My boss promised me this job, why has he backtracked?

Friday March 29 2019

Promotion opportunities should be open to all to encourage a fair work environment. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Q: I am up for a promotion which I was promised almost two years ago. I thought it was a done deal, but I recently learned that a colleague is also being considered for the job. If I don’t get it, I plan to resign. Should I tell my boss so that he can take this into consideration?

It is not clear under what circumstances this promise was made to you. My concern is that if this was a verbal commitment, it might be very difficult to follow through, unless your boss is willing to fulfil the commitment.

More often than not, there are dynamics that might make it difficult for your boss to meet his side of the bargain, therefore you should not blame him.

In the corporate world, goal posts may change due to the performance of the company or change in strategy, which might affect the structure of a department by either increasing the headcount, reducing it, or even changing the positions in the department.

Your boss might not have a lot of input in these structural changes.



It might also be that your performance has declined and you are no longer under consideration for the promotion. Your colleague might have demonstrated better performance, attitude and ability to manage the role better than you.

Remember, if you get the promotion and you are not the best candidate, it might spoil your otherwise good career.

Competition is healthy, and I would advise that you don’t hold any grudge against your colleague.

Promotion opportunities should be open to all to encourage a fair work environment.


Two years is a long time to wait for a promotion, since there is probability of change within that period. Why don’t you consider focusing on your current role while learning the responsibilities of the position you are interested in? It would be great if you could find out if you have any gaps, and in the meantime, come up with a strategy to fill them, this way, you will not spend your time sulking since you will be busy improving your skills.

In case the promotion is not forthcoming, seek another opportunity to grow your career in another organisation, where your input might be more valued.

Do not leave in anger however, wait until you get another job, otherwise you will become frustrated should another offer take long coming.

To answer your question, confronting your boss might be construed to mean that you deem the promotion as your right, which it is not.

In case you decide to leave the company, if your current employer considers you for a higher role, you can decide you could consider making a comeback, this way, you will have better negotiation power.

Don’t peg your worth on this incident, stay focused and all will be well.