Didn’t Get That Promotion? Here’s What You Can Do
Updated: Aug 20
A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. – Elbert Hubbard
It is hard to share that same view when you’re reeling from a freshly missed opportunity. Know that at such a time, it is natural to feel at a loss, and like you’ve been served up the short end of the stick.
The first thing to do when you’ve been passed up for a promotion is to process what happened and get through the emotional upheaval. Remember, any conversation you have when high on emotions is probably going to be counterproductive. Take some time out to pamper yourself, or unwind doing something you haven’t done in a while. Reclaim your lost confidence. Then, you’re ready to deal with the situation. Here are a few things you can do:
1. Set Up Time With Your Manager The purpose of this conversation isn’t to discuss what went wrong, but to seek feedback and do even better this time around. Some companies measure success on a relative bell curve so your performance may have simply been overshadowed by someone else. While this isn’t fair, having a conversation to highlight what you got right, set goals for the next year and agree on them with your manager can really help.2. Build Your Skills Sometimes, the only way to succeed is to become so good at what you do that you just cannot be replaced. Keep in mind that these skills can be both role-specific as well as more generic ones. For example, many companies value employees with a rich skill-set who have a demonstrated track record of also being a good communicator. Focus on ways by which you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Sometimes, winning the race means choosing a different running track altogether.3. Keep A Success Journal Sometimes, we all need a cup of tea for the soul. Keep a small notebook handy to make a note of all the things you get right on a daily basis. If you’ve gone the extra mile to make something happen, keep a record of it. Not only does this serve as a morale boost, but it also can come in handy during the next appraisal period.4. Network We heard this at a conference recently- your network is your net worth. Truer words have never been uttered. Remember that the people you know can open doors for you and make things happen. They can help you explore new opportunities in a different vertical, or even entrust you with projects you would otherwise never get. Networking is not a one-day thing where you hang out at office parties. Put some extra effort into building genuine relationships at work. They always come in handy and being trustworthy always pays off.5. Consider Your Engagement Levels Answer this question honestly- are you an engaged employee? Do you, in every instance, see where your company is going and your specific role in making it happen? Do you believe that your work gives you a purpose? Disengagement is awfully common in today’s times, and it isn’t just one person’s fault. Sometimes, employees may find that they are just not cut out for the sort of profile they’re in. You can either ask for a lateral shift or quit and upskill yourself in a field that genuinely interests you. If it is a case of systemic disengagement, bring it to the management’s notice- and try and share as specific feedback as possible to help them. Hard as it is to accept, sometimes, a missed promotion may simply be a long-term decision. Perhaps, the company does not need people in the new role just yet. Even if that isn’t the case, get your game face on and congratulate those that made the cut. Remember point four. A genuine desire to collaborate can take you very far, very soon. Don’t let a short-term setback get you down!