How to Handle Not Getting the Promotion You Wanted

March 22, 2023
How to Handle Not Getting the Promotion You Wanted

If you didn’t get the promotion you worked so hard for, you’re likely feeling a palpable sense of disappointment. The good news? There are ways to use this situation to your advantage and move forward. Here’s how to handle not getting the promotion you wanted. 

Take Time to Reflect

A wave of unexpected emotions is likely going to come into the picture. And that’s normal. Once that wave settles, however, take some time to process what happened. Ask yourself questions like: “Is there something I can do differently next time?” and “What can I learn from this experience?” Try to keep a level head so that your emotions don’t cloud your judgment when making decisions moving forward. Once you have a bit more mental clarity, the next step will be to gain some outside perspective. 

Ask for Feedback

Once you’re emotionally ready, it’s a good idea to follow up with your manager. When they initially communicated that you won’t be receiving the promotion, you likely weren’t in a clear mental headspace. Once you are, pack some questions into your back pocket that will help you better understand the situation, and ultimately help you reframe this situation as an opportunity for improvement.

  • Ask why: “Would you be able to talk me through why I wasn’t right for the promotion this time around, so I can work toward getting there?”
  • Ask for specifics: “What specifically can I focus on in the next six to12 months that will make me more valuable in my role?”
  • Ask how to best upskill: “Are there any trainings that would make me better-prepared for the next promotion?”

Additionally, consider meeting with a professional mentor. Unbiasedly explain the situation and ask them to weigh in.

Finally, it’s important not to settle for being passed over for a promotion — keep looking for other opportunities within or outside of your company that could help advance your career even further. The good news is that the financial industry typically plays host to a lot of opportunities. There may be new roles available or open positions at other companies worth considering; just make sure they align with both your skill set and long-term goals.

Consider Other Opportunities

Getting passed over for a promotion can be discouraging — but with the right perspective, it can lead you toward the next great opportunity in your career. Take some time to reflect on what happened and focus on honing your skillset while looking out for other opportunities that could help further advance your career. 

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