Are You Promotable?

Published: Apr 03, 2019
Modified: Mar 19, 2020

By Kate Wendleton

There is a big difference between being "promotable" (valued but likely to stay right where you are) and actually getting promoted.

You are promotable if you are:

  • Included in meetings where other peers are not included
  • Told secrets—things you are sure others are not being told
  • Assigned to important task forces
  • Asked for input on major decisions
  • Given more responsibility, including tasks your manager is responsible for

You work hard and are valued—even promotable—but maybe your boss would like to keep you right where you are. So ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you get along well with your peers? Those who are disliked rarely become the boss. It would be unpopular, and your peers may quit.
  • Do you like your boss? If you don't like your boss, chances are that your boss does not like you.
  • Have you ever undermined your boss? If so, forget about a promotion.
  • Are you known to your boss's peers? You must be clearly visible in the power structure to get promoted.

Maybe a move up right now would not fit your current plans. Keep in mind:

  • If the next level doesn't make sense to you, it probably won't make sense to others either.
  • You know where you should be going and have plotted out your career path. You know, for example, whether you need marketing, finance, or people management skills for that next move.
  • You are getting the experience you need—for example, from task forces or special projects.
  • You have a record of success. If you are considered a star, you will stand out and be considered. They'll figure you will be a star again.
  • You are active in your industry. Most people who are successful in their organizations are also successes outside: in their industry, associations or community organizations.
  • Up is not the only way to advance. A lateral move may be the right one for you at this point in your career.

Another issue to consider: Are you in the right place at the right time?  You may be doing well but your company may be stagnant. If so, you may have to wait for better times. Ask youself:

  • Is your boss going somewhere? If there's no movement in the organization, you are not in the right place in the right time.
  • Have you groomed someone to take your place? If not, your boss may hesitate to move you on.

When should you leave? Don't wait until you're so battered that you can barely think straight. Consider lateral moves into faster-growing companies. Big companies add credentials to your resume; small companies add responsibility and experience.

© The Five O'Clock Club. All rights reserved.

About the Author(s)

Kate Wendleton is the founder of The Five O'Clock Club, a job-search strategy group that helps job hunters and career changers.  For further information on the Five O'Clock Club, visit