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not going for a promotion?

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Old 22nd May 2015, 10:59 PM   #1
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not going for a promotion?

i have been with my job for 12 years. i have moved around into different departments from time to time but never moved up. i make a lot of money in my current position and have always thought it wasn't worth it to add supervisory stress for the increased pay. the thing is, my company (federal government) only opens promotional exams every 3 years. they just opened one - i finally applied. but now i am having second thoughts and don't want to interview. has anyone ever not promoted in their job purposely and been ok with it over the long term? my family is saying i will be seen in a negative light by never pursuing promotions at the company. all of my friends are applying so i feel some pressure to do it, but in my heart i don't care. anyone have some opinions? thanks.
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Old 23rd May 2015, 11:34 AM   #2
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After 12 years, I wouldn't think you'd need to worry about whether it reflects negatively on you if you don't apply for a promotion. They clearly already like having you around. As long as you're competently performing your job and not doing anything detrimental, then with your kind of tenure there, I'd think you could only get better in the eyes of management-- whether you apply for a promotion or not.

That said, you may surprise yourself by liking the new position. Again, after 12 years, managing can be more meaningful. You might be more trusted, and the stresses might not be that great.

Use the interview as a way to interview them about the position. Politely make it clear that you are doing so. Tell them you are very happy in your current position, and you wouldn't change it for anything that wasn't a great fit for you. Then ask some pointed questions about the job. And, rather than asking whether it's too stressful (might sound like "is it too much work?")-- ask whether a lot of your energy will be taken away from the substance of the job you're enjoying now.

If the interview reveals that you really won't like the job as much as your current position, go to management later the same day and explain as much. Say that you'd like them not to consider you for the promotion because you are very content where you are and you'd like to keep using the skill set you have. Management isn't just a step up-- it requires a different skill set. Not just more skills, but different ones.

I think you'll be well respected for saying that. I work in government too and (one thing I like about it is) I definitely don't see this attitude of "respecting" someone for "just going for it" and trying to become a "success" without regarding the rest of the world. Instead, what's respected is competence, effort, and good exercise of professional judgment. You'd be conveying all of those things if you carefully considered the position and turned it down unless a very good fit. Again, always emphasize how much you like your current position when explaining your decision.

That's my advice anyway.
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