Jobs Guru: Can I say no to my boss on new job?

WORRIED: She doesn‘t want to let her boss down [FILE PIC] (Pic: Witthaya Prasongsin/Getty Images)

Dear James,

I‘ve been working at a PR company for three years. Recently, my boss told me to go for an internal promotion. I applied for it, but have since been told that they‘re no longer planning to replace my colleague who left.

I‘ve been encouraged to go for a different job instead – a promotion on to a team that works with clients in a different sector. I‘m not interested in it, but my manager keeps asking if I‘ve applied yet and I‘m worried it won‘t look good if I don‘t go for it.

What should I do?

Bess, Newcastle

PLANS: Her boss told me to go for an internal promotion [FILE PIC] (Pic: 10‘000 Hours/Getty Images)

James says: 

The answer to your question is, in many ways, very simple, Bess:  If you don’t want to go for the job then don’t!

That being said, your question raises an interesting question itself: Why is your manager so keen for you to apply for a promotion?  I think you definitely need to arrange to sit down for a few minutes and have a little chat with them about this.

It’s entirely natural that you are worried it might not look good if you don’t apply for this promotion.  You’ve clearly stated to me that you’re not interested in it but you now need to communicate that clearly to your manager – not just the simple fact that you don’t want the job but, more importantly, precisely why you don’t want the job.

Discussing all of this with your manager could be beneficial in numerous ways.  They are evidently better placed than you are to see the bigger picture career-wise within your organisation.  Engage in some detailed two-way communication with them, allowing for you to both put your points of view to each other, and then you can not only make your decision safe in the knowledge that it is the right decision but also without any fear that it might reflect negatively on you if you do ultimately say, “No!”

Related Articles

JOB: She been working at a PR company for three years [FILE PIC] (Pic: 10‘000 Hours/Getty Images)

Top tip:

Even if you don’t find a particular role very appealing, it could nonetheless be a good career move. Career-wise, many people find they have to move laterally to some extent before they can move up.

Promotion

Getting any kind of promotion normally requires a bit of effort.  If you want a promotion then you’re going to need to justify your request – persuasively.

Your pitch should communicate to your employer how you have developed in ways which now warrant your promotion to a more senior position.  The message you’re sending is that you’ve mastered the requirements of your current role and, as a consequence, it is now no longer a sufficient challenge for you.

Don’t fall into the trap of underselling yourself.  Approach your application as forcefully as you would if you were applying for a job with a different organisation.  There’s nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet – because you can’t rely on anyone else to do so!

Got a question for James? You can email him at  and follow him on  

James Innes is the author of a number of best-selling careers books. They can be found . He is also the founder of .

Receive News & Ratings Via Email - Enter your email address below to receive a concise daily summary of the latest news and analysts' ratings with MarketBeat.com's FREE daily email newsletter.