What do you do when you’re blocked in a job that is repetitious and constraining in your ability to learn new skills and expand your responsibilities? You have a few choices:
- Grin and bear it in the hopes that something will break open
- Look for a similar job in a larger organization
- Shift your function to a collateral area to expand your skill sets
One of the major career decisions you’ll make is whether to stay in a job, move up the career ladder as a specialist, or move laterally in peer functions then move up as a generalist. Each of these alternatives have both upside and downside implications.
GRIN AND BEAR: This is the easiest alternative by far; just wait around until an opening occurs. But wait. What if you remain stationary or someone else is chosen? Or worse. They bring in someone from the outside. On the other hand, it’s a stable position and who wants a bigger job anyhow?
SEEK A LARGER ORGANIZATION: In this way you grow your skills with a bigger company and continue your career trajectory. You’ll put yourself on the market, interview and compete with others and in return, the rewards are worth it. The better alternative is to request a move within your current organization to a larger job. The question is: Does your current company train and prepare you for greater responsibility? If yes, you’re golden. If no, you have a problem.
MOVE OVER: This option moves you from job to job within your current organization to gain experiences in a number of different roles within a similar discipline. Example: General accounting to cost accounting to accounts receivable/payable, and so on. In this way, you gain multiple experiences culminating in a supervisory or management role over time. This strategy can work for either same company or new company roles. The downside? It may take longer.
So, how do you decide which strategy is best for you? Some hints:
- First, decide if you want to move up the career ladder as a specialist or a generalist
- Assess your current organization’s philosophy: Do they primarily promote from within, or do they continually hire from the outside?
- How big a risk-taker are you? Can you put a robust job search strategy together? Move to another state? Risk learning another role?
- How much effort are you willing to expend? Time away from family? How ambitious are you?
IMPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS: So what are the implications for employers? Employee development helps with hiring top talent, but also engage and retain existing talent for the future. A company that promotes employees internally becomes a drawing card for top talent.
Companies that don’t develop their own internal talent must go to the outside, with a result that employees will recognize they can only grow their careers somewhere else.
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