There is perhaps no greater feeling than being offered a promotion. It’s the supreme recognition for doing your job well. It’s also an opportunity to prove yourself in a new challenge. You might even feel like it’s an honor. However, the prudent thing to do is, weigh heavily the things that may or may not turn this golden opportunity into a dud.
Direct to the bottom line. Consider the pay you’ll receive for taking this step. If this is your first promotion, then you’re likely making a step into “middle management,” which is one-step above the “front line” workers. Instead of being an hourly worker, you now have more of a “fixed” income, also known as a salary. This can be comforting or a curse. Now that you’re no longer able to benefit from overtime, you might become the default option for filling in when someone calls in sick.
When you work on salary, you no longer reap the rewards of “time and a half.” You could end up working on your days off for no extra money. Essentially, you’re back at the job you just moved up from, plus you have your new responsibilities to live up to as well. Some managers have to work a double shift just to stay caught up on their own mess. So be aware of the demands on your time, and how you will no longer be compensated for putting in that time. “Now you see your recognition for excellence run short. The boss is slow to recognize or acknowledge your accomplishments, but is quick to nail you on mistakes.”
“Now you see your recognition for excellence run short. The boss is slow to recognize or acknowledge your accomplishments, but is quick to nail you on mistakes.”
Your coworkers who spent time with you in “the trenches” may change their perception of you if you accept a higher position. Secretly they might judge you when you take a promotion. This is because you and they had previously done the same job. In some cases, they may have done it longer, and they could harbor resentment against you for “sucking up” to the bosses. Whether you did is irrelevant, because gossip is not rational.
Receiving a lack of respect from the people you work with is difficult. You may find an employee pulls the right strings to decide their days off are going to begin a day earlier using their paid time off. If they don’t respect you, they might go over your head, because you had to sleep in after working a triple shift. Therefore, you don’t even get the opportunity to accept or deny their request.
The Last Guy
What happened to the supervisor who came before you? Did they leave on their own accord or were they shown the door? Did they do a good job or did they deserve to be let go? If they left on their own, it might be a good idea to find out why they did. Maybe they were fed up with some of the prior issues. Perhaps they didn’t get enough money for the hours they put in. Possibly the disrespect of their staff made staying unbearable.
Maybe their own boss didn’t have respect or value for them. Perhaps they were fired for something bad their boss had actually been responsible for doing. Sometimes “middle management” is just a fancy expression for “human shield.” It goes back to respect, and if you’re receiving it from your staff as well as your superiors.
The Mobile Phone
Some middle managers are issued a company cell phone so they can be reachable at all times. No excuses. The electronic leash now decides your personal life. You cannot go to sleep, watch a movie, or enjoy dinner without wondering whether you’ll be called in to work. Now you begin thinking about the job on your personal time. You relive each day and remember something you forgot to do. Can it wait or will you be written up for not doing it?
Imagine enjoying a good night’s sleep when suddenly that ringer startles you awake. Your night worker is having terrible stomach pains and has to go to the hospital. This is not a position that can go unmanned. So you go in four hours early on a day when you already had to put in an additional shift for your own work. Now you see your recognition for excellence run short. The boss is slow to recognize or acknowledge your accomplishments, but is quick to nail you on mistakes.
You Have No Real Vacation
After being worked like a dog for months without end, you decide to put in for some time off. However, your boss still wants you to be available on the phone for questions or issues. Furthermore, your exhaustion means you’re too tired to expend the effort traveling to a vacation destination, so you spend your time at home to rest.
I made the mistake of being honest with my boss once. I told him I wasn’t going anywhere, and just needed “down time.” Instead of getting my rest, I was called in every single day for something higher management wanted done. Maybe three hours or more a day of what should have been my own time was taken up at work. Worse yet, I lost a week’s worth of vacation time I had earned.
To Sum It Up
These work experiences are a few of my own, and I would hope they aren’t typical of other employers. For everything I learned, and the new skills that I attained, I wouldn’t go through it again. However, if the things that I went through assists someone considering a promotion in a new light, I feel this article will have served its purpose.
It’s not my intention to scare people off from trying to improve themselves or risk success. As depressing as it is to be unemployed or underemployed, it can be worse when you don’t receive the treatment you deserve. Think hard about an opportunity when it next comes your way. You are truly underemployed if you are not treated for what you are worth.
Erich is a newly self-published author. His current works include a series of children’s short stories titled “Trinity the Troublemaker.” Currently he is working on a collected volume for the first three stories in the series. In addition to writing the stories, Erich also does the artwork for the covers. Erich resides in Southeast New Mexico.
Seeking: A literary agent or a publisher interested in bringing his stories to the world at large.