Dealing with disappointment

By: Abhay B. Joshi (


Note: This is article 6 of the series on “Happiness and Professional Growth”.


You don’t control the train:

The unfortunate truth is you are not always in control of your career growth. Your boss (i.e. your company), the industry your company operates in, the overall economy, and numerous other factors may determine whether you get that promotion that you think you are ready and eagerly waiting for. Even internal politics, as you suspected correctly and whether you like it or not, always plays a role in this drama of promotions.


Without going into the reasons for not getting a promotion (many of which are out of our control anyway), let’s discuss how to deal with the disappointment. Remember that you are still the master of your current role, and no one can take that away. Why not continue playing ‘king’ at that position a little longer? Of course, be sure to let your boss know that you are disappointed (even use dramatic words like “crestfallen”), but in your mind, continue as if nothing has happened.


Dealing with “injustice”:

Most of us have an inflated sense of self-image (ego), and hence, we allow ourselves to be humiliated easily. The truth is: we must fortify ourselves against insults and injustice by simply stopping to recognize them! It is not out of place to quote the Dalai Lama here: “Ignore injustice if it is committed towards you; fight it if it is committed towards others”.


There can be numerous ways in which your organization can insult you, but a promotion denied is most likely NOT one of them. If they wanted to show you your place by the denial, their contempt for you would have been obvious much before the performance review. Assuming you are not stupid, you WILL know when you are no more liked by your team, and when your performance is abysmal.


So, you are better off taking the rejection as a “rare event” that strikes everyone once in a while and carrying on. That will keep you happy.


All men/women are born equal, but …

It is common for junior employees to compete with each other. They probably bring that spirit from college. The reality is: working life is very different from college life. Everyone gets a different mix of work, responsibility, and expectation. And everyone responds differently to working life. Some continue as if it is still college. Some take it very seriously and work hard. Naturally, their career paths diverge from each other considerably. So, don’t compare what you got in the performance review versus what your college-mate got.


Putting it all together:

Professional growth is no doubt an essential element of happiness. But be wary of putting growth ahead of happiness. Remember that growth may not be in your hands, but “being happy” is. Set aggressive goals by all means but learn to enjoy the journey. When you can’t go up, go deep. That attitude will help you enjoy success (which is guaranteed to come your way sooner or later) much more.



Last modified: 13 May 2022