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Job Promotion: Greater Freedom or Just Greater Responsibility?

This article is written and submitted by Tess Pajaron.

We’re all working our way up the career ladder, one rung at a time. But while a promotion often brings us closer to our goals, there are a number of situations where a promotion may not be the best thing for your career or you personally.

If you have been offered a promotion, it’s important to look past the carrot that’s being dangled in front of you, whether it’s a new job title, a bigger paycheck or extra benefits. Before saying yes, you should take some time to look at it objectively.

Will it take you in the direction you are looking to go? Are you ready for the extra commitment and responsibilities that you will be expected to take on? Is the job something you will be happy doing? Is the pay raise worth the extra work you’ll be putting in?

Since we all know of the benefits that a promotion could potentially offer, let’s take a minute to consider the possible downsides of career advancement.

More responsibility at work can affect your private life.

This is something that many people overlook when they see the chance for more pay or a better job title, but having less time for yourself, your family and your friends could have a negative impact on your life in general.

It all depends on what your priorities in life are. If your main priority is moving up in your company and making good money, then the promotion is probably a good thing for you.

However, if you already detest your job, and live for the weekends and holidays when you get to hang out with friends, spend time with your kids or travel to a new and exciting destination, then you may want to think twice about taking more on your plate.

The promotion may not always match up with your long term goals.

This has a lot to do with your current job satisfaction. Are you already in the industry you want to be in and is the promotion going to take you down the right road?

If you want to be a graphic designer, but are temporarily working in retail because of a lack of job opportunities in your desired field, you probably shouldn’t accept a position as area manager, because it will prevent you from pursuing your true passion.

Sure, that promotion may bring you more money and look good on a CV, but is it really what you want in life? If the answer is no, there may be something better on the horizon.

Sometimes a promotion can set you up to fail.

Often, a failing business or product line will look for new people to put in leadership positions, either in the hopes that it will change things up or simply because the person previously in that position quit.

Take a good look at the job description and the company offering the promotion. Is the company doing well financially or is it on its last leg? Is what they are asking you to do really feasible? Will the skills you acquire in that line of work still be marketable in a few years?

If you feel that the company is promoting you simply because they can’t find someone else to fill an undesirable position or because it’s a near impossible job, it would be better to pass than to risk ruining your reputation.

It might be the right promotion, but the wrong time.

Sometimes the promotion is right but the timing is off. Maybe you have just decided to take things slower for a while to focus on your children, or perhaps you are dealing with an ailing parent who needs extra care in the last years of their life. Or perhaps you just feel like you need to get more experience before you move on.

No matter what the situation, if you feel that the timing is off; you should be honest with your boss and explain your circumstances.

Taking the promotion when you are not ready or are distracted by other things in your life is not usually a good idea. If you can’t do the job right, your boss will find someone else to take over, and you may never get another shot at it.

At the end of the day of course, the choice is yours to make. If you have weighed the pros and cons and decided that you can deal with the extra responsibility, longer hours and new challenges, and also feel that the reward is well worth the sacrifice, then you should go for it.

Tess Pajaron is part of the team behind Open Colleges, Australia’s provider of exemplary online courses. She has a background in Business Administration and Management and has worked for their family business for 9 years. You can follow her on Twitter @tessedel.

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