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When your career hits dead end

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st February 2011 03:00 AM

DO you ever sit idly or day-dreaming at your desk, wondering whether you will ever get promoted? Perhaps you have been working in the same role for years now, but cannot understand why you have not moved up the ladder.

DO you ever sit idly or day-dreaming at your desk, wondering whether you will ever get promoted? Perhaps you have been working in the same role for years now, but cannot understand why you have not moved up the ladder.

By Cecilia Okoth
DO you ever sit idly or day-dreaming at your desk, wondering whether you will ever get promoted? Perhaps you have been working in the same role for years now, but cannot understand why you have not moved up the ladder.

Well, it might be for reasons you have never thought of before. Many factors, in various combinations, can be the cause, but one thing is certain you alone must take the credit or the blame when your career progresses or stagnates.

Perhaps you are the type that is always counting down the departure time, and immediately it clocks 5:00pm, a normal departure hour for many companies, you grab your bags and run as if you are escaping from the devil.

You may also be the type that always makes up excuses whenever you are given an extra assignment. This will definitely give your boss a negative impression about you, according to Amos Zikusooka, a career consultant.

“If you are the kind of person that rejects more responsibilities, especially when assigned by your boss, it will not earn you any marks,” says Zikusooka.
“If you can take on more tasks, and are looking for a more challenging role, volunteer to help out where necessary,” he advises.

Zikusooka adds that one should have a chat with his/her boss about volunteering to ensure that you are not misunderstood by colleagues.

“That is how you will be noticed as a reliable employee,” Zikusooka argues.
Martin Lwanga, a consultant and a lecturer at the Uganda Management Institute, says having a good attitude towards work boosts one’s chances of getting promoted.

“You may think that the key to success is to keep your head down, or keep at your desk all the time. On the contrary, you have to work with others and not as a lone ranger,” he councels.

He explains that knowing workmates is important for team building. “Do not isolate yourself from co-workers. And as it is said, success is not only about what you know, but who you know as well. It is, therefore, beneficial to maintain good professional relations with people who are above and around you,” Lwanga emphasises.

He also notes that working in a field outside your profession is one of the major reasons people get ‘stuck’ at some level for years without a promotion “because they lack core competences.”

This, he says, might be attributed to the urge for making money instead of getting more skills to enhance your career.

“If you need to improve your skills, find out the kind of courses you can enroll for. You could also find out whether the company has a training budget you can take advantage of,” Lwanga counsels.
Showing that you want to improve your skills will impress your boss and position well for a potential promotion.

You could also ask about the organisation or your performance. Otherwise, how would you know if you are doing well when you do not ask for feedback? Find out about how the company and how its sections interlink.

“This shows that you are interested in the organisation and want to grow with it, which gives you an edge over your colleagues,” Lwanga argues.

Even if you are new, you need to look at ways that could help you move up the ladder.

Remember, promotions are not given, they are earned. So, sulk not. Get up and do something, and who knows? You might be the one to move up the career ladder next time there is an opportunity.

Experts advise that you should first ascertain that there is an open position in the company. This improves your chances of getting that promotion, as they say, timing is everything.

Nandanan Kannanpulakkal of Future Options Consulting, says most organisations have a performance assessment management system that keeps track of all employees’ work record.

He says if a company has such a system in place, then asking would not be necessary because you would have been noticed.

He, however, says if the need to ask arises, one must be armed with ‘measurable’ achievements and contributions that he/she has made in the past months or years.

“It is not enough that you brag about what you did, you need to have quantitative data on how much contribution you have made. If your recent marketing proposal tripled the company’s sales, then mention that,” Kannanpulakkal says.

He advises that one should project a positive attitude as an impressive performance is not an end in itself. It is also vital to have a good relationship with your team and the boss, he adds.

Kannanpulakkal observes that having leadership skills and ability to work with others can reinforce your career.
Charles Ocici, the Enterprise Uganda executive director, notes that one should first have a personal evaluation and question yourself why you are not progressing in your career.

“A person may be hardworking and very productive, but may be having poor interpersonal skills,” he says.
Ocici notes that many companies like to promote workers who have been with the company for long.

He advises that one should quietly snoop around to see if it has done before, and what the results were to avoid becoming a topic for workplace gossip.

“This is important because it may give you an idea as to whether you should go ahead and ask or not,” Ocici explains.

Ocici says one should show, rather then tell that they have the qualities an employer is looking for in a higher position.

He notes that in work such as technical fields, some employees tend toward arrogance about their superior knowledge or intellectual gifts. He advises that one should avoid superiority, and adopt humbleness by learning more.

How to approach your boss
According to experts, you can ask to set up an appointment with your superior whenever you feel you are ready. Tell your manager that you want to understand why you have not been promoted.

Keep the discussion focused on your accomplishments, past performance reviews and opportunities for future advancements. Give concrete reasons why you should promotion. Ocici says while it is good to have a positive attitude, you should prepare for a rejection if your wish is not granted.

Promotion needs to be thoroughly evaluated and discussed. He adds that in case you are rejected, be thankful that your superior took time to listen to you and take pointers on how you can further improve your performance.

Compiled by John Odyek

Need you ask for promotion?
By Brenda Asiimwe
You have watched your peers get promoted and friends from school are in better jobs. You work hard and get praise for your accomplishments, but you are not getting promoted.

Many people assume that being more skilled makes them eligible for promotion.
Having the right skills is important, but it doesn’t necessarily merit promotion. Whether you are working for a small or big company, knowing your promotional path is a good motivation.

It may be time you approached the boss and asked whether there is a problem with you, but how do you go about it or have what it takes?

What to consider
If you want to ask for a promotion, do not do it on impulse.
Although asking for a promotion could work in your favour, there is no guarantee you will succeed. Before facing the boss there are many things you must first consider.


When your career hits dead end

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