I didn’t want a promotion anyway

What story do you tell yourself when you don’t get the promotion, the award or the best project? If you’re like me you might tell yourself that it wasn’t the right time, or you didn’t want it anyway, or if you really wanted it you would have put in more effort.

But is this the story that is going to help you learn and build your career? Unlikely. Instead of telling yourself a story, you need to pick apart the situation. I don’t mean be critical of yourself, but analyse what it was that the other person did differently. Even if you don’t want the award or the promotion, you might someday, and these are the perfect opportunities to learn from others in a way that does not force you to put your reputation on the line.

Next time you see a colleague or team member receive an accolade or reward, listen intently to the congratulation speech or deeply read the email, to work out what it is your organisation values the most. Sometimes it is really just being in the right place at the right time, but even then you can think about how to get yourself to that place for the next opportunity.

While a lot of us in our 30’s are happy with where we are in our careers, the next 30 years is going to be pretty dreary if you are not looking for interesting work and new tasks. And who gets given those projects? The people who are seen to be doing the best job. You don’t have to be searching for the next pay rise or promotion, but I can bet you things are going to be a lot more enjoyable when you have interesting work and it is recognised.


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