When I started at EDS I was learning at an incredible rate. Pay raises came quickly and easily. By my third year things slowed down. By my fifth year I settled into a dreary cycle of little new personal growth and cost of living raises. I managed to get assigned to a new team using a new technology and my growth accelerated for a year, then it dropped back to the dreary level. That’s an example of my personal growth curve.
How fast you are growing to get where you want to go is your personal growth curve. Once you stop growing you are flat-lining. In hospitals flat-lining means there is no pulse, you are dead. In your career, flat-lining means that your career has stopped completely and the business world is starting to pass you by.
To get growing again you need to learn, get new responsibilities and get recognized. At EDS I volunteered and pestered my managers for the chance to use new technology. Since no one else had a clue and I had read a couple of books on the subject, I got to become the “owner” of that technology. Preparation and repeatedly selling myself to my managers preceded my advancement.
Whether you want to grow as a manager, salesperson or technician, you need to follow these steps:
- Find out what is going to be needed IN THE FUTURE
- Study and prepare to fill that future need
- Sell yourself repeatedly and constantly to get the new responsibility
- Excel at your new job
- Start over
Step 1 and 2 can always be done at your current job. Often they will pay for the training and help mentor you. Step 3 should be attempted with your current company. Sometimes it just can’t be done where you are.
Companies have their own growth curves. At a company that is flat-lining, your chances to grow will be limited. While you are preparing to grow, open your eyes. Is your company ABLE to let you grow? Do you need to move to a company that is changing its growth curve while you change yours?
A job change becomes a career enhancing move when you move to a company whose growth curve will allow you to accelerate your own growth curve. If you are willing to learn and grow, you will have growth in your career. If you are willing to change jobs when necessary to re-accelerate your career growth, your future has no limits.
Something To Do Today
What is going to be needed in the future? What interests you? What will help you accelerate your growth curve?
Don’t expect your boss to magically know what you fail to tell him repeatedly. Expect him not to understand. Even if he sees you doing something new he may not recognize what it means or its usefulness unless you have told him five or ten times in the last six months.
Each Friday is the time to write down what you did this week and this month in your job journal. Give a report to your boss in a format he can use for his own reports to his boss. A written copy of your accomplishments will reinforce what you have told him