Being passed over for a promotion you thought you deserved is a tough thing to shake off. And while slacking off or taking some retaliatory sick days following the announcement may seem like appropriate actions to take, your best bet is to remain professional in the face of disappointment.
Here are a few specific things you should do:
Express Your Displeasure, but Do so Respectfully
If you have a good relationship with your boss, request a meeting to discuss the situation at hand. Be honest and explain why you felt you deserved that promotion. Don’t be accusatory or confrontational, as that will only put your boss on the defensive. Instead, ask for specific reasons why you ultimately weren’t chosen for the role so that you can work to address them and perhaps come out ahead the next time a higher position opens up.
Seek Advice From Trusted Coworkers
Being passed over for a promotion can be a real blow to your confidence. Talk it out with colleagues you trust and ask for their input. While your boss is probably in the best position to provide insight as to what went on behind the scenes, it never hurts to solicit your coworkers’ opinions on the matter. Even if you can’t do much with the information, it may help you feel better about the situation. Don’t, however, badmouth the person who got the role you wanted. You never know who might spill the beans.
Improve Your Skills
The decision to promote a colleague in your place could be an annoying matter of office politics. Or, it could mean that the coworker in question really is better qualified. To increase your chances of getting promoted the next time an opportunity arises, work on your skills — all of them. Keep in mind that as you climb the ladder, interpersonal relationships become all the more important. So if you work in IT and are an expert coder, but have a reputation of being blunt and unfriendly, take steps to communicate better with those around you.
Support the Person Who Did Get the Job
It’s not easy being a gracious loser, but it’s the right thing to do in a professional environment. The last thing you want to do is get on the bad side of a person higher up than you on the chain. Offer your congratulations after the announcement is made, and reaffirm your ongoing commitment to your team, even if you’re secretly plotting your exit strategy.
Update Your Resume
Just because your company opted not to promote you doesn’t mean you can’t score a similar position in another organization. If you truly feel that your company’s decision was completely unfair and unjustifiable, start shopping around for a better opportunity. But if you do land an interview, don’t point to your lack of promotion as your primary reason for leaving. You’ll come off as resentful and possibly immature.
Losing out on a promotion can be a real blow to your ego, but try not to let it get you down. Keep doing the great job you’ve been doing, and with any luck, the next time around the stars will align in your favor.