If you've been putting in a lot of extra hours and taking on new responsibilities at work, it may seem that a promotion is just around the corner. Maybe it's an internal position that just opened up or you're taking on a huge new account, but whatever the catalyst, it's usually pretty easy to tell when you're ready for the next step. This can make it all the more devastating if you get passed up for a promotion by someone you feel doesn't fit the bill. In these situations, it's easy to lose your head. However, fight your initial instinct to storm out and then reevaluate. Here are five things to do when you don't receive a much-deserved promotion:
1. Don't act right away
Don't let yourself do something regrettable in the heat of the moment. It's a natural to have the urge to shut down, quit or badmouth the person who received the promotion. Remember that reacting in this way will only make the situation worse. While you may have gotten passed up, you never know what opportunities the future will hold, and it won't do you any good to burn bridges in the meantime. In the moment missing out may seem like a bigger deal than it is in actuality.
2.Shake it off
Take some time to collect your thoughts and cool down. It's perfectly acceptable to ask your boss why you were passed up or for criticism on ways you can improve, but if you do this while you're still frustrated you may react unfavorably. Give yourself enough time to find a collected and professional way of approaching your boss or other higher ups to learn more about how the decision was made.
3. Find out why
When you initiate the conversation, make sure to position your questions in a professional manner. Don't ask why so and so was chosen over you. Instead, politely inquire as to what held you back this time around and how you can improve. Be prepared to take constructive criticism, and avoid being defensive or standoffish. Remember to be diplomatic. Take note of external issues that may be out of your hands, as it may be a cue as to your future opportunities with the company.
4. Actively work to get better
Ideally, once you've talked with your boss, you'll have a better understanding of what you can be doing to earn the promotion next time around. Focus on the specific reasons that were cited for you being passed over, and work to strengthen these areas. For example, if you did not receive the promotion for not having enough leadership experience, find ways to become a more active leader around the office. Spearhead new projects and vocalize your ideas. Hopefully, this initiative will be easily recognizable and then there will be no question of who to promote in the future.
5. Look for other opportunities
If your efforts are going unrecognized and unrewarded, it may simply be time to start looking elsewhere. Get a pulse on other open opportunities and double your networking efforts. Though you may not make the switch immediately, it's important to remain focused on advancing your career. You can't wait around in hopes that an internal opening simply pops up or the next promotion presents itself. Once you've sorted out why you were passed up, make a point of updating your resume, browsing the job market and meeting new people. Ideally, if you remain active at work and in your job search, a new opportunity will soon become available.