What to Do When You Don’t Get Promoted

Katie Sweeney

As I was entering my junior year in college, I was certain I was going to be named captain of the dance team. Only a couple of girls were returning to the squad, and being the strongest dancer who helped choreograph many of the previous year's routines, I was the most qualified person for the job. However, I didn’t get it, and when another girl was given the title of captain, I was completely crushed. It impacted the entire time I was on the squad, so much so that I decided not to do it my senior year. Although it wasn’t a paying job, it was the first time I experienced such a big disappointment in my dance career.

It can feel like the end of the worlddealing with not getting a promotion when you feel like you deserve onebut in reality, it’s not. A recent Fortune article discuses what to do when you don’t get promoted. Here’s how I should have dealt with not getting appointed the captain position:

Relax. Author Shadan Deleveaux recommends taking some time off to gain control of your emotions. “Remove yourself from the situation, whether it’s by going for a long walk or taking a short vacation. It can be emotionally jarring and incredibly demotivating when you don’t get the promotion you were hoping for. You most likely feel like you deserved it, especially after proving your skills, hard work, and dedication to the job.” It’s crucial to take this cool down, as you don’t want to impulsively and emotionally respond to your management group in a negative way.

Reflect. “Reassess your dreams, goals, ambitions, and current career path to see if they are all still aligned with what you want.” Think about long-term goals and figure out if you are doing what you need to do to achieve them. Investigate other job opportunities. See if you can move to a different section of the company or take on a completely new role.

Reach out. “Find someone who cares enough about your career to give you the constructive and honest feedback necessary to help you improve professionally.” When you’re speaking with a mentor or trusted advisor, take a look back at your actions leading up to the nonpromotion. Figure out some questions to ask your boss to get a better understanding of their point of view and reasoning. Then meet with them. Ask what must happen for you to get a promotion in the future.

Reengage. Implement the feedback that your mentor and boss have provided. Enroll in new training classes. Take on some special projects. Most importantly, “Don’t ever give up. Your success is often forged in the crucible of your failures.”

Starting a new job soon? You’ll need a structured tote bag to carry all your paperwork and laptop.

Have you ever dealt with a nonpromotion? What did you do?

Explore: Jobs, Advice, promotion

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