Lesson 018: Selfish evaluation of promotion
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 3/26 ('The Best of Both Worlds Part I')


Riker, second in command of the Enterprise, is offered a promotion to be the Captain of his own ship.

This is the third time Starfleet has pulled out the Captain's chair for Riker. Having refused the promotion both earlier times, an Admiral from Starfleet tells Capt. Picard to advise Riker that there are a lot of young hot shots on the way up in Starfleet who will jump at the chance of the Captain's chair, and that may make Riker's career appear to be at a stand still and eventually end up hurting his own future as a result of just staying put.


Offers of promotion should always be weighed against many different pros and cons.

We should always seek out the best opportunities for ourselves, as they best fit our situations. Sometimes promotions may hinder us by forcing us to relocate, thereby, disrupting our families, or may include substantial more travel time, whereby, we are away from our home more often, or it could just take us away from the work we really love and put us in more of an administrative position.

While the pay and prestige of the promotion may be better than what we have currently, we do need to put everything in proper perspective, before jumping ahead.

Unfortunately, here is the often unseen dilemma that may really not be considered properly by those to whom the promotions are offered.

Most companies offer promotions based on recognition of skills and/or satisfying a business need. When a promotion is rejected, it is not easily forgotten by the management. If the rejection is based on anything other than avoiding a hugely deleterious impact on the one promoted (such as relocation, etc.), then that individual can pretty much kiss goodbye any future opportunities of promotions at the company.

Just to avoid promotion because you do not want to take on any additional responsibilities is to seal your career fate in concrete. Not only will promotions no longer be offered, but raises in pay will also be strongly curtailed, perhaps even plateau. After all, what management would ever pay a staff member more than a manager, just because the staff has been there longer?

Obviously, in this instance, it was absolutely the correct choice for Riker to never accept a promotion to captain another starship. After all, such a promotion would have ended his assignment on the Enterprise, and got him kicked off the show!

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