If you’re in a job that doesn’t meet your needs for significance and success, there are two primary options:
1) You can leave and move on to any “available” bigger and better things.
2) You can get a promotion, reap the benefits, and use the rest of your time to develop your ideal career.
If you’re ready to move on read this. If you still need to pay the bills while you develop your real passions, read on. I have four part-time jobs. Yes, you read correctly, four part-time jobs. This may seem totally against the grain of this post, but on the contrary these jobs provide me exactly what I currently need, in order to do what I eventually want to do. They provide me convenience of time, a suitable paycheck, and three of them provide valuable learning experiences. All in all these jobs let me focus my time on the things that I’m truly passionate about, and are a necessary stepping-stone to bigger and better things. As long as your current situation suites your long-term goals, you on the right track. For you, this may mean moving on, or it may mean getting a promotion. If you’re stuck at your day job, have extra time on your hands, and are looking for more growth personally and financially, why not get promoted? Before you can, you’ll need to examine the “politics” that take place where you work. Office politics are social dynamics that have been established and ingrained in many corporate cultures, and aren’t going anywhere soon. For this reason, if you have upward mobility, plan on sticking around, and want to get promoted, you gotta play the game. If you want to have influence and make your organization a better place, you’ll need to stand out, make the right relationships, and understand the social code of your organization. It’s all about managing the impressions you make, and gaining power and influence by taking appropriate action and interacting on important decisions. Below are six strategies to help you elevate your status while to create your dreams on the side.
Help your manager succeed
Really think about it, what does your manager want? They, like anyone else with a corporate investment, want to succeed and provide stellar performance. Ultimately, your job is to help your manager and be a part of the bigger team. Develop a dynamic with your manager that reveals you’re on his or her side, instead of developing the adversarial approach that your manager is always out to get you. The primary way to get ahead in your company is to show that you are on the side of management, are a team player, and can follow through and get results. Helping your manager succeed is exactly what it takes to get ahead.
Express constructive disagreement
If you work for someone whom neglects feedback and denies others the chance to provide significant ideas, get out! If the company you’re a part of isn’t moving forward, neither are you. But, assuming you’re a part of a company that encourages innovation and forward thinking, you must be willing to speak-up when the time is right. Managers want someone who can provide novel and creative ideas. This shows intelligence and confidence, and can open up the opportunity for more influence and collaboration on bigger projects.
Network with influential people
Face it, you know who the alpha dogs are, and if you want to get ahead you need to reach out and get recognized by these individuals. These power players can provide other meaningful connections, and show you the ropes, providing wisdom and knowledge that will give you an edge in and out of the office. Begin by building rapport with any influential member in your company. After you feel a relationship has been established, simply approach them, and be concise and specific in making a request about networking. Ask for a modest amount of time, and make it known how you can also help them.
Keep a calm persona and level attitude
If you’re taking on more responsibility and sticking your neck out to better the company, you must keep calm and collected under pressure. Do your best to manage stress, not get burned-out, and maintain an attitude where you’re pleasant to be around. Don’t take a promotion if you can’t handle the pressure and are going to hate your life. This is probably a sign you need a new gig. In general, develop some stress management strategies that help you stay positive on the job. It can be helpful to reframe ideas of why your there and how the job is a catalyst to bigger and better things. Even if your situation isn’t ideal, remember to look at all the positives that the job provides. Maybe you have health insurance or more leisure time than you would otherwise. Find a good strategy to change your perspective in order to get through the day.
Volunteer for assignments
This tip may not apply to everyone, as most people don’t have the luxury of taking on more tasks and activities, while focusing on all the other passions in their life. Though, if you do, and are looking to get promoted, take initiative and reach out to pursue added responsibility. This shows you have the energy and motivation to take the driver’s seat and get things done, which is exactly what is valued by leaders of an organization. Your organization probably has many opportunities to volunteer, so step-up to coordinate an upcoming project or to speak at an upcoming engagement. Inquire about how you can help and be involved in bigger operations. If nothing else, simply inquire and show your interest, until an opportunity emerges. If you’re stuck working there you might as well gain some extra experience.
Maintain honesty and integrity
Okay, so corporate politics takes a little maneuvering and witty repartee. Be this as it may, it’s essential that you remember your values and convictions. Maintain an authentic character and stay honest in all your interactions. If your integrity isn’t recognized, you won’t be trusted with more assets. No one wants to give important duties to someone they don’t trust. The whole idea of getting promoted until you find what your really looking for may seem to slap loyalty in the face, but really it’s about recognizing where you can use your full potential and make a difference. Getting promoted might mean more responsibility, and thus less time spent on those areas where you can really make an impact. In this case a promotion wouldn’t be a prudent decision. It may be practical to stay humble, mind your business, and focus on other, bigger and better things. On the other hand, a promotion can mean more money, better experience, helpful connections, and a chance to blast your lifestyle and positive influence to the next level. The balance between these two must be figured out.
A New Generation
Face it; the corporate crusader who stays at the same organization for a 30 year stint is getting rarer and rarer. Most young professionals job hop between many different entry level positions to find out more about their passions and interests, and to gain further experience, which is all done to find work that is intrinsically fulfilling, and meets the demands of their desired lifestyle. Though, this doesn’t mean getting a promotion is irrelevant. It can be a very beneficial opportunity to cultivate yourself professional and personally, until you find your true calling, or until you have created the framework to help you blast-off on your own. If you have reached an impasse in your career and are ready to move on, there’s no need to worry. This is a normal and beneficial stage of professional development. You have reached your current positions level of growth, and are ready for either a promotion, or a new and better opportunity. Decide what course is most suitable for your situation, whether it be gaining more influence where you are, or pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams and charting a new path. Either way, start taking the necessary steps to make it happen, and don’t stop until you discover where you can make the biggest impact.