Passed Over For Promotion


I have been at the same company for 16 years. I recently was interviewed for the position I have always wanted at that company. The other candidate, who also interviewed, has been at the company 2 years. She was selected for the position. I admit I have moved around the organization quite a bit over the years, but this was at my own request so that when the promotion like the one for which I presented itself, I would be a well-rounded candidate. I also tried to play this as strength and not a weakness. As in seeming that I get bored easily, I thought my 16 years of experience running several departments within the organization (Successfully) would help me be the perfect candidate for the promotion and would be a natural progression.

I feel let down and think that now all my hard work over the years was for nothing. It’s hard to come to work with a positive can-do attitude now. What’s the point? There is no reward.


Not Chosen


Dear Not Chosen:

Taking rejection is anything but pleasant. So now all you have before you is to come to work feeling sorry for yourself and to day after day to ask, “What’s the use?” Right? Wrong. Promotions are not the end goal of working. In fact, more than one promoted individual has wanted to return back to his/her old job. I don’t mean to make light of your disappointment. I cannot know if your company really rejected you or if this other person is really more fitted to the position you wanted. These thoughts suggested below are intended as a mirror on the wall. Look at them and see if the reflection applies. The mirror asks: 1. Are you a happy person outside of work? Do you have activities; reading, music, choir, sports, cooking, gardening, and family; that are important to you? If you do, then you have an answer to your question: “What’s the use?” The point is that you are working, even if for only a paycheck, in order to have a life outside of work. 2. Will you be happier and more contented with your current job if you sour on a can-do attitude? I doubt that you will be happier at work just doing what you have to do–closing your mind and eyes to what will make your job more effective, easier, cutting out wasted supplies, time and energy. 3. There is something within you that hungered for that special position. Hungering for it was and is a sign that you are not satisfied with just doing what you are assigned. You hunger to make a contribution, to be valued, to have more pay, to have a more challenging job. And that hunger is good. You acquired a variety of skills and familiarity with your organization by working in different jobs and environments. You probably are correct that you are of more value to your organization because of the different jobs you have held across 16 years. Will you ever get to be promoted? Possibly not. Does that mean you are not valued? I doubt that. If you do not add value to your company, you would have been fired, or should have been fired. Is being promoted to that special position the only way your hunger to be valued can be satisfied? I suggest that there are other ways to you can also feel valued. 4. Is it not possible to shape the job you now have? To be sure you must perform what is expected, but almost every job has fat in it; fat that can be reduced and opportunities to make your own and co-workers’ jobs more effective, easier, and pleasant. If nothing else, can you not be a person who makes someone, possibly your boss really look good? Or a find ways to make boring work less boring? Or ways to cheer on your co-workers? Or challenge your work group to make where you work cleaner, brighter, committed to improving quality? 5. Have you enlisted your superior and Human Resources in pursuit of the kind of position that will better meet your needs? Have you learned why this other person was chosen instead of you? Do you need to work on certain skills such as your writing, computer, etc? Have you asked to the guidance of those who can point out how you might better qualify? If you cannot answer “Yes” to these questions, might you need to be a little more assertive? 6. If you are indeed depressed because you have not been promoted, is it time for you to look elsewhere? The grass is not always greener, but then again, it might be. So what might you do to prepare your self for work elsewhere that you could love? It is sad when we do not have work that we can love? It is wonderful when we can. Do you need specialized training, something that you acquire by additional schooling?

What will you do this week and the next? How resilient are you? Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. I predict that if you look into the mirror and reflect on the six points above, that you will bounce back for this “What’s the use?” question.

William Gorden