When A Promotion Is Anything BUT…

Promotion - BlogFor most of us the word ‘promotion’ conjures up positive emotions. A promotion is a good thing when it means you’re excelling in your career, and it’s being acknowledged with an increase in responsibility and pay. But, it is still important to take your time when considering a promotion in your career. 

We’ve put together a list of things to consider before taking a promotion to help you navigate your decision.

You don’t have to take every promotion you’re offered.

A promotion is not something to consider lightly. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to accept every promotion you’re offered. Stay true to what is best for you and your career.

“Our belief in vertical ascension can create a near knee-jerk response when it comes time for a promotion. It’s as if – by being offered one – we feel that we have no choice but to take it.” Kristi from Forbes reminds us. “But we do in fact have a choice, and we should consider a promotion just as carefully as a move to another company entirely. Not all promotions are worth taking, and can even hurt our careers in the long run.”1

Know your limit.

While a promotion may sound great, it may entail a heavier workload or more difficult work. This is something to consider before accepting the promotion.

Take time to reflect on your current work situation. Do you currently feel overwhelmed? Do you feel like the work you already do is quite difficult? Does your current position cause stress? If you answered yes to any of these, really consider if a promotion would add to your stress or difficult workload. 

Rebekah from Health eCareers says “this isn’t the time to think about all the organization has done for you in the past – you need to focus on the future and determine if yours will be one of professional and financial growth or continuous strain and stress.”2

Be cautious of taking on more work without more pay.

Compensation is always something you should think about when considering a promotion. Sometimes a promotion does not always mean an increase in pay.

“Everyone is familiar with the concept of ‘paying dues,’ and most professionals have had to contribute to a committee, initiative or project without extra compensation at some point.” Rebekah says. “But there’s a danger in taking on too much of this kind of work. Cost-conscious employers may not intend to take advantage of a willing volunteer, but can nevertheless become reliant upon the enthusiasm of such employees.”2

Be cautious when taking on extra work without compensation. If you feel the work you are doing is beyond the point of “paying dues,” talk to your employer about potential compensation for the work.

While a promotion is often a good thing, it is important to consider your current position and the promotion being offered before you immediately accept. Take your time when making large decisions that pertain to your career, such as a promotion. 

Have you ever turned down a promotion (or wish you had)? Tell us in the comments below!


  1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/01/08/the-promotion-you-dont-want-to-take/#1e9f592930c4
  2. https://www.healthecareers.com/article/career/promotions-and-unpaid-work