What To Do Next In Your Career – A Promotion Is Not The Only Choice

– Posted in: career management, identify your job targets

ask-for-a-promotionIn my latest Forbes post, I wrote for the professional who is blocked from a promotion that you want. But I also shared an example of a client I worked with who first wanted a promotion, got blocked, and then realized he could have a very rich life including career growth without it. In his case, he enjoyed his role for what it was – good work, colleagues he enjoyed – and took on side projects to challenge him, like teaching and professional memberships. This client wanted growth, which sometimes is a promotion but can also be achieved without one. How about you? What exactly do you want next in your career? Use this checklist to help you brainstorm:

Do you want more money? You may want to ask for a raise, rather than a promotion – it’s not the same thing. Or you might start a side hustle.

Do you want more recognition? This could be scheduling a long-overdue performance review or getting more involved in other areas of your company, so you’re visible to more people. Employee Resource Groups are a good way to get in front of senior people.

Do you want to challenge or grow your skills? Like my client who started teaching, you can develop outside your job. I’ve been an adjunct at Columbia for 19 years, and in addition to cementing my understanding of my area of expertise (career, of course) I have expanded my communication, presenting, and teaching skills.

Do you want more fulfillment? You may think you will be fulfilled with the promotion, but it could be changes in other areas of your life that give you fulfillment. Experiment with changing your free time, your relationships, your environment, or other areas before assuming the change needs to happen in your career.

Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with wanting and going after a promotion! Just make sure that’s the next step you want and not an assumption you blindly make that upward equals onward. There are many other ways to move career and life forward apart from a promotion.


My next step is getting back on the comedy stage after a 6-month absence. I’ll be performing at Gotham Comedy Club on Tues, 10/18, 7p show. Details on our Upcoming Events page. Let me know if you’re coming and I’ll look for you after the show.

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