Career Advice

New Employee Promoted Before Me: How To Deal With It In Professional Way

“Why was that new employee promoted before me?” is a question that you will often be asking yourself, especially as you look to advance further and further in your career. While this can be a tough question to answer because there are so many moving parts, there are more important issues to address. For starters, you will need to learn how to handle it in a professional way.

Let’s face it, no employer is going to tolerate any prolonged backlash to their decision anyway. That’s why it behooves an employee to learn as much as possible about handling these types of setbacks in the proper manner. In fact, those who are able to do so are positioning themselves for a greater level of success over the long haul.

Without further ado, it is time for you to take a closer look at this helpful guide. We are here to help you navigate these tricky situations and still come out on top!

It’s Okay To Feel Slighted

The last thing that we would tell you to do here is to minimize your own feelings. You are feeling slighted at this time and of course, these feelings are quite valid. Instead of internalizing these feelings, this is the perfect chance to talk it over with the boss. It’s time for an honest discussion about your career advancement plans.

This gives you the chance to clarify your plans with your bosses. Instead of telling your boss “why you should be promoted“, ask him these questions: Are your goals already clearly defined? How is your performance being measured? How can both sides come together to create a brighter future? These are the questions that have to be answered in these instances, allowing the employee to enjoy far more peace of mind.

In fact, experts even recommend using the following sample script when these meetings take place. “Hi [Manager Name], I would love to work together to set some goals for how I can grow and progress in my career. I would really like to [goal] and I’d like your thoughts on what I’ll need to get there. Can we set some time to discuss this in our next meeting?”

It is important to engage in some self-reflection before the meeting takes place, too. Take the time to think about yourself and your performance. You cannot get too hung up on making comparisons between yourself and your coworkers. Yes, it is normal to ask yourself the “why was the new employee promoted before me?” question.

However, this line of thinking cannot turn into a pity party. It is time to emphasize your contributions and accomplishments. No manager or boss is going to want to have them juxtaposed against your coworker’s. This is a time to learn more about the skills and experiences that you need to add to your repertoire. Be sure to set goals with your manager, so that the two of you can track them together.

Read More: When Slackers Get Promoted Over You: Here’s How To Win The Game

Was The Other Employee Promoted Fairly?

This is another question that you are going to be asking yourself and it is important to remember that businesses will typically have protocols in place for these specific occurrences. Anyone who feels as if they are being treated unfairly when it comes to promotions will need to make sure that they are following the proper criteria.

Meanwhile, there are others who probably believe that they already meet the proper criteria. The management may feel differently and it is time to remove that disconnect from the equation. Is there something else that you could be doing? Are there additional qualifications that you could be pursuing? These are great things to know when it comes time to have these conversations.

If you are being honest with yourself about your qualifications and achievements, it is time to take a closer look at your workplace’s promotion policies. For the most part, workplaces will set certain limitations, so that a brand-new employee is not able to waltz directly into a promotion. This is done so that newer employees will have the time to settle into their normal levels of performance.

Most managers are simply not going to promote a newer employee right off the bat anyway. No one wants to feel like they have been hoodwinked. New employees will often arrive with a gung ho spirit and a willingness to go the extra mile. Is that going to last, though? No sane manager is going to stake their reputation on that.

It’s crucial for a slighted employee to remember this. If a workplace does not have these types of mandatory minimums in place, it is time to think about potentially heading elsewhere. This is only going to happen in the most extreme cases, though, so bear that in mind.

Read More: What to Do When a Coworker With Less Experience Makes More Than You

Be Realistic

Of course, there are always those who will have unrealistic expectations about whether a newer employee should have been promoted before them. Take this story, for instance. An employee who had only been working at this location for six weeks had convinced themselves they were entitled to a promotion. The difference between working somewhere for two weeks and six weeks is fairly negligible.

This employee was not willing to look at it that way. Instead, they decided to go over their manager’s head and complain to the owner. This may feel satisfying at the moment but rarely if ever will it turn out the way you had hoped. An owner is always going to share your gripes with the manager, making you come off in a very unprofessional manner.

You can see this in the responses to their story. People are gently reminding them that they have no idea why the other employees were promoted instead. You do not know what type of past experience these fellow employees may have. You’re also not positioning yourself for a future promotion by griping to anyone who will listen.

Be as realistic as possible when a newer employee is promoted. If you take the time to examine the comments, this worker is not doing that. They are providing a textbook example of how not to act in these scenarios. Whether this is a fair assessment or not, they come across as someone who is willing to go out in a blaze of sour grapes.

How To Remain Objective

The remaining objective in these situations is easier said than done. That’s why we are here to offer you some incredibly valuable tips and pointers. For starters, do not discuss your feelings with anyone else at the workplace. This has never gone well for anyone and it is not going to go well for you at all. If you must complain, vent to your friends and loved ones instead.

Promotions should never be considered automatic awards. The other individual who received the promotion is not necessarily any less talented or deserving than you are. You will need to remain objective at this time and these types of affirmations are very important. Ask yourself some very pointed questions, too.

This is where your personality needs to be examined. We have already talked about respecting the other employees’ qualifications and being willing to take other factors into account. The personality aspect is something that most employees do not want to consider, though. Everyone likes to believe that they have no work to do in this regard.

The harsh reality is that an employee’s personality is often going to make or break these types of decisions. A manager is not going to want to deal with someone who is not fun to work with. Think about it this way: we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our families. Why would anyone ever willfully choose to spend time with someone who makes them miserable?

Remaining calm and professional is your best bet in moments like these. Do you have reason to believe that you are being sabotaged? The answer is typically going to be no unless we are talking about a more extreme case. Offer sincere congratulations to the coworker in question and avoid the urge to diminish their achievements.

This is a time when many employees will simply look to brush up on their skills, without allowing themselves to become hyper-focused on others. Is there a mentoring program that you can join to brush up on the skills that you need? These programs are a great way for an employee to get some helpful insider tips on how to climb the corporate ladder.

It is also in your best interests to ask why the promotion went elsewhere. If the relationship is a friendly one, there’s nothing wrong with requesting a private meeting. Seek out feedback without being confrontational and use this information to your future benefit. If the meeting causes you to believe that your future may be elsewhere, this is something to keep to yourself.

Too many employees believe that they are going to be able to dangle the threat of them quitting over management’s head. If you are going to be making plans to leave the company, keep them to yourself. A career coach is who you should be having those types of conversations with.

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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