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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Next Next Promotion

I had an employee resign the other day, which is part of life in an organization. He was in a non-titled role and gave his reason for leaving that the promotions were not coming fast enough for him to meet his career goals. He shared that the job he was offered came with a bigger title, though no increase in pay, and within a year he would be eligible for a bigger title. On the surface this seems like a reasonable argument to take another job; after all it is all about the the next next promotion? This individual was very excited about the prospect that he will be up for another promotion within a year of joining his new firm, however, he didn't spend much time assessing the work he will be doing.

This was an immature reason for leaving a firm. Before signing on to the notion that you can get a promotion in a year think through what the interviewer said. It is easy to tell someone you will be up for promotion if you are a top performer, capable, good or competent. However, great as this sounds there is no commitment in the statement and there is no definition of what you will need to do to be eligible. The burden is on the candidate to figure out what it is that drives the next next promotion. The interviewer dangled the opportunity and the interviewee took the bait hook, line, and sinker and like most young professionals he never asked about the details of the job he will be performing.

The unfortunate reality is he took a role supporting legacy technology that is most often relegated to the staff interested in long term stability and consistency. This was not the type of role an young ambitious professional would normally choose. In his quest for title he sacrificed the opportunity for valuable skills that would improve his resume and future marketability. When you are evaluating an opportunity focus on the type of projects and technologies you will be working with; not the title being offered. Every company and industry looks at corporate and functional titles differently, however, when we are looking to fill a role we are looking at the skills and experience of the candidate (not the cool sounding title).

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