Common fallacy we see: “I’ve been doing my job with competency for x number of months / years, so that means I should be promoted.” Turns out, doing your job with an adequate level of quality is good enough to … keep your job (probably).
Doing enough is just that – enough to keep your job. If, you want to get promoted, you should find opportunities to do extra. Think about ways you can add value beyond what you are paid for. What else can you do for everyone around you (especially your bosses)?
By the way, let’s start by saying that if you are currently doing a mediocre version of your job, get good at your job first before trying to implement this stuff. You won’t help anyone if you are barely getting by and then take on more – that’s a recipe for nonsense and will make you worse at your job. If you are good at your job but overloaded / overwhelmed / treading water – you also might want to be careful before incorporating.
Step up and volunteer
What happens when our bosses ask for someone to volunteer to do something? Are you always the person who steps up and takes care of things? Maybe you think you are too busy. I often see people only volunteer when they have no work and their job is about to be eliminated. Don’t be that person, it smells desperate. Try to volunteer even when you are busy and figure out a way to handle it.
Find challenges and growth
There probably isn’t a ton of growth in your job when you hit competency level. There is certainly refinement and places you can be innovative, but exponential / bigger growth parallels bigger challenges. Find places to learn and expand your role or how you can contribute within the company. Can you learn new skills that will help improve processes or take on new responsibilities? Are there tools you can learn to add to your strengths? Spend time asking / thinking about this.
What else can I do?
What can you do that makes your boss’ job easier? What makes your team run better and clears the way for them? How can you build / expand your team and abilities beyond what it is currently? Is there anything you can teach your team or others within the company? If you decide to take this stuff on, make sure you don’t create a personal expectation of payment or compensation – you are doing extra and adding value. Over time, it will be noticed and you will have new opportunities.
What if ‘doing extra’ isn’t working?
If for some reason you have been adding value and don’t see results in terms of returns (new opportunities), I recommend a few things to look at first. 1. Make sure you have been doing it long enough. Progress and growth comes slowly. 2. Are you marketing your victories and wins? Your bosses may not see everything that’s happening through all the other nonsense they are dealing with on other projects (if your projects are going smoothly, you can be sadly ignored in favor of larger issues). 3. If you are feeling that you are being taken advantage of, check your ego at the door. Likely, you need to do #1 and #2 first. If you really are being taken advantage of, then set limits. Learn to say no.
If you think this is too much work, then it IS too much – for you. There is probably someone else who is going to be doing this OR conversely, doing a better job at something else than you are currently. Stack the odds in your favor and do extra so there is no question on who to promote, who the best choice is.
The promotion you want will be a role with more responsibility, more people to oversee (and who will ask lots of questions / need lots of time), more stress, and more obligation. It’s going to be tougher. People do not promote you to do easier work but with more money and a better title. That’s not how it works. Doing extra is not just showing your boss you are getting ready, it’s physically preparing you for what you will be challenged with. This is a practice for your promotion. This will make you stronger.