Question: Dear Luise: I got off to a difficult start in my career in management with a company – the performance of my group just was not there. I’ve now turned it around and am performing very well. (I was rated “exceed expectations” in my last review). However, I believe I am still “marked.” I worry that my career potential with the company is stalled. Based on asking the VP, I won’t be able to progress into the position I want for at least 1-2 years. It is frustrating to me. I am really enjoying what I do right now and I can continue for another year. But after that, I feel like I just won’t progress in my career. Should I get out now? J.
Answer: Dear J.: I think it would be wise to hang in there since you are enjoying what you’re doing. There’s a strong chance that the longer you continue to perform well, the less stigma will be attached to you. When and if you do move on, your references will be checked and a glowing report can prove to be worth its weight in gold.
People are so much more mobile in their careers these days. Very few hire on and plod away for thirty years anymore… walking away with the gold watch and a handshake without ever knowing what other worlds they might have conquered. It is now pretty much expected that you will mature and develop in your chosen field though the challenges offered by multiple employers.
It’s a bit daunting to know how to put that into practice, however. Too many moves or moving too soon can be unwise. You have to have your ear to the ground to know “when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.” (As in poker.)
You’ve talked to the VP. Good for you. And the job you want is out there waiting in the wings. Don’t underestimate what it can mean to upper management that you saw what needed to be done and pulled your group up by its bootstraps. They may just want to be certain you can maintain. Blessing, Luise