Stepping Up

By Robert Goldman

July 18, 2019 5 min read

Good news!

You are only 11 steps away from getting promoted.

So says Libby Kane, the author of "Bosses Tell Us: 11 Things That Will Get You Promoted," a recent post on The Muse website.

Kane is quick to put the kibosh on typical, woo-woo, wishy-washy advice. "And we don't mean 'be more confident' or 'be more passionate,'" she writes. "We mean specific actions you can take to impress your superiors — and take home a bigger paycheck."

Sounds good to me. Let's start steppin'!

Step No. 1 recommends you "Tell Me I'm Wrong."

That's right! At least one boss is waiting for you to call them out. "I love when someone smart challenges my thinking," one manager insists. Of course, the criticism is supposed to come from a smart person, which pretty much rules out thee and me, but it's still worth a try.

"You know, boss, I've been working here for quite a while, and I've recently realized that things go wrong because you're an idiot," is one good way to serve up your criticism du jour.

Be prepared that your boss may show his appreciation for your honesty by sending two burly security guards to carry you and your Tatty Teddy collection to the street, which, considering your current job, would definitely qualify as a promotion.

"Bring the Bad News First" is step No. 2. Easy peasy. Just start every day by showing up at your boss's office and announcing, "I'm here!"

"Be Drama-Free" is step No. 3. As one manager puts it, "Your job is to make your boss's life easier, not plop your drama on his or her lap." Of course, if you want your boss to go to human resources and recommend you for a promotion, plop yourself on his or her lap. Your boss will run to HR so fast it will make your head spin.

Step No. 4 is the most difficult: "Smile."

"Your boss would like to harbor the fantasy that you actually like your job," Kane writes. "Put on a smile, and show your boss you appreciate the opportunity."

Can't do it? Think of jobs that are worse than yours. The person who test-sniffs the efficacy of deodorants comes to mind. How about the poor soul who extracts snake venom at the zoo's reptile house?

Oh, those people already turned down your job?

Better put that smile on hold.

"Take Notes" is Step No. 5. "Impress your supervisor by keeping a paper and pen ... at hand, ready to record the things you need to remember."

Making a record of what your boss actually says may not impress them, but it certainly will freak them out. Explain that you're not just taking notes: You're collecting evidence. You don't have to say why you need evidence. You'll be promoted before the ink dries.

"Never Skip the Office Party" is Step No. 6. And don't forget to bring your video camera. The hi-jinks you record will give you a year's worth of leverage.

Step No. 7 is "Don't Expect to be Rewarded."

"Don't walk around with the air that you deserve it," says a boss.

But you do deserve it. You do come in to work most days. Yes, you come late and leave early, but you are there, at your desk, pretty darn often — sometimes. Maybe.

If that's not enough to get your boss to promote you, it's certainly enough to get them to leave you alone. Hey, those Tatty Teddys are not going to dust themselves.

"Hold Up Your End" is Step No. 8. "Complaining about your role on the team is both futile and aggravating to your boss." Agreed. It's much better to silently spread poisonous gossip about your boss until they get fired and you take their place.

Step No. 9, "Ask How You Can Help," and No. 10, "Have a Solution," can work together.

Tell your manager that you have a solution to the department's problems. You'll take over as boss.

"Hey, a chimpanzee could do your job," you explain helpfully, "but since no chimpanzee is interested, I'll take the gig."

The 11th and final step is challenging: "Know Your Job — and Do It."

If the price you have to pay for a promotion is to actually start doing some work, you definitely should skip it.

Who wants to get promoted because they deserve it?

Better to continue doing almost nothing and getting paid for it. Eventually, you'll be promoted by mistake.

Hey, how do you think your boss got their job?

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay

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