Are You Prepared For a Sudden Promotion?


Gov. Eliot Spitzer skipped his routine morning jog today. 

Instead, the beleaguered New York politician, whose career is likely over after a federal investigation revealed his involvement with a prostitution ring, remained with family and advisers in his Fifth Avenue apartment. It is unclear when he will publically respond to requests that he resign.

If Spitzer does step down, Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who is legally blind, would serve out the remainder of his term as the first black governor of New York. A great promotion, but not one gained under the best of circumstances. If a surprise shake-up took place at your work place would you be ready to rise up the ranks? According to career experts, a post-scandal instant promotion means doing some careful networking quickly. 

"So, you get this promotion, which is great. But talk to the peers of that level. Develop a relationship with who you’re going to have to interact with," says Hallie Crawford, a certified career coach based in Atlanta. "For example, find out who were the people who worked directly with Spitzer, and learn what it took to be successful in that position. Is it being personable? Is it having a good management style?" And when speaking with others, be sure to acknowledge the circumstances of your promotion, says Denise Ann Taylor, Executive Director at Competitive Advantage, Inc.,  in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. “It all centers on acknowledgment. You should establish early on that there has been a change," says Taylor. “Moving into a new job that someone has been fired from can be uncomfortable, but it is important that people still maintain a level of balance with their work and productivity.”

Brooklyn native Paterson, 54, has yet to make a public statement on the Spitzer matter, but he appears to be working the phones in case he becomes governor. According to the Associated Press, Paterson reached out to Spitzer antagonist, Assembly Republican leader James Tedisco, on Monday and requested a clean slate. "He called me to ask if we would give him the benefit of the doubt, and go forward," Tedisco told the AP. "I told him we would."

Is a sudden promotion a good time to get additional benefits, too? Experts say that one does not guarantee the other. “With the economy the way it is, not all promotions will include a raise," says Taylor. "But there are other things that an employee can ask for.” Taylor suggests requesting additional vacation or possibly extended benefits, if a monetary raise does not seem forthcoming. “You should do a little homework about your company’s bottom line," says Taylor. "If you are aware of the bottom line, you will know what you can and cannot ask for."

In addition to networking and securing possible additional benefits, developing a plan of action for tackling your new job's duties can make a hectic transition more productive. "Find out what the goals are for this new position, what are the things you need to focus on," says Crawford. Then ask yourself, what’s the plan to make them happen? "People might be tempted to jump right in without thinking and start doing doing doing, but in six months they’ll look back and think what did I do? I didn’t have a plan," says Crawford. "Of course, there are things you’re going to have to jump right into, but really try to get the lay of the land."


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