I can’t even begin to count how many times I wanted something but the fear of being told ‘No’ held me back from even asking a question. I am much more confident today than I used to be just a few years ago, but it is still something I need to watch for.
Work environment comes to mind immediately for me and for those I coach. We do our jobs and expect to be acknowledged. It could be recognition or it could even be a promotion we deserve. When we watch others get what we feel we have earned it upsets us.
Women by nature do not talk-up their accomplishments, but we are doing ourselves a disservice by not bringing attention of our value at our organization. It is equally a disservice to us to not discuss our career path in our organization with our boss.
Our careers are OUR responsibility, not our companies’. If you want progress in your career; you need to lay out a progression path for your career and discuss the gaps in your experience to get you from where you are at today to where you want to go.
We often allow fear to hold us back. We don’t want to hear about our current shortcomings, so we avoid the topic all together. If you want to grow in your career, you need to take control of your destiny, ask for feedback, ask for guidance and sell yourself.
How do you do this?
First, you need to determine what position you wish to move into. It may be within your current department or perhaps a different department or even another organization. You then need to do your homework. Find out what you believe are the gaps between what you know and what you need to know by talking to people.
If your change is at your place of employment, make a 30 minute appointment with your boss and practice your conversation. You do not go into a conversation with the viewpoint of ‘When are you going to promote me?’ You want to go in to discuss your achievement and express interest in your career path. You are looking for feedback on how to get to that next step and showing your boss you are interested in moving forward. Also have a willingness to listen to suggestions of the next steps that you haven’t even thought of.
What is key is to make this an on-going conversation. I typically have this conversation with folks in my organization every 12-18 months. Patience is also key with these conversations. Just because you raise up your interest does not mean that wheels start turning on a position for you. It could take years and in the meantime, you work on the gaps that may have been pointed out to you.
What my experience has shown is that I need to vocalize where I desire my career to head. I can’t expect the company to read my mind.