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5 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Promoted

5 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Promoted

Do you feel stuck in your role at your company? Have you been performing the same function longer than you can stand? Do you ever wonder how it is easy for other people to advance so quickly in their career, yet you have found yourself in the  same position for more than a few years?

I was inspired to write about this because I saw a post on Reddit of a person complaining about how they were not promoted at their company after giving them 10 years of service. The author of the post was seeking advice on when she can stop being loyal to her company. When I read the post I immediately thought that the author of this post should take an internal inventory of how she has handled her career. In other words, taking responsibility for her role in getting stuck in her career.

[Related: Promoted but Still Unhappy? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself]

I know this sounds harsh, but what we allow will continue. As a matter of fact, when things happen that we didn’t expect, it is always good practice to ask ourselves how we contributed to the result. You will be amazed that most of the time there is something you did (or did not do) that contributed to the outcome.

So, why are you not getting promoted? Below are five reasons why.

You aren’t connecting with the right people.

Ask yourself: who are the people in your network? How many people are you in regular contact with that can make or break your career? These questions are important to ask yourself because in order for one to advance in their career, there must be someone there helping them to make it happen. Since we were very young we have been told that as long as you work hard you will get recognized through compensation and promotion. That is not true, at least not anymore. Having the right relationships are key and nurturing them is very important to continue to move ahead in your career.

[Related: Getting Sponsor-Ready: Navigating the Power Dynamics of the Modern Organization]

You don’t take feedback well.

People who fall in this category usually are defensive. Every time a person tells them something that they can improve on, the recipient always provides an excuse or reason for their performance, rather than asking for advice on how to improve. As one of the partners in my firm has said time and time again,  feedback is a gift. Given that we live an a culture where being polite is the norm, the fact that someone is being candid and giving you feedback is great. The truth is that nobody wants to hear about their flaws. However when you are interested in excelling in your career it is beneficial to know what your blindspots are so that you can improve them. The only way to know what they are is to receive feedback from those who work with you.

[Related: How to Master the Art of Feedback]

You don’t self promote.

Many people don’t feel comfortable self-promoting because it may come off as being arrogant. Unfortunately, this discomfort can be a detriment to the advancement of your career. In my experience as a consultant, I learned that it is important to self promote because everyone is too busy to know what everyone is working on at all times. Therefore, when you are networking among your colleagues, avoid being modest about the value you are adding to your company. These discussions can go a long way, as the people you are connecting with may recall the conversation you had with them come promotion time.

Poor planning.

If you are a person who wants an interesting and dynamic career, planning what you will do next is key. Sitting and waiting for opportunities is the best way to remain stuck in your career. Setting a goal and having a plan on how to achieve your that goal is key to moving to the next level. An example of setting a goal to advance your career could be setting a time frame for when you want to complete a certification that gives you the qualifications for a role that has more responsibility.

You don’t do more than what is in your job description.

In my experience, companies value when you do more in your role than what is in your job description. An example of this is sharing your ideas on how you can service your clients at a lower cost to the company or how your teams can work more efficiently. These kinds of ideas are highly valued by employers. This demonstrates your commitment to your company and that you have vision, all characteristics of a leader.

These are just a few reasons why you may find yourself stuck in your career.

Have you ever found yourself stuck in your career? What are some actions you took to move forward?


Christmas Hutchinson is a management consultant servicing clients on business processes improvement and regulatory compliance within banking and capital markets. She serves on the boards of the Virginia Leadership Institute and the H.A.V.E. Foundation.

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