Stop Paying Your Dues and Get Promoted

Stop Paying Your Dues and Get Promoted

May 4, 2015
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I don’t believe in paying your dues.

In fact, I think that this antiquated adage was first created by an old man that saw the huge potential of a young whipper snapper and wanted to stall or even halt his career growth out of fear. Out of fear that someone younger would experience great success earlier or faster. This requirement to pay one’s dues is crap.

All of the progress I made in my own corporate career was not a result of “paying my dues”. If I had adhered to that rule, I’d still be an assistant to one of the worst bosses I’ve ever had, making minimum wage. My progress resulted from sticking my neck out and taking bold and massive action. This included leaving a job because I wasn’t growing, only to return 9 months later to a promotion and also being hated by some of my “due paying” peers for seemingly walking into this role.

Promotions don’t come to the passive.

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I would never recommend leaving a job to get a promotion.  But what I did learn from that experience is if you want to move up the ranks, you can’t rely on management taking notice of all the great work you’re doing. Bosses are busy, and while you’re hanging out paying your dues, they’re promoting those who are brazen enough to ASK for the promotions.  That was the key to my promotion.  I offered to return to the company but I asked that it be in a promoted role.  Did I pay my dues?  Far from it.  But what I did do was make the big ask for what I wanted, which was more money and more responsibility.  The worst they could have said was no, and I wouldn’t have returned.

It’s your career so it is your responsibility to propel yourself forward in any way that you can. Here are the steps you need to take to prepare yourself to level up at work.

1. What have you done?

First and foremost, if you haven’t done this already, start tracking your major wins at work. The projects you’ve been involved with, how you turned that damaged client relationship around, and other ways you’ve really made your company look good. Rank these in order of prominence, visibility, revenue-generation, etc.

2. What are you worth?

Once you know what you’ve done, you can come up with an argument for why you’re deserving of a promotion. Invariably with a promotion also comes a raise, so not only do you need to know why you’re worthy of more responsibility, but why you’re worthy of more money as well. Base it on what you’ve achieved, positive client feedback (especially if you have it in writing), and previous performance reviews.

3. What would be your new role?

If you are asking for a promotion to a role that isn’t vacant, you’ll want to whip up a job description of how you see your promoted role. Not only does this help you formulate your argument for why you’re deserving of the promotion, but also takes some work off the plate of your manager when trying to figure out how your new role would fit in with the grand scheme of things. While preparing this job description, highlight your strengths and specialized skills and how these would fit in with the new gig.

4. Do the ask!

Now that you’re equipped with arguments and rebuttals for why you are deserving of a promotion, pull up your socks and go and ask for it already! The worst that could happen is you get a no. The best that could happens is that you get exactly what you want.

It’s time to stop waiting around for some career growth.   Stop paying your dues and get promoted.  Be bold, make the ask, and leave your due paying colleagues in your dust. It’s your career. It’s your life.

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Would you like to upsize your corporate career but not sure how to do it?  Check out my Corporate Champion coaching program.

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