Archive for December, 2014

Mid-Level Contentment – Is There a Problem?

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

“I love my job. I’m excited to get up and come to work every morning! Yet, I’m being pressure to move into management. I’ve taken the management courses and don’t want to do the administrative chores required in those roles. What should I do?”

Career management is a continuous cycle of assessment, exploration, planning and taking action.  It’s foundation is in cultivating your awareness and reality of the various elements that contribute to your own personal definition of career success.

You have reached your career goal in your late 30’s and would like to stay right where you are, doing the hands-on work.  Great! If you know a role is not a good fit for you, don’t create misery for yourself and others. What else helps you define success?

Moving “up” is not the only way. Fulfilling careers are often a series of lateral, exploratory and even a step down moves to learn a new function or skill set. Staying in the same role may have plenty of options as projects end, new ones begin and others need to be maintain. Short-term assignments, details or voluntary roles are ways to not only stay challenged, but also to develop new skills, enhance your visibility and value to your organization.

Meanwhile the world continues to spin:

Most managers are responsible for developing their employees and may be measured in terms of staff promotions. You’ll need to help her meet that requirement by demonstrating new skills and learning. Pay attention to conversations of new ideas and potential projects. Let your boss know that kind of assignments you really enjoy. Ask what you need to learn to continue being a key person on her team.

You will soon reach the ceiling of her pay grade/scale.  Are you comfortable with the lifestyle it provides you? Will it be enough to maintain you in the future? I don’t advocate chasing the dollar, but this reality check may shed a new light.

You may find that your skills erode with changing technologies and updating processes. Don’t get left out by not staying up to date.

Avoid being targeted for a downsizing: Be “indispensable” not by hoarding knowledge, but by feeding your passion for your work and mentoring others. You are a “go to” person who can lead an informal learning group to challenge and help them learn. Others may see you as “stuck” so show your contributions: historical knowledge of projects and systems that can prevent or fix problems and justify needed change. You also know “the ropes” which includes organizational and personal political savvy.

When you enjoy your work, you are a joy to be around!