8 Things to Consider If You Were Passed Over for a Promotion

Passed Over for PromotionAfter all the hard work, goal setting and focus, you were passed over for promotion you thought would be coming your way.

Now you’re sitting there wondering what your next move is and whether or not any move would make a difference.  This has rocked your world and has left you with more questions than answers.

There are some things for you to do immediately and other things best left to later in the week or next week.

Things to do now if you were passed over for promotion:

1. Stay cool. The worst thing you could do after being passed over for promotion is stomp into the boss’s office and throw what feels like a well-deserved fit.  Even if their decision was biased and unfair a rampage from you won’t make your case.  It could even be career limiting.  If you need to vent, pick someone outside your company who will just let you be however you need to be.

2. Don’t make any big decision. When we’ve been hit with a big, negative event, our brain isn’t functioning too well.  Simply dig back into your work and let that be your focus for the next week.  If you move into action too quickly, it might not be well thought out which could result in regret.  Pick a day for reentering into the decision and action space.  You need time to pull yourself together.

3. Don’t vent to your peers.  While venting does have its merits, right now you shouldn’t vent to anyone at work about being passed over for promotion.  It seems that those conversations have a nasty way of making their way to the boss regardless of how close a work peer they might be.

Things to do later if you were passed over for promotion (a.k.a. like a week from now):

1. Clarify the message. Chances are good that your brain shut off the listening function when you heard the message you didn’t got passed over for promotion.  The boss did probably give you some important information for you to use.  Circle back around to any notes or even the boss for a quick, clarifying conversation.  No debate just gather information.

2. Move into problem solving.  You have a problem.  You had expectations of a promotion and you didn’t get it.  This means one of the following:

  1. Expectations of you/the promotion changed and you didn’t know it.
  2. You weren’t communicating well with the boss on what it takes and how well you were doing.
  3. The decision was arbitrary.

3. You can’t solve a problem you don’t fully understand.  You also may not be objective enough to completely assess the problem.  If you have a work mentor, now is the time to get with them.  You need to make sure that whatever action you take will truly address the underlying problem.  If you executed the previous step you should have some good information that will shed light on the problem you need to fix.

4. Get the right attitude.  You aren’t “owed” a promotion.  You need to take the approach that you will make adjustments that will put you on the right track.  Don’t over compensate, simply resolve that this is a problem to solve.  It also doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy of a promotion so don’t act like a whipped dog.

5. What if this is impossible?  If this isn’t the first time for being passed over, then it is time for you to rethink your future at this company.  If you are being realistic about your performance and capability; if your promotion is long overdue it’s time to leave.  Sometimes we don’t mesh with what the company values.  You might be a great performer but you aren’t material for upper levels with this company.  That’s okay to know.  You will do better somewhere else.  It doesn’t mean you’re not worthy.  You are; just not here.  Time to move on.

Don’t let getting passed over for promotion derail you or your career goals.  Learn from this situation and take the right actions that will get you where you know you can go.

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