We have experts on career management, human resouces (HR) and office issues who will address your questions weekly. We refer to them as careernomers – experts in career matters who will help you in your career journey.
So If you have burning questions, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get the panel to answer them.
This week, Rupa Sivanoli, associate consultant, Leaderonomics and Shoba Kesavan, consultant from CnetG Asia, answer Jaymee’s question.
I am a 33-year-old HR practitioner who joined the insurance industry five years ago. I am certain that I did well in the couple of assignments and projects I was involved in during my first two years with the organisation.
This was reinforced by my boss who said that I did good work and write well. At that point of joining the company, my boss said that she wanted to make me a manager in two years.
However, in five years, I only got one miserable promotion, within the same job rank, i.e. assistant manager. My boss has recently given me two more years to be manager.
I am no longer giving my best at work due to the following:
1. I am bored with my job; I feel that work is not meaningful and I want to own a bigger portfolio;
2. My boss says that my bad temper at work is hindering my career growth;
3. I am uncertain if I can ever go up the corporate ladder in this organisation as my boss is giving me excuses not to promote me.
I have been looking for other jobs recently and have been to a few interviews. However, they were all futile as I was either not cut out for the job, or my salary expectations were too high. I have made it a point to change my bad temper and my effort was acknowledged by my boss.
However, a heated argument with a colleague recently deprived me of a promotion. I am now at the crossroads of my career, and my life. Looking back at my work over the years, I am positive that I am capable and adept at doing more.
I have the necessary qualifications, I am able to lead my juniors and my experience would certainly make me a suitable candidate for a promotion, all the more since my immediate superior has been tasked to another major assignment.
Please advise. Thank you.
Being at a crossroads, be it career or life – is always frustrating.
Stagnation as opposed to action brings about feelings of uncertainty and the lack of inertia in turn promotes low energy and helplessness. Inevitably, we become stuck in a rut.
Based on your sharing, it is clear that you are aware of the root cause of the problem – an advancement opportunity which you were denied.
When I see cases of people not meeting their superior’s expectations and targets set for me, I apply this framework to try to gauge the root cause and find a solution to the problem.
Say, a boss says to his employee (A) “Sorry you can’t be promoted because you are not meeting our performance expectations.” It’s important to see how A responds because it will point us towards the root cause:
Scenario 1: His response is “I can’t do it” – this indicates that A does not have the right tools to deliver on the job, so an assessment of the right work tools is needed and he should be provided with what is needed (e.g. smart phone, data access, systems access, etc.)
Scenario 2: His response is “I don’t know how” – this indicates lack of knowledge or skills. For lack of knowledge, a coaching or teaching session is required to help A. For lack of skill, a hands on training/experiential learning type session is required.
Scenario 3: His response is “I won’t do it” – this indicates an attitude issue and perhaps misalignment of values between the individual’s preference and the organisation’s aspirations. In such cases it is wise to part ways.
Scenario 4: His response is “Am I not?” – this indicates that A is genuinely surprised that he is not meeting expectations.
In the way he perceives things, he has been consistently delivering work up to the mark and when sprung with such news he is genuinely surprised and feels victimised.
Coming back to your situation Jaymee, perhaps you have not been provided with feedback about your current performance. I am sure you are open to receiving feedback that will help you improve in specific ways to attain your goal of being a manager.
It seems in this case that the quality and frequency of that feedback was insufficient. Good feedback (positive reinforcement and constructive criticism) are powerful tools to spur performance and give meaning to a person’s contribution to the team and organisation.
You see this on TV in any major sporting events from football right to gymnastics – the coach or sometimes a team of coaches will be continuously providing feedback from the sidelines.
Once the game is done, a careful post-mortem is conducted and constructive criticism (outside the limelight) is given to help improve for the next game.
I have been extremely lucky to have had great bosses throughout my career in the corporate world who have provided me with a lot of solid feedback. This has helped me grow professionally and in my personal life.
Perhaps it’s time for you to find a mentor or someone you aspire to be in your organisation. Ask if he or she will mentor you and give you feedback to help you grow and develop yourself to your full potential. I feel once you have someone to do this for you, you will feel more empowered to take on new challenges be it in your current role or elsewhere.
All the best, Jaymee.
It can be concluded that you are capable in your job and have been acknowledged for it.
You want to do more, you are confident that you can do more, and have the necessary qualifications. You are able to manage people and even replace your immediate superior.
Unfortunately, it is claimed that you have a bad temper. The good thing is, you are working on it. Additionally, your temper is constantly being used as the reason to prolong your promotion. And there is still no guarantee that in another two years you will be manager.
The questions that come to mind are, if it takes two years for you to be promoted to manager (again, there is no guarantee based on previous events):
· Would everything be solved thereafter?
· Are there opportunities within the organisation for you to leverage on to build upon your capabilities in the two years (or more)?
· Is the current organisation worth the wait?
· Would it be better to take a career leap to a new organisation?
· How much more will you gain in the two years or more in a new role and environment?
You must decide firmly if you want to stay or move on from your current organisation.
With all your achievements and capabilities, stay focused on working on the “temper” issue if that really is the issue.
Based on what you have mentioned, you could work successfully at a much more demanding level than your current role.
If you are looking out for new opportunities, you have to be dedicated and never take your foot off the pedal.
Check the websites of potential employers for vacancies and recruit others to help you in locating suitable jobs.
You might be lucky and find a recruitment consultancy willing to work hard for you.
Going direct to a potential employer is likely to be the more effective route for you.
Also think about whether you’d be prepared to take the risk of a fixed term contract role or specialising in certain aspects of HR as compared to a generalist role.
It is best to make your own opportunities. If you are just waiting for a promised opportunity, you may find that the promised opportunity is a long time coming.