How Long Should You Stay at a Job That Hasn’t Promoted You?

If you feel like you’ve been passed over for a job promotion, it can be the worst thing in the world. It’s easy to feel entropy set in if you’ve been in the job a while and most of us have been taught that quitters never win. However, at some point in your career, you will likely have to decide what to do about a job where you’ve been passed over. Here are some guidelines to answer the question, “Should I stay or should I go?” 

How Long Has It Been Since You Had a Promotion? 

We’ve seen promotions typically occur at the 18-month mark. In many organizations, it takes a year to learn a job that requires a level of complexity. If you’ve passed the two-year mark, it’s time to consider your options. That is unless you had a conversation that a raise or promotion would occur earlier.  

Can you compare yourself with others in similar roles in your organization? Do they have a similar set of qualifications that you have? What about colleagues at competing firms? LinkedIn is a good way to do a little research on what’s happening out there in the world. If you see that there are a lot of people in your market in the same kinds of roles with the same kind of educational and career experience that you have, something could be amiss. 

Next, sit down and unflinchingly look at your contributions to the company. How many projects did you help get over the finish line? Did you suggest and implement an efficiency that cut costs? Did you sell more than others on the team? What about extra-curricular contributions, like achieving an important certification or representing the company at an event or activity? How have you gone above and beyond for your organization?  

These exercises give you some ammunition to take to your boss. It might be good to coordinate this crucial conversation with an anniversary. However, you don’t have to. If you feel like you’ve hit a variety of milestones and contributions but have failed to see the company give back, it’s probably past time to have a conversation with your manager. Making sure you have all the research in-hand, along with salary or compensation goals well before you sit down with your boss.  

You could also set a wait-and-see more passive approach. But set a timeline. Say your goal originally was to get a raise in one year. You’re three months past the mark, you feel like you’ve given it your all, but nothing is happening. Set a goal that you will work as hard as you can for the next X number of months to see if your employer will promote you. During that time, you should also update your resume and references. At the end of that goal, if your employer has you in the same position at the same pay rate, it’s still a good idea to speak with your employer. If you’re in a small business, perhaps they simply haven’t thought of it. In any case, whether you speak to your employer or not, if you haven’t received what you feel is appropriate for your level of output, it’s time to do something. 

Are You Looking for a Job?

That’s where Custom Group can help. We work with employees to match them with the best companies. We can assess your current skills and suggest a game plan to keep you moving forward. Contact us and reach your career goals. 

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