It’s easy to get excited about a big job promotion, especially if you’ve invested time and effort into figuring out how to get promoted within your company. Being offered a better title and (hopefully) a higher paycheck is the ultimate sign that your boss values you as an employee and sees your potential to do even more. But before you accept a new position, weigh the pros and cons to make sure you actually want a promotion.
GOBankingRates asked career experts to share the biggest downsides of getting a promotion your boss won’t tell you about. Watch out for these cons before getting swept away in the potential pros that come with career advancement.
It Could Lock You Into an Unfulfilling Career Path
Dan Mori, president of Employment Solutions, said that it’s necessary to consider whether a promotion will get you closer to your career goals.
“I have a great friend who was being considered for a significant promotion that would come with greater responsibility, authority and compensation,” said Mori. But his friend turned down the promotion when he realized his dream career was not at that company.
It Could Derail Your Work-Life Balance
Getting a promotion often means working longer and harder than you do now.
“If you currently have a job which allows you to disconnect after 6 p.m., have uninterrupted personal time on the weekends and feel financially secure, a promotion may be the worst thing that could happen to you,” said Elizabeth Pearson, executive career coach.
It Can Lead To Stress and Fatigue
Make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for the career and life shifts that could come along with a promotion. Having more responsibility and working more hours could mean feeling more stressed and sleeping less — a less-than-ideal combination.
“Before you reach for that next rung on the proverbial ladder, do a gut check to see how the idea of it makes you feel. Tapping into your feelings may not seem very professional, but your intuition is likely giving you signals whether or not to take the bigger role,” said Pearson.
“When you think about the promotion, are you generally excited, or are you feeling nauseous just thinking about the increased responsibility? No title or money is worth you being stressed-out or dreading going to work every day,” said Pearson.
It Can Change Professional Relationships
As you move up the career ladder, the people above and below you will shift. You might not like your new manager, or you might feel uncomfortable about having direct reports that were once on the same level as you.
It Could Cause Jealousy From Co-Workers
“Prepare yourself for some potential awkward silences after you share your big news with your co-workers — who now may be reporting to you,” said Pearson.
“That may sting a bit for them. A tip is to carve out one-on-one time for everyone who’s affected by your promotion and give them the opportunity to voice any concerns they may be harboring,” said Pearson. “The goal is to reinforce that your relationships with them will remain a priority after the promotion.”
It Could Cause Jealousy From Your Partner or Spouse
“It’s common courtesy for friends, family and co-workers to act excited for you when you proudly announce your new promotion but be prepared for some natural twinges of jealously to surface,” said Pearson. “Your partner or spouse will hopefully be authentically happy about the opportunity, but keep in mind that they are always going to ask themselves how this change impacts them and their daily lives.”
“Likely your new role will have increased responsibility, which may mean you are at the office or on calls later than you currently are,” she said. “Maybe your partner will have to increase the amount of household or child-rearing duties they perform, and that may not sit well.”
You Might Have To Travel More
If your promotion requires you to travel, Pearson said you’ll need to consider the downsides.
“Unless you are someone that can remain as cool as a cucumber when you get hit with long flight delays, stinky Ubers, hotel rooms with loud neighbors and less than tasty room service, more travel may almost guarantee more stress,” said Pearson.
And it’s not just the travel itself that can be a downside.
“The amount of productive time lost on travel days is staggering, yet the workload never seems to decrease, so be prepared to make up those lost hours on weekends or after a long day of meetings in your hotel room,” said Pearson.
You Might Have To Relocate
If accepting a promotion means having to move to a different office, you have to consider any potential downsides of relocating. Will you be moving to a more expensive area? Could you see yourself being happy in this new location? If you have a family, how will uprooting them affect your partner’s and kids’ well-being?
Weigh the potential cons carefully before accepting the job offer.
It Can Lead To Decreased Job Satisfaction
Dr. Vince Repaci, a senior coach with the professional development firm LOVR Atlantic, said he has commonly seen a loss of job satisfaction when clients move into management roles — especially for workers in technical roles.
“For specialists in technical roles, a promotion takes them away from the technical work they are good at and enjoy, and puts them into a role managing people that they are typically not trained for and often enjoy much less, at least initially,” he said.
This is also true for people with creative jobs. Moving into a managerial position means having less time to be creative, as more time is spent managing others in their pursuits.
“It’s important for professionals to realize that moving up can mean saying goodbye to work you enjoy and stepping into unfamiliar territory that you often are relatively unprepared for,” said Repaci.
It Can Cause You To Doubt Your Abilities
If you earned a promotion, chances are you were highly skilled and proficient in your previous position, which is why you got the recognition from management.
“Upon their promotion, most typically they will be leveraging different skill sets that they’re likely not proficient in,” said Lisa Barrington, founder and principal at Barrington Coaching. “This can be surprising, disruptive, distressing — or even debilitating.”
You Might Feel Guilty About It
If you don’t feel like you truly deserve your promotion, you might feel guilty about getting it.
“This especially happens when one is promoted suddenly without any basis or clear path leading up to the advancement,” said Chris Chancey, a career expert, professional recruiter and the owner of Amplio Recruiting. “This happens a lot in smaller companies that lack or have weak human resources and management processes, therefore leading to knee-jerk promotions.”
It Puts You Under More Scrutiny
A promotion can mean more people are watching you, said Monique Davis, managing partner and success coach with Fresh Talent Sources, Inc. She noted that the scrutiny might be even more intense if you are a minority.
“Now you not only have to do a heck of a job, but you also have to demolish any negative stereotypes that your ‘classification’ is known for,” said Davis.
“For example, it’s been whispered in certain office environments that females are too emotional and make decisions based on their emotions, or that females can’t dedicate [themselves to their jobs] fully because they have a family and aren’t accessible in urgent situations,” said Davis. “As a female manager, director or VP, you find yourself out-working the invisible banner. This can cause unnecessary stress.”
It Can Bring On Impostor Syndrome
It’s great to be recognized for your abilities and potential, but it’s not uncommon for insecurities to come up.
“The excellence in you that drove you to get to where you are can drive you crazy trying to maintain it,” said Davis. “You could begin to think that you don’t deserve to be there. ‘What if someone suddenly figures out that you aren’t the smartest person in the room? What if you fail?’ All of these questions never entered your mind until you realized a promotion.”
It Could End Up Being More Work Without More Pay
Before you accept a promotion, make sure you’re getting compensated for the extra work you will be doing. If you will just be getting more responsibility without an increase in pay, this is a major downside, said Gina Curtis, a trainer and career coach at Employment BOOST.
“I have also seen promotions that have resulted in a pay cut due to the transition from a commission structure to a salary-based role,” she added.
You're Held To a Higher Standard
When you get promoted, expectations — and stakes — are higher.
“I’ve seen people get promoted and it eventually led to termination,” said John Crossman, author of “Career Killers/Career Builders.” “The reason is the employee thought they could handle the role and then was unable to meet the new expectations.”
There's a High Turnover Rate for Your New Position
People commonly get promoted to fill in a vacant role — but there could be a reason your predecessor left. If there’s a high turnover rate for the new role, this could be a red flag that the role has little to no support or unrealistic expectations.
You Could Be Setting Yourself Up for Failure
Before you accept your promotion, it’s important to know what will be expected of you and who you’ll be reporting to — particularly if it’s a newly created role.
“If you have a role that’s brand new and no one to report to, and there’s nothing in place for you to show traction or success, then you could be setting yourself up for a dead end,” Scott Dobroski, a career trends analyst at Glassdoor, told Fast Company.
You Might Not Be Able To Take Time Off Right Away
Starting in a new position is like starting a new job at a new company — you might not want or be able to take time off right away as you settle into a new role. This can put a damper on any immediate vacation plans you might have had.
It Can Put You in a Higher Tax Bracket
If your promotion comes with a pay bump, it can bump you into a higher tax bracket. That means a higher percentage of your pay could be docked with every paycheck, or you could end up owing more than anticipated come tax day.
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About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.