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Handling Rejection At Work

30 Oct

It can be crushing and infuriating to be denied a raise or passed over for a promotion you know you deserve. But let’s face it, business is business, and it doesn’t take your personal needs and emotions into account. So although you will of course have a strong reaction whenever things don’t go your way at work, your response needs to be professional and handled with tact. Here’s how to deal with professional letdown in your job.

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What Not To Do

Don’t get emotional, pouty, or openly upset. Be professional; you should not start badmouthing your boss to your coworkers or explaining to colleagues why the person who got the promotion over you is less qualified. Stem the outrage and indignation, and focus instead on the reasons for having been passed over. There are reasons, and your employers have a justification for having refused you. So don’t send out a passive aggressive email or call your boss to ask why you were turned down. In fact, keep that question why not? entirely to yourself.

What To Do

The first thing to do is to schedule a sit down meeting with your supervisor. This is business, professionalism requires being straightforward and direct. Rather than asking why not, explain openly that you had expected to receive the advancement, and ask what you need to change to insure that you aren’t passed over next time such an opportunity arises. Show that you are invested in long-term growth with the company and that you aren’t satisfied with career stagnation.

Depending on what you learn from your boss, this is also probably a good time to have a chat with a headhunter. They can be a great resource to help assess your position in the industry, and can give an honest answer as to what others in the field are earning and how quickly they typically advance. You might find out your expectations were unrealistic, or you could find out its time to jump ship.

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Most of all, it is essential to remain as dispassionate as possible when evaluating your next step. Don’t dwell on the disappointment. Rather, use it as an opportunity for self-assessment and growth. Have you reached the limit of your advancement at the company? Are you not doing enough to promote the interests of the business? If there are better career options out there, the rejection may be a sign that it is time to move on; find a company where your upward mobility will be less hindered. If not, perhaps you aren’t working hard enough or directing your efforts in the most efficient direction. In either case, an unexpected rejection at work is probably a signal something needs to change.

Author: Jenny Beswick was made redundant last year but this year she managed to find a new job on the Legal Week Jobs Board and has now been promoted. If you are looking for a new boss in a new industry then keep an eye on the job board today!

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