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We all want to succeed at our jobs and that’s why it hurts so much to be passed up for a promotion. You wonder what went wrong: why someone else was chosen instead of you. You feel angry and humiliated. You worked so hard for this.  And then they got it instead of you?  It hurts. And in your mind, you’re already halfway out the door, strategizing your next career move.

But my advice is to take a deep breath. Cool down. And, most importantly, strategize.  You can do this. You can bounce back from this.  And in fact, you may even stronger on the other end, especially if you follow these five key tips.

Tip 1. Control your emotions. It’s perfectly natural to feel disappointed or angry or jealous or frustrated when being passed up for a big promotion. But don’t let those emotions interfere with your productivity. After all, to get chosen next time, you want to continue doing great work. If you want to vent, do it behind closed doors and with very trusted colleagues – or better yet, away from the workplace entirely.

Tip 2. Do honest self-reflection. Take a long, hard, neutral look at why you didn’t get the promotion. Are you 100% confident in your fit for the position? Is it possible that someone else is a better fit?  Did you actually tell your boss you were interested in a role like this one? If you analyze the situation dispassionately, can you come up with two to three reasons why you didn’t get the promotion?

Tip 3. Ask for feedback about what happened. You may very well wonder why you weren’t chosen — and that’s a very reasonable question to ask, especially if it’s in the spirit of self-improvement. Make the conversation focused on you (as opposed to the person who was chosen instead). Be positive, mature, and inquisitive. Use this opportunity to demonstrate grace and maturity, and by doing so, you’ll only increase the chances of being chosen the next time around.

Tip 4. Be generous and congratulate your colleague. This of course requires swallowing a bit of your pride, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to move on from the decision and look to the future.   You also don’t want to have an awkward relationship with your colleague, especially if he or she is your new boss! So, from a strategic point of view, it’s important to be positive, sincere and congratulatory.

Tip 5. Don’t let yourself get demotivated. You have a right to feel disappointed, but remember that there are multiple explanations for any decision. There may very well be some reasonable explanations for why you were passed over for the promotion. However, dwelling on “why not” isn’t going to lead you to success the next time around.  So as hard as it may be, the very best thing you can do is to get right back at it, and continue to prove your worth .



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