5 Things to Consider Before Saying ‘Yes!’ to that Promotion

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Lorelei Yang
Lorelei Yang718
Wonky consultant with a passion for words
At many companies, the end of the year is promotion time. If you're lucky enough to be honored with a promotion offer, congratulations! It's always exciting to see your hard work validated with this form of recognition. With that said, when you're offered a promotion, there are some important things to take into account when considering whether to accept it.

5 advantages to getting promoted

First, consider the many advantages of a promotion. Below are some of the most important ones.

1. Career advancement and direct benefit to your career.

First and foremost, a promotion will benefit your career. Increased seniority at a company is good for your prospects both at your present employer and beyond down the line. In general, people who are more senior at an organization have more decision-making power, control over their career prospects and opportunities to advance further at the company. If there are ever organizational changes, you'll likely be in the loop; and you might be protected from being laid off because you'll be a more important part of the company in comparison with junior colleagues (of course, the flip side is that you'll also be more expensive to keep).

2. Job security.

Similarly, a promotion and the associated increase in seniority will make you more valuable to your company and difficult to replace. At some organizations, especially large corporations, government agencies, and educational institutions the more senior an employee is, the harder they are to replace — and the more job security they have as a result. If you're hoping to stay with your organization and grow with it as the company itself grows, a promotion is a good way to ensure you'll be sticking around to reap the benefits of your company's growth.

3. Increased pay and other benefits.

Often — but, importantly, not always — a promotion will come with a pay bump. It might also come with stock options, greater flexibility and/or autonomy, bonus plans, the ability to travel and more perks. Depending on your type of employer, a promotion might come with an expense account, a company car, company outings or other seniority-related perks. The right mix of increased compensation and other benefits can make a promotion very appealing.

4. Leadership and/or management opportunities.

If you've been looking for the chance to get more involved in management and leadership at your organization, a promotion is the first step towards achieving this goal. For those who are ultimately interested in joining an organization's management ranks, working their way up through a series of promotions is often the path towards achieving this goal.

5. Greater personal satisfaction and validation.

As already discussed, it feels pretty great to be promoted! Many people may find that the external validation associated with a promotion is a pretty fantastic upside. When an employer chooses to reward your hard work with a promotion, it's a vote of confidence in your abilities — which can be incredibly affirming.

5 things to consider before accepting a promotion.

Despite all the advantages, there are some important things to take into account when deciding whether or not to accept a promotion offer. Take these factors into account when weighing your options.

1. Tax implications.

If your promotion offer is associated with an increase in compensation, there's a possibility that there will be tax implications in the form of moving into a higher tax bracket. Since the U.S. has a system of progressive tax brackets, pay increases that bump you up to a higher tax bracket can increase your marginal tax rate (the tax rate paid on your next dollar of time).

2. Increased responsibilities.

Generally speaking, a promotion will come with increased responsibilities at work. Depending on your current role, the promotion you're being offered and your employer, these increased responsibilities may include managing a team, training new hires, bringing in new business or heading key accounts. Regardless of the specific increase in your responsibilities, they'll likely make your work life that much more stressful and demanding. Before accepting a promotion, it's a good idea to check in with yourself and ask yourself if you're okay with taking on these demands.

3. Potential impact on work/life balance.

As a consequence of increased responsibilities, a promotion may alter your work-life balance. It's possible that a promotion will alter the share of your time spent at work versus pursuing your personal interests or leisure activities. Considering this potential tradeoff is an important factor to take into account, especially if you have a family or other interests you're passionate about.

4. Internal politics and potential awkwardness.

In some cases, a promotion that's offered to you might be coming at the cost of someone else at the company. Sometimes, this can lead to resentment or other bad blood between you — the recipient of the promotion — and whoever was passed over in favor of you. If these tricky politics apply in your case, it's important to consider whether the potential awkwardness associated with taking the promotion is worth it to you. 

5. Increased visibility at the organization.

A promotion may increase your visibility at the company, making you more closely associated with the company's performance and people's perception of it. Generally speaking, if you feel good about your company's work, this isn't a problem. However, if you have any concerns about your company's trajectory or its core business and don't want to be a — or the — face of the organization, it might not be a good idea to take up a promotion offer.

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Lorelei Yang is a New York-based consultant and freelance writer/researcher. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.