AdviceHey, Bonita!

I Got Passed Over For a Promotion, And I’m Pissed

Hi Bonita,

I was recently passed over for a promotion at work, and it’s driving me insane! I started this job on the entry level and worked my way up to a leadership position over the years, and I’ve always let it be known that I was interested in a management position at the company. As soon as we found out one of the managers was leaving, we all began clamoring to be the one to take her place. I always try to go above and beyond at work, but when this position opened I really kicked it into high gear. I put in long hours and took on responsibilities that weren’t mine in order to show that I have what it takes to be in this top position.

But then I came in to work a few weeks ago and we had a new manager! Not only that, but it was a stranger who moved here to take the job! I realize now that they never even posted the job listing, or at least they didn’t do it anywhere I would have seen it. Suddenly there’s just this new person running the show, and none of the staff have any idea where she came from. We’re all pretty baffled and irritated by this, because we all wanted to get a shot at this promotion. It’s especially insulting that they didn’t promote from within, and it makes us all wonder if the company has any respect for us working stiffs. I work really hard, and so does everyone else at this company, and it’s just not fair.

I’m really bothered by this and considering finding a new job. Why stick around if I don’t have any chance for advancement? I want to be on a career path, but I feel like a placeholder here, and I hate to even look at my new manager. It’s not her fault that any of this happened, but I can’t be chummy with someone who probably thinks she’s better than me. Got any pointers? Because I’m tired of dreading going to work every morning.


9 to 5: The Musical


I wanna encourage you to tread lightly here. This is your job—your bread and butter—and as much as we wish we could live on our hopes and dreams, we can’t. Unless you already have something new lined up, don’t rock the boat too hard. You don’t wanna storm into the owner’s office and demand to know why you were passed over, and you certainly don’t wanna alienate your new manager right off the bat. You’re right, it’s not her fault that the top brass at your company are dickheads, and she is probably plenty capable of doing the work that’s required of them.

The real jerks here are the guys at the top, and I agree that they stink for not promoting from within. No one wants to professionally tread water for years, and promoting from within is a great way to keep good talent where you want it. Then again, they might have had good reason to bring in this new person. She might have an exceptional work history or abilities and knowledge that makes her perfect to manage a particular aspect of the company. And you should make no assumptions about what she thinks of you. This is why it’s only fair that you go easy on your new coworker, because I know she wouldn’t have chosen to move to a new city only to be hated by the first people she contacts.

As far as the brass goes, I think you’re right to wonder why they didn’t promote from within. Be careful asking around about that, though, because Georgia is a right-to-work state, and you can be fired for pretty much anything. Remember, the only thing worse than having a job is looking for one, so don’t be disrespectful or unprofessional.

I don’t blame you for wanting a job that offers advancement. If you decide to leave your current gig, don’t let anyone know you’re planning to. Like I said, you can be fired for basically anything around here. Ask a former coworker or manager to be your reference for your current job, since anyone who still works there could rat you out and get you fired before you’re ready to leave.

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