Lesson 015: Should I accept the promotion?
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 2/14 ('The Icarus Factor')


Riker, second in command on the Enterprise, is offered the promotion to captain his own starship.

His choice is to either decline the promotion and remain on the Enterprise, where he has the distinction, prestige and glamour of being the second in command of Starfleet's flagship, a galaxy class starship, or to accept the promotion and become the captain of a relatively insignificant ship posted in an obscure part of the galaxy, but be in command.


As odd as it may sound, believe it or not, a promotion can be quite a dilemma at times. Promotions may not always provide the glorifying rewards they appear to offer at first glance.

People are not always promoted just because they excel at their assignments or show superior capabilities. Sometimes promotions are offered to maneuver people away from a relevant position to one less crucial; other times, people are promoted just because they have been at their job for what seems to be forever.

In all cases, accepting a promotion should always be weighed very carefully by the one being promoted. Some of the questions to ask are - does the promotion lead to where I want to go, what are the risk exposures to the new position, what degree of difficulty awaits in assimilating into the new role, and this is one time where one must be extremely selfish and ask introspectively 'What's in it for me?'

For those familiar with the late night talk shows in the US, a promotion to host the much coveted 11:30 PM Tonight Show led to the worst TV programming debacle on the NBC network at the end of 2009. The promoted host accepted the new position, leaving behind his own successful show, only to be fired after 7 months in the new show due to poor ratings.

Perhaps the most explicit and cogent statement on promotions came from Admiral James T. Kirk, as he gave advice to Capt. Picard during their ephemeral encounter in the Nexus (Movie: Star Trek Generations). Kirk told Capt. Picard to never accept a promotion to Admiral and be put behind a desk and to never let anyone or anything take him out of the Captain's chair, because that's where the action is in the Captain's chair.

So, make sure you accept promotions that always continue to keep you in the action you seek.

Back to lessons in Management

Disclaimer: This website is not associated or endorsed by Paramount Pictures or CBS Studios Inc., the owners of the Star Trek trademarks, related marks and copyrights. References to Star Trek material on this web site complies with the Fair or Acceptable Use Principle established in the U.S. and International copyright law for the purposes of review, study, criticism and news reporting. No copyright infringement is intended by this website. All original work provided on this website is the sole copyrighted property of and may not be reproduced in any form without the express written permission from