A clerical worker at a large financial firm worried about the right career advancement moves to make.
“I will soon receive my MBA. I thought getting this degree would help me move up in the company, but I no longer think this is true. I am 40 now, and from what I have seen at the company, younger employees have an advantage,” the employee wrote.
“I had previously applied for a job in a different department that I did not get. My boss originally told me he would recommend me, but I have a feeling he does not feel that way now. Should I confront him about whether he recommended me? If my company will not promote me, I prefer to leave than to stay in my current position.”
Confronting a person on any issue is not a positive approach to achieving what you desire. Most people are uncomfortable with confrontations; the word itself implies a potentially negative situation. Keep your eyes open for positions in and outside your company and remind your boss about your completing your MBA.
Maybe that particular position was not right for you. If you don’t get this newly available position, discreetly look for jobs outside your company. Whatever you decide to do, do not tell your boss you will leave if you are not promoted. Maybe it wasn’t the right time for your boss to find a good replacement for you. You never know the whole story as to why one person is hired over another.
Take your boss to lunch for a casual business meeting to discuss your future there. Through comfortable conversation, you will see how your boss really feels about recommending you for a different position in the company. Maybe at that time he was more concerned about the challenge in replacing you.
Present your reasons why you think you are ready for greater responsibility. Obtaining a master’s degree may not be a strong enough reason to convince others you are capable of a higher position in the company. Listen carefully to what your boss says and doesn’t say. Keep in mind that not all people are comfortable delivering the truth about how they feel about someone. Sometimes a person has a better chance for advancement by leaving the current company, but your boss may not want to admit that to you.
If your boss has pigeonholed you as clerical and not a decision-maker, he may have difficulty changing that mental image. Or he may not want to lose you because good employees are hard to find.
Also, your attitude about your age may be a greater deterrent than your age itself. At 40, you offer maturity and experience far beyond that of younger candidates who only have school to rely on. Believing in yourself is the key to success.