Anyone who says they weren't a bit humiliated by being demoted is probably kidding.
After all, acknowledging you've been unwillingly moved down the ladder can smart a bit, no matter how tough your ego may be. But since the job market tanked some eight years ago, more people have had to accept such a fact of life if they want to hang onto a job.
While you may be tempted to quit when you get a demotion, that's not always a smart move. You could be facing a long job hunt if you do, and how will you pay the bills in the meantime? In addition, you may face the same consequences in the future if you haven't really considered why you were demoted in the first place.
So once you get past the shock and hurt of being demoted, it’s time to think about:
- Sitting down with the boss and try to find out exactly why this happened. Let the boss know that you’re interested in focusing on the problems and fixing them. It could be the boss will tell you that it’s merely industry restructuring, and it’s happening throughout the company. In that case, you need to consider your future job security not only with your current employer, but within the industry.
- Considering your overall value. Do you need to think about training and additional schooling in another area? Maybe jobs in your industry are being sent overseas or phased out because of technology. In that case, you need to seriously look at how you can get training in areas that are expected to grow and prosper.
- Setting new goals. With the boss's input, you should immediately establish some new goals to get you back on track. Get a professional mentor to help keep you focused and committed, and make sure you meet with the boss more frequently to ensure you're headed in the right direction.
All of this will be difficult, of course. It’s natural that you will be angry and upset, and going back to work after a demotion will be tough. Still, keep in mind that even if you want to quit, you’re still going to need a good recommendation and you’re still going to have to explain to another employer about why you left the job. So hanging onto that job is better in the short term until you figure out what you really want to do.
Of course, your decision may be that you need to look for another job. Maybe the job was never a good fit in the first place (you disliked your duties, hated the hours, etc.), and the demotion was something that resulted from your lack of full commitment to the job.
The point is that whether you decide to tough it out and earn back your old job (or an even better one), or leave the employer, take the time to make the demotion a learning experience. Was there anything you wish you had done differently?
Use what happened to do some soul-searching and find out how you can avoid tripping again in the future.