Career progression can be either fast or slow. It completely depends upon the person, whereas in larger companies, it is always slow by design. The pyramid is high, and there is simply less room at every rung of the pyramid, so there needs to be some filtering mechanism, and it is usually the time in grade. It can be faster at smaller companies, but there is usually less latitude around pay. You can gain more responsibility faster at smaller firms, but you can also get in over your head and flame out miserably.
If you are intellectually honest and humble, if you have a keen interest in learning new things then you will surely be able to grow your portfolio of experiences, knowledge and therefore advance your career. Time and specifically experience over time is a critical aspect of career development. Here are a couple of general best practices for career growth:
Make calculated career changes – If you know where you want to be in your career in 5 years then you stand a better chance of getting there. Plot a course from here to there. The appropriate course will include gaining new skills, achieving certain career milestones, and may include changing roles or companies. You may have to take several intermediate steps to get from here to there.
If you’re blessed to be in a high-performance company, take every opportunity to be coached, not only to improve your performance on the job but also to develop your own leadership competency as an effective coach. Learn your strengths early. There are core skill sets and personality traits you will take with you to every job that you ever do. Understand what those are to know what will work for you. Always be reasonably transparent with your career plans with people that matter. It is really important to be open about your career plans with a couple of people in your present job.
Professional Development: Get professional development as much as possible and then use it to do a better job which demonstrates a better outcome for the company.
Create Opportunities: Always ask for new opportunities and projects to sink your teeth into which can surely benefit the company and give you further experience. What you really want to do is create opportunities, rather than wait around from them to drop into your lap.
Be a team player: Remember, it’s not all about you. Make sure that you are a good team player – and team leader. Without team support, you will never be able to achieve anything. The higher you go up, the greater the need to be able to work in a leadership team, and also lead your own team effectively.
Be prepared to move: Be prepared to move to a new employer as new opportunities arise. However be careful – if your lack of advancement is linked to your own internal capacities, then your problem will follow you wherever you go.
Get timely feedback: Get honest feedback from a coach, your boss, your co-workers about your work and personal blind-spots. If there is something you need to develop in further – don’t shy away from it. Work at it and improve. Many people do not ever get good feedback about their work, and when they do they don’t like it and so don’t develop.
Demonstrate the loyalty: You need to balance between personal loyalty and loyalty to the company.
Walking the line between best and worst practice in terms of career growth is a very fine one. Some people try too hard while others don’t try hard enough. Follow the above tips on having a bright career.