A Weekly Q&A Column About Professionalism, Etiquette and Problems in the Workplace
by Sue Morem
Passed Over for a Promotion
Dear Sue: I am dumbfounded. Someone else just got the promotion
we all thought was mine. I should have been the one promoted. I don’t
know if I should quit or stay, but I do know I am not happy about what
has happened. Is hard work worth anything anymore?
Sue Says: I am sorry you did not get the promotion you were
counting on. Although you are disappointed, I hope you will take some
time to process what has happened and that you will take some time
before making any long term decisions based on what has happened.
I know you’ve worked hard. I know you’re disappointed and rightfully
so. However, as bad as things seem right now, I want you to know this
incident and your future may not be as bleak as you think. In fact,
although it may be difficult for you to understand now, this could be
one of the best things that could have happened to you.
This is a pivotal time for you—a time for you to assess yourself,
determine what you want, and become proactive in having it. But you must
be willing to do some work and answer what can be difficult questions to
answer. Are you?
Think about the reasons you wanted this promotion. Was this position
what you really wanted? Why do you think you were a better fit for the
position than the person who got the job? Why do you think you didn’t
Did you assume others knew how much this promotion meant to you—did
you do everything you could to sell yourself as the most qualified
candidate? What, if anything, could you have done differently to
increase your chances of getting what you wanted?
Have you asked why you didn’t get the promotion? Have you talked with
those who can help you understand? No matter what you assume, you might
be surprised to learn the reasons why. Perhaps your talents are better
suited for another position. Maybe you need to develop your skill in a
particular area that was holding you back. Once you know the reasons you
were passed over you can inquire about what you need to do to increase
your chances of being promoted in the future.
Have you made your ambitions known? No one will know what you want
unless you tell them. What is your intention? Are there future
opportunities where you are or is time for you to look outside of the
organization to get where you want?
You will benefit by learning all you can about why this happened. The
reasons you concoct will not serve you—the truth will. It may have
nothing to do with you, but you won’t know unless you ask. Continue to
do whatever you can to help you get what you want. The most difficult
will be letting go of your disappointment, but once you do you will be
free to move on and forward into the direction of your choice. I wish
you the best.
Sue Morem is a professional speaker, trainer and syndicated columnist. She
is author of the newly released
101 Tips for Graduates and
How to Gain the Professional Edge, Second Edition. You can contact her by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her web site at
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