What's Keeping You From Getting Promoted?

Learning from mistakes and misfortunes for the fire service promotion.


Are you someone who was not promoted the first time you took a promotional examination? Are you a future promotional candidate who wants to learn what successful (and not-so-successful) fire service promotional candidates have done to get them into their present positions? Or, do you just want to...


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Are you someone who was not promoted the first time you took a promotional examination? Are you a future promotional candidate who wants to learn what successful (and not-so-successful) fire service promotional candidates have done to get them into their present positions? Or, do you just want to learn as much as you can about what it takes to get promoted? Regardless of which category you fit into, there is always something more a promotional candidate can do to get promoted. The key is learning from your mistakes or misfortunes, as well as the mistakes or misfortunes of others, to ensure you are successful at future promotional examinations.

Many fire service promotional candidates cannot take responsibility and instead start blaming others for not getting promoted. If this is you, take a deep look at yourself and determine what you need to do to let go of your "baggage," and ultimately get promoted. Methods and techniques to accurately perform a self-assessment/evaluation and determine what it takes to make you go from being the person who died on the promotional list, who didn't make the promotional list or, even worse, was passed over to someone who smokes the promotional process the next time it is offered are the focus of this column. Nobody said it was going to be easy getting promoted. Until you realize you are part of the problem - and more importantly, part of the solution - you will not be successful at getting promoted!

It is imperative that fire service promotional candidates spend significant time and effort preparing for not only the promotional process itself, but more importantly for the position they aspire to. I think this statement is so important I will repeat it again to ensure you know how important it is: prepare for the position, not the promotional examination!

Most fire service promotional candidates never figure out what is keeping them from getting promoted. Look in the mirror, the answer is right there; something you are doing or not doing is keeping you from getting promoted. You need to set yourself up for success well before the promotional process to help reduce the chances you will have to take the promotional exam again.

If you do not take complete responsibility for your actions or non-actions and develop a plan of action to get promoted, you're going to continue to be the person who watches from the sidelines, second-guesses everything, remains bitter and frustrated, and is never able to let go of the fact you were not promoted. Why let that happen to you? Instead, do what it takes to let go of whatever is keeping you from getting promoted and do what it takes to turn yourself and your career around and pointed in the right direction!

What's Stopping You?

What keeps people from getting promoted?

A. First, I truly believe there are only two reasons people fail (or not do as well as they would like to do):

  • They are nervous.
  • They are unprepared.

You have the ability and the power to overcome both of those reasons. However, it won't be easy, and it will require some hard work and effort on your part.

B. Before we go any further, we need to look deeper, and realize that many things can cause someone to be nervous or unprepared. I like to think of those things in three separate categories, all of which will be focused on in-depth in the upcoming paragraphs:

  1. Promotional process-related items.
  2. Professional/career-related items.
  3. Personal/family/off-duty-related items.
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