There is a mindset in corporate America that if you aren't moving forward, you're falling behind. The idea of progress in a corporate career is to get promoted, or at least get a significant raise. To tread water in the same position at the same salary is a sign of failure. Before you base your life satisfaction on the title on your cubicle wall, remember that they call it a "rat race" for a reason.
Why might a promotion be overrated? For starters, some people are very happy in their current position and have no interest in managing a team, attending tons of meetings, or traveling every other week. For those employees, it's smarter to say you are flattered by offers of promotion but feel you can contribute more to the company in your current position [source: Tahmincioglu]. It doesn't hurt to ask for the raise, though.
Other people find the very idea of a corporate work environment creatively stifling and emotionally draining. The answer for many such folks is to ditch the rat race and launch their own business. Sometimes it takes one of the other life events on our list, like getting married or having a baby, to trigger the entrepreneurial spirit [source: Pierce]. But if the finances fall into place, the result — being your own boss and getting paid to do something you actually like — can be more satisfying than the most coveted corner office.