This article comes from Ramon Greenwood, an Ivy Exec contributor.
You sincerely believe you are the best qualified among the candidates for the promotion to manager of your department. You believe you deserve it.
Your friends agree.
But, wham! The rug has been pulled out from under you. The position you would have given an eyetooth for goes to someone else. Your ego has taken a hit. You are mad and disappointed. You want to march in, tell the boss where to go and leave the place.
But hold on. Apply a little common sense before you go off the deep end.
You’ve still got your job and this is a good time to consider where you want to go with your career.
Force your chin up. Congratulate the winner right away. This will be painful, but it actually will help you regain your balance. Moreover, it will strengthen your position as a team player.
This is a dangerous time for you. Simmer awhile before you act. Brood and grieve a little in private if it makes you feel better. Reject bitterness; it’s poison. Look beyond your ego. Sure, your feelings have been bruised.
No need to be ashamed of that.
But really has all of this been damaging to your long-term career goals?
Time To Be Objective
Your greatest need at this time is to understand the “whys” behind the situation.
Start with a discussion with your boss. Remember, you are there to gain information, not to argue your case. Don¹t beat around the bush. However, you may calmly make the case as to why you believe you have earned a promotion. Admit you are sorely disappointed. Assure your boss you are not bitter or resentful. Pledge 100 percent allegiance to the team. Admit, however, that you are concerned about what has happened and what it may mean for your future.
Focus on the critical questions about what happened and why. Has your past performance and your preparation for the next step been at least up to par?
Are you as qualified or better than the competitors? What might you have done to improve your chances to win a promotion?
Did you miss some signals from your boss, telling you to improve you performance? Were there any recognizable indicators saying you were a candidate for promotion? Or have you been engaged in wishful thinking?
What qualification did you not have? Will there be other chances to win promotions? What can you do to improve your qualifications for advancement?
You must listen as you have never listened before to both what is said as well as what is implied between the lines. Be aware that you will be strongly inclined to hear the best side of the story. And don’t forget, it is the most natural thing in the world for the boss to try to soften the message. Besides, if you have been doing an adequate job in your present slot, he will want to keep you around.
Now you are ready to get to the bottom-line. Review all of the facts. Do you agree with what you learned from your review with the boss? Have you been treated fairly? Were there legitimate reasons you were passed over?
Do you care enough to take the necessary action to win the next time? Do you have a reasonably secure future in the organization? Can you be happy where you are? What are the acceptable alternatives? Do you want to find a more rewarding situation elsewhere?
Being passed over may be a blessing, although if it is, it at first appears to be quite will disguised. You have an opportunity to gain a more realistic view of where you are, where you want to go and what you have to do to get there. Or you may conclude you are satisfied with your present position; or you may decide it¹s time to move on to greener pastures elsewhere.
I wish you success!
Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach
For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times, participate in Greenwood’s widely read Common Sense At Work Blog. His new e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned, is available from