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I Did the Right Things but Wasn't Promoted - Now What?

Updated on May 30, 2017
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Kate holds a M.A. in Management from Webster Univ and held management positions half of her 30 yr career.

Passed over for promotion. I've been there. So have you, most likely. Unless you live in a cave.

Career advancement is on the minds of ambitious, driven people everywhere, even folks who don't describe themselves as such. Everyone can use a raise, right?


Qualities of Promotability

JPMorgan Chase banking executive Donna Vieira gave an interview in March detailing her career advancement to Chief Marketing Officer. She related that she is self-reliant, learning early in her career to "be visible and figure it out myself." Vieira emphasized how fostering networking contacts and relationships benefitted her over the years. While this is not a new idea, it has proven true time and again.

Other characteristics that stood out to me were that she is high energy, holds an achievement perspective, is disciplined, focused and persistent. All admirable qualities worthy of a leadership position. I relate to her statement, "you've got to be constantly curious." Lifelong-learning is a cornerstone value of mine, too.

Is Personal Joy my Primary Goal?

The article ends with Vieira addressing authenticity, stating,

Whoa. Head jerk reaction. Don't do things that aren't joyful?

End of the month reports, weekly staff meetings, laundry, dishes, poop scooping after pets, wiping the toddlers nose for the umpteenth time - surely this is not what she's referring to.

Regardless of our job or level in an organization, we all have required work components that are pleasant and unpleasant. We all have aspects of life itself that are both, too.

We've heard it said that attitude is key. Indeed. Being optimistic makes home and work life not only more tolerable, but highly enjoyable.

But is joy the primary aim of the Christian life? I view everything through a biblical worldview and because of that, Donna's closing advice contradicted my belief system. I work from a call on my life. I serve from a commitment to a higher authority (Jesus) who tells me that His kingdom mandates require a counterintuitive approach.

God's Kingdom Mandates Service

Please don't misunderstand - anyone who know me realizes I'm pretty authentic with my struggles, emotions and values. As one involved in marketplace ministry (outside the church walls) after completing a thirty year career, representing God in the real world is dear to me. I want to see Christians influencing their corporate environments by modeling biblical values, daily living out Kingdom principles.

Two key principles surfaced as I read this interview. First, the Kingdom of God is not outside us, rather within us, yet recognizable when it flows out through our behavior.

Kingdom theology matters because it requires we change our behavior to comply with biblical standards. That sounds like religion, you may be thinking. Jesus advised us to “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV). Jesus knew His Way would be narrow by restricting us from certain things the culture around us engages in. He said it would be difficult and at times be an isolated walk with few fellow travelers there.

Riverview Trail, Zion NP, Utah
Riverview Trail, Zion NP, Utah | Source

Secondly, as Christians, service is where we find our joy. This can evoke an eye-roll from one who doesn't understand how that can be. Because I love God, I choose to love others and serve them. This means my self-satisfaction is not foremost in mind. As an example, in my role as a caregiver to a dying relative, Zig Ziglar's words fueled my hard days, "Duty makes us do thing well, but love makes us do them beautifully."

Rethink Priorities

Networking, relationship building, diligence, discipline and persistence all combine to make one promotable, yet there is more.

I believe that God shows favor to the humble and promotes us if we work diligently while incorporating some of the good business principles Vieira advocates. Advancement comes because God's favor is on our lives, not solely due to the working of a personal plan. I work from intrinsic motivation and for an audience of One whose pay scale is off the charts. I've found my Master, Jesus easier to please than some human bosses. Your thoughts?


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