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How To Handle Being Passed Over For A Promotion

March 19, 2018

For some, career advancements are not something they consider to be important. They are happy with where they have made it in their work and are not striving for climbing the corporate ladder. But then, there is the rest of the professional world.

Seeking out promotions or actively pursuing that next level in your career is nothing to be ashamed of at all. It is not greedy, it is not selfish. Most people enter into their careers in low-level positions and through their hard work, they expect to be able to achieve greater heights as they grow as a professional. That is why being passed over for a promotion can really sting. When you set your heart on something and think that you deserve it, losing out is a pretty substantial blow. So how do you get passed it, continue on and make the necessary adjustments so this doesn’t happen again.

Blow off some steam

The first thing to do when met with disappointment is to find a productive way of letting out all of that frustration. You’re allowed to be angry about such a setback, it’s even natural, so it’s important to be able to deal with that anger appropriately. That doesn’t mean you take the week off of work and start hitting the bar. There are productive ways of letting off some steam. Exercise, vent to friends outside work, dive back into work with a new purpose – all are ways getting your head right so you can move forward.

Manage your emotions

There are going to be a lot of emotions as a result of this and while that is normal, you have to know how to manage those emotions. Despite your frustrations, you do not want to make any knee-jerk reactions that could harm your career and professional reactions. You don’t need to force yourself to accept it, but it means you need to take a step back from the situation to really examine things with a clear head. If you come to a decision that you can’t continue in your current position, address that issue in a professional manner. Disappointment doesn’t give you the excuse to lash out.

Learn from the experience

Just like when you’re unsuccessful in your job search, getting feedback on why you were passed over is essential. Too often when people lose out on a job that they felt they deserved, they are too bitter to ask for feedback from the experience. The only person that is punishing is yourself. The old saying goes that you learn more from failure than from successes and that is absolutely true. This is an opportunity to learn and improve. Ask what the factors were that lost you the promotion. Are these things you can change and improve to ensure they aren’t roadblocks in the future? You don’t need to be happy about the experience but be willing to learn from it in the end.

Don’t let it derail you

It is the expectation of reaching that next level that makes the fall so much worse. We’ve addressed how that disappointment can leave you frustrated and angry, but that’s not even the worst of the what it can do to you. Some people take this kind of rejection to heart and let it stop them from bettering themselves. They feel that they have reached as far as they can and to try any harder would be a waste of energy. This can be especially true of older professionals. Of course, there is no age limit for achieving your goals. This is only a setback and the only question left is how quickly you can brush yourself off and keep moving forward.

Make a game plan

If you’re adamant that you’re not going to let this small setback stop you from your career ambitions, then you need to figure out your game plan. The first option didn’t work out like you wanted, so what’s next? How do you rebound and what’s your next pursuit? This doesn’t need to be specifically about pursuing the next promotion opportunity, but rather deciding what is best for your career based on what you learned from this experience.

Commit to something

Most important takeaway is that you need to emerge from this experience ready to move forward in whatever direction that might be. For some, it will be getting back on the horse and going after that next opportunity better prepared and wiser from the experience. Others might decide they’ve run out of space to grow in their current job and decide it’s time to move on. Whatever the decision, commit to it. Don’t wait around to be told how to go forward, make the choice yourself and stick to bettering yourself in any path you choose.


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