There used to be a time when outstanding performance on the job was reinforced, recognized and rewarded by employers. Nowadays, employees are expected to perform “above the line” in terms of their performance. The reward, if any, is the employer’s expectation that the employee should be glad to have a job at all. Sounds pretty cynical doesn’t it?
Think about it. Oftentimes, good work is rewarded by more work or not rewarded at all. It’s been shown that the reason why most employees quit their job has less to do with money and more because they (employees)perceive their sense of value within the organization is not being recognized.
Doing a good job and building a reputation as being competent at something means that anytime a similar project surfaces within the organization, you are the one being called. Instead of cultivating others, employers continually “go back to the same well” when it comes to recognizing talent.
Consider also the employer who professes their selection of project managers is based upon the level to which the employee will be “challenged to grow” by leading the assignment. What a crock! One of the biggest detriments in today’s business practices is the failure of organizations to build in any type of succession plan. More often than not, the employee is being selected because the supervisor has too few others to select from. The decision is not based on the right person for the job, but the one who is perceived by the supervisor as being the most available (or the one who will do the least amount of damage if things go wrong) is the one often selected. Another basis for selection is the “likeability” factor, which I will deal with at another time.
So what does this mean to the employee who aspires to grow within the organization and to further develop their skills? The answer is: you have to let everyone know your (positive) results and outcomes. Don’t rely upon anyone other than yourself to keep the real movers-and-shakers within the organization informed of your value. It’s also a good idea to make sure others outside your organization who are in your field are also aware of your accomplishments. This can be done by conducting informational interviews, arranging lunches with key influencers, attending and presenting at meetings and conferences, and brainstorming / collaborating with others.
Remember: your career is your responsibility. Others may help you along the way, but it’s up to you as to how far you may actually go.
John P. Carvana is a certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. With almost thirty years as a career service practitioner, John has assisted hundreds of individuals in career transition. He is the president and founder of LPF Consulting and can be contacted at http://www.discoveredpurpose.com. He also serves as the director of career services at the University of the Pacific.
Copyright 2005 John P. Carvana, LPF Consulting