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I’m new in my career and see suck-ups who don’t do much of actual work getting promoted. I’ve been told to “play the game”. Can I be my unapologetic and authentic self or do I have to conform like everyone tells me to?

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Unfortunately, yes you have to market yourself to upper management/your manager or else they won't know much about you and your work. If you're not providing reasons/examples of your importance/impact to the company, then your reviews will just follow the company's politics (i.e. only getting good scores when you're at the company a very long time).

In my field of software engineering, a developer will mostly go unnoticed if they are just programming and not making themselves known even though they may be top performers. Upper management will acknowledge the manager who is managing the teams that are producing the results, but they probably won't know much about the developers who are the ones behind the actual work. A developer would have to take leadership roles, perform at a top level, show their impact/performance/expertise, etc to even be considered for a promotion to Senior SWE.

People who know how to talk and kiss-ass will most probably be the ones to be promoted. Sometimes hard work doesn't necessarily speak for itself so you're going to have to start selling yourself out there.

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No. Conform.

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You’re replaceable. I’d channel that “authentic” energy elsewhere in your life ☮️

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I will say I have been outspoken about how I can provide value and that has gotten me ahead. I have never complained about my peers to management. Just continue to market yourself as a game changer. Make management believe they need you to succeed and you will. This is 6 yrs at a big tech company starting right out of college.

Being a differentiator will irritate the peers that don’t do anything. But you will shine believe that.

M1 - your KPIs, budget analysis, ROI. Thinking outside the box to tackle bottlenecks. Being likable and east to work with. In everything you do, create incentive figuratively or literally

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