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Getting a promotion or raise is a significant career step, though it can be intimidating. Ideally, you want a raise or promotion when the time is right, and you should give your manager a nudge if they’ve fallen behind.

You’ve done all the legwork and asked for a raise or promotion. Unfortunately, your manager calls you in to talk about the situation. He says, “No.” This will feel like a punch to the gut and a hit to your delicate ego. However, don’t panic. Instead, try to maintain composure and avoid anger.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is a critical time in your professional life. Here’s what you need to keep in mind. 

Be Gracious

After taking a minute to absorb the news, thank your manager for considering your request. This won’t be easy, but it’s important to acknowledge their efforts and show them how much you appreciate them.

Get Feedback

Make sure that the feedback is concrete and includes specific goals you can reach to overcome any setback. If the manager says you need to improve, ask for details about what areas of your work need more attention. This will show your manager that you’re still thinking about the situation and are ready to improve.

Make a Plan

After talking to your manager, you should create a plan that doesn’t necessarily involve a long-term strategy. Instead, you should set short-term goals that you can achieve within a month. These include: What skills do you need to improve, how can you gain more experience, and what can improve your work?

After the meeting, try to forget about the negative news. Instead, take the necessary steps to improve and get the promotion or raise you deserve.

The goal-setting process should be similar to the SMART method, which is a framework that involves setting goals that are specific, measurable, and relevant. Having a set of goals helps you keep track of what you want to achieve.

Where Did You Win

Although keeping track of every move is optional, you can start a brag book to record your professional achievements in a small notebook or a Google document.

To start recording your wins, begin by describing some of the achievements that you’ve made. For instance, you may have completed a significant project well before the deadline, received positive feedback, or created a new research committee. Include more details to measure your success.

Add to your brag book every month and keep track of your achievements. When you’re ready to reapply for a raise or promotion, revisit your book to reflect on your accomplishments.

Stay Focused

Getting denied a promotion or raise can create anger, helplessness, and frustration. After getting the news, try to focus on yourself instead. Although you may want to discuss the situation with your co-workers, focusing on their actions can be counterproductive.

Look at Your Options

Sometimes, a punch to the gut can lead to clarity. It may mean that you’re better suited for a new job position or a change in the work environment. However, it’s also a good idea to keep in mind that there are still opportunities.