Promotion. This is the most exciting yet simultaneously the most terrifying word in our professional vernacular. I have recently been promoted, and, truth be told, I am a little afraid. Most of my tasks are different than they were before and a few were added for good measure; I’m learning a whole new job. Although advancement is almost always a good thing in your career, it is still something that needs to be handled with care.
First and foremost, know what you don’t know. When moving into a new position, it goes without saying that there will be new duties and tasks that will be required that you have never done before. Spoiler alert: your boss knows this, too. Although it is human nature not to want to look dumb, especially at our jobs, it is very important to ask questions and raise a hand if you need help. You boss and team want the work done correctly and also want to see you succeed. How else you would expect to learn and grow professionally if you don’t ask questions?
You should be asking about not only the job itself and the process, but also about your boss’ expectations. Joan Lloyd and Associates has outlined a few good questions to consider:
1. What are my new tasks?
2. What is the most important project that you would like me to start with first?
3. Who can I use as a support person ? Who can I ask questions to?
4. Are there any areas that you have a concern about?
5. Here are some areas that I have a concern about…
6. What are my performance expectations over the next 3, 6, 9 and 12 months?
However, asking questions may not enough. You need to retain what you have learned, so take copious notes. Make sure to keep your notes readily available so that you can reference them at any time. If needed, have 2 different notebooks. Keep one for taking notes in the moment when receiving instruction, and one that is neat and organized where you can find things easily.
Lastly, try to be confident. For some (like myself), this is easier said than done. Your boss is confident in you; why shouldn’t you be confident in yourself? After all, there is a reason your boss picked you. Be realistic and know that you are going to make mistakes. Pick your self up, dust yourself off, and try again. Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. And, like my mother says, “If all else fails, fake it until you make it”.
Promotions can be intimidating at first, but are well worth it in the end. You learn new skills and get a chance to showcase what you’re made of. Even though I’m still learning what is expected of me, but I have no doubt that I’ll be just fine.