ever the optimist, I always think that hard work, persistent communication, and a little luck can bring consistent promotions and upward movement in whatever career you choose. however, not everything goes the way you hope it will all of the time. there are politics, organizational changes, and budget changes that often block seemingly simple and obvious upward movement. realizing this over the years, I’ve collected a few thoughts on what to do in these frustrating situations.
do your research. changes in an organization, politics, or budget issues can often throw your perfectly placed promotion plan out the window. before you react, consider researching and spending time figuring out why your promotion has been shoved to the wayside. there are often restrictions in what you can find out right away (unless you’re at the top, in which case, congrats!), but don’t let that stop you from doing your own investigations. talk to other people casually, ask your boss questions, and pay attention to changing tides or reorganizations. in addition, understanding where the change is coming from and why might help you identify a new route.
don’t stop, won’t stop. despite the obvious frustrations that come with a sidetracked promotion, don’t let it get to you too much. I know how infuriating it can be to get bumped aside just when you think you’re on the right track, but keep up your pace and don’t slow down. continue to kick butt, get your work done, and search for additional projects. doing this will not only signal to your boss that she can count on you, but it may also give you the opportunity to show off your work to new colleagues, ones that could have a hand in promoting you in the future.
spend free time exploring. changes at work can throw a wrench in your style and keep you from fully enjoying your work. furthermore, you might not always feel as good about your job as you did before if big changes effect what you’re doing. so while you’re doing your research and kicking butt at work, keep your eye on new opportunities outside the company that might be attractive. this is something everyone should be doing all of the time (even if you love your job!), and it’s a great way to feel more productive and less mopey about changes at work. go to networking events, read the news, and talk to your friends. let everyone know you’re curious about new opportunities and open yourself up to other possibilities – you never know what good could come from it.
if your promotion is sidetracked, don’t let it bum you out. keep your chin up and get at it, there’s no time like the present and no one’s going keep you from achieving what you want!