"You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take," said Wayne Gretzky. Gretzky, a hockey legend, earned his legacy by believing in his ability and taking risks to reach his goals. While the fear of missing out on an opportunity is a great motivator, FOMO alone can’t convince you to take risks in your professional life. You might fear disappointment and worry that you’ll make the relationship with your boss awkward. But, more often than not, a good boss wants to see you succeed and move up. Taking on more work and more responsibility can help the company and your team. If you’re looking to take on more responsibilities at work, risk is necessary—calculated risk that can help you shine. So when should you make a move to advance your career?
You’ve worked at your company for at least a year. If you want to take on more responsibility at work and move up the ranks toward a leadership position, you want to start thinking about a promotion after you’ve been there a year. While every industry has different standards for how long advancement takes, a year is enough time for your employer to have a sense of who you are, the work you do, and what you’re capable of. You also have a better feel for the organization of the company after a year and know whether or not you want to make a career there. You know what you want, now it’s time to make the move to reach those goals. This could involve speaking with your boss and collaborating on a career plan for moving ahead, or asking how to approach a promotion at the company. When you’re successful, your boss is successful so they’re more than likely interested in helping you.
You’ve been taking on more projects. You’ve been with your company for awhile and everyone knows you’re the go-to person when they want something done efficiently and correctly. You’re enthusiastic about what you do, so you never say no to a new challenge that might be outside of your current job description. You’ll put in extra hours to accomplish everything and your work is always spot on. You have more responsibilities, but your boss hasn’t mentioned a pay increase or a promotion. When you’ve displayed your willingness to work hard for your company, it’s time to ask for a title or salary that matches the work you do every day. If you work for a good company and a good manager, they’ll want to help you succeed. No one is a better advocate for you than you, so make the first move and let them know you’re interested in taking the next step in your career.
You’re ready to learn more. You’ve mastered the work that you currently do and you feel like you can easily operate on autopilot. If you’re starting to feel stagnant in your current position, it’s time to learn more. Demonstrating that you’re ready for a step up is more than showing you’re an expert in everything you currently do; you want to show your boss that you’re hungry to learn. This could be taking a course to refine or refresh your current knowledge or asking a more senior employee to mentor you. When you’re ready and eager to learn more, it’s time to consider the next step in your career and make your boss see that!
Asking what you can do to earn a promotion and advance at work might make you a bit nervous, but if you go into the conversation prepared with real-life examples and reasons why you deserve it, your boss will likely respect the effort. Be open and honest with your boss when discussing your career path and be proactive about making a plan to get there. Whether you’re just starting your career or you’ve been with your company for years, making the move toward career advancement involves hard work. Not sure you’ve got the skills to move up yet? Take the first step forward with a career readiness course that can sharpen your leadership skills!