a-ladder.jpgYou can read all the books and articles on how to get a promotion, but sometimes it’s just won’t happen.

Amanda, an employee at a bank, just emailed me that her boss promised her a promotion after she took on a lot more work.

Amanda keeps asking her boss about the promotion but he keeps saying: “I’m working on it.”

“I try to pull more specific information out of him but he completely dismisses my questions, even though he continues to assert that he plans to give me something,” she explained.

This my friends is called the promotion bait-and-switch, or the promotion ponzi.

In this environment, many managers are trying to squeeze as much work out of the employees they have left, and sometimes stupid bosses think they have to make empty promises to keep you working like a dog for no more pay or prestige.

It sucks, I know. But it’s the reality of bad management which seems to be pervasive these days.

In order to figure out how to deal with a situation like this you first have to figure out if indeed you’re a victim of a fake promotion. You need to do some research. Maybe the promotion process typically takes months at your company, or your boss is going to bat for you but the higher ups are putting the kibosh on your move up the ladder.

Amanda did some legwork. She discovered that other departments at her firm had no trouble promoting other individuals. “And I found out today from my manager’s manager that my boss has never even brought up the topic of promoting me,” she said.

Great detective work on her part, and based on the info she gathered I’d say it’s the promotion bait-and-switch.

So, what to do now? Amanda doesn’t know what to do next.

“I feel like I’m being taken advantage of and manipulated because I’ve
increased my responsibilities with no benefit while I continue to see
new promotion announcements for my colleagues posted on my Bank’s
intranet site. I’d like to further add that Bank X was not
subject to the financial problems incurred at other banks, and that my
boss is not receptive to any type of criticism as has a tendency to
burst out yelling at people when they disagree with him.”

Unfortunately, Amanda doesn’t have a lot of great options since it sounds like her boss is a jerk.

My advice would be to start looking for another gig pronto, and then approach your boss and give him an ultimatum. If you have a job lined up you have nothing to lose.

Amanda, however, said there aren’t a lot of job opportunities in her town so she’s not in a position to hit the road.

In this case she has two options.

1. Say nothing and allow it to eat you up everyday you come to work.
2. Ask for a meeting with your boss to discuss your performance. At that meeting bring a list with that details what you want, including a time line on when your promotion will go through. Make sure to pepper the conversation with things like, “I enjoy my work and this company very much.” Don’t be confrontational because it sounds like this guy won’t react well to that. Just say, “I want to know if I’m appreciated here. I see others being promoted in other departments and I want make sure that it’s not my performance that’s keeping me from getting a new title”…or something along those lines.

(Full disclosure here: Any time you ask for a meeting with your boss to ask for something, you risk making a boss angry, especially an idiot boss. So, this may do more damage than good.)

Even if the meeting goes well, the outcome may be the same…no promotion. But it’s a good idea to put all the cards on the table so you can get through your work day.

Has this ever happened to you? How did you deal with it?

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