Handling Demotions and What To Do Next

  • On March 2, 2023

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Demotions are a downgrading action that makes everyone feel uncomfortable, regardless if it’s because of something you did or didn’t do, or it was beyond your control. There are various reasons why demotions occur, such as performance issues, attendance and punctuality, behavior, attitude, and more. While you think your first action should be to resign and start looking for new opportunities, you should first assess what happened.

Figuring out why the company has decided to demote you can give you valuable insight. When demoted, there is usually a reason given. If an employee is not meeting the standards or expectations of their current role, they may be demoted to a lower position where their skills and abilities are better suited. If you are consistently late or absent from work or engaging in unethical or unprofessional conduct, such as harassment, insubordination, or theft, the company would be inclined to demote you. Another possibility is negative attitudes towards work or colleagues can impact an employee’s ability to perform their job effectively. Companies may undergo a restructuring that results in employees being demoted as a result of changes to their roles or responsibilities. If employees lack the skills or knowledge required for their current role, they may be demoted to a position where their skills are better suited.

Once you have had time to reflect on the reason why the demotion has occurred, you should implement those changes to showcase your best professional abilities. Consider the possibility that your manager considers you a valuable employee and wants you to be successful in a role that better suits your current skills. Ask if there are concerns about your performance or attitude or if there are ways you can improve your job skills. Listen for helpful suggestions, and don’t discount the possibility of a better offer opening up later at your company, in the same department or another.

Don’t underestimate the toll a demotion can take on your emotions. You might feel rejected or unappreciated, and you may need to seek support from friends, family, or even mentors and counselors outside the workplace. Then, you should find a way to frame the demotion as an opportunity to strengthen your skills or performance and strategize where you want to go with your career. Focus on identifying specific steps you can take to regain your confidence, such as seeking opportunities to invest in yourself with professional development training. If you decide to stay in a lower-level job, consider how you can do your very best.

If you decide to explore the employment waters and plan for your departure, you’ll need to update your resume, initiate networking activities, ask for referrals, research companies, and start your job search. This may be an ideal time to work with a staffing agency to make connections with employers. 

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