Question: Good Morning, Sir. I am facing a big problem. I have worked for my employer since 1999. I have successfully completed every project ever given to me, and have been recognized as deserving of a raise by my Superiour.

For two years now I have been promised a promotion. I was even given the date for the promotion, but it arrived and went by without my getting any promotion.

When I asked my supervisor when my promotion will come through, he told me “Have faith – it will happen.” When I asked my General Manager he told me that it is well-documented that I deserve a promotion, but that right now it is on “Hold.”

I do not know what to do. I feel like there is a “ceiling” above me that I cannot break through. Do you have any advice?

Muhammad
Doha, Qatar

Answer: I have received many questions just like yours: (a) earned a promotion, (b) promised a promotion, but (c) did not receive a promotion. Here’s the ten best pieces of advice I can offer:

1. Instead of using your “lips” to ask for a promotion, use your “fingers.” By this I mean make your request, and your case, in writing – preferably by email – and not by spoken words. Spoken words can be forgotten, or mischaracterized, etc.; written words cannot.

2. You must remember that people are more motivated by their own interests, and less motivated by yours. So, suggest ways that your being promoted would help your supervisor and your General Manager.

3. As for a few examples, suggest how your promotion would (a) make your team more productive, (b) make your clients happier, (c) help achieve cost reductions, (d) take over burdens presently shouldered by your supervisor and General Manager, (e) bring in greater revenues, and/or (f) make your supervisor and General Manager look better to the company’s Board of Directors.

4. Without appearing aggressive or threatening, you might remind your supervisor and General Manager that (a) they agree that you deserve the promotion, and (b) you were given a date to expect it, but were disappointed.

5. You might ask your supervisor and General Manager in your email, “Is there something more I could do to increase my chances of prompt promotion?” You just might learn that one or two achievements are the only things in your way.

6. You might also ask your supervisor in an email, “Is there anyone you suggest I might speak with about this?”

7. If you want to try something “daring,” consider presenting this question to your supervisor and General Manager: “I want this promotion so much, could I have the new title and responsibilities, even if I did not right away get the raise in pay that is supposed to come with it? I am certain that, even if I must wait until company finances are better, I would prefer the improved title and new responsibilities.” It just might work.

8. Ask for a commitment – in writing – for either a date when you can expect the promotion, or a condition for your receiving it, such as “when the next manager position becomes available.”

9. You might also send a copy to your employer’s Head of Human Resources, and ask whether either (a) internal mentoring might be possible, or (b) assistance with your career path may be available.

10. Finally, in all you do, remain 100% respectful. Never show annoyance, impatience, or anger. Maintain composure and professionalism at all times. Bear in mind that, in all things important, “Perseverance makes the difference.”

Two general suggestions are in order, as well:

A. Consider reviewing our many Newsletter Articles and Q & A’s on New Jobs and Promotions in our Blog Library.

B. Second, you might consider purchasing from our “Private Library” our “Model Memo Requesting a Raise or Promotion” to use as a sample, or template, for your writing efforts. You can do so by [clicking here].

In all you do, I wish you only the best. Thanks for writing in. I truly hope you will let us know how things are going in your quest.

Best, Al Sklover

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.