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This is a blog about Truth, Justice and the American Way. The stories are true. No names have been changed to protect anyone's identity, including my own. If the story is about me, then I'll say so right up front. If I don't use a name to identify whom the story is about, then it's because it's not relevant. So please do not call me or e-mail me with your kind condolences or unwarranted congratulations about something that you believe is a cleverly disguised bio from my alter ego. These stories, like my photo, are unretouched.

Friday, April 9, 2010

How Not to Get Promoted.

People sometimes send me unsolicited questions, asking for mentoring or just advice. I’m not sure why folks do this, as my personal life is a mess and I would be the last one I would approach for counsel. Nonetheless, they do. So let’s open the mailbag today and see what is in it. Oh, look! It’s a nice young lady complaining that she has been working in a company at the same job level for 7 years and is sick of getting passed over. What advice can I, as a longtime President/CEO/Executive Director/boss-type, give her to help her get promoted in today’s business culture?

One might ask the more obvious question, “Why is she asking me? Has she not noticed that I, myself, am currently out of work?” But that trifling aside, I have been a boss at various companies for about 28 years total, and I can definitely reveal the top 10 ways NOT to get promoted (if that’s your goal). In just the last five years, I have been faced with every single one of these situations with one employee or another. Seriously, folks! Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Talk stink about me in the workplace. Word will never get back to me and even if it does, I will admire your forthrightness.

2. Hide information from me. What I don’t know won’t hurt me.

3. Fight with your co-workers. There’s nothing like a constant stream of distraction to keep the productivity juices flowing.

4. Refuse to share your job skills with anyone else in the office. That way, when you get sick or go on vacation, no one will be able to update the website, or access the administrative calendar, or batch the credit cards or figure out your filing system. It may play havoc with the commerce but it will make them appreciate just how valuable you are around here!

5. Dress for comfort, not for business. Sure, low heels and a skirt might be more appropriate than fleece pants and tennis shoes, but you work best when you are relaxed. What do they think this is, a business?

6. Be late every day. You will know that you have reached your goal when your co-workers have a daily pool to see who can come closest to your actual arrival time. (Again, keep in mind that I’m not making this up.)

7. Adhere tightly to your job duties. If it’s not on your job description, why should you do it? It’s not your problem. And if you find yourself with extra time during the day, use it to check in with your grown daughter, write funny e-mails to your friends or play on-line solitaire.

8. Do a requested task when it is convenient for you, not necessarily as soon as I ask. After all, who am I to dictate your schedule?

9. Bring your problems to work with you. Share them with everyone – me, your co-workers, our clients. The more the merrier!

10. Don’t offer to help me with anything. If you had wanted my job you would have applied for it.

I hope that this has been useful to you. Personally, if I had a job right now, I would thank my lucky stars and not worry about crawling to the top until things calmed down. I’d hunker down, kiss my boss’s feet and cash those paychecks as fast I got them.

Meanwhile, keep those cards and letters coming. Next week’s blog: How many ways can I, as a client, shoot myself in the foot and still pretend that I’m not limping?

Happy weekend!


  1. Have you been watching me play solitaire on my computer at work? I thought nobody ever noticed. Oops.

  2. Hilarious! Makes me so grateful I stopped working in an office in 1994. I'm a much nicer boss than any of them. If I'm tired and cranky I fuss over myself and encourage myself to take a break. ;)

  3. Love your blogs. They are hilarious, especially the one on "How not to get promoted". I don't know how many times I was told "That's not in my job description" or walking by employees desks surfing the internet or texting.I can top fleece pants and tennis shoes, how about sweat pants and bunny slippers!!!!!!
    Gabriele Weekly
    Deridder, LA