5 Things to Remember After You Earn a Promotion

Updated on April 17, 2020
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Marshall works in Human Resources with extensive practical experience in hiring, promotions, and personal career development.


What Should You Do After a Job Promotion?

So, all your hard work has paid off, and you made it! Accepting a new promotion is a big deal and comes with expectations that you will be contributing in a bigger way to your organization. Whether you are in the business world doing sales and marketing, or working on a construction site, you most likely have a supervisor, manager, or foreman position. One day, that person could be you!

This new duty may feel overwhelming, especially if your new job is a lot different from your previous one. Fortunately for you, the first things you should be mindful of after a promotion are not too difficult, and can provide great benefits for your future in the new role. Avoiding a few major issues can make your transition into the new job much smoother, and set you up for long term growth and development.

1. Don't Rush to Make Big Changes After a Promotion

It is common to think you need to jump right in on day one and make a splash in your new role or career. This is tempting, but can ultimately be harmful if not managed correctly. The managers who promoted you will understand that you won't be an expert at your new responsibilities on day one, and this is normal.

Depending on your position, it could take weeks or months to really absorb all the information just to operate smoothly on a day to day basis. The key is to relax, but remain focused. Take a step back to observe how things work, and understand the why before you attempt to change the how. It can be embarrassing if you rush to implement an improvement, only to find out it was already tried and there is a reason it did not work.

Waiting to make big changes will also make you appear more thoughtful about your approach, and it will provide time for you to include others in discussions before the changes do occur. People love to be informed, even if it is just a small chat to get the seed of a topic planted in their minds. Your improvements will go over much better if everyone at least expects something to be coming down the line instead of being surprised. This is especially true when you are new. Imagine trying to push a change to someone you haven't even had the opportunity to introduce yourself to yet!

2. Don't be Afraid to Ask for Help From Your Peers, Supervisors, and Subordinates

Most businesses are a collection of efforts across a large array of people and skill sets, all doing their part to make a well-oiled machine. Using these people for advice is the fastest way to improve yourself. What could take you six months to learn on your own may only take a ten-minute conversation with a veteran manager who has seen it all. Never feel embarrassed to seek these people out for guidance and mentoring.

If you are worried they may think you are clueless, try to organize your thoughts into some very specific questions before you approach them. This will show them that you value their time, and have attempted to think through the issue already, making them much more enthusiastic about helping you out. Everyone had to start somewhere, and there is zero shame in using the experience of others to avoid having to learn a lesson on your own. In business, it is difficult to fully capture all the nuances simply by writing them down, so it is invaluable to have discussions with those who have been through it before you.

“When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me’ — you just scream.”

– John Lennon

3. Avoid Lifestyle Creep When You Make More Money

This is slightly off the path of business advice, but a solid home life is the foundation for a good work life.

What is lifestyle creep? Lifestyle creep is when you increase your standard of living any time your income increases, leaving you with the same amount left over at the end of the month as you did before the raise. Buying a brand new car just because you got a raise may not be the best idea if your overall expenses rise as much as your salary does.

Sure you may be able to buy more things even if you end up with the same net cash flow, but consider your retirement plans or investment opportunities before you absorb the extra money into your routine. It is much easier to set it aside before you miss it than after you start getting it every week on your paycheck. The entire purpose of working hard is so you can live comfortably not only now, but well into retirement.

You earned the increase, and you deserve to enjoy it! Just be thoughtful about your spending plans, and consider keeping a budget. Being financially responsible will remove a huge level of stress and allow you to really focus on work.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Build Relationships and Network

The saying "It's not what you know, its WHO you know" is popular for a reason. Knowing a lot about your job is also important, but if nobody else knows you are an expert, then it would be difficult for them to spot you for future opportunities.

Consider volunteering for a side project team if they are available. These may let you interact with people of various levels within the business, as well as in a number of different specialties. Not only will others get a chance to see you in action, but you will also learn how different areas of the business mesh together, and how they impact the other when there is not only success, but failures too.

You do not have to try to be best friends with everyone you work with, but being friendly is easy and will pay dividends in the long run. It also makes the work environment more enjoyable, and could lead to higher job satisfaction because you won't be dreading work if you know you have a strong network of support when times get stressful.

“The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

5. Never Stop Seeking Growth Opportunities

When you get promoted, it may be easy to think you won't be moving for a while, and that may very well be true. On the other hand, always have a long term plan in place, even if it is just a mental wish list of where you would like to progress. As mentioned in point 1 of this article, you do not want to overextend yourself too soon, but you do want to maintain your momentum and keep progressing steadily.

Be grateful for your promotion and new job responsibilities, but also keep in mind that it may be a stepping stone to your real dream job. You should not constantly tell all your coworkers that you are the future CEO, but you can always plan for the next level, and take one step at a time towards your end game plan.

Working is a means to an end, but it does not have to be miserable. Be confident in what you want, and set realistic expectations on how to achieve those things. Use the resources around you to build yourself up. Congratulations on your recent or future promotion!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


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