Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When Seeking a Promotion, Promote Yourself; Don't Downgrade Others

Dear Tazi:

I work in Inside Sales and Customer Service taking orders for a large clothing manufacturer. I have a new co-worker who believes that you should not only dress for the job you want (as the old adage goes) but also act like you have the job you want, to prove to higher-ups that you are qualified for the position. Unfortunately this new co-worker wants a job in a supervisory position, which means he goes around acting like everyone else’s boss.

“Harold” takes notes throughout the day on everyone’s job performance and then leaves detailed memos on our desks after we have left for the evening (he actually stays late to type up these memos!). Most of the time, Harold’s notes pick up on small minutia that has no bearing on the quality of our job (one note he left me said I needed to type in a more traditional manner) or they are completely off-base, accusing people of fault that simply does not exist.

Last week, Harold brought some quality control issues to the attention of our department (that turned out to be a problem with the machinery, not the operators) and perhaps we should band together to demand better training of them (problems with quality = returns = money out of our commissions). For me, this was the last straw and I let Harold know that his notes were not appreciated. Harold is now sending his memos directly to our supervisor, who wants to know if these nitpicks have any merit: are we making mistakes that could cost the company money? Is it human error that is causing problems with the machinery? (The boss’ bonus is based upon the number of satisfied customers per month). Tazi, the machinery is thirty years old; it is bound to have issues!

The rumor about the warehouse connected to our company is that their Assistant Manager is planning an early retirement due to a family illness; because of this news, Harold has stepped up is memos campaign in an attempt to further impress himself among the higher-ups in my company. The thought of having Harold in a supervisor’s position is sickening enough, Tazi, but I was planning on putting in for this promotion myself! This puts me in a Catch-22: If I speak to my supervisor about Harold’s attitude, it will look like I am bad-mouthing my competition; but if I let Harold’s behavior slide I may end up having to respect him as the Manager of a department that I work closely with…and I think I would sooner quit!

Harried Over Harold

Dear Harried Over Harold:

Why have you waited so long to complain about Harold? Why have any of you waited so long? If the man is overreaching his authority and acting in a supervisory position, you have a valid complaint against him, and should take this complaint to your Supervisor or Human Resources Manager – the sooner the better. While a rumor that someone may be retiring does not a promotional opportunity make, if there is any truth to this rumor you would want to have all of your ducks in a row before the opportunity to advance presents itself.

It is obvious that Harold is eager to advance within the company, but he is going about it in the wrong way. When looking to promote from within, employers seek to promote people who their employees will respect as a Manager; from the sound of it, Harold lacks this important qualification. I will not say that you have nothing to worry about with regard to Harold being promoted over you; rather, I will suggest that you be proactive about the possibility of earning a promotion yourself. Ask yourself:

Do any of Harold’s memos regarding your personal or team work performance have merit?

Do you possess the education and experience needed to hold the Assistant Manager position?

Is there anything in your personnel file that might exclude you from consideration for a management position?

Is your résumé up to date and tailored towards impressing your qualifications upon the Hiring Manager?

Is your current supervisor supportive of your desire for advancement, and would s/he be willing to recommend you for the position?

Affirmative answers to all of these questions will go a long way towards getting you the promotion you seek. Rather than focusing on Harold and his annoying memos, focus instead on your own path to achievement.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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