Hi Guys,

I am in a pickle and I just don't know what to do.  I know this is not the best time to even be "complaining" but I am 33 and can't seem to be going anywhere within the Corporate World.

When I first started my true professional career, I was 21, I started a very successful Business/IT Consulting firm and I was one of four business partners whereas I was the CIO and I had 3 direct employees working for me. I also managed various business partner relationships and sub-contractor relationships.   I even published a book on How to make Businesses more Efficient.

That lasted about 2-3 years and we sold the business to another firm.  Afterwards, I moved on to another startup whereas I became a Director of Operations which lasted for another 2-3 years at which time the company folded. I had a number of employees and contractors that I was responsible for. 

After that I started a small software firm that wrote one or two large websites for two large internationally known corps. It was a single person entity but I had a number of foreign contractors working for me. I managed both clients and the contractors.   This was at the end of the bubble in the 90's and I saw the writing on the wall so decided to try working in the real world.

I've worked for two other fortune 500 and fortune 100 companies since, always being a "technical lead" whereas I would provide both technical mentorship as well as project management leadership.  I call this one-off management.

My career has been what I call a "U".  I started very high and have seemed to decline since to the bottom of the U.  At my current position, I am a business analyst that does some PM work for various one off projects that we always seem to get.

My current management has told me that they do not intend to promote me anytime soon because my management and interpersonal relationship  experience doesn't matter because it was in a "different sized pond".  Additionally, there was a reorg last week and I've been basically moved from my "business analysis/consulting" role where I would go out into our various business units and provide business management consulting to more of a day-to-day technical operations role which I'm not really suited for.  Before you point out the obvious that I was demoted, There are no problems with my work or my performance since my performance reviews have always been exemplorary with notes that I would make a good manager one day.

I dunno, if I decide to stick it out, it may be 5-10 years before I am promoted to even a low-end manager position.  If I leave, how do I present my true management experience to perspective employers in order to obtain the management position I truly want? I'd even be willing to take a lower end management position in order to move up through an Org. 

 Dunno what to do. I will probably stick it out here until either I get laid off, or the market picks up again.  I just don't want to shoot low anymore and need your advice on how to best present my management accomplishments better.

Thanks for any advice.

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

Lots of questions for you....

Do you really want to be in the corporate world? It seems to me that you were happier and more successful in start ups, and that might be because you're better suited to them.

That said, promotion (and career success generally) relies on performance and relationships. If you're not being promoted, is it possible that despite your performance reviews you're not performing as the organization would like? You can get good performance reviews (which mean you are performing well in the job you have now) and still not be promotion material (because you're not performing as well as they would want you to in the next job up). Being promoted means performing out of the box in your current role, not just in the top box. Sometimes we want the next job so bad, we forget to be brilliant at this one.

It could also be your relationships which aren't strong enough - are you resting on your laurels and remembering former, more senior roles and forgetting to forge really strong relationships with a range of people, including your boss's peers?

You sound a bit demoralized and disheartened by this latest move. Whatever you do, hide this. Go into work and do an outstanding job whatever it is that you are given to do. That's the kind of behavior which is noticed and leads to promotions,


tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge needs. I would add to Wendii's insights that the nature of leadership, risk-taking, and relationship building varies in small start-ups versus larger established organizations. A *great* book that goes into more detail about this topic is: "The First 90 Days"

Turn-arounds, re-alignments, start-ups, and sustaining success (according to the author) have different leadership requirements.  It could be that you have traits and skills more in-tune with smaller, less-established organizations.  Nevertheless, do outstanding work *where you are* and opportunity will come your way.