Jedi Office Hours: Passed Over for a Promotion, Part I

Dear Ms. S de G-

I would like to schedule some time to meet with you this week. I was passed over for a promotion and would like to move out of the department I am in. I feel I am not appreciated and the work I have contributed over the my many years with this organization is not valued.

I’d like to meet with you to discuss this matter and see what other opportunities for me here.

Thank you,



First, if there was a top 10 list of crappy challenging communications for a manager to handle Monday morning, this would rank pretty high.

This is a (repeat after me) “Land-mine“.

When an employee wants to leave their current position citing non-monetary extrinsic motivations, it is generally because either a) they feel they can add more value elsewhere or, b) they feel the value they add is not appreciated.

These two points may seem similar, but are not the same.

Reason A: The ‘Do-Gooder’

Reason “A” comes from an employee who remains engaged with the company they work with, as well as their manager. That last point, about working well with the manager, is very important.

The adage that people don’t leave companies, they leave their bosses, can be true. I would even venture to say it is generally true. But, it is not the only reason.

It is important that managers take their ego out of every employee departure and learn to appreciate when an employee simply wants to do more.

These type of employees want to drive change and create improvements while they move forward in their career, but the move is based on their desire to add greater value. To add value, they may need to change from one department to another, or report to someone else, but the move is not compelled by the relationship with the manager. It is compelled by the idea that they can be of greater service to their organization or to their industry/field.

In other words, as far as the manager is concerned, it’s not all about YOU.

Reason B: The Escape Artist

Reason “B” is what employees use when they have begun to disconnect from their manager, and at times, from the organization. They are looking for a quick way out but are still weighing their possibilities within the organization.

They may not outwardly tell someone they are unhappy, but you see it just the same. You may notice it in their interactions with others, their performance and productivity or in their attempts to flee from under the purview of their current supervisor.

On the surface, this employee was upset about being passed over for a promotion.

Beneath the surface, an employee’s long-time feelings of resentment and what they perceive as a lack of appreciation just found an opportunity to vent. It also doesn’t help that the manager did a piss poor job of handling a great opportunity to have a crucial conversation with a member of their team.

And unfortunately, this is exactly when most managers screw it up.

So did I have to schedule Jedi Office Hours for this?

Well yes… and here’s why.

Additional Land mines

  • The employee/rejected applicant was asked to train the new employee/successful applicant on current processes related to their job.
  • The employee/rejected applicant sent this email about an hour after it was announced the position went to someone else; their manager was copied.
  • The manager did not consult with HR on how best to handle the conversation with the employee/rejected applicant. Typically that’s fine, as long as you don’t handle the conversation like a bull in a china shop.

I scheduled the appointment and spoke to the employee, completely changing how I viewed leadership in the process.

You’ll understand why next post.

13 thoughts on “Jedi Office Hours: Passed Over for a Promotion, Part I

  1. I thoughts so, too! Have you had a similar issue or know of someone who has? Corporate America can be a reality show, sometimes. 🙂

  2. Well feel free to contribute those stories on this blog. Frankly, my goal is to a) help up and coming HR employees navigate what is sometimes a labyrinth and b)help managers make better decisions regarding their team.

  3. My favourite stories are always the ones about sexual harassment, not usually the ones about employees actually wanting to excel or enjoy their jobs. I have totally quit a boss, myself though. Actually more than once. And I have totally taken jobs that didn’t pay because I loved the boss.

  4. SoulWalker that is total DARKSIDE stuff! Unfortunately, I had more than my share of stories as well. A few with a twist you’d hardly believe if they weren’t properly documented by moi! 🙂

    I have to admit that, as I do with all visitors in an act of reciprocity and appreciation, I have read through your blog. I see you write about yearnings and longings for change (of yourself, and of others). On a purely personal level, of course. I write about that as well, employees who spend 8 hours of their day, a big chunk of their waking lives, trying to evolve, transform and change into something better. Or sometimes, just into something more acceptable to themselves or others.

    Those sexual harassment stories can actually be very sad, by the way. I may just have to post one soon, if I remember all of the details properly. They are hardly what you see on television and sometimes there are no clear victims.

  5. In some of the ones that I have heard pretty much everyone suffered– including the HR staff. Those kind, however, are not the one’s I was referring to. The one’s I like are the ones where someone lies and lodges complaints to manipulate or “take their revenge” and it totally blows up in their face. Oh, and you might be surprised at what I would believe…

  6. HR sometimes gets a bad rap but most of the time, we totally deserve the bad press. What HR needs are braver leaders instead of subservient, scared followers who are more interested in keeping their job than doing the right thing. (But that’s a completely separate post!)

    I saw a few of those dark stories transpire while I on my watch. I have to tell you that most of the time, the ones that contrive and manipulate don’t think things all the way through, and that’s why things blow up in their face. They act on impulse, and usually lack transparency so the end result is inevitable.

    Other than soul walking, what exactly is it you do? 🙂

  7. Love the layout of your blog – really like the photo of the library, and interested to hear more tales of Corporate America. I live it! Thanks for stopping by my blog and visiting today! Best, – Bill

  8. Bill, thanks so much. Libraries and bookstores are two of my favorite places in the world. Welcome aboard! Your comments always welcome.

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