Is My Best Opportunity for Promotion to Go to a Different Company?

It’s a decision you can no longer ignore: up or out?

You’ve worked hard and been patient, but that promotion you thought you earned the last time just passed you by again. Do you want to stay and work even harder or is this a sign to take your climb up the career ladder elsewhere?

First, calm down and weigh your options before figuring out what to do about the situation.

Be professional and congratulate the person who got the job. Then assess your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses. Is this the time to change jobs or even careers? 

Ask for an explanation on why you were passed up.

If the response is specific enough to serve as a blueprint for what you need to do to succeed, case closed. At least until the next round of promotions. If the answer is akin to psychobabble, then you know that this door slamming shut may never open for you.

It’s smart to periodically check in with yourself to assess whether your job aligns with your career vision. If not, and you are unable to exert influence to head in the direction of your goals, it may be time to exit.

Here are some telltale signs your promotion has left the building and it’s time you do, too:

You’re smarter than your boss.

To add insult to injury, your boss is well liked by upper management and not going anywhere anytime soon, especially when your performance makes him or her look good. A Gallup Poll in 2011 found 8 out of 10 people left their jobs because of their boss and not the job.

No room for growth.

You are so comfortable in your position, you can’t remember the last time you felt challenged. Resisting the urge to yell, “I quit” doesn’t count. If you no longer learn anything new except how a stagnating career affects your health, consider your next step.

You already had the talk. 

It wasn’t easy, but you engaged your boss in a discussion about a possible promotion. You thought it went well. You arrived in a calm state with a list of your accomplishments and some well-rehearsed talking points. You sought and received feedback. After the conversation, you set a personal deadline.

Your deadline for advancement passed.

Despite giving your job your all and waiting it out, nothing happened. Hopefully, you’ve been polishing your resume, engaging your network and researching your next move. Your “brag bag” and talking points that you prepared when you met with your current boss will now come in handy as you pursue another opportunity.

Sometimes hard work isn’t enough. Knowing your worth can make your decision to leave your current job easier. When your best efforts are not rewarded, it is time to move on. But do so graciously.

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