In today’s workplace, tenure doesn’t necessarily mean you’re entitled to a promotion. Hard work, dependability and a positive attitude are just a few characteristics that employers look for when promoting employees. Some individuals might not realize that some of their actions and the direction they are heading in their employment might be keeping them from that job advancement they are going after.
Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.
In Alice and Wonderland, Alice embarks on a wonderful adventure marked by chaos and misdirection. After wandering around from place to place meeting different characters who seem to be concerned only with what is going on at any particular moment, Alice finally decides she wants to go home. But, only after Alice took the necessary steps, does she get back home.
If you feel like you work hard but get nowhere or that you keep getting passed up for that promotion, then take a look at Alice’s story. Are you like Alice – taking the necessary steps to reach her goal, or are you like one of the following characters lost in a world without reality.
The White Rabbit – “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date. No time to say Hello. Goodbye. I’m late, I’m late, I’m late.” If you find yourself in this situation more often than not, then chances are your boss has noticed your tardiness. You might not think that being late for work should affect your chances for advancement as long as you do a good job while your there. But the truth is, if your boss can’t depend on you, your chances for a promotion will come late as well, if at all. To help you break the habit of tardiness, try getting up 30 minutes earlier each morning. Once you establish a specific time to leave your house in the morning, being on time will get easier.
The Queen of Hearts – “Off with their heads.” If you find yourself easily irritated with your co-workers or you frequently lose your cool, then you may have a temper problem. If you’re in a constant state of anger and make life uneasy for your co-workers, then you probably won’t see a promotion coming anytime soon. In fact, you might have to start looking for a new job. This will not only keep you from excelling at your job, but it will also create higher stress and loss of workplace relationships. Employers typically promote employees who have pleasant attitudes, exhibit professional, friendly tendencies and have good work ethics. These traits show great leadership potential and the ability to thrive under pressure. To help you stay calm during stressful situations, try counting to 10 the next time you get upset or take a walk around the building allowing yourself a five minute timeout. This will help you relax and see things in a clearer perspective. Until you tame the impulse to lash out, you’ll probably not see advancement opportunities.
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum – “How do you do and shake hands, shake hands, shake hands. How do you do and shake hands and state your name and business. That’s manners!” If you find yourself doing only what is expected of you and nothing more, then you’re really no better than these two characters. Many employees prove that they can do the job, but it’s the ones who go beyond what is expected who get the promotions. To help you get over the “just OK” slump, try talking to your boss to see what you can do to improve your work. Once you’ve excelled at those duties, try asking for more responsibilities. Also, take some initiative on new projects by putting your ideas on the table or stepping up to the challenge when your boss asks for something to be done. Show your boss that you can be a leader.
If you found that your behavior resembles that of one of these directionless characters, it’s time to stop and head in a new direction – like Alice did. Visualize where you want to be in your career first, and then start to take the necessary steps to get you there. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way out of Wonderland and into a great career.