Will you get promoted? Take the test


One of the most important indicators of whether or not you should switch jobs is if you are in line for a promotion. It’s not so much that you should be climbing a ladder, but more that if you are not being recognized for great work then you’re probably not doing great work. And if you are not doing great work, this is not the job for you. We should all be doing great stuff.

So take this quiz to find out if you will get promoted.

1. Are you friends with your boss?
The hardest workers don’t get promoted. The most likable people get promoted.

Here is the big test for you: Did that sentence make you angry? You lose one point. That’s because you are wishing that you did not have to be likable and you are mad that people who work less than you do get promoted ahead of you.

If the sentence did not piss you off, then you are in good shape. But maybe you should work a little less and do office politics a little more. This is not obnoxious advice because office politics is about being nice.

Did you already know it’s about being nice? Give yourself a point. If not, click here to read about it. And then give yourself a point for reading. Hold it. Look. I’ve just invented a new form of the self-quiz where you become more likable by clicking on my blog posts. Great traffic-building tactic.

2. Are you working on high-profile projects?
Do you work on the project that everyone else wanted? Give yourself a point. Did you say to yourself, “Who knows? I don’t know what everyone else wanted.” You lose a point. How can you get yourself onto good projects if you are not in the middle of the fray finding out what’s available and what’s hot?

The key to making yourself useful to your boss is to work on the stuff that matters to your boss. Sure, everything matters, but some stuff matters more than others. The stuff that your boss’s bonus depends on matters more than properly filling out your expense report. That’s a good place to start. Hopefully you can approach the issue of managing up in more nuanced ways than that.

If you made a mental note to click on the link to managing up, give yourself a point, because you care. If you moused-over the link and saw you already read the post, you can still take the point.

3. Are you paid at the high end of the range for your position?
Investigate the salary range for your job. Check PayScale, and then ask around at work — don’t be shy because everyone else is asking too. If you’re at the top of the range, give yourself a point. If you were embarrassed to tell your co-workers how much more you are making than they are, give yourself two points, but don’t bring this topic up again.

If you’re at the low end, then you were not highly valued to begin with, so getting people to switch their opinion of you is going to be hard. You can do it by asking your boss to get you to the top of the range, and then back up your request by listing all the achievements you’ve made in your new position.

Too scared to do this? You lose three points. Did you do this and the boss ignored you? Lose two points (and remember that you got a point for trying—it’s a good lesson meant to inspire fearlessness later.)

4. Do you work fewer hours than everyone else?
If you work fewer hours than everyone around you, I can promise you that they are annoyed. Did you just click to your email to tell me that you work less hours because you’re smarter than everyone else? Take away two points. Because no one cares how smart you are (see number one on this list).

You should not be the hardest worker because that makes you look desperate. But you can’t work the fewest hours either, because then you look like you don’t care. And that’s being a bad team player, even if you are getting the work done. If you find you have a lot of extra time because you’re a total genius and you finish everything early, spend more time networking at the office. Because you can never have enough time for that.

Can you remember the last time you initiated a conversation with someone who dislikes you? Give yourself a point for good office politics and a point for bravery.

5. Do you feel like you are due a promotion because of your experience?
No promotion is set in stone. Even if you have it in writing. You can be laid off, right? So you need to work constantly campaigning for yourself if you want to get that promotion. Do you spend your days focusing on doing your job, or do you do a little bit extra so you can be a star performer?

Give yourself a point for setting aside time each day to let people know how great you are. Take a point away if you think people who do this are annoying.

Give yourself a point if you can think of the last thing you did where you consciously said, this is way beyond the call of duty, but it will be good for my career.

Score yourself:

5 or more points – You will probably be promoted. Maybe you should announce your score in the comments section of this blog and leave a link to your resume, because everyone should want to hire you.

3-4 points – You’re doing well. Look at where you lost points and fix it. Obvious advice but in fact, very few people can actually fix their shortcomings. With a score of 3 or 4 points, you probably can.

1-2 points – You need coaching because you’re not understanding what you need to do at work in order to meet your goals. You’re focusing on the wrong stuff and you’re going to come to a point where you want things in your life and your career that you can’t get because you didn’t understand the underbelly of the business world.

less than one point – You’re in trouble. Maybe your best bet is to retake the test…

70 replies
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  1. Please
    Please says:

    By the way, got the job, took the job! Better money, title, and atmosphere. Whew. Can’t wait to start.

  2. Liza
    Liza says:

    I’m an admin asst. so I have to be nice to everyone.

    My boss trusts me with her dogs :)

    I think I’m doing well.

  3. Travell
    Travell says:

    My boss entrusts me with only the best, often times secretive, projects. We have dinners at either of our houses when traveling abroad once a month give or take a week.

    As for hard work though, well I actually work past 6pm est so maybe I need to work on that =/.

  4. ICeyone
    ICeyone says:

    I think some of this is good, however others are not so good.

    If you are too good at your job then you won’t be promoted as your boss cannot afford to lose you, however if you aren’t good enough your boss won’t respect you and you won’t get anywhere.

    It’s about being a team player but also about standing up for yourself when you need to.

    Office politics is boring, however you need to know how things work in the jungle, otherwise you will be eaten.

  5. Gaby
    Gaby says:

    Well.. I guess office politics is something I am terribly bad at… always top performer, never promoted… only the best friend of the boss which she referred gets promoted

  6. Brenda
    Brenda says:


    #1 is dead on – I am a quiet, hard working woman who uses her time efficiently. However, that wasn’t enough to get me recognized by the licentious boss. He promoted a woman ahead of me who had less experience and less education. She liked to flirt with him (playing him like a violin) and wore low-cut tops, using it to her advantage. I eventually left the company (why would I want to stay working at a place where promotions go to women who act like Ginger from Gilligan’s Island). BTW, I mentioned this to HR during my exit interview and they told me that they had rec’d other complaints of favoritism about this woman. Two days after I quit, the boss was fired!

  7. Conrad
    Conrad says:

    I have always thought that working hard to make improvments, working until the work was done and assisting employees with their needs and treating them fairly and consistently in my HR benefit representative role is what would help me get promoted to a benefit administrator or supervisor/manager within my organization. I have been told by upper management that I am very good at what I do, and my boss has told me he can’t afford to replace me and it did get me one raise when I talked to him about changing roles within HR. What I have found, is that this specific job does not make you a likable person with the rest of the organization. Telling resigning, discharged or reduced staff when benefits will end or they no longer have their jobs is what I do. Also saying no to active employees or upper management who want you to bend the process or policy almost until it breaks gets you labeled even while apologizing for not being able to do something for someone. What do you when the only customers who thank you the most for doing a great job helping them are the ones leaving the company? The only way I see I can play the game of office politics in this role, is to meet the requests of those who hold upper level roles, even if I’m telling the next person no. I haven’t been able to do this due to my own ethics but also it would be illegal in many cases. I believe I am respected for my standards, but promotion would be nice too. Politics are in every job you could have, you just have to find that even ground.

  8. oludayo sokoya
    oludayo sokoya says:

    I have been on the same position now for 4 years and I work really hard. I was recommended for the promotion during the last promotion exercise in my office but somehow, that appraisal review was not acted upon. I really need advice on what to do here cause I do not know when next I will be promoted in this establishment.

  9. me
    me says:

    I got 0 points :-( what the hell is wrong with me…
    and I used to enjoy my work until the time when I realized that I got stuck in one and the same position for almost 4 years now, although I am considered one of the best people in my team.

  10. Mahendra
    Mahendra says:

    Respected Sir,
    I got 5 Point. but i will not promot because my HR department says because i had promoted last year so i will not promot, but i want what can i do?

  11. dubturbo
    dubturbo says:

    Thanks for some other magnificent post. Where else could anyone get that kind of info in such a perfect method of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and I’m at the look for such information.

  12. hector c
    hector c says:

    I had recently was suppose to b promoted i missed on baby bonding did special projects and get turned down last minute they lied to me and emberassed me and gave the positions to non hardworkers and that do not have experience and that have no people skills i guess since im not sniffin their ass they made me go threw a proccess and nothing turned down a good job quit my other job and lost money n tyme with my baby n whife that.had c.section and all.becouse they told me if your not hete during that time u will miss out and i was there and i got it alrite emberassment n hurt lol

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