Rabu, 25 Agustus 2010

When Your Career Plateaus

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Career Without Moving Up
by Margaret Steen, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Careers start out as a climbing exercise: When can I get promoted? How can I get a raise? What job will be more challenging than my current one?

But for all but a tiny fraction of workers, that climb ends before their career does.

Some people realize they don't enjoy working at higher levels of a company, or aren't very good at it. Others get this message from their boss. And some people decide they're not willing to make the tradeoffs required -- traveling more, or sacrificing family time -- to continue climbing the corporate ladder.

Finding Your Place

"Your ambition may naturally shift as you grow in your career," said Libby Pannwitt, principal of the Work Life Design Group in San Carlos, California.

Sometimes the best response to this problem is to change companies, to find a place where you can keep climbing more comfortably. But what do you do when that's not the answer?

The key is to find a way to keep work interesting and challenging. This will help you remain a valuable employee, which is important, since employers may be quick to lay off workers who no longer seem engaged. And you will be happier as well.

"I don't know that we ever stop learning or needing to learn, and I don't think we ever stop growing," said Leslie Griffen, principal of The Griffen Group in Lee's Summit, Mo. Griffen does career and executive coaching and human capital management consulting.

Advancing in Different Ways

Career experts offer five tips for keeping your moving forward when you aren't moving up:

* Acknowledge what you're giving up. If you aren't moving to the next level, your salary will likely plateau. And if you thrive on the prestige that comes with your job, be prepared for that to level off as well.

* Appreciate what you're gaining. A less stressful job brings many benefits. "Do I need to be king of the world at the expense of my family, my health, my happiness?" Pannwitt said.

* Make a lateral move. There are many ways to continue to learn and grow without moving up on the organizational chart. Sometimes this means taking a job in a different department in your company; other times you may simply be able to take on new projects in your current position. "Instead of climbing to the heights, aim at breadth and depth of your professional knowledge," Pannwitt said.

* Delve deeper. Most organizations have some experts in specific areas whose experience may not be broad enough for the upper levels of management but who are nonetheless depended on and sought after for their expertise. "Strive to be the go-to person, known for your wisdom and knowledge," Pannwitt said.

* Take your expertise outside. Teach adult education classes in your field. Offer to chair a committee for your professional association. Or use your expertise to help a volunteer organization -- as treasurer, for example, if you're in accounting. "Reach outside your career" to a related activity, Griffen said.

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