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I Am Depressed About a Lack of a Job Promotion

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Whether you're passed over for a promotion or your present employer doesn't offer opportunities for advancement, it's not so strange if you feel depressed or blue. You may have had your sights set on a specific career path, and you now feel off track or like you're not sure which end is up. But sometimes, a lack of a job promotion can be a blessing in disguise -- changing the way you see the situation might help you use it to your advantage.

Reframe the Situation

Reframing is a psychological term that means actively changing your thought patterns to see negative situations in a different, more positive light. Doing so may help you view setbacks as opportunities to grow, says industrial-organizational psychologist Ben Dattner in an interview with writer Amy Gallow of the "Harvard Business Review." Maybe being passed over for a promotion is a sign that you need to build on your strengths and improve your skills in your current job. Talk to trusted friends and family, your boss or your union representative about their thoughts on how you can grow and learn from the experience.

Talk to Your EAP Counselor

Many organizations have EAPs, or employee assistance programs, to help employees with various problems that can affect job performance. EAP counselors are mental health professionals with experience and training in helping employees with work and everyday life issues. Discussing the situation with your EAP counselor may help improve your perspective or help you get advice on increasing your chances of a promotion the next time around. And if you're feeling severely depressed, an EAP counselor can provide you with a referral to a mental health provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, who can offer more long-term, in-depth assistance. If your company doesn't have an EAP, consult your physician for a referral to a qualified mental health professional.

Consider a Change

Maybe you haven't felt happy or satisfied in your current position, but you felt like there was no other possible career path to follow. Or perhaps you have a buried passion to do something completely different but you never felt like you could muster up the courage to do so. Being passed over for a promotion could be a sign that you're not in the right role -- maybe there's something else you would rather be doing. Starting to take steps toward that dream can help you feel more positive and less depressed -- enroll in night courses or start looking for jobs that are more in line with your true career goals. According to workplace expert Lynn Taylor in an article for "Psychology Today," if you're not doing what you love, you'll never tap in to your true potential.

Avoid Complaining and Get Active

Negativity only breeds negativity -- and if you're feeling depressed, you already feel bad enough. Don't complain about your job, especially not to your boss, HR department or co-workers, no matter how tempted you might be to do so. It's not easy to avoid complaining, especially when you're feeling frustrated and disappointed. But whining will only make you feel worse. You might still have negative thoughts running through your head, but the less you give voice to them, the sooner they will disappear. Channel your negative energy into a positive area -- exercise, see friends or do anything else to keep your mind distracted. According to the Australian Psychological Society, keeping busy helps prevent your mind from wandering and ruminating on negative themes.


Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.

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