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4 reasons To Ask for a Promotion - Even When You Don’t Feel Ready

Updated: Jun 6, 2018

Julie Isbill

Whether you work in fast-food, on the factory floor, or your work-days are an exact reenactment of scenes from The Office, it’s natural to start wondering whether you’re reaching your true potential in the workplace. Many of us spend our idle moments dreaming of job progression and career advantage.

However, for most of us, that daydream can quickly turn into second-guessing whether we’d have any reason to ask for a promotion in the first place. It can be easier to sit around waiting, hoping that our boss will randomly bestow a promotion upon us any day now. But why wait? Chances are your boss either thinks you’re perfectly happy with your current role or isn’t thinking about you at all (Err, sorry to be harsh).

So if you’re not sure whether or not you’re ready to grab the proverbial bull by the horns and ask for the big P, check out our top four reasons why you should anyway:

1. You’ve Worked There for Five Years or More (Even if it doesn’t feel like it…)

Oh, how the days slip by! It seems like just yesterday you nervously stepped through the doors of your workplace for the first time, fresh faced and eager to please. Now, it’s somehow five years later and you’re well and truly planted there; you have your work bestie, spare tights in the drawer, and your own dedicated space in the fridge. Yet, somehow, you’re still at the same desk doing the exact same job you interviewed for all those years ago and you feel more than ready for a change.

In today’s changing job climate, it’s no long cut-and-dry when it comes to the appropriate service length to ask for a promotion. Some companies seem to promote their staff before their new employee even has their coat off whilst others are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to job progression.

However, after five years at a company, you’ll have demonstrated yourself to be capable of the work and you know the business inside and out. Now it’s your time to shine.

2. You’re Irreplaceable

You’re the glue that holds the place together. The cog that keeps the system going. The oil that keeps the machine going…well, you get the point.

Without you, your workplace would struggle to run as efficiently. Whether it’s knowing the phone numbers of all the suppliers off-by-heart, being the only one who can figure out the spreadsheets or having the magic touch when it comes to the temperamental deep-fat fryer, you bring something special.

Have you ever taken unexpected days off for sickness or an appointment and found yourself inundated with panicked phone calls from your boss? Are colleagues always hovering around your desk, waiting for help with one thing or another? These are sure signs you’re ready to step up and take on a promotion.

By the way, sorry if Beyoncé is stuck in your head now……♫ to the left, to the left…♫

3. You’re in the Wrong Job (Kind of)

Hopefully you’re good at keeping paperwork because it’s time to dig out the job contract. If you can’t find it, try searching online for the original job posting you applied for or the job application form you sent.

Check out the role description and pay attention to any tasks, roles and/or responsibilities listed. Now make a list of all the tasks, roles and responsibilities that you carry out at work now and compare.

If you’re currently carrying out a lot more work than the job description originally called for, or your role today isn’t even remotely similar, then it’s time to ask for a promotion.

You didn’t even realise that you’ve already stepped up because over time your job description has changed – so you are definitely ready to go for it!

4. You Want To

Maybe you’ve only been there six months, you’re doing exactly what the job description was and you haven’t reached Beyoncé status around the office yet. But, you still want a promotion - and that’s okay.

If you know your true capabilities, skills and value and think they aren’t being put to full use, don’t be afraid to tell your boss exactly that. This is your career and only you are in a charge of it.

Even if you’re turned down for a promotion, the good thing is that you’ll get feedback in the process on what you need to do to get it and your boss will be aware that it’s what you’re aiming for.

Only the lucky find a mentor in their work life who’s going to champion them. For the rest of us poor unlucky souls, we’re on our own.

But you know what? I think we’ll do just fine.


Blog Post by: Elcie Burrows - Professional writer. Published by Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, Oxfam, and Bust. Reddit Live & Breaking News.

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