are seething. That last promotion at work was supposed to be yours.
You've worked hard and earned it. Instead, it went to someone else.
Your immediate reaction: quit. Just quit the lousy job and go to
work picking up dog poop for a living if that's what it takes. You'd
rather do that than work one more minute at the place you've come
But before you fire off your letter of resignation, think about
Sure, you'd like to believe that the place couldn't last one more
minute without you, that the company's bottom line will sink faster
than a ship hit with 80 torpedoes. You envision your boss holding
a "will work for food" cardboard sign on the nearest corner and
the person who stole your promotion in solitary confinement in some
horrible prison, or worse.
The problem with these scenarios is that they are not only unrealistic,
they don't do you one bit of good. You still don't have that promotion,
you're still mad, and you still want to quit. So, for the sake of
argument, let's look at what is a more logical reaction to your
If this is the first time you've been passed over, it may be the
last. The logical next step is to try and find out from a mentor
in the company, or a supervisor, what you need to do in order give
yourself a better shot next time. Perhaps it's a matter of getting
more education or cross training in another department. Don't get
in a dither because you don't have all the skills and qualifications
as the other person. This is something that you can work on, and
be better prepared for a promotion next time.
There seems to be a pattern of disappointment in this job. Can
you isolate the problem? Poor performance evaluations? Trouble getting
along with the boss or co-workers? Difficulty managing your time
or workload? It could be that you need some time management courses,
or some workshops on getting along with different personalities.
The idea is to control what you can, and try to position yourself
so that events don't impact you adversely next time.
- Leave the job, not the employer.
It might be that it's time to start seeking opportunities in other
departments within your company. Perhaps you could ask about training
in other areas, as a way to be more valuable. Then, when the opportunity
presents itself, you're in a better position to make the move. This
way, you don't lose accumulated seniority and benefits.
Don't make any decisions about a job when you're mad. You're disappointed,
hurt and sad, but you will survive. What you won't survive is quitting
the job in a snit fit, then finding out how tough the job market
is right now. And stop dreaming of the company going belly up when
you leave. There are plenty of talented unemployed folks right now,
and they'd be more than happy to step into your shoes at a moment's
The ups and downs of your career can be easier to handle if you
don't paint yourself into a corner. That means always knowing what
the job market is offering, keeping contact with others in your
field, and maintaining an up-to-date resume and list of those willing
to recommend you to other employers. That way, when the tough times
roll, you won't feel so desperate that this promotion didn't work
out. It's easier to go with the punches when you're well informed
of other options.
Anita Bruzzese is author of “Take This Job and Thrive,” (Impact
Publications). Write to her c/o: Business Editor, Gannett News Service,
7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Va., 22107. For a reply, include