Case Study - Restarting a stalled IT career
An IT professional engaged me as his coach. His career had reached a plateau and he was demotivated at the lack of career progress and corresponding salary stagnation. Being frustrated with his situation and seeing peers move ahead, he realized that he needed outside help from an objective and trusted advisor. With many years of service with his employer and vested retirement benefits, moving to another employer was a poor option and he needed to find ways to restart his career with his current employer. He was working long hours, a lot of overtime, and receiving no recognition for his efforts.
Working together through phone calls, face-to-face meetings, and email, we identified the following and implemented corrective action:
1. His professional network had shrunk over the years as some people had moved on and he had lost contact with other employees in the organization. Together, we identified people who could help him to identify strengths and weaknesses as well as introduce him to influential people in the organization. We created a plan that he followed to meet with employees in his network and he rekindled old relationships. This raised his visibility and strengthened his professional relationships for future career opportunities while also improving his current working environment. He now has more people to call and bounce ideas off and is no longer isolated in his organization.
2. His manager, and colleagues were not aware of his good work. He was not marketing his efforts, results and accolades that he receives for his work on projects, to his manager. We identified multiple accolades that he had received from his internal customers and business partners. He crafted a simple plan to include these accolades in his next meeting with his manager and continues to market his results to his manager.
3. He did not know what his manager expected of him, or valued in employees. Although his annual job objectives were set, he did not really know what his manager treasured, and thus was not able to demonstrate exceptional job performance. You are unlikely to hit a target that you don't know exists. Through our work, we identified this missing foundational piece of career success and he met with his manager to understand what his manager considered to be exceptional job performance. With this knowledge, my client is aware of opportunities that allow him to display exceptional job performance as situations arise.
4. When you are in a situation that seems hopeless and in a job where you feel that every effort is criticized, but never recognized, then you tend to become give up. Although you consciously know that negativity and resigning yourself to mediocre job performance is a self-defeating career strategy, you feel despondent and stop trying to improve your situation. My client was in this situation and did not see the opportunities available to him He was reluctant to believe that he had opportunities in this situation. Working with me and having someone to talk to who has no hidden agenda, he realized that he had several career opportunities available to him which he had not pursued. He decided to alter his career course slightly and was accepted for a senior position on a different career track, with the same manager. This alleviated his frustration in his prior position and puts him in line for future career growth.
My client felt more hopeful, more confident and had a better relationship with his manager as result of working with me. He has more career opportunities now and is willing to take advantage of them as he comes across them.
These results are are typical of the the tangible and intangible benefits that IT professionals experience after working with me. Many times when you reach a plateau you find that the skills and behaviors you applied in the past to get you where you are now, no longer apply. The world changed while you were working long hours at your desk and allowed your personal marketing skills, professional network and career competency to take a back seat. You need an objective outsider to work with you and identify your changed world, so that you can use the plateau as a stepping stone to higher levels of career growth. The old way of "I will change employers and go to work elsewhere" is not feasible for many IT professionals with vested benefits. In many cases, you are tied to your employer and have to carve a new path through the corporate jungle. It is not easy and my clients are wise enough to engage a partner to help them. There is no need to go it alone.