Monday, August 17, 2009

Career Frustrations

Has anyone else ever felt like they are stuck in perpetual motion as far as their career goes? Almost like you know you want to advance in your career, you don’t want to be labeled as a job hopper, but you realize that there’s very little room to move in your current position? Well that’s where I am right now in my career.

I thought I was on track to learn more about a different area of my job, but it seems as if some people and or projects are blocking that. The story behind this is pretty strange from my point of view. I have a coworker who has been my advocate since day 1 of me starting with the company. I’ve talked with him about what I want to do & how I see myself progressing through my career with the company. (Notice I say career because I do want to make this a long term thing) He’s been the big push to move me forward, I’ve learned a lot about our product, how it works, and have done a few demos for internal & external customers. I’ve also helped on some pre-sales activities, but I haven’t played as much as an active role in the pre-sales/sales cycle as I would like to. I’m assigned to a project with people who I feel are holding me back from pursuing the other side of what I’d like to do. I know that it’s not all about me, we must do what’s best for the project & the company, but I see no reason why I can’t take on a few extra duties. It’s not as if I don’t work at least 10-12 hours a day if not more! I’m willing to take on extra because I’m willing to learn, grow, and help others! Each time I’m given an opportunity there are 2 people who make it virtually impossible for me to explore the opportunity. The first time there were statements that “she can help with the first session, but not the second because we need her on x project,” the second time around was “we’re at too critical a stage in the project for her to shift her focus off of this & help with pre-sales/sales.”

NOW what annoys me about this situation…2 things: There are 2 business people assigned to my project, me & another person. The other person isn’t responsible, he’s borderline lazy, he’s not proactive & complains about how everything isn’t “right.” (That’s merely his opinion) I think the thought is if I were to shift my focus even the slightest bit, the project may fail because the other person wouldn’t be up to the challenge of doing what I do….even though he has much longer tenure & project experience than I do. The other thing is that when someone else from the project, say someone on another team such as testing, is asked if he/she will do some pre-sales/sales support, the answer is always yes. There’s never any push back from the project manager or any others. The only push back that exists is when someone asks me to help with other activities that aren’t focused on this one project that I’m assigned to.

I’m becoming rather annoyed with this because I have expressed to many people at many different levels within our company that I want to & CAN handle additional responsibilities that aren’t project related. I’ve done a bit of it before when I wasn’t assigned to the project that I’m on now, but since this assignment people have made it IMPOSSIBLE for me to learn & grow. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do, you know….what happens when your company’s goals and your own career goals don’t come close to matching up? Is it then time to move on? I don’t particularly want to move on because I have invested so much time into what I do & just as I have invested time, the company has invested time & money into me. I mean really, the opportunities have been great so far, traveling the US & the world is awesome. I won’t give that up right now, but I need to figure something out. Any advice? Anyone else in the same situation?


Emily Ho Sandford said...

I think the best thing to do in your situation is to just do the best you can and prove to your "haters" that you are responsible and more than capable to take on the roles you want. I saw an ad for a job the other day whose title was "Director of Getting Shit Done" and I think that is kind of how we all have to think of ourselves when we're trying to establish ourselves in our careers. We're in a time where everyone is jockeying for their positions, so make sure you do all you can to prove your point- actions are louder than words. If you really, truly feel the culture just isn't right for you making a career out of it, then by all means, put feelers out for somewhere else to go. A lot of times though, you'll find that even at a different place, you'll face very similar challenges. Good luck!

Ebony Jewel said...

Hi Emmie! Thanks for the advice & I agree with you 100%. I've decided to have a chat with my supervisor to see what he thinks about the situation. I work for an IT consulting firm, I've been a top performer since I came to the company a few years ago & I'm looking to make career moves, not just be stuck in one place with no options.