Feedback can help in dealing with not getting promotion

The Baltimore Sun

Here's a sticky workplace situation that many of us will face at some point in our careers: getting passed over for a promotion.

You may feel resentful or even angry. You wonder if you should approach your manager for feedback or start looking for another job.

How do you deal with the rejection in a constructive way?

For one thing, think before taking any action. You don't want to make an impulsive decision that could harm your career.

"Being passed over for a promotion is a common experience," says Kathy Bovard, coordinator of the human resources development graduate program at McDaniel College in Westminster. "It's an opportunity to reflect and think about your career goals and what kind of skills and knowledge and experience you need to be promoted."

Such an evaluation can also mean weighing your commitment to your company and contemplating whether it makes sense to find career advancements elsewhere, Bovard said.

If you've been repeatedly passed over, that could be a good sign that it is time to go, says Kate Zabriskie, a workplace consultant in Port Tobacco in Charles County.

And the situation may not have anything to do with whether you have the right experience or skills. Personnel decisions are based on a number of varying factors, including office politics and personality fits.

"Sometimes, businesses change, and it's time for you to go," Zabriskie says.

If leaving is not an option, Bovard advises soliciting feedback from your supervisor about how you could prepare when another advancement opportunity opens.

"It's very appropriate to request some time with your boss and sit down and ask very specific questions about how you can improve any skills or if you need a knowledge base or whatever it is that will allow you to be promoted the next time around," Bovard says.

The talk may be awkward, especially if you have a shaky relationship with your boss, but Bovard says employees need to be in charge of their careers and "not rely on your organization to do that for you."

From the mailbag: Cynthia D'Amour, who helps professional and trade associations increase membership and train new leaders, agrees that not enough attention is paid to Generation X workers, as a recent column pointed out.

"I work as a leadership strategist with associations and am seeing similar patterns in the association world," writes D'Amour, who runs People Power Unlimited in Michigan.

"Boomers tend to run organizations at national and local levels. Emphasis is on recruiting young professionals," she says. "Not a lot of resources [are] dedicated to developing Gen Xers."

How did you handle being overlooked for a promotion?

Send your stories, tips and questions to working@baltsun. com. Please include your first name and your city.

On the Job is published Monday at

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