The Downside of Opportunity: When to Say No to a Job Promotion

There are few things in life better than a job promotion. A step up the business ladder means recognition for your hard work, a pay raise, and better perks. With all these benefits in mind, is there ever a reason to turn down a new opportunity? From a financial standpoint, there are plenty of reasons why some promotions aren’t worth it. Employment volatility and sacrifice are directly related to your stability—a factor that ties in closely with credit health. A good credit score requires a good job to pay your bills, build your savings and plan for the future. Before saying yes to a career shift, take a closer look and ask yourself if:

1. Your job security is questionable.

A promotion usually means more job security, but there are instances when a step up could also be the first step out the door. Consider the following example:

Tara works for a large PR company that specializes in print media and online campaigns for their Fortune 100 clients. After three years as a copywriter for print, she was offered an account management position in the online division. Although Tara is thrilled with the opportunity, she is hesitant to take the job. The online team is known for its competitive environment, and for regularly downsizing “unproductive” managers who cannot work 15 hour days. Tara takes a week to weigh her decision carefully.

A higher rank usually implies higher volatility. As your responsibility increases, so will the level of accountability, and as Tara learned, the level of office competition. Do yourself a favor by considering your long-term goals before saying yes to a promotion. Will this opportunity open the door to your goals, or will it put your job security at risk? Identifying your strengths and weaknesses will help you decide whether the promotion is right for you.

2. The drawbacks outweigh the benefits.

A promotion can mean many things, including relocation. Consider John’s situation:

John is a regional sales manager for a medical supply company. He’s good at his job and was recently offered a national position, requiring him to move from his home in Indianapolis, Indiana to Cupertino, California. The company is offering a 15 percent pay increase, a $10,000 bonus, and free relocation services. After doing some research, John discovers that his promotion will not cover the cost of living difference between Indiana and California. He turns down the offer and applies for a higher ranking regional position within his current team.

A pay raise and a hefty bonus may be tempting, but it’s important to examine how those perks will impact your life. Moving to a new location with a higher cost of living could actually hurt your bank account, with or without a raise. Take a moment to weigh the benefits and the drawbacks. When it comes to business, focus on the bottom line.

3. You like your job.

Don’t underestimate the value of happiness. Unless a promotion stands to increase your current level of satisfaction, you might want to take a step back and examine your priorities. Finding a fulfilling career is rare in today’s world. Trading it in for a job you don’t like could result in apathy and burn-out, affecting your work ethic and putting your position at risk. Rely on your instincts and the facts before making a decision. Success is subjective.