Know Your Professional Options

So: about that last category:

What part of your current work could you see yourself doing more of if only you had the capacity to do it?

Pretty good question, no?

In a September 2009 HBR Case Study, an employee was just getting abused by his boss.  Boss would call him at the last minute to go over minutae in some report that was the employee’s responsibility.  He recognized non-employees for significant contributions to the team. Meanwhile, aVice President in the organization had noticed the employee’s hard work and frustration with his current boss, and offered him a job in his department, at the same pay grade.

The question was:  should the employee take the position?

I figured that the answer was an obvious “yes.”  The employee had a decent relationship with the Vice President, and had considered him a mentor, although even as a mentor, this VP didn’t have much time for the employee.  But there was a hitch in the case study — the employee would retain his pay grade.  This wasn’t a promotion, but a lateral position.  And for that reason alone, some experts indicated that the employee would find himself labelled were he to make that lateral move, and stuck at that pay grade.

There are six professional options, shares Dr. Beverly Kaye.

  • Lateral
  • Enrichment
  • Vertical
  • Exploratory
  • Realignment
  • Relocation

Dr. Kaye believes that the second in that list, Enrichment, will by the most important aspect of a job in the coming years.  Which is one of the reasons why the employee in the case study found himself considering employment elsewhere.  His current job was not enriching.  By the end of the case study, he wondered if the promised job would feel nicer, but be more of the same.

Read the case study: it’s a good one.  Put yourself in the employee’s shoes.  And ask:  What part of my current work could I see myself doing more of if only I had the capacity to do it?  Would I get it if I accept the VP’s job offer?


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