I'm often amazed at how the majority of workers have an autopilot mind-set of: "I want a promotion." While most of us want to earn more, it's important to understand that it's not always worth the trip. I'm not suggesting you take the path of least resistance; I'm merely asking you to think it through from every angle.
Is the next step up worth it as far as money, mobility, and résumé-building? Also, what are the short- and long-term implications for your career? Not to mention the dozens of intangibles, all of which can leave you desperate to get out.
Here are the questions you must know the answers to before you accept a promotion:
How much more work is involved?
Take a look at the person who currently/previously had the job you would be filling and make sure you are comfortable with the workload and hours.
How much more money is involved?
Ninety percent of the time, you will be disappointed. Prepare now. You might break down the increase in the monthly net and realize it won't even cover the cellphone bill.
What is the next step after this promotion to continue the ascent?
If the answer is not obvious, do not be afraid to ask. You should be aware of the next stop on your career train. The last thing you want is for this promotion to bring you down a path with a low ceiling—or, worse, a total dead end.
What kind of staff are you inheriting?
A true manager can deal with all types of personalities, but negative office dwellers can spread like a virus, wiping out the "good health" of an entire department. If you already have a poor relationship with certain people, it would be foolish to believe that they're going to make your life easy.
Know yourself. Will you want to travel? Speak publicly? Mingle with the suits? Encounter stressful situations?
As with most things career related, the better you know yourself, the better off you'll be.
Turning down a promotion is tricky business. And sometimes, your job won't take "no" as an answer. We'll take a look at that slippery slope in a future entry.
After holding down various media jobs, including stops at MTV Networks and Fox News, Andrew G.R. was completely discouraged—not only about his own career but about the lack of job resources that truly spoke to him. Enter Jobacle.com, the employment blog and podcast designed to Make Work Better.