Monday, July 19, 2010

Fallacies about promotions

HBR Magazine has an article about career development fallacies. The author looked at the CVs of approximately 1000 executives to determine how executives get ahead. She found there were four fallacies about career advancement:
  • Job hoppers can hop their way into a promotion; instead stability with a company and internal promotion seem to lead up the ladder;
  • Move up the ladder; instead lateral moves can offer more exposure to senior management and then into a promotion;
  • A big company will lead to big moves. We have this problem in the career center: students are convinced they need to work for the Big 4 or the Big Ten or the Ivies, instead of thinking about how they will stand out better amongst a smaller pool;
  • Switching industries will hold back your career; instead think how you can bring a fresh perspective. The example about salary is a little fishy, since it means some industries are bargain shopping for managers in other industries.

I have one quibble with this article: I do not know one career counsellor who advises flagrant job hopping, or even tentative bunny hopping, as a way to get ahead in a career. Most counsellors are talking risk takers away from frequent jumps based on brief infatuations with other companies or perceived slights that the job seeker takes as a sign to jump ship, instead of a sign to learn to work problems out.

However, the advice is good for career planners: stay steady, make your choices based on what you want to do and know that sometimes small can become big.

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