While many financial professionals are focused on making it
to the top, not everyone wants to be promoted. Maybe you feel this way, too.
Perhaps you want to remain in your current job because of the work/life balance
it affords or you enjoy your day-to-day duties too much to alter
Whatever the case, you’re not
alone: According to a survey by our company, 71 percent of workers polled said
they don’t want their manager’s job. However, if you excel in your current role,
it’s likely you’ll be offered a promotion in the future.
It can be especially challenging to turn down an opportunity
with greater responsibilities and higher visibility without appearing to lack
motivation or drive. Following are some common reasons people have for declining
a promotion as well as some advice to help ensure your manager views your
decision in a positive light.
It’s bad timing. Balancing work
and personal priorities today has become more important than ever for many
professionals; fortunately, most managers are sensitive to this concern. Maybe
you recently had a child, need to take care of an elderly parent, or simply have
a lot going on outside of work and fear you’ll
have less time to devote to these priorities by taking the promotion.
If you’re not sure you can
take on the extra responsibilities but are interested in moving up, you might
ask your supervisor if you could try taking the position for a set period of
time. That way, you can better determine whether you can handle the various
responsibilities; after a trial period, you can talk to your supervisor about
the experience and whether it makes sense to remain in the new role for the long
If it’s simply not possible
for you to accept the promotion right now, ask if you can revisit the idea at a
later date. Your boss will likely move someone else into the job, but there
could be another opportunity down the road and your manager will know you’re interested.
You enjoy what you’re doing.
Perhaps a new job would require you to give up your favorite aspects of your
current position. For example, you like preparing financial statements or
meeting with clients – activities a new role won’t include. If that’s
the case, ask your manager if he or she would be willing to alter the
responsibilities of the job to enable you to continue working on your preferred
tasks. Sometimes relatively simple adjustments can allow individuals to still
enjoy a new position and move up in the firm.
You’re not the management type.
If you’re afraid you’ll fail at one aspect of the job, see if you can get
some exposure to it before you accept the promotion. For instance, some people
may not feel comfortable taking on supervisory tasks, such as evaluating other
employees’ performances or dealing with
conflicts. In this instance, you might ask if you could first mentor newer staff
members, enabling you to gradually become comfortable with managerial
responsibilities. It’s an approach that could
serve as a transition to the new role.
However, if you know you would be truly unhappy in a new
position, be honest about it with your supervisor. Make sure he or she knows you
take the offer seriously, but emphasize how much you enjoy and excel in your
current role. If you’d like just a bit more
challenge in your position, you might ask to take on some new responsibilities.
You also could suggest a lateral move, which would allow you to remain at the
company but increase your skill set and contribution to the company.
Deciding whether to accept a promotion that you don’t feel is in line with your priorities unquestionably
presents a dilemma. However, perceptions at businesses are changing on the
topic, and if you handle the situation with creativity, honesty and diplomacy,
staying put doesn’t have to be career
Founded in 1948, Robert Half Finance &
Accounting, a division of Robert Half, is the world’s first and largest
specialized financial recruiting service. The company has more than 350 offices
throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Search for jobs now or learn more at www.roberthalf.com.