Feeling Hurt Over Not Getting a Promotion


A year ago, I applied for a promotion which I did not get. One of the top people in the organization encouraged me to apply for it, and many people expressed they thought I would be ideal. I have strong qualifications and have demonstrated strong leadership skills numerous times. All of my performance reviews have been outstanding and I have good relationships with co-workers and superiors. I did not get the promotion. Instead, a much younger, much less experienced co-worker got it and she is now my boss.

I have no problems with her per se, but she is not good at leadership, doesn’t have the knowledge for the position, and doesn’t demonstrate professionalism. For example, she is never prepared for my meetings with her, never follows through on tasks, constantly has her two children in our virtual meetings (while everyone else in our organization gets childcare for these meetings). In short, one year later, I still can’t understand why they chose her over me.

Shortly after I was turned down, I asked how I could become a better candidate and was told that I was already at a “higher” position just by virtue of the excellent work I do, that I do an excellent job of leading from my current position, that they consider me a leader already, that I don’t need a title, and how much they really need me in the position I’m in. I felt like I was being given the run-around and this made me angry.

I worked through my initial anger and continue to do excellent work, but I realize while I worked through my anger, I also felt hurt and confused about this and never worked through the hurt and confusion. Oddly enough, I think now that I worked even harder to buffer the hurt.

Another department in my organization is reaching out to me with a strong interest in me for a leadership position they are hoping to create. They are just talking at this stage, and described it as “picking my brain.” I was surprised and honored and it has prompted me to start job searching.

However, I feel like I still need to clean up the hurt feelings and confusion from this other situation. I can tell I have not really moved on because I continue to judge the woman who did get the position. How can I do this? Thank you.