Are you talking about the quick launch? If so are you on a site page or a application page? Which master is assigned to this page? Also if you have a publishing template you may not get the quick launch as well. If you can let me know this information it would be helpful in answering your question.
Gary Newman MCSE, MCT, CCNA MCDBA, MCAD, MCSA MCTS SharePoint 2007 Dev & Admin MCPD SharePoint 2010 Development