Is Your Boss Giving You a Dangling Carrot?
At some point in my life I had a boss that would promise me heavens and clouds on what was in store for me at that job. He made it sound so sweet and real that I had started living it before even getting there. However, the situation at work never got better. All we did was write strategic plans -full of visions, goals and dreams – after another, yet there was no action being put in place to achieve these goals.
The dangling carrot
One day I found myself complaining to a friend of how miserable I was at work and how my boss had been giving me all these promises. This not being the first time I was complaining to him he asked me, “ Are you sure it is not a dangling carrot?”
This put me into deep thought. Of course I didn’t quit immediately, but soon the picture started forming on my mind. My boss liked my talent and he knew that the moment I realised I was stuck in a rut and there were no bigger things for me I’d walk. That’s why he dangled the delicious carrot in front of me. If you are as ambitious as I am, you realise that being in a routine place doing the same old thing, be it in your job, business or social life, it bores the hell out of you and all you want is move on to the next challenge.
Read 3 tips on how you can boost your confidence
Are you hanging onto what could be?
Are you stuck in the same job or position – that you probably don’t like – because of the promises you have been given? You have your eyes on that big promotion you have been promised since time immemorial but you don’t seem to be getting there. You are becoming more and more miserable but the damn juicy delicious carrot is right in front of you and you have to take a bite at it.
While this might not be the case always, it could be your boss is seducing you with a dangling carrot. The funny part is that bosses are so seductive that your eyes can see nothing else but the damn carrot. They make it seem so real you find yourself thinking, ‘just this one year and I shall bite it’.
It’s high time you have a reality check. Go over the situation with a sober mind and think about how viable the promise is.
Read Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and neither is employment.
Get a reality check
You can involve a friend or someone who can give you a reality check; someone whose opinion you trust and see what they have to say. While in some cases the promotion promise could be real, in others, you could be in a better place where you are getting more appreciation, be it at your own business or a different job.
Are you chasing a dangling carrot? I would love to hear about it, drop your comment below and lets share.
Read do you have to find your passion and become an entrepreneur?
Adam Grant, in his book Originals, How non-conformists move the world, discusses how some bosses surround themselves with ‘yes’ men because it is good for them but its not always good for the organization. He also discusses how we should not jump into entrepreneurship without calculating the risks involves. He gives real life examples of how some great entrepreneurs (Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak) among others didn’t jump into entrepreneurship that quickly.
If you feel like you have been chasing a dangling carrot and you feel you need to make the next book, I recommend this book. You can check out a summary of the key lessons from the book Originals, on Blinkist.
I’ve been working for a company for 7 years now. I work 85 hours a week and I get paid less than 750$ a week. I been hearing keep moving forward towards ownership. Which I why I stay around to put in my hard work. I’ve contemplated quitting many times but When I bring it up he makes it seems like I am selfish for wanting to because of the things he does for me outside of work. If I was paid more I wouldn’t need help outside of work
Hi Terryll, thank you so much for your comment. I feel you, its very common for bosses to make you feel guilty for wanting more and you wouldn’t want more if you were satisfied at your job. The ‘ownership’ is a classic dangling carrot. Weigh your options and evaluate if this is ever going to happen and if not, you may need to step out and get more.
I’m an engineer with 7 years experience and the bulk of it has been at an old school ( white men in their 60s) engineering firm. I recently achieved my MBA ( no help from the company so no contract). About 90 days because I receive my MBA my boss has a 1w1 with me for the first time in years. In this meeting he presents me with my first raise in 2 years 2.5% and a future opportunity. He says he wants me to replace him when he retires next year and he’s going to mentor me. One catch thoug, I can’t tell anyone, and he will tell the ceo the plan in 2 months. This was February it’s now June…crickets.
So our ceo gets terminated two weeks ago and I confront my boss about our plans. He says he will express the plan to the new ceo in 2-3 more months and we can go from there whatever that means.
Pretty sure I’m being baited, I’m looking to exit at this point.
Hey Jenny, so sorry that this is happening to you. Yes, that does sound like a dangling carrot. Why won’t he allow you to tell anyone? Because he doesn’t want to be accountable? With your MBA now, he probably realizes you could seek greener grasses and they are not ready to lose you. All the best! I hope you find somewhere you are appreciated.