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are you promotable?

By Shari Barnes


Scaling your corporate Everest isn't like stepping on a moving sidewalk at the airport. You don't climb on and ride to the end. Promotions demand talent, luck, planning and political know-how. Do you have what it takes?

1. I have taken a training/educational course related to my profession within the past

(a) 3 months, (b) 6 months, (c) 12 months.
2. My last performance appraisal was

(a) superior, (b) above average, (c) nonexistent.
3. My last raise was

(a) 6%, (b) 3%, (c) the company doesn't give raises.
4. During the past year, I have taken ____ days sick leave.

(a) 0, (b) 3-4, (c) 5-7.
5. I meet with my boss

(a) every day, (b) once a week, (c) as needed.
6. Coworkers describe me as

(a) optimistic, (b) bubbly, (c) realistic.
7. I want a promotion because it will mean I can

(a) implement my ideas, (b) make more money, (c) supervise additional people.

Give yourself 5 points for every (a), 3 for every (b), 0 for every (c).
1. If you believe you're a candidate for promotion, prove it by keeping on top of the technical and legal issues that relate to your profession. Don't count on the company to tell you what you need to know and pay the tab for you to learn it. Take control of your career by becoming the most knowledgeable employee in the division.
2. Performance appraisals are like stepping on the bathroom scale. Truth is sometimes unpleasant. Avoiding the scale doesn't mean you weigh 110 pounds…it just means you won't admit you weigh 150. If you haven't received a performance appraisal, ask for one. You need to know, in writing, what the boss thinks of your work.
3. Most companies have a structured approach to raises, but the CEO makes exceptions for superstars. If your raises fall in the "so-so" category, a promotion is probably not in the immediate future.
4. Yes, your benefit plan allows 10 days sick leave per year…use it or lose it. So why shouldn't you stay home with a headache or hangnail? Because promotable people take two aspirin and come to work.
5. Frequent contact with the boss is necessary so she knows who you are and what you can do. Wallflowers seldom get promoted. Make sure communication with the boss is positive and productive.
6. Optimism is essential to promotability. You must believe in the company and its products…even when you don't. When you're weary of in-fighting, political intrigue, and inept corporate decisions, practice a beauty contestant smile. Negative observations won't help you move ahead.
7. Everyone wants more money, and extra dollars generally accompany a promotion. Make sure your desire for a promotion isn't a power trip with a desire to control more people. The chance to carry out unique ideas and exert your creative influence is the best reason to seek a promotion.
what do your scores mean?
0 - 15 You're waiting for someone else to take charge of your career, and it will be a long wait. Look around your company and find someone who is upwardly mobile. Ask her to mentor you.
16 - 29 You're doing many things right, but you need to be more assertive if you have an eye on the corner office.
30 - 35 You know what you're doing. Get ready for a key to the executive washroom.

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Sharon (Shari) Eurich Barnes is Director of Employee Relations for Texas Christian University. Complementing her human resource career, Ms. Barnes writes for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Working Mother, Women as Managers and Management Review. She also conducts private and court-ordered mediations.

In addition to hosting Books in Review on cable television, Ms. Barnes speaks on employment issues for professional associations and conferences.

Ms. Barnes received her Bachelor's degree from California Baptist University and Master's degree from Texas Christian University. Among other affiliations, she is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management, American Society for Training and Development, American Association of University Women, Fort Worth Human Resource Association Board of Directors (past), College and University Personnel Association, Fort Worth Mayor's Committee for Disabled Persons, and Tarrant County Association of Mediators Board of Directors. Ms. Barnes has also been named to Who's Who Among American Women.

Comments and questions about this article: Shari Barnes.

The opinions expressed in articles by this author do not necessarily represent the opinions of MindData. These articles are provided as a means of informing you of current events and opinions that impact employers and the workplace.

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