November 9th, 2010

Didn’t Get Promoted? Get over it!


As young professionals, we are always seeking opportunities to advance in the workforce.

We produce quality work, attend related trainings, come to work early, stay late, assist with additional projects and may even sweet talk the boss from time to time.

Truthfully, one may contribute all of the above to no avail. On top of all of the work that is already on our plate, we do extra, hoping to get noticed and eventually honored with a promotion as dessert. However, what happens when you do not get the slice of cake that you desired? What if you are overlooked for that promotional opportunity? Do you give up? Do you quit? Do you curse your boss out?

Of course not! Never curse the cook that prepares your meal; and in this case, it is your employer.

So how do you recover from an employment heartbreak? Well, it is similar to a romantic heartbreak. Be slow to respond, though you may want to be quick to react. If you say something rude, it may affect your current position and your employers’ trust in you. Initially, you may feel like you’ve been let down and all of your hard work was a waste.

However, the best thing to do is to analyze the situation and put it into perspective. Were you physically, mentally and emotionally ready for that promotion? Have you really reflected on how it would change the rest of your life?
After doing this, you may realize that right now just may not have been the right time for a new opportunity.

John Beeson, founder of Beeson Consulting in Manhattan, agrees that less talk in the initial moment shock is best. However, once emotions are controlled, you may want to reach out to your supervisor to see what your strengths are and what your areas of improvement may be. “Your boss is probably feeling guilty and is not prepared to give you good reasons for the decision,” Mr. Beeson said. “It is best if you say: ‘I am disappointed. I am not challenging the decision, but I would like to come back to you in a few days and get some feedback that would help me manage my career.’

That tells your boss you’re not giving up and you want more information.”

In addition to the aforementioned questions, be sure to analyze the following questions: How is the company doing financially overall? Were you the only person that did not get a promotion? The answers will allow you to analyze the situation in a sensible way. If you are having a tough time really understanding the dynamics of this decision, you may want to consult with a trustworthy mentor within the organization that can help to make things more clear to you.

One rule of thumb when doing this is to not be on the defensive side! Be willing to listen, without disrupting, and then give your honest opinion.

When the time comes to consult with the ‘decision makers’ be sure to have a clear cut plan of communication that can be used to guide you through the important topics. If they say that you have a ‘lack communication skills’, be sure to ask specifics such as what ‘specifically within your communication skills’ needs to be improved. That way, you show desire and enthusiasm towards capitalizing in these areas. Also, be sure to ask for your strengths, so that you can continue to exercise them throughout your work.

After the meeting, send your boss an action plan that reiterates your discussion and the goals that have been set. This helps to let your boss know what you need from him or her in order to be successful, perhaps periodic meetings to assess performance. Supervisors love to see growth and dedication and these types of moves will help to secure your next promotion.

About the Author

Joshlyn Ross
A native of Oakland, California, Joshlyn Ross works diligently to share variations of industry news. She also shares words of wisdom and tips for other young professionals looking to capitalize in their respective fields.



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  1. I love it! I needed this, Its time for me to reconsider my options! Thanks Joshylyn

  2. Legg Mason is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, and its common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchang the moment sweetie bracelets are extremely favorite; they can be a example of items of fun jewelry which might be expressed by brands renowned for quality

  3. Its time for me to reconsider my options! Thanks Joshylyn

  4. One rule of thumb when doing this is to not be on the defensive side! Be willing to listen, without disrupting, and then give your honest opinion.

  5. It is not all the time that it showers surprises on your side of the working game and you should not dwell on such things because that is mostly out of your control.

  6. Earlier this year and out of the blue (to me, at least), my colleague was promoted to VP level. He was older and more experienced, but I had been working at our company longer. Not to mention, I certainly felt like I had brought just as much value. So when he was promoted over me—well, I’d like to say that I was bummed, but that would be an understatement. I was pissed.

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