How to Tell Your Boss You Are Not Ready for A Promotion

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There is an unwritten assumption in the work culture that if you are a motivated and driven professional who prioritise your own career, you would want to climb up the corporate ladder. But what if you do not have the desire to climb up? Perhaps you have other commitments that you wish to maintain. It could be you desire to retain your position as an individual contributor instead of being a manager to lead others. If you are in this complicated situation, here are some ways on how to talk to your boss that you don’t want a job promotion.



Before you jump into your final-decision that you have no desire for job promotion, you should reflect back on the reasons why you are not keen on the prospect of climbing up. Were you afraid that you may not be up to your boss expectations? Perhaps you have something else in mind that deters you away from taking up new responsibilities? Could you just simply be selling yourself short? If these are the thoughts that are keeping you back, you may want to start by getting feedback from your peers. Listen to what they have to say about your strengths and developmental opportunities. Do they think you are prepared to take a higher role? Do you have what it takes to be successful in this position? Gather deeper insights about yourself to allow you to determine the outcome of your own self-assessments.

You should reflect on the reasons you’re content with your current position. It could also be the timing is just not right for you due to other personal circumstances. It could be you have no intention of taking in more responsibilities and stress. On the positive side of things, you just enjoy what you are currently doing and you know that a new job would not be fulfilling for you. In these circumstances, it is best to be as clear and direct to your boss about your reasoning behind not taking the promotion.


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Engage in the conversation

During your discussion with your boss, talk about your intention on continuing your current job instead of taking up the promotion. Start by thanking your boss for believing in you. Acknowledge that you truly appreciate your boss giving you the opportunity and that you’re thankful that he/she sees potential in you. Explain the reasons why you perfectly fine with your current position now. Share your passion about your work and why it is the perfect fit with your skills as well as career objectives. Describe how it matches well with your values and emphasise the various ways it continues to grow on you. Describe what you are still keen on growing and motivated to continue developing in your current position.

Follow-up by providing suggestions about how that would develop. What is your approach that you could work on your developmental areas to be even better at what you are currently doing? Are there any significant projects that you are currently engaged in? Could you utilise your skills to contribute to the company in other ways? Can your boss offer you with feedback and support so you can improve further at what you are currently doing?

Despite your lack of interest in moving to a higher position at the moment, there is a possibility that the spark may just appear at any given time or your aspiration may just change. Explain to your boss that you may be interested in the opportunity in the future, doing so will indicate that you are still open for consideration in case you have a change of mind.


RelatedHow To Convince Your Boss that You Want to Move into A Different Team in Your Company


Are you able to decide whether moving up or staying put is right for you? Leave us your thoughts on the comment sections below. Head over to and unveil your next job opportunity.

You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.

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