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

So, what is proper etiquette to let your boss know that you’re flattered but can’t accept? The best way to approach the conversation is by being honest. Explaining your life and schedule to your boss will paint of picture of your situation, and make your boss understand your reasons for declining. Try something like this: “First of all, I’m incredibly flattered by your generous offer. But right now, with our kids’ schedules, I can’t commit to weekend trips and later nights.” Or if you have no kids say, “You have no idea how appreciative I am of this opportunity. But I’m considering going back to school part time and given my future time constraints, I would not want to give you a false promise of more time in the office.”

The main thing to remember is to always be appreciative. Your boss should understand that your personal life takes priority and respect that. Plus, your honesty will be viewed as reassurance of why they thought of you for the job in the first place.

Tip #2 – Turn the Tables

When offered a job promotion, with the opportunity for more money, people often say “yes” before finding out the details. Next thing you know, that new briefcase you just treated yourself to is holding a thousand pounds of paperwork. Plus, employers automatically think you will accept their offer (and what comes with it), and  often fail to mention the details of the new role.

So, when you are offered a job promotion, turn the tables on the boss and ask them all the fine points that come with the new gig. Here are a few serious questions that you should ask, albeit with the right terminology for your specific job:

  1. “Will it require travel – or more travel?”

  2. “Will I have to alter my attire for the new job?”

  3. “Will I need to be on call at all hours?”

  4. “Will I be interacting more with clients?”

  5. “How much more does the role pay?”

  6. “Am I being relocated? Will I ever be relocated?”

  7. “Who will I be working under, or with?”

All of these are KEY points to bring up when a new job is offered. Then, if there are issues with your boss’ replies, you have to take them into consideration when making your decision. If you decide against the offer, give a concrete reason, such as “Thank you for this tremendous opportunity, but I just bought a new house and we can’t afford to relocate now.” Or, “As much as I greatly appreciate you thinking of me, I have had a very hard time working with PERSON A and I am not sure that it’s healthy for me to continue under them.”


About the Author

Richie Frieman
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