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Still working at part-time job I had in college

Dear Office-Politics,

I’m 23 – still working a 20 hour week at the retail job I had while going to college, because of the economy. I have not advanced into an Assistant Manager even though I am the hardest worker, never absent or late, etc. What am I doing wrong?



franke james

Dear Overlooked,

First off you can feel good that you’re asking yourself the question, “How do I get ahead?” Moving from where you are now, to where you want to be, is not impossible, but it will take effort, and goal-setting.

The main points I can see from your letter are that you are:

1. Hard Working
2. Reliable
3. Punctual
4. College educated
5. Part-time worker

The first four points are good strengths that will help you in any job — but it’s number five that could be the key to getting what you want out of life.

If you’re only working 20 hours at your retail job, what are you doing in the other 20 working hours available each week? Ask yourself what your big dream is. Would you be happy moving up in the retail industry, maybe owning your own store one day? Or are you spending your free time pursuing a hobby that could lead to you making your hobby into a paying job in the future?

Whatever your dream is, get busy on making it happen! First you need to know what your big dream is and create a plan that will help you to achieve it. For example do you need more training? Would a special course help you to leapfrog ahead? Do your bosses know how good you are? Do they know what you want to achieve? Many times the people “higher up” are very willing to help — they just need to know that you really want to succeed!

An excellent book to get you started is Dreamcrafting: The Art of Dreaming Big, the Science of Making It Happen by Paul Levesque, Art McNeil”.

Remember that “luck” is when preparation meets opportunity. Get going! Time is wasting.

Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.


Franke James, MFA
Editor & Founder, Office-Politics.com


Franke James, MFA is the Editor & Founder of Office-Politics.com. She is also the Inventor of The Office-Politics® Game a dilemma-based social game that teaches you how to play, and laugh, at office politics. It’s used by HR departments, and corporate trainers worldwide. The Office-Politics Dilemmas have been inspired by the hundreds of letters submitted to Office-Politics.com.

Publication note: This letter was originally published in February 2004. We are republishing the best letters from Office-Politics and integrating them with our blog format.

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