How to Deal With Disappointment at Work if a Colleague Is Selected for a Choice Job

Don't make hasty decisions when you get bad news at work.
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It’s going to happen sooner or later – you get hit with a major disappointment and have to deal with the ensuing emotions. One of the most devastating may be seeing a co-worker land a coveted position you were hoping to get. You don’t want to appear rude or run to the restroom crying, but you feel a store of negative emotions brewing inside. Through thoughtful consideration and preparation, you don’t have to embarrass yourself; you can deal with that kind of disappointment without losing the respect of your colleagues or your stature as a professional.

Step 1

Drop what you’re doing when you find out about the promotion if you feel yourself getting angry. Take a deep breath through your nose, close your eyes and count slowly to 10. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Once you’ve calmed down physically, you’re in much better shape to keep your voice modulated and not turn your emotions into an angry outburst.

Step 2

Smile and congratulate your colleague. In the first place, smiling tends to start a chain reaction in your body that actually can make you feel better. Second, you’ll appear mature to your peers and managers who may watching for your reaction. After all, when the next promotion (or layoff) comes around, you need to be sure your image as a mature, competent professional remains intact.

Step 3

Leave the room as soon as you’ve given your obligatory congratulations and give yourself time to grieve. Allow only people you trust or are close to you personally to join you if you need company. Think or talk about your feelings so they won’t bog you down. If you feel too vulnerable to return to work, ask for the rest of the day off. Process your grief in ways that are soothing to you. Take a nap, cry, eat a tub of ice cream, anything that gets you through the emotional moment so that you can turn to rational thoughts as soon as possible.

Step 4

Change your focus and look for a positive angle in the whole situation. If you tell yourself that everything happens for a reason, you may be able to see the bright side. Perhaps the job required extensive overtime with no extra pay or you would have to give up lunch with your friends because of the workload. Imagine there is an even better job waiting for you in the near future.

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