Most people I have met has one worry on top of their mind. It is – career growth. All the time we see people tense about career growth. In middle management it is the worst. If you talk to almost anyone, volcano of not having career growth erupts. After enjoyable challenges of early career, the career blues start when you hit middle management.
- The attention you get is not growing. sometimes it is reducing.
- Someone who was two levels below is suddenly your peer. You fear that he may even pass you.
- Pay hikes are not as much as earlier. Even with what you get, you may be an outlier.
- More people queued up in front of some one else’s office, not yours
- Totally lost when it comes to career path and where you are on that path
- You are out of loop on more & more actions
No wonder there is crisis at this stage. You are worried that you have not grown recently. And you had negative growth recently. It makes you frustrated and insecure. Familiar? Read on.
The problem is with your parameters of ‘career growth’
Original Set Of Growth Parameters:
- Level and Title
- Number of people reporting
- Visibility with top management
- Pay check
- Travel Opportunities
The above are the the typical parameters back of our mind when we think about career. How about adding the below ones too to your definition?
Career Growth Parameters – Extended Set:
1. Network Growth – in the organization, industry and adjacent industries:
You know more people in the organization and in the industry. You are known in good way.
2. The Money vs. Value Balance:
What you make vs. your potential market value. vs business value you generate – is balanced.
If what you generate is lower than what you get, there is need for urgent upgrading of skills and output.
If you are earning more than the value you generate, the insecurity would creep on. You can not be at peace. Most of us generate value. Just that, we need to understand how are generating and how to quantify it. Once it is done, the insecurity would reduce.
If you are earning less than the value you generate or your market value, identify it. From there you can decide how to proceed.
Irrespective of where you fit – you will feel better. Once the context and actions are known, you get better picture of career status.
3. Portable Skills Developed
During the course of career and at this stage, how do you see the portable skills developed? These are the skills portable to other roles/organizations/industries. This is important because this will help in case organization stops liking you. This article may be of interest.
4. Business Value:
Though at same role for long, the business value you generate has gone up. The revenue, number of customers, geographies etc. have grown. It brings new learning.
The book about leadership pipeline explains about the possible kinds of career growth. It talks about progression – generating higher value at the same job. If you are doing it, sensitize management in appropriate ways. It works.
Though, the career has not grown as per your set of parameters, you may have grown in handling fear better.
Some of the common fears – Fear of failure, Fear of losing job, Fear of trying something new, Fear of not being accepted in a group
As we know these weaken the career and persona to great extent.
No promotions, no big pay hikes, but if you are in the process of handling the fears better, you are definitely building great pillar for career. Especially if faced with failure, recently it is even better. You will feel much lighter !
6. Fitment of Job With Your Values
There are many roles which push your values to the edge. This causes enormous stress. It is the highest in most-sought-after roles. If you are out of such high visibility role, good for you – at least for now.
7. Work Life Balance
Able to meet people in life who matter? If it is there, good. If you are facing stagnation, you are pretty good at current job. It is easier to optimize work and free up time for self development or to take life slow.
You also have time & energy to do certifications and higher studies. This would not be possible with with highly demanding and exciting job.
8. Growth in Self Management
When you are in most critical roles, everyone will engage with you irrespective of your negative points. The real test of ability comes when you are in cross-functional role. If the undesired change management handed you is on cross-functional role, there is no need to be concerned. Cross-functional role gives enough opportunity to experiment with yourself and fix rough edges.
This is why, several organizations mandate that the individual performs well at both managerial role and cross-functional role before getting promoted. Also mandated are having not just success, but also few failures.
Overcoming the Career Blues
Once you appreciate the parameters, the weak areas and actions become immediately apparent.
Stagnation is – about you having more energy than the job needs. Once you plan to spend the energy in right actions, the anxiety will go away. As the actions bring results, the insecurity also goes away.
Try this and let me know !