If there was a career ladder to be climbed in your new organization as there often was back then, you’d try to understand the ladder and learn how to start climbing!
You’d pay attention to the qualities and achievements that got people promoted in your company, and try to showcase those qualities in yourself. Most of us were raised to climb any ladder in our vicinity!
It made all the sense in the world to try and advance as far as you could in whichever organization employed you.
Nowadays things are murkier. Not every job promotion you are offered will be good for your career.
Sometimes your manager will offer you a promotion because there is a critical but unappealing job that no one else is willing to do.
Sometimes the money you are offered for a promotion doesn’t match the responsibilities of the job.
Sometimes the manager you’d be working for in the new position is a bully. Maybe the position itself is badly-designed and impossible to perform while maintaining a personal life.
Here are ten reasons to pass up a promotion that is offered to you.
When you say “Thanks, but I’ll just keep my current job” you have to be ready for resistance.
Some organizations follow the philosophy “either move up, or move out!” They consider an employee’s refusal to take a promotion an act of treason. In those cases you might accept the promotion and then immediately start job-hunting.
That is sad and unnecessary, because in a healthy organization you could simply say, “I’m flattered, but I like my current job” and that would be fine. In an unhealthy organization, leaders will be horrified and indignant that you dare to make your own career decisions. When you refuse a promotion in a place like that, your countdown clock starts ticking!
You might have to leave your employer in order to stay on your path, but that is something that virtually all working will run into at some point. We are all growing new muscles now!
Here are ten good reasons to refuse a promotion that is offered to you:
• The new job you are offered doesn’t interest you.
• You don’t like the manager you’d be working for in your new position.
• The salary offered doesn’t meet your requirements or doesn’t match the responsibilities of the role.
• The new position would pigeonhole you to an unacceptable degree or in an area that doesn’t excite you.
• You cannot see a positive path for yourself in the new position.
• You don’t like the work environment in the new position.
• If you take the promotion, you’ll walk into a political minefield.
• The position you are offered has a horrible track record—people in the job quit or get fired quickly, one after the other.
• The promotion opportunity comes out of nowhere. You get the sense that your manager just needs to put somebody in the job—so why not you?
• Your gut tells you, “This doesn’t feel right.”
How do you refuse a promotion that is offered to you? When your manager approaches you, tell him or her, “Thanks very much for thinking of me. I will think about it for a few days.”
If you have questions about the job, ask those questions and give your manager time to collect answers for you.
When you are sure that you don’t want the promotion, tell your manager (face to face if possible), “I’m very flattered, but it’s not a good fit for me.” If you are open to other promotion opportunities, say so—and tell your manager which jobs you’re most interested in.
It is your career to drive. You are under no obligation to take a promotion you don’t want.
A little more money in your paycheck is not a good trade-off for a job you don’t want. You’re the one who’d be stuck in that job if you took it for the wrong reasons!
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