The Day After You Didn’t Get Promoted

June 30, 2015 12:17 pm

You’ve been working hard at your job and the next promotion is in sight. But then you’re told you aren’t getting it.

After you get done being hurt and mad, what should you do?

We asked two leading workplaces experts, Linda Akutagawa, president & CEO of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics (LEAP), and Raymond Arroyo, Managing Director at executive-search firm Reffett Associates.

Here’s their advice:

Self Evaluate. Take a long, hard look at where you fell short and ask people you trust what they think. “If you didn’t get that promotion, you have to look at yourself and say, ‘What is it that I did or didn’t do?’ You need a real self-assessment of where you are and what options should you be pursuing,” Arroyo said.

Go Beyond Just Hard Work. Don’t just ignore the issue and think that by “working harder” you will get the next promotion. Akutagawa noted that many Millennials in particular put their noses to the grindstone and work hard but don’t take the time to build relationships with their bosses and other managers in an organization.  Without that network of mentors and supporters, it’s difficult to understand why you didn’t get the promotion or recognition you feel you deserved.

Bust Work-Life Myths. For women and people from under-represented groups, there may be cultural issues or stereotypes that contribute to lack of communications. For example, Arroyo said, managers may think a woman can’t get a promotion because it involves travel and she has family responsibilities, when in reality she would be OK with travel. For many Millennials, especially those from Asian and other cultures that have a strong tradition of respect for elders, Akutagawa explained, “they just accept it and don’t ask questions.  I see the same thing with students who get bad grades. They think if they just work harder, they will get recognized. But that may not be the issue.”

Keep Cool. Don’t be confrontational but be armed with facts about your performance if you go back to your manager. “Take the high road and be very diplomatic,” Arroyo advised. “You want to learn from a 360-degree assessment where you fell short.”

Consider Other Horizons. If you really believe, after the assessment, that you were not the cause of the failure, think about looking for a different employer. “If it is a case of ‘I just won’t get anywhere in this company,’ then move on,” Arroyo stressed. “The reality is these people didn’t choose you.”