When I first started at the company that I currently work for, I was told by the person training me that while it was a great place to learn, it was nearly impossible to climb the corporate ladder. Her stance was that the department pigeonholed people that didn’t enter it at a higher level, and she turned out to be right, in her own case.
My trainer (now coworker) had wanted to move up in the company for quite some time, and perceived many barriers that wouldn’t allow her to do so. Many of the barriers to getting (or achieving) almost anything you want, are within your control.
Know (Specifically) What You Want
How can you get what you want if you don’t know what you want?
Relating it back to my coworker, she knew that she wanted to move up in the company, but that’s all she really knew. She didn’t know what type of salary, duties, or responsibilities she wanted. She hadn’t even thought about whether or not she wanted to stay within the same department.
This caused some confusion in her own development. Having a clearly defined goal or idea of what you want is crucial.
If you know you want to be a professional of some sort, but don’t know what career path you are interested in, then how are you going to succeed? Obviously, you can’t major in general studies in college and come out with a degree in engineering.
Put Yourself Out There
My coworker finally got the promotion she was looking for after she settled on what it was that she wanted, but one of the crucial steps that she was missing, before she did get her promotion, was the guts to stand up and ask for what she wanted.
We were talking over coffee about a year ago, and she was still struggling to move ahead in the company. I asked her whether or not she’d approached the manager of the department and told her what her plan was.
Her response was that she hadn’t, and there were a lot of reasons behind why she wasn’t able to, but none of them were good enough reasons to stand between her, and something she wanted.
If you want something, putting yourself out there and making it known that you want it – whether that’s by going public about a goal or approaching your boss regarding a promotion – is one of the best ways to go about it.
Use Your Network
Most people want to see you succeed; whether your goal is to get a promotion, lose weight, get out of debt, or what have you, use your network to help get ahead.
If you are generous with your time and help members of your network when they need it, they will be happy to return the favour. Your network is valuable for more, and extends farther, than just your career path. You can find subject matter experts through your dad’s best friend, or your classmate from 10 years ago.
Your network can keep you motivated and focused, and also help you learn things you would struggle to on your own.
Use your network by asking for help. Don’t expect people to just know that you want to meet a goal and offer to help.
Focus, Focus, Focus
People who get what they want focus intensely on their goals. You won’t find a CEO of a company, or professional athlete, that isn’t focused on their cause. People who achieve things focus almost solely on those things.
This goes back to knowing what you want. If you work toward and focus on something that you truly, badly want, and work constantly and hard for it, unless you are doing something very wrong, you’ll achieve it.
Getting what you want isn’t complicated, but it’s not going to be easy (unless what you want is a grilled cheese sandwich). Figuring out what you want can be immensely difficult in and of itself. Many people struggle with focus, with building a network, and with putting themselves out there, but if you are willing to put in the work, you will reap the benefits.
Great points there Daisy! I think having a lot of people to ask for help in times of trouble and focusing on what you want to achieve are the most important things to have or consider for you to achieve your goals.
I’m with you, especially on the focusing part. Thank you for reading.
Great post! It’s amazing what you can get if you’re just willing to ask for it!
So true, Holly!
I think an important goal is to set a deadline as well, but it should probably be done after all of the steps you mentioned. If you do all of those things, set a deadline that you want to have what you want by a certain date. If you don’t reach it, then you need to re-assess whether it’s truly achievable in your current situation. In our company, there have been people that have done all of these steps, but due to the fact that many people haven’t left to open up positions above them, they are often stuck. Some have left the company to take their dream elsewhere, and have done just fine. There’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you give it the proper chance.
A deadline can certainly be important. Thanks for adding that.
Good article. I’m curious to know if your friend is happy after getting promoted. I have been asked if I want to move up more in the corporation, and my answer is no. I am very happy being a Senior Mechanical Engineer. I don’t want to move into a more managerial position that comes with further promotions.
She didn’t move into a managerial role, but just a more senior role. I think she’s happy with the progress she’s made and that it will look like growth and movement on her resume.