ASK HR: Be sincere, do you deserve a promotion?

Promotions mostly emerge from the convergence of opportunities and individuals’ suitability for them.

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I have been with my employer for three years now and feel unhappy with my job. My biggest disappointment is that I have not been promoted in these three years yet some of the colleagues that I joined at the same time with have gotten promoted. Is there a duration after which one should be promoted? Also, is there a set period that one should leave an organisation for another?

Some individuals remain with their employers for the entire span of their working lives, which could, in some cases, well exceed 30 years. To some, staying with an employer for such a duration would seem like dabbling with eternity. Other individuals demonstrate an itinerant nature by camping with their employers for short durations of a year or so, which to some might appear to betray a fidgety spirit.

Numerous factors may interact to create yawning differences in length of tenures amongst individuals, not the least of which could include generational affiliation, personal circumstances such as job satisfaction and the nature of an employer. There is no generic prescription for the duration one should remain with an employer. Every situation has its unique permutation of influencing factors, therefore merely watching the clock cannot be part of a prudent career plan.

With what are you unhappy about your employer? Are you displeased with your organisation’s culture and work environment or jaded about the relationship with your supervisor? Or are you mostly aggrieved for not having received a promotion in three years unlike some of your colleagues? Do you feel that you have deliberately been left out of the gravy train of promotions? Might the said colleagues have deserved their promotions more than you do yours? What might you not be seeing about your suitability that others can see? What new aspects about yourself do you need to change? What might that cost you? Have you discussed this matter with your line manager? Do you have a mentor with whom you could consult?

Promotions mostly emerge from the convergence of opportunities and individuals’ suitability for them. They are neither purely the products of the passage of time nor yoked to the career trajectories of your peers. Mind you, regardless of how lofty an employee value proposition might be, no employer can meet every expectation. To quote Abraham Lincoln, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

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