When things Get Stagnant

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-09-07 Print this article Print

"Great talent in the IT marketplace will always have opportunities thrust at them. But, its not so much when it comes at you, but how you analyze and assess it, and if its the right time and place," he said. 3. A stagnant workplace
Workplace stagnancy comes in more forms than lack of promotions; many job environments can also hit a plateau after a period of growth and expansion, leaving its employees wanting more.
In many cases, what employees wants from their job is more than what employers can offer. "Good reasons to leave a job are when you see a ceiling develop above you, and theres an inability for you to develop your skills or move ahead," Messina said. "A lot of times theres a disconnect between what employers think is important to employees and what employees do. If this departure gets big enough, it can be a good time to make a move." Theres no one specific number of years an employee should go without a promotion before realizing that their job might be a bad fit, but there are ranges. "I think the magic number is four to six years without any change in responsibility and without any room for promotion or advancement, with the exception of the VP level where there is little change," Lanzalotto said. "You should ask yourself: Do I want to do this for the rest of my career, especially if youre getting marginalized or feel bored. If you dont find something else, your boredom will end up affecting your job performance." In some workplaces, promotions seem impossible to come by as employees see managers and directors brought in from outside the ranks. At a certain level, the worker knows theyve run out of attainable rungs to climb. "The highest levels of workplace retention are in environments where there is a clear investment in the career track of individuals. It brings people in and when you can see what development roles are laid out for people," Kevin Young, VP of EMEA Sales for SkillSoft, a provider of content and technology for IT professionals. One of the most frequently cited concerns by IT professionals is stagnancy in the technologies they work with on a regular basis. Many experts agree that idling tech work was a legitimate cause for concern. "Technology is changing at a 9 to 12 month clip. If youre in technology and youre still working on the same technology you were working on 18 to 24 months ago, and you havent been exposed to something new, it might be time for a change," said Lee of Robert Half Technology. In these cases, the IT worker can risk damaging their career options by staying in one place too long, as the relevance of their skills decline. "Theres such a thing as not being in a job long enough but also allowing yourself to be in a job too long. As technology changes, to only work in one type you may end up outdating your skills," said Messina. Yet, before resigning, techies are encouraged to investigate their options within the company. "You might want to spend some time understanding what your companys overall technology strategy is, if theyre not able to communicate with you," Lee said. "What are the new projects? New purchases? New technologies? If they have no plans to extend themselves from a technology perspective, it may be time to consider doing something different. But, first see if there are new technologies at your company that you can try to get exposure to." 4. Youve made a bad move It happens to the best of people. A worker will bide their time and patiently wait for the "right" opportunity to arise and when they jump on it, theyll end up falling flat. Theyve made a bad move, and they cant undo it. Anyone who has gone through it can attest to this haunting experience. Click here to read about tips on negotiating your salary. So, how long do you have to wait before you can flee the scene? Is it even okay to? The answers vary. "A lot of times, people will say that 90 days is a good time to leave if you think youre in a bad fit," Lanzalotto said. "But I think thats not enough. Unless theres outright fraud on the part of the hiring manager or youve been deceived, you need to give the new environment more time." Others felt adamantly that the professional should leave as soon as possible—the faster, the better. "If youve made a bad-fit move, you need to leave quickly, in less than a year," Messina said. "It would be very hard to sit in front of me when I am interviewing you and tell me you left a job because it was a bad fit, but you waited two years to do so. You get about one pass on this; after that, you start to get looked at suspiciously." The concept of "one pass" came up often, wherein hiring professionals all agreed that professionals could have one blip on their resume, but a second instance raises eyebrows. Next Page: An offer you cant refuse.


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