Subliminal Software

Stress at Work – Lateral Promotion

One of the many causes of stress in patients who consult doctors working in industry is the type that experienced by people who haven't received the recognition and promotion they feel is justified by their qualities.

Promotion in any firm always entails a large element of luck. It is sometimes influenced by bad luck, and at other times by sheer vindictiveness or self-interest of more senior people in the organization. Once the chance of promotion has gone, it has frequently gone forever.

Those people who, rightly or wrongly, have been deprived of the career they had wanted but are too old or too encumbered to change jobs can often find happiness by being encouraged to succeed in some different field of activity.

This was known in one organization I worked for as 'lateral promotion'. It was encouraged as a form of compensation, but it is a deliberate compensation, not a subconscious one, like the short man who becomes a tyrant, a formerly unattractive woman who becomes promiscuous or a once bullied person who becomes a lunatic driver. Disappointed by their career as a banker, lawyer or accountant, the person who never quite made it may be forever happy as they climb some alternative ladder.

Unfortunately, people can overcompensate when trying to seek status and acceptance through other interests. At its best, their hobby takes over their lives and compensates for lack of success elsewhere. At worst, the man or woman who has always felt put upon because of their appearance may emulate Napoleon and, whether at work or in the community, become a real tyrant. The stressed then becomes the stressor. Bullying is a frequent and potent cause of stress in the workplace as in home life.