Not Getting a Promotion? You Might Be to Blame!

Not Getting a PromotionNot getting a promotion can be frustrating to say the least. It’s only natural to feel disappointed, angry, and disgruntled when you didn’t get the promotion you think you deserve. It’s also natural to want to shift the blame onto others.

If you’re not getting a promotion, you’ve probably had thoughts along these lines…

“My boss just doesn’t like me.”

“My co-workers are just a bunch of suck ups.”

It’s because I’m a woman/a man/black/ white/too young/too old.”

Sound familiar?

Well, as much as you want to blame others for not getting a promotion, you may want to look in the mirror for someone to blame. The hard truth is that you may be the only person you can blame for not getting a promotion.

Are you guilty of any of these workplace faux pas?

1. You don’t dress the part.

To get the part, you’ve got to dress the part! If you don’t follow your company’s dress code or you have a sloppy appearance, you can’t expect to be promoted. Employers and business owners are looking for leaders who look put together, professional, and neat.

The Fix: Keep your work clothes separate from your casual clothes and always change when you get home to keep them in good shape. Wash and iron your work clothes regularly, and replace any damaged or stained work clothes as soon as possible.

2. You have poor personal grooming habits. 

Messy hair may be cute and endearing when you’re lounging at home in your ‘jamas but it has no place in the workplace. Neither do ragged nails, chipped nail polish, too much makeup, bad breath or body odor.

The Fix: Take pride in your appearance, especially when you’re heading to work. Get regular hair cuts, do your nails, and practice good hygiene. If necessary, set your alarm an hour early to give yourself a little extra time before work.

3. You have visible tattoos and piercings. 

Body art can be a beautiful form of self-expression, but your boss may not be as impressed with it as you are. It’s not uncommon for companies to pass up employees for promotions if they have visible body art. Many people find visible body art to be unprofessional.

The Fix: Cover any visible tattoos with clothing, if possible. You can also use makeup to cover some tattoos, but this can be extremely difficult. As for piercings, it’s best just to remove facial piercing or excess ear piercings. If your belly button piercing is visible, see #1. If you’re worried about your piercings closing, you’ll need to decide which is more important—your piercings or your career?

4. You’re a disorganized clutter bug. 

Disorganization can lead to costly mistakes in the business world. If you’re disorganized or a clutter-bug, that could be why you’re not getting a promotion.

The Fix: Keep your workspace clean, neat, and organized at all times. Take a few moments to tidy up whenever you have a free moment, and put away loose papers, files, or tools.

5. You’re a gossip.

Were probably all guilty of gossiping at one time or another. If you’re gossiping at work, though, you could be costing yourself a promotion.

The Fix: Knock it off! No matter how juicy that little tidbit is, keep it to yourself. If co-workers or bosses come to you with workplace gossip, politely excuse yourself and refrain from commenting.

6. You’re a complainer. 

Constant complaining could be another reason that you’re not getting a promotion. Complaining about your job is irritating at best. However, it can also make you appear as though you’re not happy and looking elsewhere. Not to mention, nobody likes a whiner!

The Fix: We’re all overloaded and unappreciated—that’s just life. Try focusing on the positive instead of complaining. If you can’t find anything positive at work at all, it may be time to polish that resume and move on.

7. You’re religious or spiritual. 

There’s nothing wrong at all with embracing your faith—until you start pushing it on others, that is. Employees who are too religious or spiritual may be regarded as pushy and annoying, which aren’t usually traits that employers look for in leaders.

The Fix: Don’t give up your faith, but understand that unless you work in a church, religion has no place in the workplace and not everyone shares your views. Refrain from trying to convert your coworkers and engaging in religious discussions.

8. You’re addicted to your phone.

Cell phones these days can keep us completely connected and in tune with the whole world. Cell hones at work though, can be huge distractions. Constantly being seen with a phone in front of your face give off the impression that you’re more interested with checking your Facebook than doing your job. It can also make you very unapproachable and can be rude in some cases.

The Fix: The best solution to this problem would be to simply leave your phone in your car, desk, locker, or purse when you’re at work. If this isn’t possible, consider muting your phone and only check it when you’re alone or on a break. Also, never use or answer your phone during meetings, luncheons, or other work-related business.

9. You have a bad attitude.

You may not realize it, but you may have a bad attitude at work. If you find that you’re constantly snapping at coworkers, complaining about your job, or arguing with your boss, it could be costing you that promotion. Employees who are seen as combative or just plain nasty will rarely be promoted.

The Fix: Fixing a bad attitude isn’t an easy thing to do—just ask my daughter! However, if you’re not getting a promotion because of your attitude, it’s time to rein it in. Make an extra effort to be pleasant to coworkers and focus on the positive aspects of your job. If you must argue a point, do it respectfully. With a little luck and a lot of work, you may be able to save face and come out on top, but don’t expect it to happen overnight. A bad attitude isn’t something that employers are able to forget overnight.

10. You haven’t asked about a promotion. 

You can’t always get something if you don’t ask for it. If you’re not getting a promotion, maybe it’s because you haven’t been proactive enough and taken the necessary steps to make it happen.

The Fix: Don’t expect your work to speak for itself; you need to speak for your work. It’s time to have a meeting with your boss. Put together compelling evidence that you’re a valuable asset to the team, and set up a meeting. Even if you find out that you’re still not getting a promotion, at least your boss can give you some insight as to why and what you need to improve upon.


What are your thoughts on not getting a promotion? What other tips would you give frustrated employees?

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