Happy New Tears!

By Robert Goldman

January 9, 2020 5 min read

Remember way back in 2019?

You made a bold resolution — a promise to yourself that you would stop being a wimp at work. Instead, you would gird your loins and loin your girds and finally ask for that promotion you so richly deserve.

And you did it! You cornered your slippery sleaze of a manager and made your demands known in no uncertain terms.

Good on you!

So, let's move on to the happy ending of this story, where courage and fairness pay off in a big new title and big fat raise to go with it.

Or maybe not.

Your manager said no?


No promotion. No explanation. No chance of anything career positive happening for you any time in the future.

This leaves you with a dilemma and a question.

"What to Do After You Don't Get a Promotion?"

As luck would have it, this is the title of an article by Madeleine Burry on The Balance Careers website.

Burry knows that having being refused for a promotion can be "demoralizing and discouraging." And, as you now know, when you start the process already feeling demoralized and discouraged, it hurts even more.

Assuming that your company's health insurance does not include grief counseling, you may have to fall back on the practical advice in Burry's article, a smattering of which I include below.

"Let Yourself Feel Your Feelings"

Getting rejected by a manager you personally reject is not the time to be a brave little soldier. Instead, pry open that stiff upper lip and "tell a friend, perhaps, and let that person buy you a drink and listen to your story."

Excellent advice. My only suggestion is to not limit yourself to one friend. Tell five friends, and let them buy you five drinks. Make sure the kind of drinks come with colorful little paper parasols at the end of toothpicks. You can stick them into a voodoo doll of your manager.

"Assess your Own Request for a Promotion"

Our author suggests you "look at the situation from an outsider's point of view."

Unbelievable as it may seem, your manager may have been right to deny you the promotion, especially "if you asked in an entitled way."

Putting aside the fact that you are entitled to squeeze every undeserved dollar you can get from the company, it may make sense, upon reflection, to review your technique. Telling your manager that unless you get an immediate promotion you will hold your breath until your face turns red and you die a horrible death is dramatic. It's also dangerous. Remember — dead employees get roses, not raises.

"Be Professional at Work"

If you can stifle your rage at being refused, Burry believes "your graceful response will be appreciated at work." Your desire "to complain, cry or whine" should be limited to friends and family. I disagree. The place to be professional is at home. You family will only worry about silly things like being unable to pay the mortgage or not having food on the table. (You know how selfish they are.)

It's at work where you want to double down on your complaining, crying and whining. Be sufficiently annoying — I know you can do it! — and even a dumbhead like your manager will finally realize that the only way to get rid of you is to promote you.

"Request Feedback From Your Manager"

You may want to let a little time pass after the rejection. You'll need time to let your wounds heal and management will need time to finish the high-fiving that will be going on in the executive sauna. The hope is that, eventually, "you'll get actionable insight."

This actually could happen. When the dust settles, your manager may explain how everyone in the company pretty much hates your guts and would love to see you fired, except it's so much more fun to watch you suffer.

This is useful information, since it means you won't have to waste any time and energy trying to prove you should be promoted. It also means that you won't have to waste any more time and energy trying to get your work done.

The cosmos has spoken. Now you know there's no sense in trying to rock or right the boat. As miserable as it is, your current position is exactly where you are supposed to be in the universe.

But don't stop asking for promotions. As long as it annoys management, it's well worth doing.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at creators.com.

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