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From a young age, we’re taught that receiving a promotion is great public recognition of your success to date, and an exciting pathway to bigger and better things.

But what if you not 100% sure that you want to take a promotion that is offered to you? Let us illustrate what might happen when you go in, poorly prepared.

career promotions

Cressida was a 25-year old social-media marketing specialist at a rapidly-growing services enterprise in Tacoma. After seven months on the job, her boss, Steve, offered her a big promotion, to be the company’s Marketing Director, a key role, despite her lack of management experience.

After a few months into her newly expanded role, it became apparent that Cressida lacked the skills truly necessary for the job. The key tasks she was charged with were taking a lot longer to execute than anyone anticipated. She received negative feedback from employees who had a longer tenure with the company. Cressida experienced great resistance to changes that she wanted to implement. She was suffering brutal team conflict, long workdays and sleepless nights as she battled to get even relatively minor things done.

After just a year into her promotion, Cressida decided to resign from her high-profile position. It was simply too unbearable to work in such a negative environment.

Should she have taken the role? What could Cressida have done differently?

assess your readiness

While it’s always flattering to be recognized for your successes, it’s important to evaluate whether you can succeed in any newly-offered role.

To start, Cressida should have assessed her qualifications, to see if she was truly ready to take on such a major promotion.

    It’s critical that you maintain the resources needed to succeed. Do you have the skills, talents, abilities, attitude and temperament to tackle and thrive in the new position? If not, how can you readily learn or attain what is needed?

    It’s important to make sure the timing is right for your life. Will this promotion come with longer hours or extensive travel commitments? If so, do you have (or how can you develop) the support network that will help you excel under these new commitments?

    It’s imperative that you consider how the new promotion can negatively impact your health. Chronic work-related stress can lead to high blood pressure, poor diet and elevated cholesterol levels. What’s your plan to take care of yourself and alleviate stress?

For Cressida, a clear-eyed view might have prevented her from jumping down into this rabbit hole. Carefully looking into the details of a promotion is crucial … because it might not be a move in the right direction after all.

(written by: wc)

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