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Home | Got a Minute | Career advice | No. 26 – After years of loyalty, I’ve been overlooked for a promotion. What do I do?

No. 26 – After years of loyalty, I’ve been overlooked for a promotion. What do I do?

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25 August 2021

Each week, Dr Kirstin Ferguson tackles questions on the workplace, career and leadership in her advice column “Got a minute?” This week, being snubbed for a promotion, unpaid after-hours meetings, and adopting social media for work.

I have been working with my company for 12 years and was recently passed over for a promotion. I was disappointed I wasn’t even considered for the role and the company has now hired someone from outside the business without any conversation with me or my manager about it. I feel demotivated but as my partner has lost his job, I am the sole income earner which means walking away is not an option. What should I do?

What a shame that your employer didn’t use the job vacancy as an opportunity to discover whether there were any internal applicants perfectly placed for promotion before they appointed someone external to the role. While your application may not have been successful, the opportunity to go through the process and to hopefully get feedback on where you need to focus to be considered next time would have been invaluable for you and your company.

Given none of this happened and it seems also your own manager was kept in the dark, it may be worth asking your manager for advice about how you are best to flag your interest with the right people so they know you are keen to progress. Hopefully when a vacancy comes up again, you are the first person who will come to mind for them to consider.

I work part-time and my job involves weekly night-time meetings with overseas colleagues. My manager says this shouldn’t be part of my regular hours but rather it’s fair overtime (unpaid). That seems legally and ethically wrong. How can I argue my case?

Woah, Nelly. So let me just be clear: your manager expects you to attend work meetings, at night, every single week, without being paid? That is outrageous. I am so cranky for you and hope you leave this column somewhere your manager will see it!

Go and speak to your HR representative if you have one and ask that this be addressed straight away. In my view it is unreasonable for this is to be considered “fair overtime” week after week, and it should form part of your agreed hours.

I am not interested in social media and when I hear on the news the rubbish being spouted by some people on Facebook, I am glad I can’t see it. I get enough conspiracy theory crap from some family members – I don’t need to read about it online as well. I am getting really frustrated at work because they tell me I should have a LinkedIn profile and I should be sharing stuff about my company. If that is now my job, I am not sure I want it. What do you advise?

You have come to the wrong person for advice on this one. I am a long-time advocate of social media (and especially using social media for good) so I do believe that for any working professional (particularly for any office-based roles), a LinkedIn profile is something you should have. LinkedIn is often the first point of call before someone meets with you or before you are offered a new job, to see what your career history might be and what you have been up to professionally.

However, if you hate social media as much as you seem to then I don’t think you should be on there.

In order to make social media work for you and to avoid any issues for you or others, you really do need to understand how it works, how you communicate with others and how you can be easily misinterpreted. If your employer is still insistent you get online, I would go and have a chat with them about your concerns and see what they advise.

Send your questions about work, careers and leadership to Your name and any identifying information will not be used. Letters may be edited.

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