In every industry, not just corporate, there is a hierarchy that we must move through in order to obtain continuous advancement. This hierarchy is what we call the corporate ladder. Falling from the corporate ladder can be devastating. Most of the time, once you start falling, there’s not much you can do to move back up within your company. If you take a step back, make a few changes in your mentality you may be able to keep your footing. Here are 8 ways you can keep yourself from traveling down the corporate ladder:
- Negatively stereotyping can slow down your career
Stereotyping is the number one way to ruin your climb up the ladder. With more corporations and human resources departments focusing on diversity and employee inclusion, an attitude of intolerance can limit your ability to work with people from different backgrounds and ultimately stifle your growth potential. Sometimes these stereotypes are made inadvertently but it is important to be aware of where your prejudices lie in order to make a change in your mindset. Doing so will allow you to find value in the ideas and contributions of your co-workers.
- Not telling your boss your career goals
Your boss should be your biggest promoter when it comes to your desires for corporate advancement. Your boss should know where you want to go and your plans to get there because when new positions come open, your boss will probably know before you. Also, he or she can start training you for the position that you want because many people in supervisory and managerial roles enjoy cultivating their employees, especially those just out of college and those who show high potential for growth.
- Telling too many people your career goals
Your career goals should be special to you and a treasure to you. Unfortunately, they can also be a treasure to others – except in a negative way. Telling too many people your goals, may cause “career envy” or worse, alienation. Career envy is when a co-worker is jealous of your goals and your desire to advance resulting in their efforts to sabotage your career. Alienation is not very common but if someone knows that you one day want to be their superior, they may shy away from you. Who really wants to tell their future boss how they really feel about the company?
- Not being a team player
Many times your boss will ask you to do something that is outside of your job description. Unless it is unethical and outright demeaning, be a team player and do it. When it comes to ethics, it’s usually easy to decline to perform a task; however, there can be a fine line in terms of what is demeaning and what is not. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot just because you think that your boss in trying to degrade you, he may just genuinely need someone reliable to do a job. This is a good way to show your employer how flexible you are when it comes to taking on new responsibility.
- Company Events
If you are asked to participate in company outings or lunches DO IT! Many companies have company picnics, sporting teams, or other after work outings. Use these events to network with co-workers with whom you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to interact. Get to know people- what they do, and how they can possibly help you reach your career goals. Don’t be so forward as to really ask them, “What can you do for me to help me climb up the ladder?” but forge a connection on which you can build beneficial relationships.
- Continuing Education
Your company must know that you’re interested in education. Improving your knowledge base through education is one of the most important things you can do when working to climb the corporate ladder. Fortunately, some companies will pay for or reimburse you for all or part of the expenses you incur. Companies understand that investing in their employees is an investment in their future. Keep in mind that if the company does pay or reimburse you, you may be obligated to stay with that company for a few years after completion so if you are looking to make an immediate move, this may not be the route for you. Read the company policy before agreeing to have your company pick up the check. If your company does not pay for or reimburse educational expenses don’t feel reluctant to take initiative in getting an education on your own dime. Employers will take notice of your efforts and they will understand that you are more marketable with an education than without it. With this knowledge, they may be more inclined to give you a raise or promotion to keep you.
- Maintain a Healthy Personal Life
You must stay healthy! Keeping regular doctor’s appointments, working out, eating right, etc., can lead to having more energy, better focus, and less stress. Also, your number one supports are usually those outside of your job such as your family and close friends. If you are keeping those relationships positive, you are more likely to be happy at work. Maintaining a fulfilling and healthy personal life will ultimately make you a happier and more productive employee.
- Keep Your Resume Updated
Even if you’re not job searching, it’s a good practice to keep your resume updated. This is true for three reasons: First, if the need should arise for you to begin job searching, you will have an accurate account of all the work that you did and responsibilities you held which will prevent giving less detailed or generic descriptions of your work. Secondly, you never know when you may get laid off (which is a lot more common given our current economic state), and trying to complete a resume is more traumatic than you might realize. The mental state of someone who has been laid off can lead them to develop their resume hurriedly and sloppily. Lastly, when getting promoted or looking to transfer within the company to a new department, you are often asked for your resume. It displays a high level of preparedness to have your resume readily available with the most current information when the boss asks for it!
Making sure that you take action and remain proactive in achieving your career goals is the overall key to maintaining forward momentum in your career. Don’t overdo it, but be conscious of the personal issues and characteristics that may be a hindrance to your forward progress. As you develop skills and traits that you once lacked, those around you will recognize your development and reward your work. Good luck.