Ep #39: Is Promotion Entitlement Holding You Back From Landing Your Next Role?
If you’ve been passed over for a promotion that you thought was in the bag, I want you to ask yourself this:
Was I entitled to that promotion?
If your answer is YES, Promotion Entitlement could be the reason you didn’t actually receive it.
Feeling entitled to a promotion is one of the most common problems I see corporate managers struggling with – and most don’t even know it.
(And, as you’ll hear in this episode, it has also been a blindspot for me.)
If you’ve been with a company for a long time, or you’re the hardest worker in your department, it’s kind of natural to think that means you should be first consideration for a promotion.
And it could be true. You should be considered.
But…the problem with feeling entitled is that it can absolutely hold you back from doing the work necessary to land the promotion that you so rightfully deserve.
So, in this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I will be discussing practical tools to help you identify if you are feeling entitled, solutions for what to do about it if you are, AND the reason why getting the promotion you are after too soon can sometimes be bad for your career.
What You'll Learn:
- Exercises to help you determine if feeling entitled is holding you back from success
- Personal examples of times when I have felt entitled (and the impact it had on my career)
- How to let go of your frustration and actually do the work necessary to scale your career
- How entitlement can lead to you ending up in the wrong role
- What will happen to you once you learn how to let go of your entitlement
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer. Super excited, as always, to be here with you today.
Man, we are going through a heat wave in northern California. We actually just broke 100 degrees today and it is hot outside. I hope you guys are doing well in your neck of the woods.
So in today's episode, I'm feeling a little spicy. I don't know if it's because of the heat or if it's just because of the topic. I think it's a little bit of both.
Today's episode is focused on entitlement. This is a triggering word for a lot of people. But I want you to ask yourself: are you entitled to a promotion?
So you might be thinking to yourself: 'Yes. I have put in the hours. I have put in the years at my job, and darn it, I am entitled to a promotion.'
And I am going to show you in today's episode why that could actually be holding you back from getting the promotion that you so rightfully deserve.
Now, you might actually be acting entitled to a promotion and not even realize it. So a large part of today's episode is meant to give you awareness around, is this how you're actually behaving? Because this is a huge blind spot for so many of my clients. They don't even realize that this is the way that they're behaving. And in order to illustrate this, I'm going to give you some personal examples from my own life. I'm going to be very vulnerable with you guys today and share with you some of the blind spots I've had throughout my career where I realized I was actually acting entitled to an outcome.
So in terms of success and being entitled to a certain amount of success in my career, I actually am an extremely hard worker. I don't take things for granted. I'm willing to put in the hours. If people need something from me in the middle of the night, I'm there for them. I'm willing to work multiple jobs. I'm willing to work for many, many different types of people. I have done so many things in my life over the years where people have been like: 'I don't even know how you find the time or the energy to do it all.'
And when I started my business, I also didn't feel very entitled to success necessarily. I knew that it was going to take time. I knew that I would have to work at it. I knew that I would have to do certain things and I would have ups and downs. I would have easy days. I would have hard days. So I never really felt entitled to a certain outcome in my career or my business in terms of success.
But, there were areas, as I look back, where I was acting a little bit entitled. And here are some of those examples.
So I came up with the idea to talk about this episode because I was listening to another podcast by one of my coaching mentors named Stacey Boehman, and she did a podcast episode called Entitlement. And she was referring to entitlement in your business.
I have a coaching business. And she was talking about how so many coaches are feeling like they're entitled to success. Like, you've had your business for a few years, some people have had their business for 10 years, and I should be successful by now. I'm entitled to it. And it's a certain feeling.
So she she did this episode and she actually gave us a couple of exercises at the end of the episode so that we could start to think about how we might be entitled and how that could be holding us back from actually having success in our businesses.
And I'm going to lead you through a couple of exercises that I created to have you think about whether or not you're acting entitled and this is actually holding you back from success as well.
So when I did this exercise that after listening to her podcast, I had a really big realization. So that's the first example of entitlement that I'm going to share with you today.
And I realized that I felt like I was entitled to an office space. It sounds so funny to share with you, but that is actually how I felt. So this is what was going on in my head. I have been wanting to rent an office for a very, very long time. And, you know, I make good money in my business, my husband makes good money at his job. I feel like we should have a bigger house than we do. But we live in Northern California and as you know, housing costs are extremely high here. And so, I think that I was having this feeling that I should have a spare bedroom, a room in my house that I could have dedicated to an office space. And we don't. We don't have an extra room that I could dedicate to an office space, and this caused me a lot of frustration. Because I was always trying to dodge my children. They were messing with my notes and I just didn't feel like I had a space of my own. And I knew that I could afford to rent an office space, but I didn't want to because I felt like I shouldn't have to. I shouldn't have to rent an office space.
So literally, I listen to this one episode by Stacey Boehman and I was like, oh my gosh, I am totally acting entitled here. And literally that week, I went out, rented the office space, and for six months I had a really super fantastic office space and it was absolutely incredible. It felt so good to have all of my things lined up in order. A place to call my own. And all I really had to do in order to rent that is to stop feeling like I should have a bigger house. That I should have more space in my home to have my own office space. So that is one example of entitlement and how it was actually holding me back.
Another thing that came to mind to me when I'm thinking about more ways that I'm acting entitled, is after I had my children, I felt like I should be able to get my body back to normal. That I was entitled to that. And so for you men that are listening to this episode, my apologies, but you've probably have a woman in your life that has had this challenge before. And after we have children, we're just different. Right. And I remember being so frustrated by this difference.
Now, I didn't actually do anything about it. I just felt frustrated. I just felt essentially entitled. Like, why does my body have to feel this way? Why does it feel foreign to me now? Why don't I feel the same in my own skin? And then, once I realized that I was acting entitled, I actually was able to go out and do something about it.
I was able to start exercising more. Instead of thinking I wish I could exercise more, I wish I had more time, or I wish this or that. I just started doing it. I created a plan. Not a plan that I had before babies, a plan for now. A plan that works within my schedule. That actually put me in the driver's seat of owning my choices about this situation instead of acting entitled.
And another thing that I thought about...I mean, it was literally like: 'Oh, shoot. I'm going to have to tell them all of these things that I'm entitled. So hopefully you're not judging me through this podcast episode, and instead, as I'm offering these suggestions, I want you to really ask yourself: 'What ways are you acting entitled to a promotion?'.
So another thing that came to mind is when I was actually working at the hedge fund in New York City, I remember there was a specific situation where I just had a really tough time with a coworker. We did not get along like at all. And it was bad. It was very bad. And he really frustrated me a lot. And I'm sure I frustrated him. And it caused me a lot of anxiety. It caused me a lot of challenge. And I remember at the time feeling doubly frustrated that H.R. wasn't supporting me.
So what I was doing was going and complaining about him. And I was trying to complain about him to other people, And to H.R., and come up with some sort of external solution to figure this whole thing out. And I think I was acting now that I look back on it, very entitled. And that my company should help me out, that they should support me on this. And they weren't. I felt like at the time that they weren't supporting me.
And now that I look back on it in retrospect, if I just let go of the entitlement saying: 'they should be supporting me', I would have been able to come up with the actual solutions to manage my emotions around this particular situation. I would have been able to figure it out. But instead, I was just stuck in frustration.
So that's the first thing that I want you to know, is that when you're stuck and you're feeling frustrated that you're not getting promoted, it's not going to help you get promoted. Being frustrated about not getting promoted is not going to help you get promoted.
I have a fantastic client that I want to share with you her story. She is a vice president. She's absolutely incredible at her job. She's always been really great at her job. And I remember when we first started coaching together, someone got hired into the senior vice president position that she assumed she was in line for. So this was like our second coaching conversation and she was devastated.
She called me up and she was like: 'Oh, my gosh Stacy. You're not going to believe what happened. Duh duh duh duh duh.'
And and I remember asking her: 'Why did you think you were going to get that position? Why do you think that you were entitled, I don't think I used that word at the time it might have set her off, but essentially, why do you think you were entitled to that role?'.
And she was like: 'Well, because I've been working here for a while. It's the next rung up on the ladder. It seems pretty obvious. I get good performance reviews. I don't know. I just felt like it was should have been my job.
And I said: 'No, it shouldn't. You are not guaranteed a promotion just because you work hard. A promotion is not a reward for your hard work. Instead, you have to put yourself out there. You have to go out and align yourself for that promotion.'.
So I asked her at the time, I said: 'Did you tell anybody that that's the position that you wanted?'.
'No, not really. I mean, at one time I did, I think?'
'Did you actually receive feedback that you would be in line for that position? Did someone actually tell you that you were in line for that position?'
The answer was no, no, no, no, no.
That's the thing. Is that this idea of entitlement is 100 percent in our heads. We think that we're set up for something, but we haven't actually done anything to secure the next role. So the beauty about all of this is that, especially with something like entitlement, literally having the awareness around the issue could be enough to change it for you.
So here's what I mean. Going back to the my very first example about the office space. Once I realized that I felt like I was acting entitled, that I should have a bigger house, that I should be able to have an office space in my home. I just stopped. I was like: 'Oh, that's childish.'
Like, no. I am successful. We are successful. We live in Silicon Valley. We don't have a gigantic house. And I'm going to have to go out and rent an office space. It just let go of the entire ego just went out the roof.
So the first thing that I want you to realize is that just having this awareness that you are feeling or acting entitled to get a promotion, could be enough to let go of the frustration that you might be feeling right now because you're not getting promoted.
So then what do you do instead? So you notice, you're like: 'Oh, yeah. I guess I'm acting a little entitled because I've been working at my company for 18 years and I've been in the vice president role for five. And I feel like I should really be in line for the next role. And it's not happening as quick as I wanted to. So, yeah, I'm probably acting a little bit entitled.'.
OK, so you notice it, right? You have awareness. That's enough to actually make a change. Then the question is, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to actually go after that promotion?
And that is what my entire podcast is all about, right? Setting you up, giving you the skills so that you can get promoted into that senior executive leadership role.
So if you just follow the steps that I lay out for you in my podcast, you will have a plan. You will have a strategy. But if you try and do the steps that I lay out for you on my podcast and you're frustrated, you're not going to get there. they're not going to work, so the first thing that you have to do is let go of the frustration, let go of the entitlement, and then you'll be able to get to work.
Another example for my client of mine that you might be able to relate to, is one who took a role, it was a lateral move at a new organization, but she wasn't actually managing people. And at her previous organization, she was managing a group of about 10 people. So she had a lot of people leading experience. But unfortunately, she wasn't able to get that people-leading role at her new organization.
So she had been at this new organization at this point when she hired me for three years. And in her mind, she thought that it would be a seamless move into a higher level management position. But her boss kept telling her, the famous Catch 22, that you can't get promoted into a more senior level management position until you have people leading experience.
Well, how do you get people leading experience without getting promoted into higher level management positions? So she was feeling really stuck and really frustrated. And I noticed that when we first started coaching together, she was really hung up on the fact that she had a people leading role at her previous organization. That's what she kept saying. They should understand, because I have all this experience, I do have experience.
So all of that meant to me is that she had the ability to do the job. So I had utmost confidence in her that she could do the job. She had confidence in herself that she could do the job at a higher management level. Her boss, on the other hand, did not have confidence that she could do the job. And she wasn't going to be able to convince her by waiving her resume in her boss's face.
She wasn't going to be able to convince her boss to put her up for promotion into a management position because she felt entitled. Because of her previous experience, she thought that should be enough. It should be enough to stand for itself, but it wasn't. And so through coaching, we broke that down.
'OK, can you see her point of view? She hasn't seen you lead people. She doesn't know you as a people leader. She has known you for three years, yes, as a manager. As a manager of projects, as a manager of other people's teams. As a manager of your peers. But she hasn't seen you lead direct reports.'.
So we had to figure out ways that we could show her manager that she was fully capable. And not only fully capable, but she was highly qualified and ready to take on that position.So that became our work through coaching of how we were going to show that. How we were going to get other executives on her side so that she could seamlessly transition into a leading role. But she was never going to get there if she kept thinking about: 'Well, they should they should give it to me based on my resume before.'.
You're never going to get to the place that you want to get to if you just continue to feel entitled.
So that's the process that I'm talking about. Once you create the awareness around the entitlement, that is when we can get to work. That is when we can actually take action and begin to advance your career to that next level that you deserve. You really do deserve it. I'm not saying that you don't deserve it. I'm just saying that acting entitled creates frustration, which doesn't actually get you to the goal that you want.
Now, here's the thing that I want to point out to you. So you have probably seen other people at your organization who act entitled and get promoted into senior executive leadership positions. We've all seen it happen. Somebody who is very entitled, acts very entitled, and then gets rewarded for it, essentially. But what ends up happening at the end of the day, is that they may or may not be successful at that job.
So the other thing that I want to share with you before we head out of here is that it's actually a really good thing that you're not in the position that you think you want to be in. So going back to my previous example of my client, when we actually interviewed her boss... so I do 360 interviews as part of the coaching engagement, when I actually asked her boss why she didn't want to put her up for a promotion in a leading role, her bosses answer wasn't the same as what my client was hearing.
Her boss actually said: 'No. I'm worried because the specific peers in her department that she would be leading, have way more tenure than she does in the organization. So she has two things against her. She has never been in a people-leading role at this organization, and she hasn't led people at this organization with 20 years of individual contributor experience.'
So her boss was actually just looking out for her. And she very specifically said: 'I would be more than happy to put her up for a promotion in a different department. I would be more than happy to sponsor her in a people-leading role in a different organization.'
So the thing is: if you keep focusing on the entitlement, you keep just saying, I should be able to get this, I should be able to convince them, sometimes you're going to get lucky. And then the worst outcome would be, is you might find yourself in the wrong role.
So what's going to happen to you instead if you let go of this entitlement?
The great thing is, is that #1, you're going to learn how to manage your emotions. Huge, huge skill at senior executive leadership. You're going to need to learn how to manage your emotions. You're going to need to learn how to craft a strategy for your organization. So let's start doing it for your own career. These are the skills that you're going to have to start to learn now if you're wanting to actually get promoted into that senior level executive position. And not only that, those are the skills that are going to help you succeed once you get there.
So you're learning how to manage your emotions. You're learning how to create strategy. You're learning how to fail and keep putting yourself out there. To keep trying, to try something different. Don't keep hitting your head against the wall. Come up with solutions for your own career and you will know how to come up with solutions for your organization. Do you see where I'm going here? So it could actually be a blessing that you're not receiving the promotion that you feel so entitled to yet. You still have a little bit more work to do. And buy a little bit more work, I mean, it could be a month. It could be two months. I'm not talking you need to stay in this position for several years and just wait it out. But there could be another reason why you're not able to get that promotion.
So I hope that this episode has been useful. I hope it's been eye-opening. And I want you to start asking yourself this question after you listen to this:
In what ways am I acting entitled right now? In what ways am I feeling entitled? And the way that you're going to get to the bottom of it is literally look at your emotions. What are you most frustrated about?
So first, say, what am I most frustrated about? Well, I'm frustrated that nobody's giving me the time of day, OK? Could that be that you're acting entitled that people should be giving you the time of day?
'OK, yeah. Maybe a little bit.'.
Then ask yourself, why should they give me the time of day?
'Well, because I've been working here for for 18 years and they should respect me.'
Ok. All right. Well, have you done anything to gain that role?
'Yeah, I've done lots of things.'.
And so then, once you start to notice that you're just kind of spinning out in this frustration, in this entitlement, in this place where they owe you something, then you can actually say: 'Oh, ok. I want respect. That's actually what I want. And I'm going to craft a plan to go out there and get the respect that I deserve.'.
It is something that you can do. It is something that you can own. And there is nothing wrong for you going out and getting it.
So that is what I want you to do. I want you to think about where are you entitled, let that go, and then create a plan to get whatever it is that you want out of the next step in your career.
Thank you so much for listening and have a wonderful week.
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.