You did it. Your work has finally paid off and you are being recognized with that long-awaited promotion.
But, don’t lose yourself in your new title and new responsibilities. Throughout the years I have seen many people morph into someone very different, and not in a good way, once they were promoted.
We all know officers like this. Don’t be that person.
Sure, a promotion will change you in some regard, but it shouldn’t change you entirely. Remember the people that helped you get to where you are. Sure, you put in the work, but many people were involved in your success. In my career, I always worked to remember this fact.
I vividly recall when I was promoted and how different it felt the moment I stepped into my department as a new commander. Officers that once called me by my nickname “Fitz,” were now calling me Sir or Commander.
I appreciated the respect, but deep down I still wanted to be called by my nickname. I wanted to stay “one of the guys,” but I also knew that those days were long gone. With my new role came new responsibilities and expectations.
Now, I am not naïve. I knew what I was getting into when I was applying for the commander position. But more changed when I was promoted than I expected. As much as I tried, I often felt that I was no longer connected to the officers that I grew up with in the department.
In retrospect, I should have tried harder. I was now “one of them.”
To complicate matters, I was now in charge of officers that used to oversee me. Some people say that its possible to remain good friends and be a supervisor at the same time, but I think that’s a farce. Sooner or later you are going to have to discipline your friends in some way, shape or form and that is a very difficult thing to do most of the time.
Sometimes, it’s good not to take a promotion. There is nothing wrong with staying in a position that you thrive in, but often when people turn down a promotion they are viewed as lazy or not wanting to advance up the ladder. Bottom line: You really must want the position you are going for.
Here are some other things to consider about promotions.
Don’t do it just for the money.
Sure, money is important but if you are miserable once you get that new title it won’t make a difference.
Don’t forget balance.
Is your new role going to take time away from your family? Married to your cell phone? Remember, family is more important than any promotion.
How did your predecessor fare?
Do your homework with this one. If have seen or heard of a revolving door with that role, then that is a red flag. If this is the case, it could be an issue with leadership, or lack of leadership, from above.
Will you be happy to go to work in the morning?
Sure, there will be days where you don’t want to deal with whatever you are going to have to deal with, but if you are waking up each day dreading to go into the office then don’t go for that promotion.
What does your gut tell you?
As cops we all have that “sense” when something might be off. If you get that feeling, then don’t do it.
Will your relationships with your co-workers be affected?
Like I previously stated, things will change, but don’t let the role change you completely.
Are you ready for the role?
A no-BS self-assessment is what I would recommend. There is nothing wrong with not being ready for a role. For more, see my earlier article, What do you stand for? Becoming the best version of you.
Don’t get me wrong; a promotion is often a wonderful thing for your career. But you need to be able to interpret the signs along the way and remember not to do something because someone else is expecting you to. Do it for yourself.