Woman Says Workers Who Are Both Good At Their Job And Well-Liked Never Get Promoted — Experts Explain Why, & What To Do About It

Her "conspiracy theory" may just have some truth to it.

Happy man who is pleasant and good at his job JLco Julia Amaral / Shutterstock

It can be distressing to put in a lot of time, energy, and work into your career and never see your efforts recognized. You excel at your job and are a pleasure to work with, yet you remain at the bottom of the totem pole with no upward movement in sight. 

One woman online thinks it’s a result of more than just being overlooked, however. She has a “conspiracy theory” she swears by, and it might just be true.


The woman believes that you will not get promoted if you’re “both good at your job and a pleasure to work with.”

TikTok user Jacqueline Morris shared an interesting take that she described as “the hill that [she] will die on.”

“If you are both good at your job and a pleasure to work with … you will never be promoted out of a hardworking, more junior position,” she claimed.


but if I take a week off everything falls apart? it ain’t adding up

♬ original sound - jacqueline

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Morris explained how this compares to executive-level employees. “If you are in an executive suite, you do not have to be a pleasure to work with or good at your job," she stated. “If you are a VP or, like, director level, you can either be really good at your job or a pleasure to work with. You don’t have to be both, and sometimes people are still neither.”

“They will never allow an employee who is both good at doing the work and good at keeping a smile on their face while doing the work to move up that ladder,” Morris concluded.

In other words, Morris believes that you cannot attain the trio of being good at your job, well-liked, and promoted. It will never work out because your supervisors will want to keep you where you are — happy and productive. You won’t move up.

Several experts weighed in with their thoughts on Morris's claim. 

Career experts took note of Morris's video, which went viral, receiving over 8 million views. They each had a slightly different take on what she had to say.


Erin McGoff, self-described as “your internet big sis,” shared her thoughts on Morris's theory. She said the way to combat it is by being more aggressive.

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“The VPs had to be good at their job and good to work with when they were lower,” McGoff said. “And then, they asked for promotions, and if they didn’t get them, they left because they were going after this … climbing the corporate ladder thing.”


McGoff pointed out that even employees who are likable and good at their jobs can move up if they’re willing to do what’s necessary to get there.

Another TikToker, Jay Maliq, has already climbed the corporate ladder himself. He offered another take. “Just because you are really good at your job does not mean you should lead the people who do that job,” he said.

Maliq insisted that not everyone is cut out to work in management, and that’s okay. But it’s not enough to expect that being good at your job will get you there.


Creator Grace McCarrick, known as @gracetheculturecoach on social media, shared her opinion as well. As Grace’s username suggests, she shares content regarding workplace culture. 

“My theory is that people who have great, easy-going personalities and are hard workers have a very straightforward experience with the world around [them],” she said. “They have not had to try very hard to be liked.”

Because of this straightforwardness, these people are not used to looking outside of the box to find solutions to problems. This means they do not do as well in management positions.


Lakenley, an “emotional intelligence coach,” had what was perhaps the simplest answer of all. “If you are great at what you do and people love working with you, they are never going to move that because it’s working for them, even if it's not working for you,” she said. Her advice? “Job hop!”

@lakenley #stitch with @jacqueline Being a great employee and great to work with can be a trap. #work ♬ original sound - Lakenley

If you’re not being moved to where you deserve to be within a company, Lakenley recommends moving altogether and leaving the company for another. 


Being stuck is never a good feeling, but you don’t have to stay that way — even if you are both good at your job and a pleasure to work with. 

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.