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How to Get Promoted at Work – 5 Reasons Your Are Not Being Promoted

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There are 168 hours in a week, 56 of those hours we are asleep, and out of the 112 that are left, we spend at least 40 hours at work. If to include the daily commute and the time we think about our work, we can certainly say that it is a huge part of our lives. In fact, taking into consideration the relationships with our managers, colleagues, clients & challenges that can occur, our work is essentially a second life running parallel to our personal one. Then a promotion is like a birthday.  And who doesn’t like a good party? Well, maybe not everyone but you get the idea.

Professionally speaking, a promotion is affirmation of your success, proving that your hard work has finally paid off. However, oftentimes it doesn’t come as easy we desire. In this article we want to cover various reasons why you are most likely not being promoted, and give a few tips on what you can do to get one. 

Your expectations don’t match your expertise

Sometimes our ambitions are racing ahead of us. The fact that you feel ready for the promotion can be far from reality. When we start doing something well it is easy to get sidetracked and become overconfident. So the first question you should ask yourself when starting to get upset about the lack of a promotion, is not if you are doing a great job, but if your are doing a better one or more than it is stated in you current job description. It might be frustrating to realize, but doing your job well is not enough to get promoted.


What to do

Don’t lose your motivation. Instead, take your confidence to the next level and leverage it to really stand out. Ask for additional responsibilities, start helping coworkers, train new employees, and develop your unique working method. Become more efficient than you are expected to be. To do so, create yourself a list of goals, – you can even send an email to yourself to set them in writing – and work towards them. Once achieved, take that list to your manager and start the process of negotiations for your raise/promotion. 

The competition is fierce

From childhood we are taught not to compare ourselves to other people, however, when it comes to business, efficiency it all that matters. There are many ways to stand out, and simple know-how might not be enough. If you are working in a team, your colleagues are not just friends, they are your direct competitors as well. This might be frustrating, but it is possible that you are losing some points to a girl sitting in the cubicle just to the left of yours. Moreover, if you don’t get a hang of this game, you might start losing to the guy on the right of you as well.

What to do

Put yourself first, and don’t be afraid to take the lead. In no way do we recommend to become mean and selfish, but a little more confidence and determination can go a long way. Observe your colleagues, discover their strengths, learn from them, and establish your own, while eliminating your weaknesses. Subscribe to some industry news, take an on-line course, don’t be afraid to share ideas, help people around you, and mention your wins to your manager over a coffee break. Just don’t step on anyone else’s toes, keep in mind that strong relationships within the team can help you on the next role.

There is no space to grow

Have a deeper look at the structure and the size of your company. In many cases, you can’t get a promotion simply because there is no position to fill. Is your manager efficient, even after his assistant left? How many people do you have on the team? What is the growth rate of your company? Is your team organized and performs well? How does the structure of your department differ from other parts of the company? Do you already have too many managers?  Even if you are doing an extraordinary job and showing incredible results, sometimes there is simply no space for a promotion.


What to do

Try to look at your company as a machine. and figure out if there is anything missing or that can be improved. If you can’t find a flow, but you love your team, you just have to wait for further expansion. It might be worth planting a seed for your future promotion and for the time being, discussing a raise within the same position. Otherwise, it might be time to move on to the next challenge and change jobs to something more promising.

However, if you do see an undeniable value you can bring to the table, and yet the company structure doesn’t allow the promotion, it’s time to take your destiny in your own hands. Think about the benefits you can bring, and come up with the position you think is most suitable for your vision even if this title doesn’t exist (yet). Develop you mini-business plan, – you can even create a presentation to visualize your ideas – and proactively take it to your manager. This is a bold move, however, if you don’t have any doubts on the value that you bring to the company, you will be surprised how much your initiative can be appreciated. You can get a chance to not only get a promotion, but become an irreplaceable key player for your company.

It is too early

It might be worth researching your industry or your particular employer promotion rates. Many industries and companies have a different pace of employee growth. So before comparing your professional success to a friend whose occupation doesn’t have anything in common with what you do, make sure to focus on your industry only.

What to do

If you are happy with your current employer and the industry you are in, then you should simply keep up you great work and wait patiently. However, if you find out that the promotion rate of your employer is way slower than others in your industry, you should consider a plan of action. First of all, double-check all other points we cover in this article. If none of them are relevant for your case, it is time to take your thoughts to your manager. Depending on his or her response, you will either know how to achieve the promotion, or consider finding a new employer who knows how to value their employees.

You want a raise, not a promotion

Do you actually want to step it up and be promoted? Or do you want to earn more money and the promotion seems like the most natural way to achieve it? Before acting and asking for a promotion, think twice. Being promoted due to your own initiative can put a lot of extra pressure and attention on your progress. And although we don’t doubt that you can succeed, it is crucial for you to be ready to really step it up and push harder then ever. Are you ready?

What to do

There is nothing wrong with staying in the same position and growing within your current role. You wouldn’t have your job if it wasn’t important for your company. Polishing your skills, improving your efficiency, and taking on more tasks without new responsibilities, is still valuable and is more than enough to ask for the raise. In fact, sometimes, stability can overweight ambition. So stop contemplating about the pros and cons of a promotion, and simply ask for a raise.

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Albert, as Editor-in-Chief of, emphasizes practical and real-world business insights, covering growth strategies and marketing innovations. His expertise shines through in the site's content, which blends thorough analysis with actionable advice, establishing as a go-to source for professionals and enthusiasts.

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