You've been at your job at least five years. You're hard working, loyal, and a go-getter. Your boss says you're doing a great job. She even hinted at things looking up on the budget and new promotions coming down the pipe. Your projects have been getting excellent reviews and you've even been rubbing shoulders with some influencers at your company. You feel so confident that this next promotion has your name on it that you'd bet your bottom dollar on it. Related: 7 Steps To Power Your Way To A Promotion This Year Then it happens. You go to work Monday morning and Sarah walks past you with a big smile on her face. She's usually never that happy at work. You go past George's little cube and he is in a good mood, too, in his own geeky little ways. You wonder if you missed some good news. Over the break, you find out what really happened. Two promotions came to your team and your boss - the same one who said you're doing such a great job - handed out the promotions to Sarah and George. It is all you can do to blurt out the words "congratulations" to them before you excuse yourself from the office and go outside to get some fresh air. Your mind is going nuts. You're trying to hold back tears just in case a co-worker walks by, and you're angry, too. What happened here? Why did I get passed over for promotion (again)? What else can I do to prove myself? Doesn't everyone know I work harder than Sarah and George and have been here longer, too? Later that afternoon, you go to your boss's office and as nicely as possible, you ask her to explain this disturbing (to you) turn of events. She is very matter-of-factly. She uses big corporate words that mean little to you like "value" and "future potential" and "great communicator." You leave the office completely deflated. Going back to work with enthusiasm takes a herculean effort. Fact: Smart hard-working employees don't always get ahead, and the confusion leaves most of them frustrated and discouraged. The worst part is that nobody really gives you the answers. If only someone at corporate would explain the rules of the system, you would have a better idea how to position yourself for the next upcoming promotion and recognition. Welcome to Corporate 101, or what we should all have had when we first entered the building.