Managing Your Career

by Barbara Buffton

Common questions

  1. A graduate trainee has asked me for my help in planning his career in the company – how should I go about it?
  2. I’ve just been passed over for promotion. What do I do now?
  3. I don’t want to lose a particular member of staff but am concerned they’re going to leave. They just don’t seem motivated enough to stay.
  4. I’m up for promotion but am not sure it’s what I want.
  5. I feel as if everyone else is moving on and I’m the one left behind.
  6. I just feel bored with my job. I think I’ve got as far as I can with this job or maybe it’s the company that’s the problem. I’m confused.

 

1. A graduate trainee has asked me for my help in planning his career progression in the company – how should I go about it?

It’s really important to support employees who have the ambition and motivation to do well in the company. It helps them and it helps you, because through your information and advice you keep them interested and keen. It is essential, of course, to align their career plans with the needs and priorities of your department and the organisation.

As a starting point, you might like to ask your graduate trainee where he sees himself in the future. His answer might require you to manage his expectations by outlining to him what is actually possible within certain timeframes.

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2. I’ve just been passed over for promotion. What do I do now?

It’s hard to pick yourself up when you feel you’ve been knocked down. It’s even harder, and riskier, to make decisions when you’re still dealing with the negative emotions induced by feeling that you’ve been passed over.

So, the first thing you have to do is to get yourself into a more positive frame of mind. Only then can you move on to action.

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3. I don’t want to lose a particular member of staff, but I’m concerned they’re going to leave. They just don’t seem motivated enough to stay.

First of all you might want to sit down with this person and express your concerns. They might not know how much you value and care about them. Ask them what their career plans are and how you can support them in this. It might be that you can’t offer them what they want at this stage, but maybe, with two heads on the problem, you can work out a career progression plan for them that will suit both you and the organisation.

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4. I’m up for promotion but am not sure it’s what I want.

It’s vital that you get what you want clear in your mind before you go through the process of being considered for promotion. It could save everyone a lot of time! You might want to consider where you see yourself in a few years’ time:

  • With the same company?
  • In the same job?

Whatever your answer, it is going to throw up various issues for you, one of which is going to be the need for you to discover what must happen for you to get the future you want.

It can also be useful to ask yourself two powerful questions: ‘What would happen if I did get the promotion?’ and ‘what would happen if I didn’t?’ How you answer these questions will give you some clues as to what you really want to do.

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5. I feel as if everyone else is moving on and I’m the one left behind.

And how does that feel? If you don’t mind, there’s no problem, is there? But I suspect you do mind and want to do something about it. The question is: what? What options do you have? What do you want?

If you know where you’d like to move on to, your first step might be to go and talk to your line manager about the opportunities open to you. If you don’t know what you want, then you need to start some soul-searching to find out what’s important to you.

Either way, it sounds as if you are ready to start managing your career and taking responsibility for where it’s going. Luckily you’ve picked the right place to get some help and advice on how to do this!

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6. I just feel bored with my job. I think I’ve got as far as I can with this job or maybe it’s the company that’s the problem. What should I do now?

It might be that if you had more information, you would be less confused. Start by finding out the answers to the following questions:

  • Is it all aspects of your job that you’re bored with, or just some?
  • Which ones?
  • What opportunities are there for you within the company?
  • How can you find out? (Maybe you could talk to your line manager or HR?)
  • What opportunities are there for you outside the company?
  • Would you be doing the same job or something completely different?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How would you describe your ideal job? What elements would it have?

Armed with this information you are ready to tackle the problem. Start with where you are now; go on to consider where you want to go and what options are available to you, and then create an action plan to truly take charge of your own career.

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