I recently had a conversation with a friend who explained that he was very angry with his manager. It seems there was a senior manager position open and he did not get the job. I asked what his manager had told him in regards to why he was not selected and he said, “Nothing.”
At this point I was starting to get agitated. This happens to be one of my real hot buttons. I am outraged when people who interview for internal positions are not given the courtesy of a response as to why they were not chosen. To add insult to injury, they end up finding out they didn’t get the job when the email arrives asking them to congratulate the person who did get the promotion. How disrespectful and hurtful that is.
Anyway, I told him the situation was totally unacceptable and asked what he had been told during the interview process. “Oh”, he said a little startled, “I never actually spoke to anyone about the position.”
Ahhh…and there it was. He was angry with his manager for not giving him a promotion and he hadn’t even spoken to anyone about his interest in the position. Unfortunately, this is not a unique story. I often hear people lament over jobs that they “lost” only to find that they took absolutely no action to ensure that the decision makers knew of their interest.
So I guess this begs the question: Who is in charge of your career anyway?
If you believe your manager is; you are partially right. Every leader has a responsibility to grow and develop their people for the next opportunity. So leaving it all to your manager in theory isn’t totally a bad idea, but what if, and it pains me to say it, you work for an ineffective leader? You are placing your future in the hands of someone who can’t even manage their own performance, much less yours.
Doesn’t it make greater sense for you to sit squarely in the driver’s seat? This is one area where you should not be passive. It does not pay to sit back and wait to be asked for promotional opportunities. Let go of any idealistic notion that you may have that says you should not have to toot your own horn, than if you do a good job, people will notice and you will be rewarded. It’s just plain poppycock!
People are often too busy looking out for themselves and pushing their own agenda to be thinking about reading your mind and trying to figure out you are interested in advancing. This is so important. If you want something; more money, additional training, greater responsibility, or even a shot at that next promotion, you have to let people know. You need to do it in a professional and appropriate way of course, and timing with these types of issues is often a factor, but don’t leave something as important as your career in the hands of someone else.
If you have not had a discussion recently (within the last 12 months) with your manager about your career aspirations, schedule a meeting today. You’ll thank me for it.
As always, your comments are appreciated and please share this post if you found it helpful to you.