I have two friends that got their jobs at about the same time. Lets call them Kim (not their real name) and Jennifer (is their real name). They work in similar companies and had very similar responsibilities to start. They both work very hard and are very good at what they do, however Jennifer has been rapidly promoted while Kim is still doing the same job with little recognition. The reason for Jennifer’s climb is that her company considers her a problem solver, while Kim’s company considers her a problem finder. A problem finder is someone who spends countless hours creating what if scenarios for everything that comes across their desk, “what if the client says this, what if the boss does that”. This type of thinking increases both the stress level and the work load of the problem finder, and anyone else who is a stake holder in the project including the problem finders boss. The problem solver on the other hand spends little to no time trying to map out the many different scenarios that could happen once an action is taken and spends more time focusing on ways to accomplish the task at hand. Both the problem solver and the problem finder are capable of achieving the desired result however, supervisors will often make a mental link to the process that went into getting the task done. If a project was successful but the process was a pain, that supervisor will not be overly excited about giving the problem finder more responsibility.
So if you are not climbing at the rate that you think you should, or if others are being promoted ahead of you, ask yourself, am I a problem finder or a problem solver. And to Jennifer congrats on the new promotion!