One Step Closer to That Promotion
So you’ve been in your role for months — maybe even years — and you’re tired and frustrated. It could be that you’re bored and don’t see a clear path to the next opportunity. Or perhaps it’s the opposite — you’re working overtime, picking up other responsibilities, and working way outside the scope (and compensation) that you originally agreed to.
As Christians (and even more so, as women), it’s sometimes hard for us to ask for more. Shouldn’t we be content with what we have? After all, we hear many times in the Bible that we should stay far away from money and material desires.
“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:6-9).
We see priests and other religious persons making vows of poverty. We hear about saints who gave up everything they had to serve the poor and follow Christ.
Doesn’t this feel a bit counterintuitive to asking your manager for more money as you seek a promotion?
If you truly think that you are working above your position/pay grade, then asking for a raise is fair. Furthermore, if you plan to use the extra money to serve God in some way — whether this is saving for a house for your future family or giving more to the church — then that is even better. We are all called to different vocations and callings in life, and while money should never be a distraction from God, it can certainly help us live out our calling and provide for those in need.
So what’s next? Let’s talk about how you can prepare for a potential promotion.
Step 1: Define what you want and why you want it.
First and foremost, what is it that you want? Is it just the raise? How much of a raise? Have you done your competitive research of comparable salaries in similar industries? Is it a title change you are looking for?
And secondly, why do you want it? Do you feel like a title change would give you more credibility amongst your peers? Are you not feeling recognized for your hard work? Are you looking for more financial freedom in your personal life to move to a different neighborhood or save for a house?
All these things are important to think about. You might not end up sharing all of these thoughts with your manager but having an understanding of what and why you are seeking the promotion will give you confidence and clarity on what to ask for and how much you are willing to compromise.
Step 2: Learn how your company typically handles promotions.
Every company handles promotions differently. Some companies only consider promotions at the end of the year, others at the mid-year mark, and some for organizations it can happen at any time.
Another thing to consider is whether a position has to open up for you to get promoted. Many times, your manager could agree that you are ready for the next step, but due to head count and/or allotted team resources, this might not be possible. If this is your situation, I would ask your manager if there are any opportunities to make a horizontal shift or if the company would consider adding a new position, in the case that your desired role never opens up.
Step 3: Define the scope of work for your existing role.
This can be as easy as finding the job description when you were first hired on — or perhaps you’ll need to ask your manager for the requisition. Once you have a list of your current responsibilities, make sure you are meeting and exceeding all that you are being asked to do. Write some specific examples under each section in case your manager has less visibility into your day-to-day and successes in the current role.
Step 4: Determine if your responsibilities truly are outside of this scope and write down all the ways you are going beyond your job description.
In the same way that you defined your existing scope, it’s important to document examples in which you have gone outside that scope. Whether this stems from your own ideation or the actual job description of the role you are seeking, either should work. For example, if your current role is supposed to be more tactical/executional, but you are contributing to strategic conversations and ‘bigger picture’ planning, this is certainly something you would want to record.
Step 5: Take the action!
Finally, after you have done your due diligence with steps 1-4, it’s time to have the conversation with your manager. When you send the email to request a meeting, share the examples you have documented of all the ways you are meeting and exceeding expectations so he/she can digest the information beforehand. Be open in the meeting and acknowledge that you know there could be other factors that play into a promotion (i.e. headcount opening up), but that you would like to discuss the path forward, if now is not the right time.
And finally, the most important step, trust in the Lord, and PRAY. It could be that the company culture or the department/industry isn’t really what God has intended for you. Discernment is key in determining whether it really is the promotion that you want or if it’s simply not what God is calling you to.
Good luck and you’ll be in my prayers!
Disclaimer: These tips are based on my experience working in the Business sector, and I realize the path to promotion might look quite different depending on your industry, level, size of the company, etc., so please take with a grain of salt 🙂
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Kelly lives in San Francisco, CA. She’s a graduate from Saint Mary’s College of California and works as a marketing manager at eBay. Outside of work, she’s either teaching hip hop classes, watching sports, reading, or eating at the infamous Bob’s Donuts.