Put in the Work

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Updated August 7, 2023

Once you’ve got the ball rolling and have a plan in place with your manager, it’s up to you to put in the work to show your boss that you’re serious about the promotion. Set weekly goals for yourself to work on the areas that your manager would like to see you improve. Write them down and review your progress regularly, like at the start and end of each week.

Some things your manager expects of you won’t be easy. You’ll be forced out of your comfort zone, and you’ll be asked to do things you’ve never done before. You may need to make important decisions, whether they’re technical ones or choices about how to handle certain processes.

You may not always make the right decisions, but the important thing is to learn how to think logically, creatively, and collaboratively with the rest of your team. Being a senior engineer is about taking on more responsibility and putting the team first, and your boss may set you up to gain experience in making bigger decisions before you actually get promoted. If you can demonstrate that you’re able to make decisions and lead within your team, you’ll be able to show your manager that you’re ready for the promotion.

If you take what you’ve learned throughout this book and put it into practice each week, asking for the promotion shouldn’t be that intimidating. The hard part is actually applying what you read here to the real world. Not everything is as black and white as it’s made out to be, but the learning curve is where you grow from a junior engineer to a senior engineer.

If you don’t get a promotion the first time you ask for it, it’s not the end of the world. Get as much clarity on why. It may be other factors in the company. If it’s that they think you’re not ready, ask them what areas you need to focus on improving in order to be considered. You’re on a journey of continuous improvement, and you’ll never stop learning about how to improve your craft.

Just because you meet the requirements for a senior role doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get a promotion. But you’re much less likely to get something you never ask for—and you are missing an opportunity to grow and learn.

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