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Take this job and think before you shove it
By ANITA BRUZZESE Gannett News Service

You are seething. That last promotion at work was supposed to be yours. You've worked hard and earned it. Instead, it went to someone else.

Your immediate reaction: quit. Just quit the lousy job and go to work picking up dog poop for a living if that's what it takes. You'd rather do that than work one more minute at the place you've come to hate.

But before you fire off your letter of resignation, think about it.

Sure, you'd like to believe that the place couldn't last one more minute without you, that the company's bottom line will sink faster than a ship hit with 80 torpedoes. You envision your boss holding a "will work for food" cardboard sign on the nearest corner and the person who stole your promotion in solitary confinement in some horrible prison, or worse.

The problem with these scenarios is that they are not only unrealistic, they don't do you one bit of good. You still don't have that promotion, you're still mad, and you still want to quit. So, for the sake of argument, let's look at what is a more logical reaction to your disappointment.

  • Is it the first time?

If this is the first time you've been passed over, it may be the last. The logical next step is to try and find out from a mentor in the company, or a supervisor, what you need to do in order give yourself a better shot next time. Perhaps it's a matter of getting more education or cross training in another department. Don't get in a dither because you don't have all the skills and qualifications as the other person. This is something that you can work on, and be better prepared for a promotion next time.

  • It's happened before.

There seems to be a pattern of disappointment in this job. Can you isolate the problem? Poor performance evaluations? Trouble getting along with the boss or co-workers? Difficulty managing your time or workload? It could be that you need some time management courses, or some workshops on getting along with different personalities. The idea is to control what you can, and try to position yourself so that events don't impact you adversely next time.

  • Leave the job, not the employer.

It might be that it's time to start seeking opportunities in other departments within your company. Perhaps you could ask about training in other areas, as a way to be more valuable. Then, when the opportunity presents itself, you're in a better position to make the move. This way, you don't lose accumulated seniority and benefits.

  • Decide to decide later.

Don't make any decisions about a job when you're mad. You're disappointed, hurt and sad, but you will survive. What you won't survive is quitting the job in a snit fit, then finding out how tough the job market is right now. And stop dreaming of the company going belly up when you leave. There are plenty of talented unemployed folks right now, and they'd be more than happy to step into your shoes at a moment's notice.

  • Be prepared.

The ups and downs of your career can be easier to handle if you don't paint yourself into a corner. That means always knowing what the job market is offering, keeping contact with others in your field, and maintaining an up-to-date resume and list of those willing to recommend you to other employers. That way, when the tough times roll, you won't feel so desperate that this promotion didn't work out. It's easier to go with the punches when you're well informed of other options.


Anita Bruzzese is author of “Take This Job and Thrive,” (Impact Publications). Write to her c/o: Business Editor, Gannett News Service, 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Va., 22107. For a reply, include a SASE.