Alternatives to accepting a promotion

Profession navigation has at all times been difficult, whether or not it’s looking for a new job, discovering the appropriate mentor, or battling for a promotion. It doesn’t take lengthy for you to discover there’s no single path that’s proper for everybody. Choices about your profession are private, typically embody household, and are primarily based on completely different standards and priorities as you develop. Like many professionals, I’ve realized to navigate my very own profession via trial and error. I’ve additionally realized that, generally, the appropriate alternatives come when and the place you least count on them.

Earlier in my profession, I used to be supplied a global task in China. Whereas the chance was nice, the timing was not. I had been married simply over a yr, was elevating a brand-new child, and my husband had simply began a new job himself. We didn’t even have passports, not to mention any aspirations to transfer midway the world over. Taking this job was a large, scary threat, each personally and professionally.

However after discussing the chance, my husband and I made a decision it was the appropriate threat, primarily based on my priorities on the time, which had been to develop my abilities and expertise. With that, we packed up and moved to China. The choice to take a global task ended up being a defining second in my profession. I skilled new cultures, gained an outside-in perspective on our enterprise versus being primarily based in headquarters, and realized to put a larger emphasis on listening and empathy.


As soon as the yearlong task ended, I used to be requested to prolong my keep in Asia in a new job. This position would have been a promotion and one other step-up in my profession. However my determination once more got here down to prioritized threat. In the end, I knew this place wasn’t the appropriate match for my household. My husband and I had been prepared to have one other youngster, and the position itself was not one thing I used to be fascinated by from a abilities perspective. I politely declined the supply and returned to the U.S., this time taking a lateral place in a new space.

I’ve at all times thought-about myself a excessive achiever with a career-focused mindset. In passing on that promotion, I frightened I won’t be thought-about bold sufficient or totally devoted to my profession. However after I actually considered what I wished, for my household and my profession, I spotted passing up a promotion was really the best choice for me.   

You is perhaps discovering your self in a comparable scenario. The pandemic pressured many people to reevaluate our priorities, how we would like to spend our days, and query what we would like to do with that point. Many workers see resigning as the one choice, versus accepting an undesirable position or alternative with their present employer. However earlier than you undertake the mindset that it’s greatest to transfer on, think about that change can occur the place you’re in case you are prepared to have the appropriate conversations together with your supervisor. Listed below are a few suggestions from my very own expertise:

Know and be clear about what you need. Whether or not it’s more cash, flexibility, standing, a higher job title, autonomy, or some mixture of those –make no apologies. Typically this begins with being sincere with your self. 

Come to your profession dialog ready. These conversations may appear scary, however for those who take the time to suppose via your objectives and are particular about what you want to obtain them, then you could have a significantly better likelihood of success. If the dialog begins to veer, redirect to your priorities. Honesty can steer the dialogue in a approach that finally ends up not solely satisfying for you however helps inform and construct a extra steady and constructive relationship together with your supervisor.

Think about the significance of constructing your abilities, versus chasing the following promotion. After I returned to america for that lateral position, it ended up being in an space of HR I had by no means labored in earlier than. I gained new experience and abilities– and I had the chance to actually go deep in a particular space. Over the following fifteen years, these abilities opened up new job alternatives, tasks, and promotions, and so they have continued to serve me immediately. So don’t underestimate the facility of constructing new abilities. They’re your biggest useful resource and might typically lead to a greater and higher alternative down the street.

The pandemic has essentially remodeled the office and compelled all of us to think about what actually issues to us, personally and professionally. For some, it’s completely the appropriate determination to transfer on, however in lots of instances, you may nonetheless discover satisfaction and success by staying put, for those who’re prepared to take knowledgeable and prioritized dangers and have clear conversations. In my profession, this mindset has made all of the distinction.


Nickle LaMoreaux is the chief human sources officer at IBM.