How I got Three Promotions in 18 Months working for an international company remotely.

IniOluwa Karunwi
4 min readSep 21, 2023

Ever wondered what it takes to climb the corporate ladder at breakneck speed? I’ve earned not one, not two, but THREE promotions within an 18-month timeframe, and I’m spilling the beans on how you can do it too — well, at least snag one. Before we jump into this goldmine of career hacks, let me be clear: my journey isn’t a one-size-fits-all blueprint. It’s a mix of strategy, timing, and a dash of company culture. But guess what? You can adapt these insights to give your career a serious boost.

Still curious? You might remember my viral Medium article that chronicled how I broke into the product management sphere in a booming no-code tech startup — all within my first year of tech transition. The outcome? A transformed financial landscape and lifestyle upgrades that were once pipe dreams. Ready to join me on this career-transforming odyssey? Buckle up, because we’re diving deep.

Work Ethic

Lesson: Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart

It’s not just about logging in long hours; it’s about the quality of those hours. In my first month, I tried to spend as much time as possible on every task I could lay my hands on, My Google calendar was a total mess, and I realized blocking time to read for personal growth or even rest is as important as working. I made sure each task I tackled aligned with my team’s and organization’s broader goals. Streamline your efforts so that every hour you put in moves the needle. Also, never shy away from the gritty tasks nobody wants to do; that’s your arena to shine.

Stakeholder Management

Lesson: Build Bridges, Not Walls

I quickly learned the importance of cultivating relationships with all stakeholders, including clients, peers, and higher-ups. Understand their concerns, anticipate their needs, and be the person who can reliably offer solutions. When people know they can count on you, you become indispensable. This increased my visibility and made the decision to promote me a no-brainer for management.

I noticed when people joined the team, they were so focused on making an immediate impact that they didn’t spend enough time with stakeholders, especially developers. My biggest superpower was that developers preferred to work with me. Empathy goes a long way in product management. I remember in one particular meeting, I was extremely pissed because we had missed so many deadlines. My developer, because we had a good relationship worked so hard the following week because he didn’t want to disappoint me.

Regular Documentation

Lesson: Track Your Successes and Learn from Failures

Documentation isn’t just for software developers or project managers. Keep a running log of your accomplishments, however minor, and the challenges you faced. This will not only serve as a ready reckoner for performance reviews but also as a personal database for self-improvement. If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it.

Listen, this is your superpower when you work remotely, depending on the company you work for, if the sense of urgency is very high, you may be so focused on getting the next win that you don’t document the journey and that is not good practice. Your boss is also unsure of the amount of work you get done, summarizing your needle-moving work during the week and sharing it with your boss makes you top of mind for future considerations and possibly promotions.

Sharing Wins and Getting Noticed

Lesson: Let Your Achievements Speak for You, But Don’t Whisper

In the fast-paced world of startups, good work can sometimes go unnoticed. It’s crucial to share your wins, whether in team meetings or via company-wide communication channels. Humility is a virtue, but invisibility is a career-stopper.

Be loud about your achievements, and let the work you get done be visible to everyone who matters. Don’t be a loudmouth but never cease to share your wins, no one can take them away from you.

Focusing on Impact

Lesson: Output vs. Outcome

The more you adult, the more you use the word ‘busy’ but are you really busy? As product managers, we know that not all work is needle-moving work. Whenever I get a list of tasks, I prioritize in order of business impact and focus on those before anything else.

The major difference between output and outcome is measurement. The outcome is determined by a set metric, understand what the needle-moving metric is, and concentrate on doing your best work there.

Be fast, not desperate

Lesson: Patience is a virtue

Whenever you join a new company or industry, you need to humble yourself and understand there are things you need to learn. Never implement immediately, and think twice before transferring strategies from a previous company.

Rest

Lesson: Burnout Is Not a Badge of Honor

Unfortunately, I don’t think I rested enough during this period. One of my major flaws was thinking I was making too much of an impact on the company and that if I stayed away for too long, the effect would be difficult to mitigate when I got back.

Human beings are not machines, you need rest to stay productive and sharp. I’ve learned this and I’d try as much as possible to take breaks, and schedule vacations in the future.

Navigating the career ladder at warp speed is great, but understand you’re in for the long game. Make sure you attend to both short-term and long-term goals for your career.

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IniOluwa Karunwi

I am a product/Account manager at WeLoveNoCode, with experience in agile development principles and a portfolio of more than 50 MVPs in the last 6 months.