First: If the promotion could keep you from the right opportunity. Career coach Karen Friedman recommends comparing your career path to a chess match. To win, you have to be one step ahead of everybody else and always moving in the right direction. Say you take a promotion in the accounting department, but that moves you away from the advertising department, and the dream job you really want. Bottom line: Think about your long-term goals before you make a move.
Another reason you may want to turn down a promotion: It doesn’t mesh with your personal life. Like you’re a new parent and the position requires a lot of traveling, the job would take a toll on everyone in your family.
And, you may want to pass on a promotion if it’s a “failure trap.” For example, getting promoted to a position that’s been filled 5 times in the past year. That could be a sign you’ll be reporting to a supervisor who’s impossible to work for, or doing a job that’s impossible to do.