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It's a common goal to want to work your way up the corporate ladder — but when you want to move down it, it's natural to need a little guidance. Whether you're more comfortable or confident being an employee instead of a manager or you simply don't enjoy the bigger role, the key to doing this gracefully lies in showing your gratitude and working to paint this as a positive move for the company.
Show Your Appreciation
As with many types of business correspondence, it helps to start off on a high note. At the start of the letter, thank your employer for the opportunities she's given you. You might say something like, "I'd like to start off by thanking you for having faith in my ability to be a good manager," or, "I'd like to express my appreciation for the opportunities you've given me."
State Your Reasons
In the second paragraph, tell the employer exactly what you want and your reasons for wanting it. You don't necessarily need to use the word "demoted," but you might say, "I am writing to request a shift to X position." Common reasons for self-demotion could be because the employee feels they are not the right fit for the current position, needing to spend more time with family, too much stress or even conflicts with other staff members. If it's related to co-worker issues, you don't necessarily need to say you don't get along with someone. Instead, be more vague and state that you're not the right "fit" for the position, so that you don't foster ill will in the workplace.
Explain How You'll Move Forward
Once you've stated your reasons, tell the employer what position you're requesting. Also try to find a way to show the employer that this is beneficial to both parties. If you feel that your skills don't match the current role, for example, use the third paragraph to mention why your skills will be better utilized in the new position. In short, make the argument about why this demotion is for the good of the company. When a manager sees the value in the move, the request for demotion is less likely to backfire and result in bad feelings.
Deliver It In Person
At the end of the letter, thank the employer once again for the opportunity to work with the company, and sign the letter cordially. However, while writing a letter will create a record of your exact reasons for the demotion, it's not necessarily the best way to deliver the news. Ideally, print out the letter and have it on hand when you talk to your manager in person. If she wants to pass the letter along to her supervisors for review, all the necessary information will be included.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.