Overcoming the Peter Principle to Advance Your Career

Advancing your career in your current company or a new company isn’t always an easy thing to do. There are often roadblocks internally in your organization. It makes sense to first look within your own company for career advancement. If you can’t find a good opportunity to advance your career and skills set within your company, then looking at other companies is the next best thing to do.

Organizational hierarchies in companies follow rules on how to get to the next stage in your career. What holds a candidate back in their skills set? Your current skill set is your offering to advance your career. Many companies don’t have advanced learning or teach new skills. This can stifle and suppress employees into a role or position that doesn’t allow them to grow properly. When it’s up to you to develop, and learn new skills, that can be a daunting task yet it’s the best way to grow into a job that offers you career advancement, more responsibility, and ultimately more money.

There is a book and principle developed in 1968 titled “The Peter Principle” written by Dr. Laurence J. Peter that is based on the idea that employees will continue to be promoted, but at some point, will be promoted into positions for which they are incompetent. These employees will stay in those positions because they do not show any further competence that would get them recognized for further promotions.

In other words, an employee will be promoted into a role where they will stay until they prove incompetent to get promoted into a new role. What proves them incompetent in that role is the fact that they don’t possess the skills to excel in the in the job they currently have. This often boils down to training and skills development within companies. When companies don’t offer training or skills development, they run the risk of losing the employee to other companies that will value the training and skills that the employee has.

This is where it’s up to the employee, or job candidate that wants to advance their career, to help themselves by doing external learning or development of their skills set. When the career professional develops new skills and experiences in advanced learning or training they will likely be able to either get promoted within their company or advance their career with a new company in a new job opportunity.

Overcoming the Peter Principle is up to the individual employee and job candidate if the company is unwilling or unable to develop new skills. Advanced learning, higher education, new training, certifications, and outside professional development can be found everywhere now. I recommend starting by researching what type of job you want or how you want to advance your career into a specific role and then finding out which skills you need to possess to advance your career and get the job you’re looking for. From there, you can take the courses or get certifications to develop the skills set to advance your career.

There are many learning resources out there in higher education and online course and certifications now. You will not have trouble finding what you are looking for once you decide where it is you want to be, and stick to that goal. This can be a rewarding professional experience that can help you overcome the Peter Principle and advance your career.