No One Cares About Your Career Like You Do

Be your own strongest advocate at work.

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Suzanne Lucas
So, you've been promised a promotion, you've been told the date it's effective, and you've seen the approval via E-mail. But it hasn't come through. How far can you go in advocating for yourself?

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A reader writes: In December of 2009 my director (my boss's boss) told me that I had been approved for a promotion effective January 1, 2010. By early February, my paycheck did not show the promotion in either pay or title. I questioned this to both my manager and my director, and they informed me that someone in HR had quit and my paperwork just laid unseen on his abandoned desk. My manager also forwarded me the E-mail from our VP that was written in early December 2009 to HR stating that I am approved for this promotion effective January 1. The VP is the ultimate giver of power and money in this situation. It's now mid April, making the promotion more than four and half months late. Is there a way to light a fire under someone about this? And is that E-mail of approval from my VP a card to play in this situation?

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Yes, there is a way to light a fire, and that E-mail is the key.

No one cares about your career like you do. Honest. Your boss isn't going home thinking, "Gee, I need to get John's promotion fixed up." He's thinking about other things and this is not likely on his radar.

You need to put it there. Forward him the E-mail and ask what the status is. When you get a response that's something like, "Well, it's in process," ask where it is in the process. If the holdup is human resources (and a new HR person could be the hold up), you'll need to get your boss to put pressure on his boss who can put pressure on the VP to get this thing rammed through.

[See how to make a big career change.]

This is not one of those "stop being whiny" moments. You have been promised something and are doing the additional work related to the promotion (I'm assuming), but you have fallen through the office cracks. It's up to you to pull yourself out.

You can bug people every time you get a paycheck until it either goes through or they tell you it's been rescinded, as long as you aren't annoying about it. Consider something like, "Hey, boss, the promotion still isn't showing in my paycheck." Not, "You said it was going through this week. What is going on here?" They thought highly enough of you to promote you. Show that you have what it takes by following through on one of the important things--your promotion.

Suzanne Lucas has nine years of human resources experience, most of which have been in a Fortune 500-company setting. She holds a Professional in Human Resources certificate from the Society for Human Resource Management. She blogs at Evil HR Lady.