why i decided against a promotion

I am currently completing part of my practical legal training (PLT), a required component for admission as a lawyer in New South Wales. With the strong support of my superiors and my PLT supervisor in enforcement, I managed to get seconded to that division for a month. This week is the final week in the first of my four months of required PLT.  

An email was sent out last week with expressions of interest (EOI) for positions in my seconded team at the agency. One of the positions was in a role not much more different from what I am currently doing now. In public sector speak, the only way to get promoted is if I get a role that is higher in level than at present.

I had established from the onset that I was not ready to make the move. These were my reasons:

  1. I consider myself professionally, not to be at the level where I am able to put together cases and briefs of evidence on my own and make the judgement as to the action that is required to be taken
  2. I did not see myself as sufficiently mature in the organisation to have the level of understanding required for the role
  3. I risk jeopardising the relationship with my previous team who had been so supportive in organising for the PLT to occur. There are 3 more months left.
  4. I did not see how as a graduate I could be successful in crossing multiple APS levels to get the job. At the same time, I may have obligations to stay in my current team for one year
  5. However, I do think that I am sufficiently qualified for the position, but my inexperience would mean I require continuous assistance to produce what is expected

Having satsified myself with my reasoning, I was comfortable with missing this round of EOIs and would be happy to wait for the next round in the unknown future. That stance lasted most of the week. As the closing time drew closer, I began to have second thoughts spurred on by my colleague’s discussions and apparent confidence in my abilities. With less than an hour until applications close, I decided to ask my supervisor about the advertised position.

I asked him directly whether or not he thought I should apply. He said probably not for these reasons:

  1. Primarily that opportunities like this would be plentiful in the next 6-12 months and I did not need to be hasty at this moment in time
  2. I should make the most of the remaining 3 months PLT as it is a good learning experience and could also increase my opportunities in the future
  3. I should maintain good relations with my actual team and it may work in my favour further down the track

I believe that was a nice way of saying that ‘if you did apply, you would not have been successful’. At the very least, I was glad that I asked and found out from the person in the hot seat what he was thinking. He may already have an eye on somebody and thankfully has spared me the horror of putting in an application. Nonetheless, he confirmed what I had initially been thinking and that is solace in itself.

So no promotion for me at this point in time. I look forward to the next time EOIs for similar positions come up, at a time when I am more experienced, maybe qualified and when I have a more mature attitude to work.


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