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Elle's avatar

How does the pacing and timing of career progression differ from advancing in schools?

Asked by Elle (161points) August 4th, 2009

I’m about to graduate from college, and I’m a little weirded out about how long people stay in a position before getting promoted to the next level. Throughout school, you’re advancing a grade level each year and are generally done with a subset of school every four years. In the job world, you’re in a position for a year or two before you’re promoted, and it takes A LOT before you get into a position to even begin to lead or manage people.

For people who have already worked for a while, what are the biggest adjustments or mindset shifts that you had to make in order to deal with what seems like a slower upward progression in the working world? Also, how can you keep the timeline of your career in perspective?

I get freaked out about the prospect of being with a company for 5 years before I reach anywhere “cool,” but I think my perspective is off.

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16 Answers

whereisfreespeech's avatar

it depends and it varies on what job field you are in

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Your best bet is to stick with a job and get experience. If that job doesn’t allow for your personal growth and development, then you can take that experience and move on to someplace that will give you what you’re looking for.

The progression is much different than in school.

The thing about work progression is that you’re not entitled to a promotion just because you show up every day and do your thing. You have to aspire to achieve your next goal and make some pretty significant accomplishments. That is a self directed time frame. People have have been at the same job for 5 years are the ones who are just showing up.

YARNLADY's avatar

Your perspective is definitely off. When you were in school, did you expect to progress to the teacher position, or the administrator in the office?

The position you are hired for is the position you are paid to do, and the only ‘progression’ would be when or if you acquired enough experience and skills to do a different job, and if there is an opening available.

ragingloli's avatar

progression in school depends on your performance alone.
progression in in carreer also depends on how good you stand with your superiors and to a lesser degree your colleages, also known as arse kissing.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@ragingloli Ass kissing only gets a person so far. Ultimately, people know who the ass kissers are and they are not respected so much. I don’t recommend ass kissing.

whereisfreespeech's avatar

ass kissing is only good if its with your romantic partner :)

Elle's avatar

@whereisfreespeech For your first comment, feel like elaborating on any specifics? I gathered as much before I wrote my question.

whereisfreespeech's avatar

yea i was asking him what his job field is because without knowing you cant make a good answer because it varies based on that answer

Elle's avatar

@whereisfreespeech I’m a she, by the way. I’m looking into business. hand wavy Which means, I’m open to a number of career paths. But generally, I’m focused on developing the analytical problem solving and research skill set rather than gathering specific industry or knowledge-based skills (i.e. investment banking, computer programming).

whereisfreespeech's avatar

well from my own experience i have seen people lead/ manage in positions without alot of experience. alot of companies now days do this more often then you think because they can pay that person less and in todays economy this seems to be the way to go.

PerryDolia's avatar

Please hear this gently, but why should YOU move up at all?

When you start in a new position, everyone at the company knows more than you. In order to advance, you have to outperform them on a consistent basis. This takes time.

The number of people at the next higher level is smaller than the number of people at your level. Some of the people at your level will NEVER move up. This is OK. If a person is satisfied with their job and are doing it well, let them stay there.

It takes a long time because the number of people vying for a new, higher position is large in comparison with the number of higher positions.

Focus on doing your job to the best of your ability. As you prove yourself through your performance and competence, a decent company will promote you as fast as they can.

ragingloli's avatar

Rules of Acquisition
Nr. 113 Always have sex with the boss.

marinelife's avatar

In school, you are mastering a set curriculum. In the work world, you are demonstrating talent, creativity, effort and consistency in meeting performance goals that are totally dependent on your field and on your position.

That said, there are things you can do to help you stand out at work.

1. Keep your eye on the ball. Instead of worrying about your career and advancement, try to do your very best at the job you are in every day with a willing attitude.

2. After taking care of your first priority, your assigned responsibilities, look around at the company and try to understand the bigger picture. For example, if you are in Production, make a point of understanding the goals and issues of Finance and Administration. Use that information to inform your own work and to make your interactions with other departments productive and positive.

littlewesternwoman's avatar

Time has a completely different feel about it in the work world than it does in school.

When starting out – whatever your field – aim for a position that you’ll be able to do, but that will also hold some challenge for you. (Routine can be good – boredom is usually baaaad.) You’ll know when it’s time to move on. @PerryDolia is right: a smart company will try to keep you challenged so that you’ll stay on.

On the other hand, you may decide you want to move on – that your next challenge lies in a different company, or even in a different field.

Don’t sweat it; you’ll get the hang of it. (And if you don’t, you can always go back to school… ;-) )

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