Fearless Salary Negotiation

What to do when you don't get promoted

Work with your manager to make a plan

Even if you put in the work, there's no guarantee you'll be promoted. Here's how to plan your next move after bad news.

If you didn’t get what you asked for, you should ask your manager to help you formulate a plan to achieve your goal. “I’m disappointed that I couldn’t be promoted to Senior Business Analyst. Can we please talk about what I need to do, specifically, to earn that promotion?”

Your manager may be able to work with you to put a plan and timeline in place so that you know specifically what you need to do to get your promotion. This is also a good outcome as it provides clarity and gives you a clear path to follow.

You may need to consider other options

Sometimes you won’t get what you asked for, and your manager won’t be able to offer a plan to achieve your goals. That’s disappointing, but it’s also an informative outcome: You now know that the promotion you feel you deserve isn’t attainable at your current company or in your current part of that company.

The first thing you should do is take some time to do some soul searching. It’s possible you’re simply not as prepared to make that jump as you thought you were. Listen carefully to your manager’s feedback and consider whether you jumped the gun. Sometimes, the surest way to a promotion is time and experience, and neither of those can be rushed.

After some soul searching, it may be time to start looking elsewhere for better opportunities where you can grow and be compensated as you feel you should be. You may be undervalued or other-valued in your current position at your current company.

What do I mean by “other-valued”? It’s possible you’re extremely good at what you do and that you have accomplished a lot in your current role, but that your specific company or industry simply doesn’t value your skillset. Maybe you’re really, really good at client-facing customer service, but your company is outsourcing that function to another company or is working to automate customer service as much as possible. Or maybe you’re very strong in a certain technology that your company just doesn’t use very much.

Either way—if you’re undervalued or other-valued at your current company—it may be time to start searching elsewhere for better opportunities.

You've changed jobs before and felt like you were leaving money on the table. You never have to feel that way again.

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