A Little Parable about Getting What You Want Out of Your Career

July 11, 2013

Career Development Advice: A Parable

Career Development Advice: A Parable

A few months back a friend of mine in sales was told he was up for a promotion. Great news, right? Well the only thing standing in his way was that they had not terminated the person whose job he would be taking.
Working for a larger company, terminations needed to be well documented and substantiated with evidence of lack of performance. At the very least, my friend would have to wait one month to be promoted.
One month came and went. At this point, I inserted the idea that perhaps this promotion was not imminent, and perhaps it was time to seek a Plan B — to begin looking for another job. But because my friend was certain that this promotion would happen, my advice fell on deaf ears. In the interim, my friend touched base with his manager several times, and each time he was assured changes were being made and that he would have his new position shortly.
Another month went by.
And another…
And another…
Finally, he was called into the managers office and told that the promotion dangled in front of him had actually been given to another employee. My friend had no leg to stand on seeing as he had not sought alternatives. He was stuck in the same job and was deflated and frustrated.

Takeaway Lessons

On the Manager’s Part
There should never be an instance where you are dangling something in front of your employee that you may or may not intend to happen. That is not motivation — that is flat out BS. What should have been said is this, “There will be an opening on the team, and you are a contender for it. We can reevaluate when the position has been vacated.”
On My Friend’s Part
Never assume that something is yours and never take your role within the company for granted. After one month of being promised something to no avail, he should have suspected things may not work out in his favor. Instead of resting on his laurels he should have been shopping around for other opportunities so he was never in the position to be disappointed.

Have you ever experienced a similar disappointment? What did you do?


Senior Corporate Recruiter

<strong>Lindsey Gurian</strong> is the Senior Corporate Recruiter at <a href="http://www.acquia.com">Acquia</a>. She was previously a Senior Talent Specialist at Sonian, responsible for recruiting initiatives at both the firm and its portfolio companies.