Q. I enjoy my work (I develop educational programs for a pharmaceutical company), but I feel that I’m not as respected and valued as some of my newer (and frankly, younger) coworkers. It’s important to me to be recognized and valued for what I do. I’m paid well, but in other ways, I’m not on the track to advance. Any suggestions?
A. Let’s break down the challenges you’re facing. You say you’re well compensated, but feel that in other ways you’re not on the advancement track. I suggest you take a hard look at who is advancing in the organization, and what’s contributing to their success. Understand the values, culture, goals and needs of your organization and how they play out in recognition and promotions.
See also: Self-check: Is Your Career on Autopilot?
For some organizations, people who are innovating and making a big difference in the progress of their division get the attention. For other organizations, it’s great team-playing – leading and participating in teams that have moved the needle on business success. For still others, it’s those who are developing new systems and processes that have streamlined the way work is done and reduced the drain of time, money and resources. Understand what your employer values and wants from you, and candidly evaluate whether you’re delivering it.
Second, take the bull by the horns and build your own professional development plan. Articulate your strengths, talents and contributions, and also the areas where you could benefit from growth and development. Share them with your supervisor to get his/her feedback and take action. Ask your supervisor to revisit your progress in three months to ensure that you’re on the right track for advancement. Make sure that your plan incorporates solid metrics and measurements that will allow you both to objectively measure your progress.
See also: Self-promotion Without the Smarm
Finally, it’s vitally important that you ask for what you want and deserve. So many professionals are afraid to put the stake in the ground and declare what they want, and take courageous action to get it. I encourage my clients to power up and embrace “above the line” thinking – understand that you possess more control than you think. Accept that you are accountable, responsible and able to shape your future. Don’t wait to act and don’t rest on your laurels. Go out there and evaluate what is needed in your work and performance to get the recognition you deserve, and then make it happen. You can do it!
If you do all that, and still are not advancing, other factors stand in the way and you’ll have to address them. But don’t jump out of the job until you’ve done what’s necessary to take back control of your future.
Career coach Kathy Caprino is founder/president of Ellia Communications and the author of Breakdown, Breakthrough.