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What would you do if you were me?

I don't always voice out what I feel. I rarely show my feelings. But lately, I have been feeling that people have taken advantage of my meekness. It's not my strongest trait. Yet, I noticed that I have been overlooked by my superiors at work. I am a diligent worker, I get things done. I stay after hours if need be. Still, I feel that I haven't gotten what I deserve. People I started with are now at the Director or VP level, and I am left working for people that started after me.

I'm not complaining. With the economic crisis going on, I am fortunate to have a job. Our company laid off workers for the first time in 40 years. Everyone else received a paycut. I am simply wondering why I haven't reached the higher positions that my colleagues have reached. Do I need to become an a**hole to move up? Some of the people who have been promoted (no offense guys) don't even know what they are doing! I, on the other hand have more experience and expertise than they do!

I hate suck ups. That is one thing I detest. If I am going to move up, I want it to be due to my own merits and not because I sucked up to the big boss. Although at times, I think that's the only way! I mean, a person who has screwed up more than accomplish anything was recently promoted to "Director".. come on! Should I take up training? Should I go back to school and take up a "pulling-your-own-strings" course? What am I doing wrong? Arrrrgghh!!! I refuse to believe that a "Once a pee-on is always a pee-on." I still believe strongly that people are rewarded for what they do. But when is it going to happen to me?