Not Everyone Is Ready For A Promotion

So here is the question, you are very happy in life, job is going well and all is happy in your world. Now the promotion announcement is posted. Several co-workers and supervisors are encouraging you to take the test and go for it. What to do?

Next answer this question for yourself, why do you want the promotion? If it is prestige, think again. Being a police supervisor may not get you a better parking spot. If it is a step to grander things, so you want to be a captain or chief; then this is a longer and more complex journey. This will be a never ending quest, for one rank begets another and so on. But, why do you want this promotion? If you are the true lifer or company person then you want to share your knowledge, skills and abilities for the greater good of the department. You are the true dedicated employee and the entire world is second to this. If you are trying to get a better situation for you, your career or long term employment stability for your family, this too is fine. Maybe it is in your DNA to be a leader. You have always been the captain of the team, past military assignments; then your personality is geared towards being out in front. Decide how your life foundation will support you towards your goal.

Now, reality statement time! If you are applying for the promotion because one of your academy class members just made sergeant and you are keeping up with him or her, stop there. To do this for an “I’ll show ‘em” moment is absurd. Promotions are based on many good and bad reasons. Just to do something over spite is one thing; you can’t compare just the academy experience. What are the other things that a promotion is being based on? Education, training, life experiences are the positives. Of course, inter-department politics will always surface. Every department has their own terms of endearments for this. Somebody out of the blue gets promoted and everyone wants to know who is their godfather, rabbi, horse, daddy and list goes on? Bottom line is seeking the promotion for positive reasons and not out of one-upmanship.

The choice you make is yours and those who surround you should have input. One thing that I do is ask a question on promotional boards. Most answer far too quickly on this one as well. I will ask that if you are offered this promotion, do you really want it and all the responsibilities that come with it. I remind all to be careful of what you are seeking here. I have had more than one come back in and quietly withdraw their names after soul searching this question. To me, it took a greater officer to admit that they were not ready internally, most all have since later reapplied and been promoted and some never applied again. So, what is the point here? Before you submit your paperwork, think. Look into the mirror and weigh all of the good and bad of this and all scenarios that could stem from this. If you wish to go for the promotion, then by all means give it all you have to offer and I bid good luck to you. If you ponder and decide to stay the course of your current career, you too have made the best decision for you and all others. I have never liked being around a pensive leader who did not want to be there. If you are happy now, then best of luck to you as well. We in Policeland have had our great leaders, although sometimes few and far between. We also have all been victims of poor leaders, political appointees and those who are not leadership material. My goal here is that we need to garner our best leaders for the future. I want leaders who want to be there and for the right reasons.


  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.