Monday, 9 February 2009

James's story - Talking Careers with your Boss

“It was a risk but I decided to talk with my boss about where my career was going.”

James tells the story of his most recent career move that began - maybe a little unconventionally - with an approach to his boss this time last year.

“We had a really open conversation and agreed that I could look at career opportunities outside the company while exploring internal possibilities at the same time. As you can imagine, there was to be no effect on my performance in the meantime [cheeky smile].”

James continues, “I did the usual rounds of meetings and chats with recruiters and a few opportunities started to come my way. One conversation [with a potential employer] continued over several months. There were plenty of interviews and meetings but - in the end - this was the conversation that turned into my new job!”

[Sometimes you just have to let talent speak for itself]

So far so good for James but how was he helped by having the career conversation up front with his employer first?

James answers, “It’s funny because there is no way I would have got this job if my boss and I had not made our agreement in the first place. I could never have kept such a long process hidden from view. Something would have given under the strain.”

To sum up James says, “I moved my career on with support from my employer and it helped them too because I could stick around to hire and train my replacement. I can now look forward with absolutely no hang-ups about the past and nothing but goodwill behind me. Yes, it did feel like I was taking a risk approaching my boss at the outset but now, I am really glad that I did!”

***Career Health Warning***

James approached his boss about his career future and both sides did benefit from this progressive approach. Talking to your boss in this way is only something you should do if you are absolutely prepared for every eventuality [including the potential for your boss to take offence and dismiss you on the spot!].

A situation like this should be handled with extreme care and any action you take should be based on the history & health of your relationship with your employer [ahead of any external or 'expert' recommendation]. If you are in any way unsure, explore your doubts before doing anything that can not be undone!

***End of Career Health Warning***

In your opinion, is James’s situation unusual or is it something that is becoming more commonplace? Was James thoughtful, brave or even reckless in his actions? Here is some additional material that might help you decide:

KEEP Consulting: The value of career conversations between employers and employees

The value of career conversations - Update!

Best Regards


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