Dealing With Being Passed Over for a Promotion

John Krautzel
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Getting passed over for a job promotion can turn all your happy expectations into boiling resentment. Without knowing the reason behind the decision, you may see enemies everywhere or express your feelings in unprofessional ways. A missed job promotion doesn't have to halt your career advancement, especially if you maintain good relationships. Follow these tips to renew your motivation after suffering a career disappointment.

Get Your Emotions Under Control

Feeling overwhelmed with negative thoughts is normal when you find out someone else is getting your coveted job promotion. Bottling up your emotions is never a good idea because pent-up frustration may manifest in your work or behavior toward colleagues. However, avoid venting at work, where your heated words can get back to the wrong people. Give yourself time to cool off in whatever manner works for you, whether it's taking a personal day, going for a run or getting a massage. Try to accept the situation, and remember you aren't the only person with a stake in the company's success.

Ask for the Facts

Chances are, you thought up countless theories why you didn't get the job promotion. But your reasoning is one-sided and may be completely wrong. To improve your chances in the future, get real feedback from the decision-makers. Be humble and professional when you approach your boss, and avoid complaining or comparing yourself to the successful candidate. Find out what you can do to strengthen your candidacy next time around. You want it to be clear you respect the company's decision and remain dedicated to the team. Managers are more likely to give honest suggestions if they're less worried about you retaliating or going to HR.

Revise Your Career Plan

Take the feedback to heart, even if you don't plan to stay with the company. Getting a breakdown of the criteria behind the decision may help you view the situation objectively. Use this learning experience to re-evaluate your performance and create an action plan. Maybe, you need to volunteer for higher-level projects, get more education or improve your communication with teammates. Let your boss know you're committed to delivering results for the company and ready to take on more responsibility. At the very least, your efforts could lead to valuable mentoring and training or an opportunity in another department.

Consider Other Employment Options

Continue to give your best effort at work even if you don't agree with your boss. Sometimes, it's better to soldier on while you decide whether the culture is a good fit. Based on the feedback from your boss, compare your goals and values to your employer's. You're unlikely to land a job promotion if your work ethic and professional traits don't match your employer's expectations. In the worst-case scenario, you could be dealing with company-wide discrimination. If managers have a pattern of promoting the wrong people, cut your losses and start job hunting.

Sticking with one employer for years is no longer the norm, so there's no reason to be afraid of moving on. While it's important to be a team player, you're responsible for your own career advancement. Instead of feeling discouraged when you don't get a job promotion, audit your accomplishments and sharpen your skills to prepare for your next career move.

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