How to Refuse a Job Promotion

by Bronwyn Timmons

While being offered a promotion is usually cause for celebration, you might find yourself feeling a bit reluctant after looking over the responsibilities and expectations of a new position. From not wanting to work more hours to not being keen on the idea of relocation, people refuse promotions for many different reasons. When declining a promotion, conduct yourself professionally so you don't harm your standing in the company and jeopardize your current job.

Arrange a Meeting

Meet with your supervisor to decline the promotion. This shows initiative and responsibility on your part, and is much more professional than ignoring the issue or submitting an impersonal letter announcing your refusal. Meeting in person might be awkward, but it's necessary for facilitating a civil conversation that allows both you and your supervisor to discuss your feelings.

Present Your Case

In a February 2011 article, Forbes magazine states that refusing a promotion can easily be seen by an employer as a lack of commitment to the team, and it's important that you convince your boss that this isn't the case for you. If you're declining for personal reasons -- you're a parent concerned about relocating your children because of a promotion, for example -- it's perfectly fine to explain this to your boss. If you feel the skills and talents that get you the promotion could be put to better use in your current position, feel free to mention them and discuss ideas for incorporating them into your job in the future. If you're refusing the promotion because you don't want to take on the responsibility or workload, it's probably better to stay quiet about your true reasons when turning the position down. It's essential that you make your employer well aware of your commitment to the company and your desire to stay a part of his team, otherwise, declining the promotion could lead to your termination.

Be Respectful

If you're turning the promotion down because you're not content with the pay rate or another condition that is not optimal, avoid being rude about this during the conversation. In the event your boss gets upset or angry with you for declining, keep a level head and maintain your professionalism rather than replying in anger yourself. It's essential that you conduct yourself with class and don't allow your emotions to control your behavior to avoid putting your current job on the line.

Keep It to Yourself

After you've come to some sort of resolution with your boss and things begin to return to normal around the workplace, avoid mentioning your refusal to your co-workers. It's unprofessional to discuss promotions among colleagues -- even if you turned the offer down -- and word could get back to your boss. He might see your behavior as unprofessional and deem your conversations as gossip, especially if you tell co-workers you declined due to poor monetary compensation or conflicts with your employer.

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