You were denied a promotion or a raise. Now what?

Promotion or raise denied

You’ve been working hard at your job for years, and you finally feel like you’re ready for a promotion, or at least a raise. So you ask your boss, and to your disappointment, they say no. Ouch. Maybe your boss told you you weren’t ready, or there wasn’t enough money in the budget. Whatever the reason, it can be tough to take. But don’t give up just yet. There are a few things you can do to regroup and move forward. Here’s what you need to know.

Don’t take it personally

It can be challenging to hear about not receiving a promotion or a raise as a professional. However, it is essential to remember that factors outside your individual performance often influence these decisions.

The company may currently be experiencing financial challenges or undergoing restructuring. Or perhaps another candidate had a combination of qualifications and experience that aligned more closely with the specific requirements for the position. It can also be the case that despite doing excellent work, there may not have been enough room for advancement at that time.

Personal worth should not be tied solely to job titles or salary. Denial of a promotion or raise does not equate to not being valued by the company or not being worthy as a person. Keep striving towards your goals and continue to grow professionally, but do not let setbacks define you.

Take some time to assess what might have led to the decision

When faced with the disappointment of a denied promotion or raise, it can be tempting to immediately begin looking for another job or pushing for further concessions. However, taking some time to assess the situation can often be beneficial in the long run.

This self-reflection allows you to analyze potential weaknesses or areas for improvement and make changes to address them. It also helps to prevent skipping over other opportunities that may have arisen due to the initial rejection. In addition, it demonstrates maturity and professionalism, as it signals to future employers or supervisors that you can handle rejection and use it as a learning experience rather than letting it negatively impact your work performance.

Taking time for self-reflection after a denied promotion or raise may initially feel frustrating. However, ultimately it could end up being advantageous both personally and professionally.

Talk to your boss or another trusted leader at the company for feedback

After completing your self-assessment, the next step is to talk to your boss or another trusted leader at the company to get valuable insight.

For example, they may be able to give specific examples of areas where improvement is needed or offer suggestions for improvement in the future. They may also better understand the larger circumstances that went into the decision. While it may not change the outcome, seeking feedback can ultimately benefit your growth as an employee and a professional. Plus, it shows a level of maturity and commitment to improving yourself, which could lead to future opportunities for advancement.

In any case, it is always worth considering an open and honest conversation with a trusted leader at the company about being denied a promotion or raise.

Use the opportunity to reflect on your own goals and career path

Rather than letting disappointment consume you, it is vital to use this as an opportunity for reflection. First, ask yourself if the position or increase in salary aligns with your long-term goals and values. If not, perhaps it may be time to reevaluate your career path and set new goals.

Conversely, if the rejected position or raise aligns with your goals, ask yourself what you can do to better place yourself for success in the future. This can include honing specific skills or networking with colleagues in leadership positions.

Finally, remember that rejection does not define your worth as a professional; instead, use it as motivation to continue working towards success on your own terms.


Our career self-assessment tool can help you in this step, by asking you the questions you need to ask to clarify your career goals.

Don’t let the setback get you down – stay positive and keep working hard

Allowing yourself to be upset is expected in such circumstances. But doing it too long can hinder your growth and progress in the workplace. It is essential to acknowledge your disappointment and take time to evaluate the situation, but try not to dwell on it for too long.

Instead, focus on what you can do to improve your skills and work towards future opportunities. Remain positive and continue pursuing your goals with determination and hard work. Remember that every rejection or setback is an opportunity for personal growth and development. Use this experience as motivation to prove yourself and improve in areas you may have been lacking. Remember that setbacks are temporary, and the absence of “yes” does not mean the absence of all possibilities. Stay focused and determined, and success will come with time and effort.

Keep an open mind about other opportunities that may come your way

It’s important to remember that not every opportunity is meant for us exactly when we want it. So instead of allowing ourselves to get too attached to some career failures like that, we should keep an open mind about what new opportunities may come our way. These may lead to even better experiences and growth than if we received the promotion or raise we initially hoped for.

Additionally, keeping an open mind can help you move on from any negativity or bitterness associated with being denied, allowing you to refocus your energy on other potential paths. So while being denied a promotion or raise may feel disheartening, staying hopeful and open to whatever new possibilities may arise is necessary.


Denial of a promotion or raise can feel like a personal attack, but it doesn’t have to be. If you take some time for reflection, put your head down, and get back to work, you can use this experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. Use our tips for bouncing back after a promotion denial and turn this experience into an opportunity to propel yourself even further up the career ladder. And if you need a little help getting back on your feet, don’t forget that we offer career assessment tools and other helpful resources here at Jinn. So subscribe now and let us help you get ahead!