So, You Got Screwed Over – 9 Ways To Handle Being Denied A Promotion

A friend told me that she had been angling for a promotion at work.

She had been there 5 years, done good work and felt she was ready. When she had asked her supervisor about the possibility of a promotion she was told that there were no promotions – for anyone – due to budget reasons.

She left on a scheduled holiday and on her return found that a coworker had received a promotion. A promotion that seemingly did not exist a couple of weeks earlier.

Read more about how to talk to your employees when things are bad

Even when everything is fair and transparent, it is nerve-wracking when it comes time to find out who made the latest round of promotions. When we learn that we didn’t make it the disappointment can be painful.

Now imagine if it seems that your Boss has not been honest, fair or transparent … it is no surprise my friend felt rejected and taken advantage of.

It sucked.

What is my friend and you to do to manage the hurt feelings?

Read more about partnering with your boss

10 Key Tips To Handle Being Denied A Promotion

  1. Keep asking questions. Don’t accept one sentence answer to why you were denied a promotion. They owe you an explanation, so be bold, respectful and ask questions straight up. It’s the only way you will get answers.
  2. Don’t get emotional. When you get caught by surprise with bad news, it is hard not to get emotional. Keep your emotions in check and don’t make a public scene.
  3. Find a private place. Take time to yourself after the rejection. The last thing you need is to return to behave like everything is normal. Find some privacy where you can let out all your emotions.
  4. Talk to a trusted confidant. It helps to talk to someone you trust for guidance and to build your confidence back up. It’s easy to lose the big picture when you’re upset; you will need help to refocus and channel your emotions into your next move and something productive.
  5. Analyze the last 6-12 months. Once your emotions have calmed down, analyze all the things that have happened over the last 6-12 months. Consider your performance, your accomplishments and failures, and be honest with yourself about your part in what led management to their decision.
  6. Talk with your boss. Once you have cooled down, go to your boss and respectfully explain you’re disappointed and why, ask questions, and find out what you need to do to make the next round of promotions. You may not like the feedback, but if you don’t reach out, they can only assume you don’t have any concerns.
  7. Think about your next moves. Rejection can be liberating. Start applying for new jobs, put together a plan for your next moves and get Plan B ready.
  8. Put things in writing. Documentation is key, so track the meetings you’ve had with your boss and get a copy of your most recent review. If you are a victim of any workplace discrimination or constructive dismissal you will need as much documentation as possible.
  9. Update your resume. Get your resume updated and start brushing up your interview skills.

Finally Move on.

It’s hard to be rejected, especially when we believe we’re right. But life doesn’t always work out the way we want, stand up for yourself and get your confidence back.

If your Boss’ and your organization’s values and transparency do not align with yours … maybe it is time to move on.