career progression promotion

Career progression: How long to wait for a promotion before looking out?

Career progression and getting the promotion you always wanted is a top of mind issue for most employees and yet managing promotion in the company is a delicate issue that the human resource department is vigorously managing. Promoting the wrong people in the company would send a wrong message on the behaviors valued and the culture that the company is seeking to develop. So where does the balance lie between what you want as an employee and what the company needs in maintaining the delicate balance of promoting only the right person?

Assess your current skill-set vs. peers

Promotion based on competency is the current direction to ensure that it is based on merit and contribution. Be brutally honest in using the framework that your company provides on the skills/behaviors that are encouraged and valued. Evaluate yourself and compare that to your manager’s assessment. Convince your boss you deserve a promotion. Be open to discuss your areas of strengths and improvement that is required. How could you evaluate that the comments are balanced?

Start by looking for consistency in what others tell you. You might have heard the same improvement areas from more than one source – it could be your previous company manager, peers, your close companion, and friends. Even though it is not in the working environment, you can be sure that you act pretty consistent as a person in and out of working hours. How else would you evaluate whether you are ready for a promotion? That comes to the next point.

Take perspective from the marketplace

Nothing is beats a reality check than putting yourself to the test. Look for opportunities outside the company for interviews for the targeted job. Take note of the valuable feedback that comes from the interview even if you did not get the job. This would give you another perspective on your promotion readiness and you will be on your way to career progression.

“Your promotion is just round the corner. I am supporting your career progression”

Have you heard this one before? What should you do in this scenario? Only you can judge for yourself. You would have to ask yourself, does my manager really think that I am are ready for a promotion? If he/she does, then have an honest discussion on the improvement or results that are required to be promoted. Work hard to demonstrate it.

On the other hand, if you have heard that your promotion is just around the corner more than once, ask yourself:-

  • Have you considered that there are “powers” beyond your direct superior?
  • Does senior management think highly of you?
  • How do your peers view your competency?
  • What is the human resource manager’s view?

Where I am getting at is, that your career progression does not solely rely on your direct superior’s input and is in fact a decision of many stakeholders. Thoroughly evaluate the positive & negative signs of getting promoted at work from all relevant stakeholders.

How long should you wait before actively seeking opportunities?

What is the average number of years before I should start look at my career progression? If you have passed the average years in your company “norm” then you should not wait any longer to take action. In the current era, I believe it is productive for you and dare I say even your current company that you actively look for opportunities. The reason is that you constantly get feedback and you would be able to improve yourself faster. If you are hungry for a promotion, you are exactly the person that is open to feedback and diligent enough to work on the feedback. Therefore, there is no harm in actively seeking for opportunities, within your company and beyond your company.

Work on yourself ten times harder than you work in your job. In that way, in the long run, become more valuable to any employer.

i believe in luck the harder i work the more i have it

In summary, you alone are responsible of managing your career progression. Do not be the employee that stuck it out, waited for years. But never got what you deserved. To emphasize, always be proactive in seeking for new opportunities.


Do you fear changing jobs? Read this article on I am happy with my job, but I changed anyway.

Are you happy with your salary increase? Read this article on Average salary increase per year & inflation

Thinking of attending the next interview? Read this article on How to stand out in an interview? 5 ideas to make a good impression

Afraid to make mistakes in the next interview? Read this article on 5 common mistakes to avoid during an interview

Feeling dissatisfied with work lately? Read this article on Are you feeling disengaged from work? 4 simple ways to know

Thinking of how to choose your next job? Read this article on How to choose your next job? 7 criteria to consider before accepting

Thinking of career development? Read this article on How to develop your career and 4 steps to achieve what you want


One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *