How to Turn Down a Job Promotion

Sometimes a promotion is not what you are hoping for. Learn the 3 easy ways to properly turn down a promotion without sabotaging your job.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #166

In the last few weeks, I introduced a series on job interviewing etiquette. We discussed what to wear, what to say, and how to follow up. And although this is not technically Part 4, how to properly handle turning down a job promotion is an important aspect of workplace decorum.

Let’s fast forward to after you landed the job and after you became an all-star employee. Your boss calls you into his office and offers you a very generous promotion… but what happens when you don’t want to accept?

Why Turn Down a Promotion?

I know what you’re thinking: Turning down the opportunity to advance your career sounds crazier than turning down a job as a taste tester for Ben & Jerry’s (which DOES exist by the way!). However, not every promotion comes with the cherry on top you envisioned. Sure, making more money, and having a corner office is very attractive, but sometimes your future can be ugly if you don’t think this new role out. That is why your future should be the first thing you consider, rather than the immediate effects the new job (and paycheck) will have on your life.

The goal here is to figure out how to properly turn down the promotion so it won’t backfire on your current job situation.  So with that, here are my 3 easy tips on how to properly turn down a job promotion:

Tip #1 – Time v. Money

It’s very easy to say that having your salary increased by 30% is a no brainer, but that increase likely comes with strings attached. I have met many people who took a job promotion because they felt they had to and despite enjoying the raise, soon realized that their time is more valuable than that corner office… which has now become their home. More money means more time in the office or on the road, and perhaps you’re not ready for that level of commitment.