3 Situations Where You Might Decline a Promotion


decline a promotion

If you’re like the majority of the working class of America, then you are always hungry for more. As an employee, it’s normal to want more out of your career. Who doesn’t want to inch your way up the corporate ladder and ring the bell at the top. Except that’s not always what’s best for you or your career. In some cases, you may quickly wish you had decided to decline a promotion in the first place.

People are pressured into taking promotions that they don’t want all the time. This is because they think it will only lead to better things. Unfortunately, sometimes the only thing you’ll get from a promotion other than a pay raise is more stress and dissatisfaction.

That’s why it’s okay to turn down that promotion. If you aren’t sure if you should tell your boss no, here are a few situations where it might be in your best interest.

You Wouldn’t Like Your New Job Functions

If the job being offered to you would result in you having completely different job functions that don’t appeal to you, then maybe you shouldn’t take the job. While this seems obvious, the option to decline a promotion never occurs to most people. This is especially true if what you do now gives you satisfaction. For instance, if you were to become a manager then you probably wouldn’t be doing the same thing you’re doing now. Instead would be handling a different set of daily tasks. Consider your current employment title and responsibilities. Also, contemplate whether the promotion would be worth it.

It Doesn’t Benefit You-Decline A Promotion

Companies will offer promotions to employees that give them more responsibility and accountability than before, but without any pay raises or other benefits. If the promotion is significantly one-sided, as in the only side that benefits is the company, then it’s better not to take it. Granted, 58% of organizations state that closing the gap between leadership skills is their top priority.  That doesn’t mean they want to pay you more. It’s important to realize that, while it might feel good to be “recognized” for your hard work, it’s probably just a move to save money and time.

You’re Doomed to Fail

Whether it’s the job itself or the people who want to put you in it, there are always those occasions where the only outcome of you accepting is failure. Some jobs are just so difficult, near impossible, that there seems to be a new person in that role every six months or so. Generally, companies will want to move someone they already employ into that role to save money. Consider it from another angle: it is statistically proven to be 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain a current one. Likewise, your company may be trying to save money by putting someone they already have into the role.

There are numerous other reasons to decline the promotion that may be more specific to your situation. These tend to encompass the majority of cases. Having to manage people when employee productivity is relatively stagnant. It only grew 0.03% annually between 2011 and 2016 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, can be more stressful than you imagined. That in itself could be reason enough to say no. In fact, one study showed that most of the 385 executives surveyed stated that the transition to management is more stressful than divorce, a major illness, or dealing with teenagers.

While your career is important and you want to be successful in life, sometimes it’s worth sitting down with your boss and being frank about your situation. You might find that the offer is more rewarding than initially stated or that you just aren’t the right person for it. Just remember that you don’t always need to accept a promotion.

Have you ever declined a promotion? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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