Thursday, 8 September 2011

Promotion DE (wait for it) NIED!

Tom, (let's call him Tom), has reached the pinnacle of success in his current job.  He's ready for a challenge that can only be realized with the responsibility, and frankly - the reward that comes with a promotion.  There's no internal candidate more qualified or even as qualified as Tom (just ask him). 

He applies, he interviews...and an outsider is brought in.  What now, for Tom?  In one section of his mind he knows that once upon a time HE was the external candidate who got the job over an internal candidate.  A man of faith, the words of the Gospel ring in his ears, "A prophet is not without honour except in his own country."  It is difficult to recognize homegrown talent.  He knows how that feels, and it smarts. 

Tom goes through Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' stages of grief after a loss, which do apply to his situation, sort of.  Tom experiences denial, and then anger.  In a form of bargaining, he mentally lists all the reasons why this was a bad decision on the part of his boss, as objectively as he can, which in truth is the farthest thing from objective but he's a long way from admitting it.  For a short time he experiences a kind of depression and then, God willing, acceptance.

His wife doesn't hear the news until he gets home late that evening, so she is a full 8 hours behind him in all these stages.  It's actually harder on her and not made any easier that he's already accepted the decision while she's still listing his fabulous attributes against the obvious shortcomings of his boss, his internal competition, and a few outside candidates neither has ever met.

What Tom will hopefully internalize is that there is a higher purpose that he has neither given thought to nor is willing to acknowledge.  He can't see things from the Boss' chair, so he doesn't know all that factored into the decision.

My advice to Tom?  His coworkers and boss will remember how he acted in the hours and days after he got the news.  A period of disappointment is natural.  For damned sure let's hope he keeps his thoughts to himself.  Misery does indeed love company, the rest of us can stand it only for a short while.

A period of reflection, a frank conversation about the boss' expectations and some private reflection would serve him well as he applies himself to the goals and aspirations of this new phase of his career, wherever that takes him;  a smile and a cheerful countenance to welcome the new guy, who shouldn't be able to tell that Tom was the spurned applicant.  And finally, a consideration of his standing within the company outside of his annual performance review.

An old boss once explained how he had moved up the ladder with several different employers, "sometimes you have to move to improve".

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