At my workplace I've been pretty much promised a promotion for a little while now, and was expecting to get it anytime soon. By promotion I don't mean a change of role like being a manager, but simply having a senior title.

Recently what happened is that someone else in my team got promoted lead because the existing lead was moving to a different group, and then the other guy in my team got promoted to senior. So I'm now the only person with a non-senior title in my team.

I'm not even angry at that, but since this happened I have kept interrogating myself. Why did I not get this promotion while my manager has been talking to me about it several times? I even asked my manager since then if there was anything wrong with my performance and he said that no he's still very happy with my performance.

I'm just at a loss why I'm the only person in my team who didn't get promoted. Granted I am the youngest by a pretty long shot, but that just makes me feel so bad. I'm now persuaded I suck and just considering switching jobs because this tells me I'm not performing up to the standards even if my manager won't tell me.

What should I do? Is it a good idea to talk about this situation with my manager in details? I've thought about telling him that I don't understand, but then I'm afraid by doing that he's just going to fire me. This is just ruining my motivation to work right now, I'm avoiding talking to my team mates because I feel I'm no longer worthy, and I don't know how to get out of this.

  • 2
    How long had the other people been there? How long have you been there? Timelines here could be useful for background.
    – JB King
    Oct 4, 2014 at 3:18
  • 4
    It takes 10,000 hours of direct work on a subject to become an expert (That's 5 years). Unless you have 5 years experience in the exact task you are performing I would not consider you a senior. Have you been working in the same job for 5 years Oct 4, 2014 at 5:05
  • 2
    @LokiAstari - "senior" titles are poorly correlated to actual expertise. Regardless of when people should get them, not having a very similar title to your peers in expertise will be seen by non-skilled people as being less skilled in your field.
    – Telastyn
    Oct 5, 2014 at 1:41
  • Can you get more feedback from your boss on why he things you're doing great and what do you need to do to get a promotion? Do you have any objections why you're better than the other person? Can't promote everyone.
    – user8365
    Oct 5, 2014 at 17:34

3 Answers 3


The title you chose tells me you're misinterpreting what happened. Say you were on a team of ten, and one day nine people all got promoted. If that happened, you really would be the odd one out with something to think about. But that's not what happened at all. Someone got a promotion. Later, someone else got a promotion. End of story. There's no drama.

What happened to you is not "everyone got a promotion except me" it is "I was one of two people considered for a promotion and the other candidate got it." That is something that is really common and not a matter for intense self doubt. You've already spoken to your boss who tells you that you're doing fine, so relax and have some perspective.

You might gather a little information together to help with that perspective. Is the other team member more experienced than you? Has the other candidate been with the company longer? Is the only one who knows how to do certain things? Is the one who writes the plan? Reports to the boss how things are going? If you take the time to examine the winning candidate, you might learn about the sorts of things that will be expected of you to be the one chosen next time. Or you might come to realize that it was a bit of a coin toss, the boss had to choose someone and this time, no big deal, it just wasn't you.

Anyway, chin up, and keep doing a good job. There's no point in getting upset over other people's progress. You're in charge of your feelings and your motivation. You're the one who wants to keep this job. Accept the decision your boss made, and get started on showing everyone you're an adult and you're competent and capable.

  • This is a very, very good answer.
    – Nick Coad
    Oct 6, 2014 at 5:57
  • Say you were on a team of ten, and one day nine people all got promoted. If that happened, you really would be the odd one out with something to think about. Sorry but I wanted to clarify this specific situation -- what should you do in this case as it may be something people run into. What's the best way to ask your manager about this without coming off the wrong way? Just curious :)
    – Kevin Xu
    Oct 16, 2017 at 23:48

If you want to do something about it, ask your boss directly "What do I need to do to get a promotion next year?" He will either give you specific advice, or tell you "Don't worry about it, I was just limited in how many promotions I could issue per year and I had to flip a coin; I'll try to make it up to you next time around."

Either one will resolve your angst by giving you something to do and/or look forward to.

  • Agreed. OP is understandably frustrated with themselves, and the language of the Question clearly indicates that they have not yet internalized how to focus on measuring their professional development, or they are making a big deal out of jealousy Oct 5, 2014 at 18:40

Whole team got promoted and you were left out, this statement clearly tells that your boss does not want to promote you at any cost. Reasons might be one of the following:

1) you are too good at what you do, so your boss does not want to change your position and let you handle different things.

2) boss envy's your talents and fears you might surpass him if promoted.

3) may be your qualification is not up to the mark for required post.

4) your boss is smart and wants to pay you less for good quality work.

5) someone might have let cat out of the hat , some events might have backfired during work with office staff or boss.

Straight way would be to take your boss into confidence and let him know your thinking about promotion that currently happened.

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