Saying “NO” to a Promotion….are you nuts?!


In the current “LIFE” as it stands to either have or obtain a job is a true blessing (haha!!)….let’s just set that stage at the beginning! Saying “NO” when you’re offered a promotion these days you have to be either crazy or…..crazy smart. To be chosen for advancement is an honor and should be received as that whether you accept a promotion or not, however, there’s a bigger issue here and one I’d like to examine further.

In corporate America the #1 objective and you hear this incessantly “Climbing the Corporate Latter”…and if need be QUICKLY. As a matter of fact if you were to review career development plans from those companies that believe in them (and some do not), I guarantee you most of the nomenclature will consist of “My Next Move”, “My Next Position”, “My objective is to be promoted too…”. Now let’s be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with “Career Aspirations” as a matter of fact I support that thinking tremendously….as long as its “Competently Realistic”. There’s a silent unspoken rule in corporate America that when offered a promotion YOU TAKE IT, and there’s valid reasons why. First, since promotions come few and far between these days there’s a feeling that you have to strike the iron while it’s hot because it may not come along again….there’s some validity to that. However, diagnosing that last reasoning disturbs me because there’s a fear that there will be retribution if a promotion is not accepted whether the person is ready or not. Many companies have held that albatross decision over employee’s heads that sometimes last an entire career….we use to call such a decision “Career Limiting Move”. I have personal experience with this as I didn’t accept an opportunity early in my career because I felt it just wasn’t the time and I was ill equipped competently to take on the task at that time. Well, that decision wasn’t well received and I was pretty much “blackballed” for next few years until “The Punishment” lifted and I can tell you it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career.

It does take a strong person and one who is confident, humble and importantly persevering to know when it’s the right time to take on additional responsibility. I have seen in my career and actually friends of mine who have accepted promotions knowing they weren’t ready ultimately either fired or demoted in which case they left the company. The definition of “Succession Planning” differs from company to company and interestingly enough most employees have no idea what their company’s succession planning policy is….or if they’re included in it. Some companies use “Succession Planning” only for their “TOP” people which create an entire different discussion. The point here as someone who’s receiving the promotion you should be totally prepared prior to the decision you make…and the consequences that come after. There’s elation and jubilation after receiving the invitation of a promotion, however, once you’ve come down be prudent in your final decision to accept and if you’re accepting because of the philosophy “Strike the iron while it’s hot”….you may just get BURNED!!

Saying “NO” to a promotion…are you nuts?! MAYBE NOT!!

You can also checkout my background/work by clicking on the following links:

Andre’ Harrell
AH2 & Beyond Consulting


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