Up or out. That’s the Army way. That’s the GE way. That’s the CPA Big-4 way. Get passed up for a few promotions and you are pushed out.
So how do you get respect and a chance to keep a job that people usually get promoted out of?
The wrong way to keep from getting promoted
Keep dice in your drawer. Whenever your boss asks for a decision, roll the dice. Open up a Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master Guide and run your finger down a chart. Then give your answer, the correct answer, not the one from the book. That will keep you from getting promoted. Of course you may lose credibility with your boss, but not all plans are perfect.
The comment about the dice is a joke. Don’t do it.
The right way to keep from getting promoted and yet be too valuable to be pushed out
You can keep from getting pushed out if you don’t want a promotion. First of all, let your boss know you love your job and don’t want a promotion.
Next, to keep from being the ball of hair and grease in your company’s sink trap, help others. You should become the company’s greatest mentor. You can be a mentor as a technician, manager, HR specialist or assembly line worker. Just help others with their careers.
Keep an eye out for complainers and whiners. Avoid them. There is usually very little you can do for them. Look for people who sincerely want to advance. Find the diamonds in the rough. These are people who put in extra work, take night classes and are always helping others. Find the one or two shining examples in the workforce and help them advance.
Often the biggest thing you can do is to recommend one of your diamonds for a project. Then help them to see the critical path for the project and follow it. Give them encouragement along the way. Make sure they know where the levers of power are. They need to know who really makes things happen in the company.
As a person who doesn’t want a promotion, you need to help the people blocked by your permanence. Help them move up beside you or to hop over you. If you get a reputation for developing leaders, you will never be laid off. Good companies covet good leaders.
Something to do today
You should be developing leaders whether you want to stay where you are or not. In your job journal write down the names of the top one or two candidates for promotion in your group. Help them out. Be a mentor even if you aren’t above them.
Later: Row away