February 6, 2013

You Will Never Be Promoted

Dear Employee,

Re: your promotion

Let me be clear from the onset of this letter; you will never be promoted at our organization in your current role or to another role elsewhere.

The reasons why are plentiful.

First, let me start with your attitude. In a nutshell, it sucks. You complain a lot about your peers, your workload, your parking spot and your desk location. You sit beside Jimmy who owns a cat. How can you hate someone with a cat? You’ve even complained about changes to the toilet paper in the bathrooms. Might I suggest you start bringing your own? (Please don’t share) You openly criticize organizational direction, not in a constructive manner but in a malicious and condescending way. In the kitchen I once overheard you say “I’ll likely see a new microwave here before I’m promoted.”

Second, your work ethic is impoverished if not stunted. Arriving at 10:00am, taking 90 minutes for lunch and leaving the office at 3pm seems rather selfish and foolish. Writing emails is a part of the job so stating they are a “time-waster” is nonsensical. Your colleagues complain about your missed deadlines and a lackadaisical attitude whilst in meetings. Your ambivalence and lack of drive is causing others to stress out by virtue of the fact they are carrying your load on top of theirs. This, I must state, is inexcusable. Even tennis players carry their own bags onto the tennis court.

Third, although you seem to be disengaged, you also refuse to participate in our efforts as an organization to become more collaborative. Your online employee profile contains a picture of Bart Simpson (versus your own) and it is the only item you’ve managed to edit. In any of our collaborative technologies — backed by our open leadership framework — you refuse to participate. Could it hurt to mark ‘like’ — even once — on a post or comment anywhere? Even the octogenarian Marnie has over 1000 micro-blog posts not to mention over 30 self-made videos.

And lastly, insubordination is not only a fancy word, it’s a hallmark of hierarchy. We are urging the organization to share, to openly communicate and to work together to achieve our collective goal of beating the enemy; our competitors … not each other. By going around our teammates, hiding information and purposely setting up roadblocks so others may stumble, you become locked into a path of mediocrity and — quite frankly — will remain magnetized to the metal chair you currently occupy.

You will never be promoted.

For the record, I placed an order at Costco and a new microwave arrives on Friday.



7 Replies to “You Will Never Be Promoted”

  1. I was the first to arrive and the last to leave. I drank the Kool-Aid (at least for the first year when the delivery on promises fell through). I quietly did my job and went above and beyond at every opportunity, helping others when possible.

    I never got a promotion.

    Promotions only come when you change jobs.

  2. @Paula. Promotion is not the only way to recognize someone’s contribution and to try keeping her with organization. (Yet individual differences to be considered for recognition).

    A challenging project, for example, that can boost further development, is kind of recognition for someone’s competencies and may be considered as “lateral promotion”. However, if any kind of valuable recognition is received, then the only option for career development is to follow Dan’s advice: change the job.

    @Dan. I read somewhere some “wise” advice that I think is related what you wrote. So, if you have an employee like this one you described and you want her to leave the company you should say repeatedly “you are born for this job”.

  3. Love the description Dan, but I remember from my other work experiences that the people you describe (the blamers and information hoarders) actually work long (highly inefficient) hours just to prove how important they are.

    The worst were the managers who set pointless ‘tasks’ that they had already completed, with impossible deadlines, just to show that they were better.

    As always, the ideas behind your post are spot on!

  4. Good advice, Dan. I’ve personally found that one’s career options often depend on your leader’s views and what’s most important to them. That is, if they do not place as much value on the unique skill sets you have – although they may see value (for example, if you’re great at collaboration..that’s nice) but they don’t perhaps believe that drives critical business value neccesarily often your only option is to move and/or align with leaders that do recognize your talent, and value.
    It can be a bit frustrating when you feel like you’re starting over with every new Mgr. But I’ve learned to take more control and try to align myself with projects, teams, communities and initiatives that I’m personally passionate about ..but that will also benefit my own career development and progression, as well. That’s a win-win strategy. For me, it’s still a ‘work in development’…LOL! : )

  5. You were spying on my team when you wrote this! Please tell me you have another letter for the rest of the department, outlining a plan to push these bitter birds out of the nest.

  6. @Tigran – interesting advice.

    @James – your scenario is a worse-case scenario for me, ouch!

    @Gina – I see you doing that every day. Nice.

    @Wrighto – I was, how’d ya know? I’ve got lots of letters … more to come. 😉

Leave a Reply

Pre-Order Now!

Dan’s 4th book is now available for pre-order. Publishing September 29, 2019.

Buy Dan's Books
Listen to Dan's Podcast
Read Dan's Column On