Not So Fast! Pause Before You Accept That Promotion at Work

promotion at workIn our jobs and careers, many of us feel the drive, along with the pressure, to get ahead.  Society has trained us to obtain more power, make more money, and feel like our skills are being developed and utilized effectively.   When we are giving our all at work, many of us are doing so expecting to be rewarded at some point with a promotion.  Getting a promotion at work can be a huge cause for celebration, and an invaluable step in our professional and personal growth.  Many promotions are an excellent step that will give us the experience we need to reach our career goals, and extra compensation to help relieve our financial burdens.

But taking a promotion is not always the best move in someone’s career, and it should be a well-thought out decision.  In many cases, you are not obligated to take a promotion, though many workers tend to feel that way.  To decide whether taking that promotion at work is a smart step for you, here are some questions to ask yourself:

1)  Does the promotion include a pay raise?

In some cases, a work promotion involves more responsibility, but not extra compensation.  Be sure to find out exactly how much more you will be paid (if any) and if the extra pay makes the added workload worth it.  If you feel the experience you will gain through the promotion will help you reach your long-term career goals, you may consider taking it, even without more pay.  Though it will be a sacrifice, it will pay off in the long run.

If you want the promotion but really need a salary increase, see if your boss will re-negotiate.  The fact that you are being offered the promotion means you are highly valued by the company, and you deserve to be rewarded for your hard work.   Whatever you do, be clear with your boss on the reasoning.  It is very likely that they will understand, and in many cases make adjustments to benefit you.

2)  Do you feel you are really a good fit?

While your boss may be aware of many of your strengths, you know yourself better than anyone.  It is very possible that the promotion you are being offered at work is completely wrong for you, and others just don’t realize it.  In this case, explain to your boss why you would be a bad fit, and if you can suggest others within the company that may do a much better job.  You don’t want to take a job that you already know isn’t going to work out, for both your benefit and that of the company.  Also, explain to your boss what positions you would be interested in at the company where you think your skills would be more beneficial.

3)  Do you see a long-term future with the company?

If you are only in your current job to earn some extra cash, but are looking to pursue a completely different career path that is unrelated to the company you work for, taking a promotion is probably not the best move.  Not only would it be a risk for you since you may end up leaving the position abruptly when other opportunities present themselves, it would be a waste of time and money for the company as well.  Also, the added responsibilities that come with the work promotion would likely take away valuable time you need to focus on your career goals.

4)  Will the promotion burn you out?

Your current role may feel rewarding and fulfilling, but also allow you enough energy to focus on other parts of your life such as family, social activities and health.  If taking a promotion at work is going to add so much stress that you come to hate your job and will be completely miserable, it’s ok to decide that it’s not for you.  Take a look at the situation honestly; see if you can sacrifice other things in your life if the role is really important to you.  But if it’s completely unrealistic and will only result in burnout, it’s better to know that ahead of time.  And if you find yourself in this situation, you are not alone.  These days it is much more common for a promotion at work to be turned down, since work-life balance has become more of a priority for millennials in the workforce.

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Jessica Cody

Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.

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