Ask Abbie: Lay a proper foundation of work skills, ethics

Published 10:35 am Saturday, August 11, 2012

Question: I am a teller for a local bank and was recently passed up for a promotion to customer service representative.

I am very upset and feel unfairly treated because I deserved the job. I work hard and have been there three years.

How should I handle this situation? I feel so angry I don’t want to make the wrong move.


Answer: Remain professional! In the long run you will gain strength and wisdom by not compromising who you are. Saying or doing anything you may regret could also hurt your future success. Now, start changing your mindset to believe all things happen for a reason and to realize “No” is only said today in order for “Yes” to be said to something better later. While focusing on the positive a calm assertiveness will come to replace your current angry aggression. Passivity and/or aggression never produce long term success while calm assertiveness enjoys the place of victory after each battle.

Before you are ready to discuss your situation with management, search deep inside to uncover any hidden areas you may have with room for improvement. Even if you are convinced to be doing all of the right things use the following questions to make absolute certain. Are you just doing your job, no more, no less? Occasionally coming in late, missing a deadline, or even getting out as soon as your shift ends not one minute after indicate you are more concerned about yourself than the overall welfare of the bank. People are watching your every move.

Are you a team player who collaborates with and encourages co-workers, or do you instead alienate yourself and find a lot to complain about? Often higher-level jobs require more people skills to fulfill the added personnel management responsibilities.

Do you take it upon yourself to expand your current base of knowledge and skills? It is a bad idea to think you already know enough considering rapid changes in technology and industry trends. Those you work for are not always going to take the initiative to keep you ahead of the curve. You must show enough drive and ambition to increase your own skill set and marketability.

After your personal assessment it is time to talk to your manager. This conversation should not be held as you pass by each other in the hall but rather in an actual formal meeting to show you take not being promoted seriously. In the meeting do not be defensive yet subtly imply you will be moving up in your career whether it is at your current company or not. Ask specifically what you need to do to advance at your bank with questions requiring more than a yes or no response. You must come to the bottom of why you were not promoted. With this information you will be ready to establish a plan for your future. This plan will include working toward improving your performance, attitude and marketability for the next available position with your current employer, or taking your valuable assets to another company who will better value you and your skill set.

It is up to you to lay a proper foundation of skills and ethics for your employer to build upon. Should your current employer choose to construct shoddily atop your well-laid foundation or choose not to build at all, dig up your foundation and find new prime real estate with good drainage upon which to resettle. Set your mind and actions on being part of a complete structure that is equipped to handle any storm that may arise rather than part of a unit vulnerable to even the slightest of winds.

Abbie Long is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to