When a Promotion is Not a Good Thing

One of the best employees I ever hired was a retired Army Master Sergeant. I needed a supervisor and his experience and work history was perfect. The second reason I hired him was so that he could, one day, be my replacement. It’s a good goal to have depth in your employee pool, and this gentleman did just that.

When the day came for me to move into a new role and this employee to be promoted, he did great. He had all the skills I was hoping for and he aggressively took over his new responsibilities.

Two months later things were much different. He was still doing an outstanding job, but he was learning that this move was not a good fit. He was constantly stressed. He tried not to “take his work home with him”, but he was not able to sleep at night. He literally felt like the job was killing him.

He asked for his old position back and his new boss worked with him to make that happen. He went back to being a supervisor with no regrets. I still interact with this employee and to this day he is glad that he remained a supervisor. The company is also happy because he does an outstanding job and brings stability to the operation. He can also step into a substitute manager role whenever it’s needed.

What can we learn from this situation?

  • Not every New Opportunity is the Right Opportunity. It take wisdom to know which is which and even more wisdom to make the right choice.
  • Knowing Yourself is the Key to Picking the Right Opportunity. If you know how you are wired you more easily able to make these decisions. Take some time to figure this out because it will come in handy.
  • It is not a Failure to turn down a Promotion. It is more important to move into an area that reveals your strengths rather than your weaknesses. This is not failure, it’s wisdom.
  • Some Companies will Promote Employees out of their Highest Area of Competence. Sometimes managers just think that everyone will want a bigger paycheck or greater responsibility. They don’t take the time to learn what makes their folks thrive in the work place. When they do this, they sometimes take an employee out of an area of high competence and put them in an area where they struggle. These opportunities don’t always improve quality of life, however. It takes a very wise person to turn down something “better” to keep what is best.
  • Just because you CAN take the Job, doesn’t mean you SHOULD take the Job. Having the ability to do something is not always the best reason to do it. In the pursuit of finding work that you love, you need to learn the types of work that energize you and the types of work that can suck the life out of you. Know the difference and choose wisely!

Is there an opportunity in front of you that you are debating? I hope you take the time to discover what types of work fit you best and why. I am not saying that promotions are bad, but I am saying that the wrong promotion may not be good. One of the best ways to learn this is by taking a personality profile assessment. It gives you some clues about how you “tick” and what types of work suit you best.

There are several different types of profiles out there. The one I like to recommend is the DISC profile because is doesn’t take a lot of time to do, it is easy to understand and is available with a click of a mouse. You can find the link in the sidebar of this post.

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About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!