A Promotion Isn’t Owed To You

Jeff Altman
5 min readOct 7, 2022

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Beginning with my experience as an executive recruiter, to now coaching people into successful roles and careers, one thing I have learned from the people I have worked with is that managers often do a very good job of stroking their employee’s ego and, thus, give them a sense of false security and expectations.

“I see you on the fast track.”

“I see you as my best person.”

“I’ll look out for you.”

There are many different ways that managers and leaders give people the false illusion that they are important to an organization and that they have a long-term career ahead of them. Thus, they can be surprised to learn that their job security is a little bit more complicated than what their manager thinks and tells them.

I worked with someone a few years ago who was consistently told that his work was exceptional, his future guaranteed and that everyone thought the world of him. Suffice it to say, when the deck got shuffled and he was assigned to a new role, he was shocked to discover he had been sent to corporate Siberia into a position where his career in the organization was dead on arrival. All those kind words, all the superlatives, meant nothing.

Here are five mistakes that I see so many people make:

No one above your immediate manager knows anything about what you do and how good you are. We can joke about the old saying “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Of course it makes a sound, but no one knows it. The same is true of your work. No matter how good it is and how meaningful it has been, you can be invisible to the real decision-makers.

You let your internal and external network become fallow. A farm field needs tending, and so does your network of relationships. Networks don’t just exist with former colleagues and friends. They live with the people that you have positively affected within your firm, your mentor(s), your former manager(s) as well as the people you have lunch with.

You act like it’s owed to you. In all sports, big contract players can be phased out or cut if their performance doesn’t measure up to the contract they receive. Many people live…

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Jeff Altman

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Career Coach. Host of No BS Job Search Advice Radio & JobSearchTV.com. Join JobSearch.Community. It will help you