Amanda Kludt had been working at Eater, a network of food and dining sites, for just six years when, at the age of 30, she became the editor-in-chief. If this rise sounds fast to you that鈥檚 because it is 鈥 and Kludt credits her early boss status, at least in part, to the startup nature of the company.

鈥淲hen I started at Eater, it was really small and we were fortunate enough to be able to make it, and that doesn鈥檛 happen with every startup,鈥 she tells us. 鈥淚 was one of maybe a dozen people. That was part of my trajectory 鈥 being able to rise with the company.鈥

While having the opportunity to grow with a company was certainly an advantage in Kludt鈥檚 journey, it doesn鈥檛 explain everything. The young journalist joined the Eater staff in 2008, largely because she was a fan of the site.

鈥淸The writers] were effectively writing about restaurant openings and closings, but there was a voice to it,鈥 Kludt says of Eater鈥檚 appeal. 鈥淚t wasn鈥檛 dry at all. It wasn鈥檛 like reading the food section of a major newspaper. It had a personality, like your friend telling you what鈥檚 going on.鈥

Amanda Kludt, EIC of Eater

The Early Years

She spent the early years of her time at Eater churning out content, working constantly to meet a quota that demanded she write 12 posts daily. Kludt recalls those days as 鈥渒ind of a grind, but really fun.鈥 Like all things that feel like a grind 鈥 no matter how fun! 鈥 the job couldn鈥檛 last forever. She began experiencing burnout, which is when she decided to take control of her own professional fate.

鈥淚 pitched to my boss a new role that didn鈥檛 exist, which was editorial director, overseeing a bunch of sites, because at that moment, we鈥檇 grown,鈥 Kludt says. 鈥淗e wasn鈥檛 really ready to create that position for me, so I thought maybe I should leave and get another job.鈥

Moving Up

While a competing job offer was ultimately the key to her boss granting her the promotion she鈥檇 asked for, Kludt鈥檚 primary goal was to transition into a professional role that would be more challenging and stimulating for her 鈥 not to convince the Eater team to change their mind and give her a new position. When her boss found a way to create the new position for Kludt so she wouldn鈥檛 leave the company, it paved the way for her to continue into successive leadership roles at Eater. Still, Kludt knows this isn鈥檛 always the answer.

鈥淭hat鈥檚 not going to work out every time for every person,鈥 Kludt says of her rise to the top of the Eater ladder. 鈥淭hat being said, I think it is really important to let your boss know what you鈥檙e feeling and what your objectives are.鈥

Her Advice If You Want to Get Promoted

If you鈥檙e antsy about your own career trajectory and anxious to discuss a promotion with your supervisor 鈥 and soon 鈥 Kludt recommends that you start the conversation ASAP. Reach out to your boss with your specific professional goals, explain where you see yourself in five or 10 years within the company, and then share your thoughts on how you might be able to get there. Consider how your particular skill set might fill a gap that currently exists on the team. As Eater鈥檚 editor-in-chief, Kludt now gets to be on the receiving end of these proposals.

鈥淚鈥檓 not always going to be able to say yes, but sometimes I can,鈥 she says. 鈥淎t the very least, having that knowledge will help me think about that person鈥檚 career differently.鈥

Another key element to any pitch like this, Kludt says, is a healthy dose of realism. Your idea could be a great one, but if your company has temporary hiring constraints or very limited budgets, it doesn鈥檛 really matter how great your idea is 鈥 at least not for the moment! Putting your proposal out there is a great place to start, but you might need to be prepared to follow up later and not take it personally if it doesn鈥檛 immediately work out. You might also want to consider when it would be the right time to look elsewhere for the kind of growth you鈥檙e seeking. While loyalty is admirable, you may need to consider other options if the swift promotion schedule you dream of isn鈥檛 realistic for your current employer.

鈥淲e just can鈥檛 have everybody all the time getting promoted and moving on to a new thing,鈥 Kludt says. 鈥淪ometimes, they can leave and it鈥檚 a good thing, or sometimes, we do find ways to promote them. I think it鈥檚 all about being really open-minded about what all the possibilities are.鈥

Kludt鈥檚 personal open-mindedness has led her to a role overseeing 23 city sites and managing 80 employees 鈥 not to mention Eater鈥檚 latest project, a six-part series for PBS called No Passport Required. The series, which airs on Tuesdays, premiered July 10 and highlights immigrant culinary traditions.

Do you have any tips about how to best pursue growth on the job? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Eater/Keith MacDonald)