Dear Matt: I really enjoy my current job but I’ve suddenly realized there are no advancement opportunities and therefore probably not much room for an increase in responsibilities or salary. There are other openings within the company, but they don’t appeal to me. What should I do?
Matt says: There are two very important things here: You love the company and you love the job. So before moving on, do what Joanne Meehl of Joanne Meehl Career Services (thejobsearchqueen.com) calls the “My Ideal Job” exercise.
First, divide a piece of paper or Word document into two columns. In the left column, list all the things you would want in your ideal job, then note all the things you don’t want in the right column. Think of the tasks of the job itself, the people you work with, the company and its culture. Then give each item one to three plus signs for the things you want, or minus signs for the things you don’t want.
Compare your ideal job to your current role. What’s missing? What would help you feel more fulfilled in this current role? Or does your ideal job come pretty close to what you’re doing now?
If only a few things are missing, note what these are, then rewrite your current job description, adding in the things you want but aren’t getting. Don’t think small: think about what you could really add to the job/company with some additional responsibilities. Then talk with your manager and show how everyone wins by making those changes, says Meehl. At this point, it sounds like you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.
“This method focuses on you and what you want for your life,” says Meehl. “You should always start there — we have only one precious life. It will help you avoid making the mistake I’ve seen so many others make by not bringing it up and just jumping to a new job elsewhere without exploring themselves and the market first.
“No company or organization is perfect, and too many people sadly realize this when one set of problems gets replaced by another set that’s even worse.”
If this doesn’t work with your current company, and you decide it’s time to leave, start looking at competing companies that have similar jobs, says career coach Cindy Edwards (tofindyourfit.com). Maybe they present more challenges and a greater opportunity for growth.
Before you make any moves, though, be sure to thoroughly explore all options with your current company. If you’ve never discussed this with your manager, they may not know about your frustrations or your desires for growth.
Only you can take charge of your career. Creating a growth plan with your current employer is the best place to start.
Contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.