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What lies behind your career development door?

Many people I work with tell me that they are looking for a new job or a new career because “there is just nowhere else to go” in their current role. Some refer to the concept of the glass ceiling, while others tell me that “unless my manager leaves I’ll be stuck in my role forever” – hence the need to look elsewhere. Of course there are also those who think that if they ask their manager about other opportunities internally then this will surely imply they aren’t happy in their job and result in them being let go at the first available opportunity.

First and foremost I have to stress that you certainly don’t need to leave your job to achieve the next stage in your career.

Career development can just as equally take place within your current role or at least within your current organisation. It’s only a matter of knowing where to look… and asking for it.

As long as you have been in your role for a while, and have proven that you are more than competent in your job, there is nothing wrong with mentioning during a regular meeting with your boss or during your performance review your desire to take on additional responsibilities, totally new tasks, or even to take on a different role entirely.

Early in my career, after being in one job in Sydney for two years, I remember mentioning to my boss that I was starting to feel a bit bored and wanted to try something different. A few months later I was transferred to Melbourne. The interesting thing is that in Melbourne I was doing something very similar but living and working in a new city was exactly the career development that I needed at the time.

I know people who have successfully moved from a sales role to a training role within their organisation, from recruiting in one discipline to recruiting in something completely different, or even from an admin-based role to a client services position in the same business. The one thing each of these people had in common was that when they felt they were “itching” for something new or more challenging, they called a meeting with their boss and put it all out on the table.

Some of us might even be fortunate enough to have a manager who can actually see the signs of boredom or frustration setting in, and who then proactively suggests the possibility of other options within the organisation. I worked for my last employer for nearly seven years, during which time I had three different jobs working in two different countries. My career was continually developing but my email address never changed!

Trust me… most employers would rather retain their people and see them moving into different parts of their business than see them leave, often along with vast amounts of intellectual property.

It’s essential for any ambitious individual to know what lies behind their next developmental door. But you also need to appreciate that this developmental door could in fact be just as close as the door to your manager’s office and it certainly doesn’t need to be behind the door to another building.

So if you feel you are lacking in career development and would like a new challenge… just ask for it.

You never know what might happen.

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