Hi Sharlyn. I read your blog post about succession planning and I’m really interested in what advice you may have for me. This is my first real career job since graduating from college and it’s wonderful. However, the turnover at my company is incredibly low. I’ve been here for almost three years and I am still the newest person in my department. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere for me to go in the next several years and I’m becoming very restless in my current position.
I’m far more educated than anyone else I work with. I also have a lot of volunteer and board experience when I was involved with student activities in college. In trying to fit in with everyone, I very rarely even mention my time in college and I’ve never told anyone that I was student leader or any of that. I don’t want to make anyone feel belittled or look like I’m bragging.
However, my ambitions are incredibly high and I’m starting to lose patience that I’ll be able to work my way up in the company. I could look elsewhere for a job with more career growth potential, but I feel that I would have to start over in entry-level if I did that. My salary would surely be half of what it is now or less, which I couldn’t live on. I’m sorry about the lengthy description of my situation, but I’ve lost a lot of sleep over this lately and a lot of time dwelling on it.
I’ve wondered if it would be so terrible for me to just go speak with the HR manager and explain my thoughts and feelings. How can I explain in a polite, collaborative way that I am overqualified and underappreciated in my current role in many ways, and I’m ready to start working toward a promotion? Thank you!
There are so many things we don’t know about this situation that it would be unfair to give one piece of advice. But there are some things to consider:
No one can ever take education away from you. I do understand how frustrating it can be to want a promotion or a position of greater responsibility and it’s just not moving fast enough. But there are steps you can take while you’re waiting for the opportunity to arise. The biggest being training. Look for opportunities to learn by taking a class or volunteering for a special project.
There are lots of different kinds of smart. Yes, going to college and getting a degree is awesome. And people who accomplish this should be proud. This doesn’t mean we don’t have lots to learn. One of the topics that’s very difficult to teach in school is office politics and relationship building. Use this time to develop those types of skills that you will need for the rest of your career.
Opportunities exist everywhere. Making the decision to change jobs can be scary. No one says if you listen to a headhunter that you must go on an interview. And no one says if you go on an interview that you must take the job. Be open to other opportunities – both inside the organization as well as outside. The important part is knowing exactly what you’re looking for and being able to articulate it.
Going to HR is not a substitute for speaking to your manager. Yes, by all means you can go to human resources. The question becomes what would you say? And more importantly, how do you have that same conversation with your supervisor? Because at some point, you will have to speak with your supervisor about the situation.
As you can see, there are many things to consider before approaching HR or your manager about your career. On the flip side, organizations need to be aware that this isn’t new thinking. Nor it is “Millennial” thinking. Over the last few years, there are people who have been patiently waiting for their next opportunity. Activities like training, professional development, mentoring, coaching, etc. are ways to keep talent engaged with the organization.
In order to retain top talent, managers need to start having conversations with employees about how they can enhance their career without a promotion. Otherwise, another company is going to offer them the job they’re looking for.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby0