Am I just not cut out for the corporate world?
May 8, 2012 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Any advice for what I should do when the inevitable happens, and I am informed I did not get this promotion? How can I prevent losing faith in everything job related if this is how things work around here?

I applied for an internal promotion at my currently job several months ago. The first week of April I was informed that I would be interviewing for the position, as well as 11 other applicants. I was informed that the results of this interview would determine the 3-5 candidates that would move on to the next portion of the process, the dreaded panel interview. Three weeks later I was informed that I was selected to move on, and scheduled for a panel interview 2 days later, as well as given a case study to prepare a presentation on. The case study required me to use a system that, not only do I not work with regularly, but that I do not even have access to. By using all of my contacts from my current position, I obtained the necessary information and prepared a thorough presentation, including a time line of events and recommendations for training based on the information. I even came up with a little word play to help the training stick on that particular issue, and prepared a job aid, hand out, and timeline to accompany the presentation. I even placed everything in a packet to hand out to all of the managers in the panel interview. All of the comments that I received were positive for my presentation and the interview portion, and I left feeling confident that I had shown them I was capable, organized, and the kind of leader that we need. I was told they were making their decision that week, and I should hear something then. This Thursday will make it two weeks, and I am dying to hear any kind of news. One of my coworkers is friendly with another girl up for the position and asked her if she had heard anything, to which the girl responded that she had not, but was sure that the job was hers. This girl is notorious for brown nosing, specifically with the head of the panel. When I have presented this information to other coworkers they have regretfully informed me that there is most likely no way that I will get the position. That this girl has likely been promised this position already by the head of the panel, who apparently has a history of overriding the decisions of the others. I haven't heard anything yet, but I am preparing for the worst, and all of this waiting is making it even more infuriating. If this girl had the position all along, why not tell us immediately? Why even bother with putting us through the stress of the panel interview in the first place? How can I deal with this and not completely lose faith in everything in the office? I've always had a very strong work ethic with everything I have done, but I can already feel that this is going to crush me, and cause me to feel like there is no reason for me to work as hard as I do, if others are rewarded for brown nosing rather than their work. I'm always friendly and helpful to everyone, but I'm not going to make an effort to get up from my desk and go chat with someone if I don't have a reason to. Is all hope for me lost in the corporate world? Also, should I even attempt to get an update on the decision?
posted by Quincy to Work & Money (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You should ask the mods to make your question anonymous.
posted by The World Famous at 1:38 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Even if they had someone in mind for this particular position, your interview was not for nothing. I worked for a company that did this all the time - they'd interview people they were not going to promote to that position as a way of gauging their "leadership" etc. for future positions. If you think you did well in the interview and do not get the spot, I wouldn't despair completely - they'll remember that you did well and this could factor into future internal hiring.
posted by newg at 1:43 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Is all hope for me lost in the corporate world?

Did you expect to get every single promotion you applied for over the course of your life? 11 other people also applied for the job. Are 10 of those people also not cut out for the corporate world? There will be other openings.

The advantages: you put yourself "out there" and left a good impression on the other people in management. They know your name, and you will start off from a position of familiarity when you need to contact them about something. Also, you now have experience doing work on an executive level that you can leverage when looking to make a move elsewhere.
posted by deanc at 1:48 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

Maybe it's taking this long because it's a difficult decision - maybe the panel was impressed enough by another candidate that they're making it difficult for the panel head to push his personal choice through. That doesn't mean "get your hopes up", but I'd consider it to indicate that this Ms Schmoozer is not the shoo-in that she thinks she is.

No matter what the outcome of this is, you can make this into a very positive experience: you've interacted in a really impressive way with the interview panel, you've demonstrated to yourself and others that you're good under pressure, you've learned new skills that you didn't have before the interview, you've got some personal experience with interviewing that should help you out inthe next phase of your career no matter what that might turn out to be.
posted by aimedwander at 1:54 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Well, the other girl didn't hear anything either, right? They may still be making a decision; I don't see a reason in your post to assume otherwise, unless I'm missing something.

As others said above, I don't think this means you're not cut out for promotions. It's great that you had the chance to interview. If nothing else, it's good practice experience.
posted by mlle valentine at 1:54 PM on May 8, 2012

(Sorry, I do see the part about the head of the panel; but even so, I don't think it sounds like a sure thing, more like the other girl likes to talk herself up.)
posted by mlle valentine at 1:55 PM on May 8, 2012

Best answer: It sounds like you did really well, working through all of the hurdles set forth, perhaps even exceeding expectations. At this stage, you don't really know who will get the job, and you might be surprised by the results; best not to think about it, and to focus on your daily tasks until the news (good or bad) comes up. In fact, don't talk to other coworkers about it, while you wait; right now you're all speculating, and that never ends well. Best to take a "well, I feel good about my ability to do the job, but what will be, will be" attitude, especially if people try to discuss this with you again.

However, I have to tell you that what you perceive as brown-nosing is, quite honestly, a necessary prerequisite for taking a leadership position. You have to look for the good in a situation, in a person, in a team, in a challenge, and vocalize that aspect above all others. Granted, it may be frustrating to think that someone's making up lies to forward their career, and perhaps they are, but they may be genuinely sincere, or at least actively overlooking certain negatives in order to help everyone, not just themselves.

In short, if you do not get the job, it won't be something you should become disillusioned about; rather, it should make you read this statement of yours again: "I'm always friendly and helpful to everyone, but I'm not going to make an effort to get up from my desk and go chat with someone if I don't have a reason to." And then think about how nice your coworkers would feel if, once in a while, you made an effort to get up and go chat with someone even though you don't have a reason to. That's the kind of thing a leader does -- and should do -- all the time, because your coworkers are people, not file cabinets that you only interact with when you need something.

Going forward, then, whether you get the position or not, know that you obviously have everything it takes to be a leader (based on your description, anyway) except the people skills, the desire to interact with people daily to improve everyone's morale and productivity, to reach out and let them know you don't just acknowledge them when you need them. So you can and should spend time working on that, if you really want to be a leader.

And if you can't stand to do it? Then all hope is not lost for you in the corporate world. However, you should plan to continue being an individual contributor rather than a manager, because managers who don't know how/don't like to deal with people are terrible, terrible managers, no matter what other skills they may have.
posted by davejay at 2:08 PM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]

Not everyone can get every promotion. Even if you were awesome. You say Brown-Nosing, others say "good with people".

It's the way of the world. If you did as well as you say you did, then don't worry, others will notice. Don't be surprised if you're tapped for something else in the near future.

I once got a promotion because I was willing to work the Pittsburgh territory. If I hadn't been keeping my options open, my networking up to date and my chutzpah at 10, it wouldn't have happened.

Just because the other candidate has a good relationship with the head of the panel, it doesn't mean she isn't qualified for the job.

Once you've been where you've been, the opportunities come fast and furious.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:10 PM on May 8, 2012

And what you have now are rumors-people telling you that you won't get a promotion because of what they think is going on behind the scenes. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are not. Maybe you'll get the job. Maybe she will and it is possible because she's really the better candidate. I guess my caution is nOT to jump to conspiracy theories and gossip if you don't get a promotion. THAT, more than anything else, will stop your career dead.
posted by purenitrous at 8:04 PM on May 8, 2012

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