A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Ready to Move Up
Dear Sue: I have been working with a new company for a few months. It is a larger company than the one I worked for previously, and I am finding that it is easy to get lost in the crowd.
Considering the fact that I have only been here a short time, I think I have done quite well and have not gotten lost in the crowd. On the contrary, all of the management knows that I am one of the hardest working and most dedicated employees here.
The person who hired me is not my direct superior and I don't have much contact with him, although I did inform him of my desire to move up with in the company. I want to make sure that my desire to move up is known to the right people, and I'm wondering about the best way to go about informing management of my ambitions.
Is there a letter that I can write, indicating my desire to move up into management? I know that I can verbally communicate this with my managers, but I want to know the proper way of going about this. Any advice you can give me will be appreciated.
- Ready to move up
Sue Says: If you are comfortable verbally communicating what you want to management, tell them of your ambitions. If you would like to put it in writing, do that as well.
I am not so sure this is about what is proper as much as it is about what is comfortable for you and how this particular company likes to have things done. You might want to ask for direction from someone in management. Make sure you reinforce how happy you are working there and that you are open to and excited about advancement opportunities. Then ask for advice as to the best way to make your wishes known.
Just make sure you don't seem too eager or impatient. Remember, you have only been with this company for a few months. Sometimes, things take time, and you want to demonstrate that you have patience as well as ambition. Good luck!
Dear Sue: I am an executive secretary, and have been in this department for two years and I enjoy the work I do. Rumor has it that there are people who think I do not have enough initiative. However, any time I make a suggestion or ask to have a conference with my supervisor, I get shot down or ignored. Do you have any advice to help me?
- Lacking initiative
Sue Says: The fact that you say you are shot down or ignored every time you ask for a conference or make a suggestion does indicate that you may need to assert yourself a little more.
I think the first thing you need to do is to determine how much truth there is to this rumor. Go to the source of the rumor and find out. By doing so, you will be showing initiative.
Rather than asking for a conference with your supervisor, request one. If you ask, your supervisor can say no. If you request a meeting, and keep requesting until you find a date that will work, you will have the meeting you want.
If you are being ignored every time you make a suggestion, perhaps you need to speak up and evaluate how you are communicating. Do you feel confident when you make a suggestion or are you doing so in a way that seeks approval from others? Your tone, inflection and the volume in which you speak play a big part in the way you come across.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to ask for some honest feedback. Many people won't do this because they are afraid of the truth, but discovering the truth is the only thing that will really benefit you.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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