CAREER DEVELOPMENT / DEC. 06, 2014
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How to Bounce Back from a Demotion

You may feel that you’re on the right path at work. Maybe you have the education and the experience to do a job well done. But after a performance review, your boss feels that you’re not meeting the company’s expectations. You don’t lose your job, instead your boss demotes you to another position.

See also: How To Save Your Job If You’ve Really Messed Up

A demotion can be embarrassing. However, the way you handle the news affects how fast you’re able to bounce back.

1. Don’t Lose Control

A demotion can blind side you. But rather than become emotional, make sure you maintain complete control. Everyone’s watching your actions, including your boss. You may feel like crying or yelling, but save this response until you’re home alone. If you handle a demotion with professionalism and grace, your boss will note this behavior, which can make it easier to regain this position in the future.

2. Ask Questions and Listen

During a performance review or meeting with your boss, he or she will likely explain reasons for the demotion. But this doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions for clarification. It’s important that you completely understand why your boss made the decision. And if you know where you went wrong, you can correct matters and prove that you’re capable of handling the position in the future. This isn’t the time to argue with your boss or oversell yourself. The decision has been made. So, listen to the explanation, put your feelings aside, and try to see things from his viewpoint.

3. Take Steps to Grow

Growth is one of the best ways to bounce back from a demotion. Maybe your boss felt that you didn’t have enough experience to deal with the demands of the position, or maybe you lacked education. Whatever the reason, take steps to fix the situation. For example, succeeding in the position may call for advanced computer skills or a better understanding of specific areas, such as marketing or communications. Taking a course or workshop could help. Honing your skills shows initiative and it’s the best way to give your employer what he needs.

4. Don’t Quit Your Job

If you’re angry, frustrated and confused, you might be ready to start looking for another job. But this isn’t the time to jump ship. When you leave any job, it’s always best to leave when you’re at the top of your game. This way, your boss can provide a glowing reference. Plus, leaving when you’re performing at your best makes it easier to return to a former employer -- if you have to.

Even if you feel it’s time for a change, don’t make any sudden moves. A demotion is a step in the wrong direction, but it’s also an opportunity to grow. And once your emotions calm down, you may realize that your boss had a valid point.

5. Observe and Learn

Sticking around also provides an opportunity to observe and learn from the new person promoted to your position. As you observe this person’s strengths, it can shed light on your weaknesses, which can help you better prepare for a future promotion. 

6. Give 200% to Your new Position

Don’t let hurt feelings interfere with your performance. If you want to bounce back from a demotion, continue to work hard and give your boss 200%. This demonstrates your loyalty to the job and your commitment to helping the company succeed, regardless of the position you’re in. 

See also: How to Handle a Demotion  

A demotion can rob you of an important title, and it usually results in a pay decrease. But in most cases, these decisions aren’t personal. If you take a step back, look at the situation from your employer’s viewpoint and continue to grow, there’s a good chance that you’ll hold that position again someday.

Photo credit: Flickr

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