Few things are more flattering than being offered a promotion, especially if it is an unexpected surprise. It feels good to know that your contributions are valued, but it is important not to let the good feelings override your good judgement about whether the promotion is right for you. Sometimes taking the promotion is the clear choice. At other times, the promotion means longer hours, more headaches, increased travel, or moving to a new location. Here are some tips for helping to delineate the pros and cons of taking that promotion.
Will You Love It?
You will never be good at something you hate and you will never be great at something you only tolerate. Passion for your work is the single biggest factor in determining long-term performance, job satisfaction, and happiness. People who love what they do care less about the money, the location, and the eccentricities of their colleagues. If you won’t love your new role, then maybe you shouldn’t take the promotion.
Are You Ready?
Laurence J. Peter once stated that all employees rise to the level of their incompetence. The concept, which is now known as the Peter Principle in behavioural economics, refers to the fact that an employee’s potential for promotion is often based upon performance at their current job, which may have little or no bearing on how well they can perform at the next level. Now, this is not to detract from a promotion, but rather to give everyone pause when they consider that performance at one task isn’t always predictive of performance at another task, even if they seem similar. Just because the boss thinks you are ready doesn’t mean that you share the same outlook. Ask yourself if you are ready for the change, if the new position is something you desire, and if you think you can better contribute in other position. Be honest with yourself and with your employer.
Are There Advancement Opportunities?
The promotion is a clear avenue for advancement, but what happens a few years later? Is the new role something that gives you options, either within your company or in the field as a whole? If you have aspirations beyond just the single promotion being considered, make sure the role will benefit you in attaining your professional goals. Remember that career development is not the same as career advancement.
Are You Giving Up Too Much?
If you love where you live, the free time you have, the role you play in your company, or something else that will be impacted by the new promotion, take time to determine if what you stand to gain is worth what you will necessarily lose. If the promotion requires you to move away from friends, family, or the city you love, then no amount of money is likely to compensate. There are always sacrifices in every decision and though you only gain by letting go, sometimes you can lose more than you gain. If the promotion requires too much sacrifice, forget about it.
How Much Hassle?
Some real estate companies, like Mann Countrywide, go out of their way to accommodate clients and make a move easy. Such blessings, however, can be few and far between if you have to pack up your entire life for a job. Sometimes a company will work hard to reduce your burden when transitioning to a new position, a clear sign that they not only value your contributions, but care about their employees in general. If your company shifts all of the burden of a new job to your shoulders, you may want to think not just about the promotion, but about whether you want to keep working there at all.
The Art of Refusing an Offer without Alienating People
Sometimes fear pushes people into accepting a promotion they don’t want. The primary fear is that turning down the boss will send the message that you aren’t a team player, are lazy, or simply aren’t interested in moving forward in your career. The goal when turning down a promotion is to emphasize why you want to stay. Explain how much you enjoy your job, how important it is to you to get some more experience, and why staying in your current position is better for you and the company. Simply be honest by telling the boss how flattered you are and that you look forward to promotion opportunities at a better time or in a way that you think you can best serve the company. Afterwards, be sure to communicate with your boss frequently to discuss training, experience, and other opportunities.
Jennifer Pollard works in HR for a property company and likes to share her insights on career choices and other similar topics with an online audience. She is a regular contributor for a variety of business and lifestyle websites.