There have been a few times when I didn’t get the promotion.
I was disappointed.
I mean, I was really disappointed.
And it took me some time to get my head around what that disappointment meant.
It’s difficult being told you are not the right person for the position.
After all, you invested a lot of time and energy preparing, getting ready for the interview, wanting the new responsibilities, and thinking about a potential increase in your compensation.
And for young professionals, especially high performing young professionals, this can be difficult when they get success early in their career, and now they are being told “no.” It can be a lot to process.
Here are four strategies to promote yourself when you don’t get the promotion.
- Honor Your Emotions.– Embrace being disappointed. I never thought I could say to someone at work, especially my boss, that I was disappointed because I feared it would make me look bad or they would think less of me. I learned that it showed them I am human and I have feelings too. While it was a difficult conversation, it was one of the best conversations my boss, and I had.
- Pause. Reflect.– You are feeling a lot. Take time to process it. Don’t act in a way that may seem harsh or say something you might regret. Ben Dattner, the author of The Blame Game, says, “What we think we deserve is different from what others think we deserve.” This is an excellent opportunity to listen and lean in before you decide what steps you want to take moving forward.
- Get the Right Feedback and Ask for What’s Next.– If you want to know why you didn’t get the promotion, you must ask for that information. Have the important conversation with your boss, someone who had decision making authority, or a trusted colleague who knows the situation. If you want to know for a fact and not speculate, you must ask for the information. Seek out those people, whom you trust, to help you determine what you need to do to get a promotion the next time it becomes available.
- Be Proactive. Reframe the Experience as a Chance to Learn and Grow.– Trust me, there is something to learn here by not getting the promotion. Decide how you want to “show up” energetically and professionally. Decide on what things you want to do and how best they will serve you in the moment and the long term. Acknowledge that you didn’t get the promotion and even though you are disappointed, I hope you will spend some time figuring out what you can learn from this and how this experience propels your career forward.
Lastly, I encourage you to be grateful for all of your career experiences. These experiences allow us to “show up” from a place of knowledge, understanding, humility, and action.
Continue to find those people in your network who can help you step toward that advancement. Leverage your network to seek out those new and amazing opportunities that will help you say, “I get to go to work” and come from a place of energy, enthusiasm, and impact.
I know that it is easier said than done, but it is a process, and it takes some time.
Ultimately, you are a better professional because of your work experiences.
Even if it means you didn’t get the promotion.