I am about 30 years old, working in my second career job (each about 4yrs.), and have been told by supervisors and clients that I am a key member on any team that I work on or lead. I believe that I have shown that I have what it takes to execute what has been asked and lead a team to successful outcomes.

I thoroughly enjoy my current position, but have been looking to advance to the next level for a couple of years now. I know the job market locally is terrible and my field (education) is slower to advance individuals than others.

Am I a typical Gen X'er that is looking too soon to advance? Am I required to put in more time before expecting to move up the ladder?

My supervisor is fully aware of my feelings, but is limited in what can be done under the current policies. When is a good time to push harder for another opportunity internally? Or am I in a position that I should just look for opportunities elsewhere?

Again, I enjoy my job, but I have that constant 'itch' to take on more responsibility and show how successful I can really be.

Advice would be appreciated.

jhack's picture

Are you a teacher trying for department head or principal? Are you in IT at a university? Are you administrative staff in a private college?

"Education" is still a broad category, and without more detail it's hard to know what your real barriers are.

What about being a manager in your particular area appeals to you? Has your boss laid out the path (however long or difficult it might be)?


be_counted's picture

I work at a college/university working mostly with businesses to develop/implement/manage training programs.

The career path in my division is limited to the training manager or department head. There was work done to create a junior level administrative position for me to fill, but was abandoned as the economy soured.

There are a few other junior level management positions within other departments, but attempts to apply for positions usually result in an outside person filling those.

As far as appeal, part of it is pushing myself in new ways and a chance for new opportunities, part of it is just the feeling advancement, and part of it is for the money.

hrjen's picture
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What is your boss telling you about your opportunity? I'm not talking about the words about how great you are or how well you execute, but what does he/she say when you ask about more responsibility, more opportunity.

I was in a non-management role for 6 years before I went to management, but the whole time I was taking on more and more and learning everything I could. And, I did this with no promotion opportunity in sight - but by the time the management slot came up, I was ready. There are few management slots in my department in my company (and I was living in a small town with a slow economy and limited opportunities at the time).

In the end you have to decide if it is more responsibility that you want or a title. They often don't show up at the same time.

be_counted's picture

I take on new initiatives nearly every chance I get. I do it for the opportunity to learn something new and I do well each time. That's where my 'itch' comes from is the desire to have the experience as a manager and do well at it.

I appreciate the feedback, but I am not questioning my reasons for wanting to move up, I am questioning my patience and approach at this time.

I am not looking for guarantees, but I want to feel that if I keep working hard there will be opportunities like the ones I'm looking for.

Am I not being patient enough? Should I bail if a management position comes along and leave the comfort of a great job and a great boss?

jhack's picture

We ask not because we doubt your desire, but to help you align your skills and drive with the opportunities available.

Some people want management because only large teams can build what they design. Others want power. Yet others want to help customers. You want the experience...

Is there a map? Has your boss said to you, "do this, then that, then a third thing, then you can submit your name for promotion"? Or is it just a vague, "keep at it, kid, and I'll make you a star someday"?

The clarity of that path, as agreed to by your boss, is the best sign you have of whether you will have to wait.

In the meantime, you should also consider your alternatives. Could you work elsewhere (another firm, another state?)


be_counted's picture

I do appreciate the time, willingness and thought that everyone has put into responding to my concerns.

After reading through everyones responses, including my own, I will be pushing for a performance evaluation based on agreed upon metric between my boss and I (there currently are none in the institution). My goal will be to layout concrete measures for successful performance and a potential path and time frame upon completion of these objectives. In doing this I will be cautious not to 'tell the boss what to do', but hope this will serve as a reality check for both myself and my boss.

Again, I appreciate everyone's effort and will post a self-congrats upon receiving a promotion. :)

hrjen's picture
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[quote]The clarity of that path, as agreed to by your boss, is the best sign you have of whether you will have to wait.

Well put...

Be_counted, I think you have a good plan. Let us know what your boss says. The best career advice my mom ever gave me was "choose your boss, not your job" and I've found that to be extrordinarily good advice. If you trust your boss and you are learning from your boss, it may be good to stay, if not, go find someone that will teach you and advocate for you.