We Ask, You Answer: How to Get a Promotion

asking boss promotion mobile

The community of readers at ONE37pm is an expert-level resource. You guys are burgeoning entrepreneurs, street-style aficionados, consumers of popular culture and in the know on all things sports. And we’ve seen your skillful comments on our gaming articles. It’s almost as if you should be writing articles yourselves.

It’s only right that you get a chance to shine each month. Welcome to ONE37pm’s Contributors Club. We ask, and you answer.

Each and every response was personal, heartfelt and genuine. We were so grateful to read your words and learn about your experiences in the workplace. 

The following three responses (sorry, we couldn’t narrow it down to just one) were vastly different in their context, voice and style. We learned so much from combing through thiseloquent advice, and we hope you take this knowledge from your peers. 

And fam, please remember to stand up for yourselves. You are valuable. If you’re hustling and grinding in the way that we know you are, keep bringing the good stuff. Flourish. 

Andi Harlow

Andi Harlow crafted a heartfelt and intimate response, letting us into her world as a self-employed entrepreneur. We were captivated by her tone of voice and open honesty. 

I work for the most demanding boss I’ve ever known: myself. She is an ambitious, competitive, creative and fiercely determined artist manager. As an entrepreneur, these are admirable attributes. But as a people-pleasing perfectionist, they often render me paralyzed as an employee, second-guessing every decision as opposed to going with what I feel in my gut to be the right move, which has rarely led me astray.

All told, a “promotion” for me would not be monetary; it would be freedom from mentally flogging myself, shackled to an “all-or-nothing, and now” mentality. It would be freedom to explore disruptive visions without fear of failure or what others think of me. Most of all, it would be freedom to be my most authentic self: confident, yet emotionally passionate and kind—traits often seen as a weakness in my industry. Oh, and the freedom to just simply... screw up once in a while, keep moving, and be able to laugh it off and enjoy the journey.

So, what’s the best way to ask my boss for a promotion? I would remind my boss of past wins but say with conviction that if I do not receive said promotion, she (and our artists) will miss out on the best of my full, untapped potential—and potentially regret what could have been.

My advice to others would be to clearly communicate your request with humble confidence. Be open to constructive criticism, but remain steadfast in your convictions and self-worth. Do whatever you have to do, make whatever sacrifice you have to make (even if that means eating ramen noodles at age 40, like yours truly). Allowing yourself to remain in a position that doesn’t allow you to level-up only breeds discontentment and resentment. The world deserves the very best version of you. Otherwise, you’re not doing anyone any justice—much less yourself.

Now if you’ll please excuse me, I need to go ask my boss for a promotion.

Chuck McBride

Chuck McBride penned a no-nonsense, practical guide brimming with tips and tricks for getting a promotion. Read his actionable tools before your next negotiation. 

Show initiative, and be sure that you are showing up early, staying late, covering for coworkers and more. In short, you should already be going above and beyond in the workplace if you are seeking to move up the ladder. Actions speak louder than words. Conducting yourself in such a way that makes you stand out amongst the crowd will pay in dividends when it comes time to talk about a promotion. Once you’ve established yourself as the person others come to when faced with issues, now it’s time to ask for a meeting. Contact your boss by email, and make it clear that you would like to sit down to discuss your work to date; how well things have been and what could be done for further improvement. Be sure to mention that you would like to do more to contribute and would be willing to take on added responsibility. That way you have made your narrative clear and both parties know what to expect from the upcoming meeting.

Secondly, plan ahead. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Make sure you are prepared for any questions regarding your position and the one you are hoping to acquire. Rehearse your script; have a memorized statement so you can deliver your points decisively. Touch on areas that could be improved. Mention terms like bottom line and how you think the business could save money and, in turn, raise profit margins. Most importantly, ready your rebuttals, approaching the conversation like a game of chess. Know where you stand, know what your true value is and what assets you bring to the table. Consider your opposition’s state of mind. What is your boss thinking? What do they think of you and, more importantly, what is their modus operandi? Play to their business-savvy mind. Make leading statements that guide the conversation in the direction which fits your narrative.

Lastly, always stay three steps ahead. When making a statement, have the next bullet points mentally prepared. Hold your composure when faced with a no and be prepared with arebuttal. Never react emotionally and always counter intelligently. Stay focused. Be sure your words are clear and concise when retorting. Make sure to include the fact that your only goal is to do anything and everything that may be required of you in order to increase the level of success at your workplace. It isn’t simply about acquiring said promotion; it is about the new responsibility and challenge that you wish to shoulder.

Any conversation with higher-ups can be nerve-racking. Follow these steps: come prepared, stay composed and remain confident. Your next proposal for a promotion should be smooth sailing.

Roberto Rodriguez Flores

Roberto Rodriguez Flores's response felt the most creative. He used line breaks to tell his concise advice and we were enraptured by his tenacity and spirit. 

This is one of those questions that almost every employee may have wondered in their career. Maybe you kind of got an answer or never really got a clear answer? Or maybe you got the usual “it really depends” response...

Try asking the boss and you may forget why you asked in the first place...

So, then... that brings us back to what is the best way to ask your boss for a promotion?

Well, it’s simple. You don’t. Think about it. A promotion is really just a change in position.

You are still the same person if you are the CEO or the damn cashier of a store. You are just in a different position with different responsibilities. Think to your childhood, when you played dodgeball in PE, who got picked first to be on the teams? The good kids. How’d you know they were good? They showed skill on previous dodgeball days.

Now think of your workplace. If it is a reasonable place with reasonable leaders, they should be able to recognize greatness, if you can show it.

So, how do you get a promotion?

Again, it’s simple. Do the work and don’t ask. Just do and be the best.

In order to be in a position for a promotion or to “get picked” for the promotion you are looking for, you have to be doing the things that are out of your job description. Tasks and duties that benefit the company, the new position or whatever it is you are trying to accomplish. Taking on new responsibilities without order, just out of a will.

Why? Because you want a promotion, remember? And if you really want it, you’ll know what needs to be done. Be the one that is really good at a specific task and it may come down to you being the only one that can do the job and do it right. For example, I am a horrible writer, I have never written an article before, but what am I doing?

Submitting what I think is my best work. Going beyond my comfort zone. Just like this writing, you don’t ask for a promotion or a chance. You show them what you can do.

Just get the job done, do more than enough and move on to the next. Put in the work and the extra effort and do it the best you can and you’ll come to see that you may be one of the best, if not at least better than most...

...and soon enough you may not be the one doing the asking.

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