How to Handle a Job Demotion

Before You Quit - Tips for Handling a Job Demotion

Don't let the corporate pace become a pain
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Jobs can be downgraded for many reasons. For example, employees can be demoted in order to eliminate duplication after a merger, to reorganize or streamline an organization or for poor job performance. In all cases, there is a sense of loss and a threat to self-esteem.

Get Support

Being demoted is painful - you can feel rejected, unwanted and unappreciated. You may need to seek support from friends, family and/or counselors outside the workplace, in order to share and address your feelings.

As with any loss, it will take some time to work through these emotions before initiating a strategy to move on with your career.

Should You Look for Another Job?

You may need to decide whether to stay with your current employer or find another job. It can be a good idea not to make a hasty decision. You don't have anything to lose by taking the time to see if the new job will work out or if you need to move on.

In either case, it will be critical to establish a record of strong performance in your new role. Dedicate the time and energy necessary to master the new job, work on rebuilding your relationship with your manager, if necessary, and develop a positive rapport with any new supervisors.

If you plan to stay on with your current employer, you will need to demonstrate your commitment and alleviate any concerns that your supervisors may have about your attitude.

If you decide to seek outside employment, you will be in a better position to receive a positive recommendation from your new supervisors if your performance is above average and you handle the demotion gracefully.

Here's what to do if you decide that staying isn't going to work out, and you need to find another job:

Don't quit. Don't just resign from your job. If you do, you may not be eligible for unemployment. Here's information on eligibility for unemployment when you quit. It's easier to find a job when you have a job, so keep that in mind as well.

Strategically plan your departure, so it's on your terms.

Be careful. Keep your job search confidential and don't mention that you're job searching to anyone at work, especially your boss. You don't want to end up getting fired because of your job hunting activities.

Initiate networking activities with professionals in your field through professional organizations. Attend meetings and conferences, and volunteer for committees to raise your profile. Here's how to use career networking to help with your job search.

Reach out to friends, neighbors and family to ask for referrals to professionals in your field for informational consultations.

Create or enhance your LinkedIn profile, join LinkedIn groups for your career field and college and reach out to contacts for informational interviews. Be careful about what your manager and colleagues can see that you're doing on LinkedIn. Update your resume, work on some cover letters for target jobs and have your documents critiqued.

If you're a college graduate, tap the resources, services and job listings offered by your alma mater. Otherwise, check out how to find free or low-cost job search help.

Attend social and professional networking events and job fairs.

Have an elevator pitch ready to share with networking contacts and recruiters. Consider having a business card printed with your contact information.

Practice potential responses to interview questions about your demotion with friends and advisors. Avoid saying anything negative about your current employer. Explain any circumstances beyond your control, and emphasize positive aspects regarding your past and current performance.

Do keep in mind that laying the groundwork for your transition to a new job will likely take some time. Patience will be critical so that you don't tip your hand prematurely, and create concerns with your current employer.