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How to Handle a Demotion

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There are all sorts of bad news your boss can bring: being laid off or fired is the worst. Getting demoted, in comparison, isn’t so bad. Nevertheless, being given a lower role than you had before will be visible not only to your spouse and friends, but also to your coworkers, and can come a strong ego blow. How to get through it?

If your boss is asking a lot of questions about your performance, asking if you are handling the work well, this might be a sign that he is considering demoting you. If you are unable to step it up, being reassigned may be a boon, though you get a pay cut: you may get a better fit.

Pay, after all, isn’t everything. Working a job you are fit for can be more rewarding than sheer income; further, if you get a title that is better than your previous one, that will do more work for your career in the long run than being highly paid for a nothing title.

So take it in stride, if you can. When you first hear the news, it is best to be silent and not say anything rash or sharp. Instead, ask your boss if he will meet with a follow up meeting. That will give you time to process the news and make a better response to it.

You can take this as a clue that you are an ill-fit for the job: maybe you should use this opportunity to work your new position while looking elsewhere for better employment.

Whatever the case, whether you the new positions is a better position for you, or whether this is a clue that you should be looking elsewhere, it is best not to personalize the matter. Not everybody is cut out for every position, and besides, consider whether the company is merely trying to tighten up their budget, or remove positions that are redundant.

Even if the decision ultimately falls on your poor performance at your old position, you should still make the most of it, as in life it is solid advice to make the most out of every situation — though this is hard advice to follow, and it is easier, in the short run — to complain and throw up our hands and give up. Forcing yourself to look for the light in every darkness takes more work and may be hard, but ultimately, it will boost your morale and keep you striving despite discouragement.

How to Handle a Demotion by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes