What to Do if You Are Denied A Promotion

What to Do if You Are Denied A Promotion

So you took your time preparing to ask for a promotion. You crafted the speech, did some rehearsals in front of your mirror, picked out your nicest clothing, and did the hardest part of the preparation- You worked up the courage to ask your boss for your promotion, then you asked him. Still, you were denied the promotion.

You need to know that asking for that promotion at all was not a wrong decision. You will be surprised at the number of people that cannot work up the courage to do the same. That you did, means you desire growth, two things needed to become a successful career person – desire and growth.

Neither should the rejection make you feel ashamed. There are different reasons people get denied a promotion. It could be due to the economy, the current state of the company, a more qualified employee, a misdeed still being considered, etc. You thought you deserved the promotion and reached for it. Now that you didn’t get it, first of all, know you still have the same job. You are still where you are and you can withdraw to make a comeback.


What Your Rejection Does Not Mean

  1. You’re a Failure: No, you are not a failure. Don’t allow that voice in your head to call you one to stay. That you failed to get a promotion is a very different narrative altogether from being a failure. Talk to yourself, to people around you that have got your best interest at heart. Listen to them. They will also have stories of past inadequacies or failures in their career, life, or relationship path.
  2. You are Not Good Enough: A lot of people get rejected for a job promotion every year. This does not mean you’re underqualified. So you’re probably thinking, “Why me?!” The answer is that it happens to the very best of us. Many have been at that point of rejection, more will still be. Great minds today talk about their failures too, yet it doesn’t reduce a drop in who they are. Instead, it adds to their persons.
  3. You’re the Only One: Most times what causes us a lot of pain is the deception that we are the only ones going through a particular challenge. You begin to wonder and compare yourself with your colleagues, friends, and peers who have recently gotten promoted and this makes you feel worse. You must note that you are not alone. Thousands all over the world also have been denied promotion. It doesn’t make the rest better than you. Knowing this helps you regain your confidence faster.


How To Deal With The Rejection

  1. Do Not Backlash at Your Boss: This is the first and most important step. Right there and then, your first reaction matters a lot and it is probably the urge to fight, resist, push, anything other than accepting that “No” that came as a response to your request. It probably threw you off balance and brought a marathon of emotions cascading to the surface, none of them nice. This is not a time to backlash at your boss. You must compose yourself, thank your employer and leave gracefully.

Remember that your boss knowing what kind of response his reply will bring must have prepared for it. Prepared to handle anger and lots of other things. You should prove them wrong. Your response to this rejection will speak more about the person you are than your response to your missed promotion would have done.

This person is also still your boss. Even if you smell foul play, right then is not the time. You are still dealing with a lot. You don’t want to say anything that you’ll regret later so respond gracefully, excuse yourself and step out. I guarantee you that you earn the respect of your boss for that kind of response.


  1. Gather Your Emotions Together: Even if you were composed in your response, it does not stop the fact that the rejection has dealt you a blow. A lot of thoughts will probably be going through your mind, trying to analyze the situation so it is perfectly understandable if you wish to take the day off or take personal time. Your superior should probably understand.

Find a personal space and alone time. Allow those emotions to course through you. This is the only way you can start the healing process. Give into it. Cry if you feel like doing so, scream, go to the gym, go for a run, whatever can help you burn off that excess negativity. That’s why it’s called alone time.


  1. Relax: When you have done this, after venting, you must relax. Don’t let yourself vent for too long. Overindulging in this stage will make you feel worse. Set a time limit. Do something that helps you cool down, listen to music, watch movies, pray, and talk to friends. It will help you cool down.


  1. Don’t Play The Blame Game: Questions have probably been churning and you want to find relief, find something or somebody to take the pain away from you. Most times comes the temptation to blame something, to anchor this result, to answer the question, “Why?!”

Don’t blame yourself, even if you made a mistake somewhere down the line that denied you the promotion this time, do not give in to the temptation to lean into that. It will only achieve depression for you which is not a good thing at this stage. Agree you made that mistake but choose to let go and move ahead of it, decide it will not hold you back any longer.

Also, you might not have done anything deserving of rejection but it happened anyway. As we said, there are several reasons people get rejected. This does not stop your mind from searching for anything that could have been the reason for this. Don’t let it.

Don’t blame your family, peers, or friends; there might have been situations involving other relationships in your life that affected your work performance in one way or the other or an occurrence at work that did so. Even if this may be true, right then in this pool of sadness is not the time to think about it. The chances of you overthinking and gathering resentment you might not be able to shake off then is higher because you’re not thinking very logically at that moment. You must be careful not to lose more than a promotion.

Don’t blame your employer either and I’ll explain why.


  1. Do not Resent Your Employer: Resentment stems from anger, dissatisfaction, betrayal, and disapproval of being denied something. Many have acted on this alone only to regret it afterward. Resenting your employer will make you do things you reject. It can make you resign from work or begin to act in a negative manner that will affect your work atmosphere.


  1. Listen to Feedback: Now that you are better collected, you should approach your boss to ask for feedback on why you were not offered the job and how to proceed. This will show that you’re a person with an open heart, given to learning and growth. If you do this and pay attention to the instructions of your superior the chances that you get considered next time are way better.


  1. Make a Plan: From the feedback you got, you should make a plan that will help you get better and produce more effective results. What have you been doing? How can you get better? Quality vs quantity? Better time management? Put these into goals and make plans to help you achieve them.


  1. Is It Time for a Change of Jobs?: With a cool head, taking into account the events that have played before your job promotion request and after your rejection, do you suspect foul play? Can you no longer progress with that same company? Are you stuck in the same cycle of rejection or just plain stagnant? Or maybe you’re the victim of your workplace power play or favouritism?


Yes, this could be any of the problems or reasons for your rejection. As unfair as any one of them is, you must be careful when making this decision. Weigh the pros and cons of leaving your job for another. Do you want to leave now or in the near future? The possibility of finding another, your ability, and other factors before taking this step of leaving your job. Never allow pride to make these decisions for you. Ensure you remain logical.


What Your Rejection Means

Prepare More

As much as a promotion rejection can leave you questioning your worth as a person and abilities, you should not let it. The time facing you right then is an opportunity to get better at what you do. It is an opportunity to prepare more. Your refusal to do so can make you lose much more than a promotion.

Why do you think there are a lot of books, videos, and posts on failure? It’s because many people are going through it and will go through it.

You must focus on yourself. Keep your mind open, your heart clear and you will be surprised when another opportunity comes your way and soon you are riding the waves of success right to the top.

Career Advice

Leave a Reply