The feeling of frustration and anger can be overwhelming upon the discovery that a peer has taken the promotion you once thought you deserved. However, rather than letting emotions take hold, it is best to take a step back and try to analyse the situation with a positive and rational attitude. Was he or she better suited for the position? Was he or she more noticeable to your superiors? These are some of the questions one needs to honestly ask to find out why the job went to someone else. The difficult part is to be completely honest with oneself and ask who was truly more deserving of the promotion?
If you suspect any foul play like discrimination or favouritism then there is the option to take legal action, but otherwise it is best to explore the factors behind a peer’s promotion. One good way of doing this is to create a pros and cons list, comparing your own strengths and weaknesses to your promoted peer’s to paint a clearer picture of the situation. However, to do this properly means judging yourself honestly without letting emotions cloud your judgment. If you find that your peer’s strengths outweigh your own, then this can provide a learning experience for what to improve on, for the next time, but otherwise there may be external factors, such as a peer making his or her accomplishments more noticeable (which is another thing that can be worked on).
An alternative action is to directly confront your boss to ask why you were not selected for a promotion. This is a better option if you are friendly with your boss, and it can help to show initiative as long as you are not too aggressive in your line of enquiry. In some cases, a boss may even have other plans lined up instead, and if not, then they may be pleased to know that you are ambitious enough to try and improve yourself for a future promotion.
This leads to the next point of making sure your accomplishments are noticed at work. Even if someone is hard working and is more than capable of taking on a promotion, it does not matter unless that hard work is noticed. One of the best things you can do is promote yourself to make yourself more noticeable at work. Managers can find themselves too focused on their own business to have an accurate picture of their employees, which is why it is sometimes necessary to go out of your way to show off any achievements you may have when the opportunity arises. If you manage to increase profits or achieve high results then those accomplishments need to be known.
Keeping a professional composure is important; it is best to avoid expressing outrage towards colleagues, superiors or the newly promoted peer. Doing this could potentially lead to antagonising colleagues, and it only hurts your chances for a future promotion down the road. Even though the experience can be infuriating or gloomy, it is best to show that you can remain professional under challenging circumstances. This does not mean that any form of venting is bad, but it is better to vent to close friends or relatives outside of work, so as to avoid any conflicts or issues in the workplace.
Hopefully, the situation as a whole can be taken as a learning experience to build the necessary skills and improve communication abilities of advertising yourself as an ideal worker for another promotion. Otherwise, in the worst scenario where you truly believe you were not promoted for unjust reasons, it may be time to move on to another company to find better prospects. Edward Mah
Sources https://www.theguardian.com/money/2001/mar/03/jobsadvice.careers3 http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/onhiring/when-someone-else-gets-the-job-you-deserve/29336 http://work.chron.com/handle-disappointment-coworker-being-promoted-4877.html http://www.askamanager.org/2013/08/i-promoted-one-employee-and-now-her-former-peer-is-unhappy.html