Advice column: have I got what it takes for promotion?

Dear Ash

I am a few years into my career but my chances of promotion seem to have stagnated. Although I am passionate about my career and do not mind working the long hours and attending networking opportunities when required, I sometimes feel as if perhaps I am not ruthless enough to strive to the top. I have noticed that many of the senior partners have a certain edge and air of impersonality, which I unfortunately seem to lack. I am quite friendly and outgoing but I sometimes think that this is actually holding me back in being promoted, as I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve.

Ash replies

It certainly can sometimes feel that those in high up positions have a degree of aloofness, but it would be wrong to say that as a general rule everyone in a senior position requires to be devoid of a personality! There are many successful people who strive to the top with the aid of their personalities.

You seem to come across as perhaps lacking in self-confidence and dwelling on your own insecurities. Shakespeare is quoted as saying that “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. You need to change your own mind frame by focusing less on others and more on your own successful traits. If you are driven, motivated and hardworking, then you also can strive to attain better career prospects.

I am well aware that life is not so simple, and you may already be focusing on your positive aptitudes and still not being considered for promotion. In that case you have two options: either address your concerns to your line manager and consider developing an outline plan in order to achieve better promotion prospects, or consider a move to a new company for a promoted post. Focus on a plan and keep positive, but most of all remain patient...

Send your queries to Ash

"Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor: peter@connect, or mail to Studio 2001, Mile End, Paisley PA1 1JS. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.

Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Registrar’s Department. For one-to-one advice contact Katie Wood, Manager in the Registrar’s Department on 0131 476 8105/8200, or

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