Why You Haven’t Been Promoted Yet — And What You Can Do About It
October 21, 2015 12:00 AM EST | 5 min read
Why You Haven’t Been Promoted Yet
If there were only one word to adequately describe the millennial generation, it would unquestionably be “impatient.”
Growing up with the ever-changing Internet, in a time of rampant technological and social change, millennials are always looking for what’s new and what’s next — which is one reason it is so hard for millennials to remain at one job for very long.
Usually, after less than a year in a positon, a millennial worker will be yearning for something different — a promotion, a responsibility shift, anything — and not finding it with her current employer, she is unafraid of looking somewhere else.
However, what millennials don’t realize is that there are very good reasons they aren’t earning promotions after a few months of work.
Here are a handful of mistakes most millennials make when looking for promotions, and what you should do instead to reach the next rung of the career ladder in record time.
You Ask for Too Much Too Soon
Most hourly jobs don’t provide many job extras, especially if you work part-time or for a small business.
Even salaried workers often don’t start receiving benefits packages until up to a year has passed.
Thus, when new employees start sniffing after all sorts of employment goodies, like promotions, raises, and better benefits and privileges just a few months after being hired, most superiors are less than impressed.
Bosses are often limited when it comes to offering rewards for good workers, and asking for everything at once is a sure-fire way to get nothing at all.
Instead: You must prioritize. Undoubtedly, there are some bonuses that are more important to you than others.
Rather than trying for everything and ending up with nothing, you are better off letting your boss know which rewards are important to you.
You Assume All Promotions Are Merit-Based
Every day, you come in early and stay late, cut your lunch and breaks short, and devote your body and soul to your work — but you still might not get that promotion.
Completing projects on-time and on-point are certainly an integral part of climbing the career ladder, but there are dozens of other variables that can make or break an increase in status.
Your desired position likely requires certain experience you simply don’t have, and your bosses know that all too well.
Instead: While you continue your high performance at work, you should strive to fill in knowledge and skill gaps with online courses.
Earning an MBA could be enough to make you management material.
Additionally, it helps to thoroughly understand your workplace’s corporate culture: Pay attention to fellow employees who have recently received promotions and figure out why exactly they got the nod.
You Don’t Listen
Communication is the core of any human interaction, but many millennials forget that more than half of communication is listening.
Criticism is an integral part of any job — it is how employees get better at their designated tasks — but too often, you may respond to critique with loud, defensive language.
Employees who talk rather than listen are endlessly frustrating to your bosses, who are unlikely to give such workers any type of reward.
Instead: While you toil away at your job, your coworkers and bosses are giving you feedback almost every day, but you might not be giving their words the attention they deserve.
By using your ears and eyes instead of your mouth and fingers, you have the opportunity to learn exactly what your bosses want and earn your promotion.
You Have High Expectations
There are many reasons you might expect a promotion: your tenure, your seniority, your skills, etc.
However, your very expectation of the promotion might be hurting your chances of earning it.
Your superiors are unlikely to reward you with a career advancement simply because it’s your time; in fact, they may put it off simply because of your prideful attitude.
Instead: You should develop goals, not expectations.
The millennial generation has long been associated with entitlement, but you must distance yourself from this stereotype.
You should work diligently toward the job you want and demonstrate contribution and dedication to the company — then you will rightfully earn your promotion rather than simply expect it.
You Don’t Know the Right People
When you become the boss, who would you promote: your hardworking, caring mentee or the unknown, unproven new hire?
While millennials may hate it, nepotism is alive and well, and most superiors will always prefer rewarding the workers they know over those they don’t.
You might be passed over for a promotion simply because you haven’t made friends with the people in power.
Instead: A career is as much about networking as it is about regular working.
You should spend time cultivating relationships with coworkers and bosses — even those unrelated to your team — to get ahead.
You can also find a mentor within the company to guide you on the path to promotion.