What is a Voluntary Demotion?

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A voluntary demotion is a reduction in rank, responsibilities or salary an employee willingly accepts. Many times the employee seeks it out for personal reasons, and other times a manager must help an employee realize a voluntary demotion come to the conclusion a demotion is the best thing for the employee at a particular point in time. A voluntary demotion is different from an involuntary demotion because an employee has no choice about the matter in an involuntary demotion.

There are many reasons someone might seek a voluntary demotion. One reason is work-life balance. As you move higher up the ranks, the more likely your job will consume time that was once free. This happens a lot in government. Executive positions in government require more time commitment than middle management jobs. Also, the propensity for workaholism is greater higher up the organizational chart, and many workaholics expect similar behavior from their colleagues.

Another reason someone might seek a voluntary demotion is a poor fit with a management job. Many times the best technician of a group is promoted to the group’s manager, but this is often a big mistake. The group loses its best worker and gains a bad manager. The organization is better off leaving the stellar technician in his or her current job and hiring a manager with actual management skills.

Someone might also pursue a voluntary demotion because a previous job was more fun.

Many people prefer a fun job that pays a little less than a higher paying unpleasant job.

While employees often come up with the idea for a voluntary demotion on their own, sometimes managers must broach the subject. A manager may have an employee who is a good worker but their talents do not mesh with a new role.

Organizations cannot afford to lose good people when all those people need is to be put into situations where they can succeed.

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