Updated: Jun 26
Not giving up is usually seen as a virtuous quality. But sometimes with a job, it’s better to cut your losses and find something that better fits you and where you are in life. Putting yourself forward for a promotion can be one way to find opportunities in your company that work better for you. If you try for a promotion and are turned down, here are a few ways to handle it.
Take an honest look at the reasons you were turned down. Self-reflection is one of the hardest things to do, especially if you had your heart set on the new position. You may need a friend or trustworthy co-worker for this exercise. Try to come up with some reasonable explanations you didn’t get the promotion. Was someone else in the company a better match? Did you adequately demonstrate your passion for the new role? Do you have the skills necessary to do a good job in the new position? The only way to know if you should stick around and try for a promotion again is being honest with yourself about how well suited you are for the new job you want.
Set a deadline for when to make a change. Especially if you’re really troubled by not getting the promotion and it’s affecting your attitude at work, set a deadline for making the move to a new company. Perhaps think about a three to six month timeframe. During this time, be working on revamping your resume and quietly networking about what other positions may be out there for you to check out. But while you’re at it, still give your current position your all in case staying at your current company ends up being the best move. Keep an open mind.
Other times, you actually get the promotion and find yourself regretting it. There are several reasons you may find yourself in this position. Perhaps office politics is affecting your new role, and you’re finding co-workers resentful that they now report to you when you were once a peer. Maybe you’re finding the new responsibilities and increased hours are not worth the pay. Or, you may find that the new role isn’t what you had anticipated at all, and you’re regretting accepting the promotion.
If you find yourself in this position, a deep analysis of what you want to do next is necessary. Are you fed up with the company at this point and want to move on to a different one? Is it worth a talk with your boss to air your frustrations and see if anything can be changed? You may find it’s best to stick it out in the new position for a few months and see if things improve. It may be hard to know the exact best thing to do, so taking some time and thinking through your options and your ultimate goals is a good plan.