griping and other verbal aggression, isolation, sulking and the like. These never fail to reach the knowledge of upper management and work against you. Check out your blind spot, i.e., your weaknesses that are apparent to others but not to you.
Factors to Consider for Career Advancement. People who are promotable are not only those who have technical competencies but, equally important, they must have leadership ability (or the ability to influence others), have interpersonal skills based on respect for others, sensitivity to the needs of others, subordinating your need to the needs of your organization, etc. Reading books on leadership and management will be very useful to you. Do you share your knowledge and skills with those reporting to you and with your peers? How have you coached your direct reports? These are matters for you to consider seriously.
In addition I suggest you do the following:
- Read good books on personal mastery and personal leadership such as:
- “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie
- “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell
- “Seven Basic Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey
Reflect on these, and apply them in your life. These will require changing your negative habits and acquiring positive habits of effectiveness.
- Enroll in short courses to develop your personality and your assertive communication skills. Check out the following in the internet:
- Dale Carnegie Institute of the Philippines
- The Toastmasters Club
You must be open and willing to change yourself from the inside (your attitudes, paradigms and values) and out (your appearance, grooming, poise and your behaviors.
As you keep sharpening your personal and interpersonal effectiveness, I suggest you keep your options open. Look up jobs/careers in other organizations that may be right for you. But keep this job hunting to yourself. Your efforts to improve yourself will work well wherever you work.
God bless you.
Josie O. Santamaria