If you have been working at the same company for a while, you will probably eventually wonder when you can take that next step up the career ladder. Yet when several months, a year or even several years go by without a substantial move, you may be wondering what the problem is.
While everyone’s work situation is unique and we can’t answer for every supervisor, you may need to examine several factors at play. First, you need to be patient. Typically someone is considered proficient at their job after three to five years of experience. If you want to move beyond entry-level positions, stay in one place long enough to become an expert at what you do. Second, you want to do work that plays an essential role in making money for the company. This is what makes you most valuable as an employee. If your company makes widgets, learn everything you can about making widgets. Opening the mail and cleaning the office are useful, but people pay your company to make widgets.
In addition to being patient and making profitable contributions, take a look at some of your everyday work habits. If you are repeatedly looked over for promotions, you may need to make some changes in your attitudes and behavior. Here are five poor work habits that prevent promotion:
- Sticking to the minimum on your timecard
How often do you stay late? If you are very efficient at clocking out exactly on time each day, you are communicating that you do not care enough about the work that you are doing to put in extra effort. When managers are looking at candidates for promotion, they want people willing to do what it takes to get the job done and then some. Try staying a few minutes late once or twice a week, or arrive early. Do not be late.
- Only doing what is asked
You may think that doing everything you are told is sufficient, but if you want to be a valuable employee you must take initiative. Any boss will tell you that there is always more to do than what can be accomplished in a day. Anticipate what your boss needs and do it without being asked. If you can find a way to make the company more profitable, that is even better. Make your manager’s job easier and they will be sure to take notice.
- Focusing on problems instead of solutions
If you want to get promoted, you need to cut out complaining without offering solutions. While you may think that speaking your mind is valuable, it does not help anyone if you are not offering constructive solutions. Your supervisor may already be aware of the problem anyway. To be more helpful, bring them suggested solutions—with humility, not criticism.
- Taking too long to complete tasks
Perhaps you are a perfectionist, which is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to work. However, you may be sabotaging your chances at promotion if you are not being efficient. In the employer’s eyes, time is money. To pace yourself better, ask your boss when they want a task completed and then get it done early.
- Lacking enthusiasm
Are you in touch with your company’s overall mission and vision? No matter what your position is, you should be enthusiastic about what your work is accomplishing. If you give off vibes that your job is a drag, you simply will not move up. If you speak and act like you have pride in what you do, your employer will be more likely to look to you to help the company grow.
With these changes in attitude, that promotion might be within reach. If you stand out from the crowd and make your work valuable to your employer, chances are you will more likely be noticed the next time a better position becomes available.