Not matter whether a demotion is voluntary or involuntary, co-workers want to know what happened with a demotion. If you’ve been demoted, there is no doubt that a nosy co-worker will ask you questions about the demotion.
Some questions may be highly inappropriate, but you will respond in one way or another. Even if you refuse to answer their questions, the tone, word choice and body language used in the refusal can speak volumes about your perspective on the events. If you are upset, you will show it no matter how much you try to keep a poker face.
Rather than refusing, a better option is to answer questions honestly. You do not have to lay all your cards on the table, but you need to be as transparent as the circumstances allow. Be careful not to badmouth anyone involved in the demotion. It will become office gossip.
Below are several questions you may get and some example answers to them. You can use these answers as starting points for the answers you will give should you be asked about your demotion.
Answer 1: My work-life balance was getting out of whack. I found myself spending too much time at work to such an extent that I was missing out on important things in my personal life like my children’s school events, volunteer work, and much-needed downtime. I will be much happier in my new role because I will have time to do the things I want to do after regular business hours.
Answer 2: I wasn’t able to apply my strengths as well in my old role as I am in my new role. I feel like I’m going to be better for the organization in this role, and that will give me more satisfaction than doing a higher level job not as well. We’re all working toward the same goals, and this position allows me to be more effective in helping the organization accomplish those goals.
Answer 3: Before my last job, I was in this same position. When I had this job before, it was so much fun. In my last job, I wasn’t having the fun I had before. I hope to recapture that happiness.
Answer 4: I was way too stressed in my last job. I always felt like I was behind. I started to have stress-related health issues, and I decided I’d had enough. I needed to scale back my work commitments before they did more damage to my health. If you don’t have your health, you can’t do anything professionally. Some people thrive in that stress, and others will let it kill them. That’s just not for me.
Was the Demotion Your Idea?
Answer 1: Yes, I sought out the demotion. I’m glad that my boss and the organization are supportive of my needs. This experience has made me feel like they are looking out for me. Ultimately, positioning people must be for the betterment of the organization. I’m glad management able to position me in a way that benefits the organization and me.
Answer 2: No, it was not my decision, but I can see how this move is going to be beneficial for the organization. Sure, there are some trade-offs, but overall, I think this will be a positive change. I’m trying to learn as much as I can through this unforeseen situation.
Answer 3: Both my manager and I had the same idea separately. I brought it up to her, and she said that she had been thinking along the same lines. We were able to put our heads together to come up with the best way we could meet my needs and the organization’s needs. I know I’m fortunate to have a manager that is willing to be so open with me and let me in on the decision making process.
Answer 1: Not really. Of course, there are drawbacks to this change, but I think things will be better for me moving forward. I feel like I’m being cast in a role more suitable to my talents.
Answer 2: I must admit I was devastated at first. Now, I feel like I have gotten through the emotional trauma of it all, and I’m ready to be productive. I’m glad the organization thinks enough of me to keep me and put me in a position to be successful.
Answer 3: I’m disappointed, but I will get over it. I just need a little bit of time to process everything and see how I’m going to fit into my new role.
Answer 1: I’m glad to be part of a great team. I enjoyed leading the team, but now I’m ready for a different role.
Answer 2: It will be an adjustment for all of us, but I think I will be in a position to contribute more to the team than I did as the manager. The team dynamics will change a little, but we will find our equilibrium again. We have gone through staff changes in the past, and we came through those fine.
Are You Going to Miss Supervising?
Answer 1: Yes, but I’m excited about my new role. Supervising is very rewarding, but it can also be extremely challenging at times. I’m looking forward to concentrating on my own work. I may get back into supervision one day, but I’m going to focus on doing this job well.
Answer 2: No, supervising was one of my least favorite parts of the job. There is a lot to be said for being responsible for only your own work. At this point in my career, I feel more suited to an individual contributor role than a supervisory one. That may change in the future, but for now, I’m happy, not supervising.
Are You Going to Look for a New Job?
Answer 1: Yes, I’m going to look around, but I always look around just to see which people are moving around in our organization and in others. This circumstance does not change how I monitor the job market.
Answer 2: No, I don’t think so. I’m happy with this new role.
Answer 3: I don’t know. I’m going to focus on doing this new job well. After a few months, I will reassess the role, how I fit into it and where I want my career to go.