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Too good to be promoted?

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Question: Three years ago, I joined my company as a receptionist. Having worked previously in management positions for several years, this was my “foot in the door” position with a well-respected company. After less than a year, I was promoted to an assistant position.

For two years, I've been extremely successful in my position. I've trained new staff that was considered upper management and have filled in when we lacked employees. I'm now in a position that I got by default when a co-worker left, and I am miserable sorting through papers and numbers.

I have continuously been told that I am great at my job and my boss can’t afford to lose me in this position. My interests lie in a more hands-on management-type position, and I'm becoming extremely frustrated that I'm not being transferred because I excel at my current job. To make matters even more complicated, I am the youngest person in the office and have been told to “be patient.”

There are also conflicts with some of the older women in the office, to the point that they've tried to have me fired. (My boss supported me 100 percent.)

I work in a male-dominated field and get along great with most of the people in my company. How do I make my manager understand that I want more responsibilities? How do I reconcile with the older women and make my managers forget the past?  -- Anonymous


It sounds like you have alot going on with your position and the employees around you. I think your supervisor knows your desire to grow within the company. There are a few options to why he is not acting on your desire at the current moment. Maybe the company needs you to work on this paperwork. It may be more important for the business then your desire. There is also the possibility that he may feel you are not ready for the move into management. He did tell you to be patient as you mentioned. Maybe that is his way of telling you, you may need to grow and gain more experience in your current position before he is comfortable moving you up. To keep readdressing the issue with him may become repetative, you do not want to hurt your chances of being promoted by seeming to eager. I would bring the topic up at your next evaluation and ask him where he feels your position is going and what can I do to accomplish my goal of moving up withing the company. For right now I would remian patient and do what you are doing the best most professional way you can. Good thing do happen to people who wait.

I agree completely with the first comment. Please be patient. Are you still going to school? Do they require you to have a college degree to be in a management position? Look further, maybe your boss is too nice to tell you that you don't have the experience or the education to be promoted yet. Don't be discouraged, just take the time to better yourself in the meantime. Best wishes!

I also agree with the first two comments. You don't say how "young" you are, and you may not be as ready as you think. Often times, interpretations of success and desire to grow can be confused with moving up in the company. In my opinion they are not the same. (I've had this same conversation with my daughter.)

My simple advice is ... if you are looking for a position with more responsible duties, keep doing great with what you are doing, and take on additional tasks and responsibility that may not necessarily be on your job description, and continue to do your best with a positive attitude. Don't harp on your bosses for a promotion, or they may think that a job title is more important than your desire to work for the company. And no one likes hearing constant complaining.

As far as the "older women", just do your job at your best. If you are as indispensible/invaluable as you perceive, then I would not worry about what catty people are doing. They are probably jealous of your zest and zeal. As an "older woman" in an EA role to a CEO and an admin supervisor, I love energetic employees (young and old). However, sometimes it's not within my power to promote or to "create" a new higher position. I believe the opportunity to take on more challenge responsibilities is a reward in itself, and if you succeed ... TADA!! You've won, the company will win, you will be noticed, and there's one more thing to add to your resume. I've often said throughout my career "I don't care what you call me. Just give me an interesting job, pay me a fair wage, and give me the tools and resources to do my job."

Back to my daughter (who just turned 30), she is a brilliant young woman and was frustrated because of her energy and desire to make something of herself. But she felt she was stuck in an administrative role. She basically tried the "patience" card, volunteered to take on tasks that no one else wanted to do, looked at what they weren't doing and volunteered to spearhead projects, and tried a little patience. She moved into a senior administrative analyst role last winter, and now they are looking at revamping her position as a communications officer or information specialist ... based on her education, interests, and zest to make her department the best place to work. The final result is that she is extremely happy.

If you don't like what you're hearing from the boss, there are always other jobs out there. Update your resume and submit it to jobs that have the management responsibilities that you are looking for... it may turn out that you don't yet have the qualifications or you find your dream job! Then when you get the job offer, tell your boss about it and give him/her the option to meet or beat the offer. This just might not be the company that is best for your career. Good Luck!

I have been in a little different situation but yet close to what you are describing. I moved to a new city and needed a job quickly so I worked for a Temp. Agency. I was placed almost immediately with a small non profit Trucking company. They were looking for certain qualifications and I had prior expereince with trucking. When I went for my interview the Manager said he wanted someone who was interested in later becoming a full time employee. He liked my experience and I excelled at the position. 4 months down the line I went in to talk with him and he said we will see how you are doing in a couple more months. I trained further and continued to excel on my job. I did not hear anything from him so after another 3 months I went to talk with him once again. He was very happy with my proformance but said he did not want to hire anyone on full time as his employee at this time. I reminded him of what he had told me in the past but he seemed to be just passifying me. I immediately updated my resume and started job hunting. He did not want to loose me but when it came down to it he also just wanted a temp. in that position. He was not being honest and wasted my time. I moved on within the next 6 weeks. I felt let down but I did find a better job and much better position! I also put up with others employee who did not accept me. The new job was worse in treatment from the team members but the job was much better and so was the pay. I now moved across the States and have a great job! I am using my talents and get paid well with great benefits! It was well worth the wait.

Patience, continuing to work very hard, and continuing education on a regular basis will eventionally put you in a win win situation. There is nothing wrong with job hunting to better yourself! If you are not happy with your current employment seek to improve! Life is too short to live it miserable.

I, too, would counsel patience. If you really like the company you are working for, stop complaining & do your job. At your next evaluation, find out what is required to become a manager at your company. Get a bachelor's degree if you don't have one. If there is no appropriate college near your workplace, take your courses on-line. Many businesses pay for books & tuition; maybe your company will pay for your education if you need it. I don't know how young you are: in my own situation I looked like I was a teenager when I was well into my 30s and I made a conscious decision to look extremely professional at work ("power" suits, etc.) which made me "look the part" for my staff professional (exempt) position. In the meantime, use your work experience to add to your accomplishments and if you are still unsatisfied, get another job.

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