CAREER ADVANCEMENT / APR. 07, 2014
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Four Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Promotion at Work

If you love your job and you've always given your employer 110%, being offered a promotion is the icing on the cake. However, before you leap for joy and accept a new position, there are several questions to ask. 

You've certainly worked hard and deserve the recognition. And since promotions and salary increases go hand-in-hand, you might know exactly what you'll do with the extra pay. Yet, a promotion often means more work and responsibility. Therefore, you need to fully understand what's involved, and then decide whether you're up to the challenge. 

1. How much work is involved?

The higher you move up the corporate ladder, the more work you'll have. Currently, you may hold a low or no-stress position, and after working your eight hours you can leave and not think about work until the next day. 

If this is your ideal work scenario, consider whether a promotion will allow the same freedom and ease. The truth is, if your promotion involves a supervisory position or a greater role within the organization, you'll probably give more of your time. This might involve longer hours during the week, which can cut into your family time; and an increased workload that can raise your stress level and zap your energy. 

Also, consider whether the pay increase is proportionate with the level of work. You might inherit a fancy title and plenty of challenging assignments. But, if your salary only increases by a couple of hundred dollars a month, the promotion might not be worth the extra work and stress.  

2. Will the promotion advance my career?

Revisit your long-term goal, and then decide whether the promotion will put you closer or farther from this goal. You may feel that turning down a promotion will make you appear ungrateful or uncommitted to your job. But in the end, you need to do what's in the best interest of your career. And if you take the promotion and move up the ladder, there's a chance that you'll get trapped in a job you hate. 

"A promotion might bring you a short-term windfall or advance but ultimately take you to the top of the wrong ladder," says career counselor and author Karen Friedman. 

3. Does your new position have a high turnover rate?

Don't be afraid to ask how other employees fared in this role. If one person held this position for a long time, and he or she was also promoted, you'll probably be equally successful in the role. But if your boss has hired or promoted several people to this position over the years, or if the position has one of the highest turnover rates in the company, get to the bottom of the issue. The job may simply be too much for one person to handle. 

4. Is it the right position for you?

There is no rule that says you have to accept a promotion. Your boss might feel that you're the best person based on your experience and education. However, there might be aspects of the job that don't work with your personality. 

It's normal to experience some fear and anxiety when tackling new assignments, but this shouldn't be an everyday occurrence. If your promotion will entail public speaking, traveling alone and rubbing shoulders with other business leaders, these expectations might trigger panic -- especially if you're an introvert or a shy person. Likewise, if you enjoy the company of your coworkers, you may not thrive in a position where you have to work alone. 

Final Word

A promotion can be your ticket to higher pay and a steppingstone to the corner office, but this doesn't mean you should accept any and every opportunity that comes your way?

What are some other justifiable reasons to turn down a promotion at work? Your comments and thoughts below please…

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