Passed Over for Promotion? Think Outside the Box

move on with your career why do smart people do stupid things?

A member of the technology industry recently gazed longingly out of the non-window in her non-office and pondered the situation as she understood it: A colleague, with less experience and fewer job-related skills, had just been awarded the promotion she herself had been assured would be hers. (And, for the purposes of this story, please understand that she was, indeed, the more qualified candidate.) It was early in the day on a Friday, and rather than spend the rest of the workday letting anger and resentment build in the confines of a cubicle, she logged out of her station and took the rest of the day off.

Her weekend was spent traveling quickly and powerfully through the stages of coping. After a vigorous workout she moved on to coffee, a cheat meal at a steakhouse for dinner, and a night out with friends (safely, thanks to ride-sharing services).

You don’t get to be at her level without a certain quality of self control and, barring that, resilience. Although it may have appeared that she was letting loose, she maintained control at all times and woke up at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, rested and sans hangover.

A drive to the desert for the weekend felt right, and it was there that she hiked, perspired, and communed with nature for a day and a half. Sunday evening was spent relaxed in her home, having prepared herself for what would transpire the next day.

Back on Track

On Monday morning our hero sent an email to her supervisor asking for a short meeting as soon as possible. The supervisor responded within 10 minutes, and within an hour after that, the two convened to an available conference square. She calmly and professionally laid out the events as she saw them: From her perspective, she explained to the supervisor, someone less qualified had been given a promotion she had been told was as good as hers. As a result, she no longer felt that the company held her best interests in mind, and therefore she would be seeking employment elsewhere.

As she made that last point, she opened a folder and slid her resignation letter across the conference table.

“You will find my last day of work listed as two weeks from today,” she said. “However, as I am involved with projects of a sensitive nature, you may want for me to sit tight on those.”

She spent the rest of the day negotiating a severance agreement with higher ups, and she left the building for the last time with two weeks’ additional pay. After that, she went home to take a small vacation. She hung out with her family. She relaxed, and her work-life balance favored the life column 1,000 percent. At the end of those two weeks she began making phone calls and sending direct messages to contacts in the industry. Within two months she was happily employed, and back on track.

Life Goes On

The moral of this story is that sometimes corporate entities do not operate in your best interests. While it may seem natural to react, to renegotiate, and to bitterly carry on with business as usual, this may not be the most healthy plan of attack.

Now, our hero didn’t just magically find another job after she quit her previous job. On the contrary! Remember how she was passed over for a promotion that she believed she was better qualified for? The key is to be the most qualified person for the job. If she had not been the most appropriate candidate for promotion, she would not have reacted as she did. During her meeting with her supervisor, she would instead have explained her disappointment and asked what she could do to become the better candidate for the next time. There would have been no weeks of relaxation; her whole being would have been poured into self-improvement and hard work.


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