By Mimi Lee, Founder and CEO, Meiava
How do you know if you have stayed too long in a role?
A way to look at this question is to consider your career as a series of learning curves and figure out when it is time to change the shape. Some learning curves are steep. Others are more gradual. There are curves that plateau. While others look like steps connected as a staircase.
In an earlier article, Daring To Pivot, I shared a glimpse of my personal journey of making a career change. When I reflect on the roles that I had, each have different learning curve shapes and time frames, but all have prepared me for this point in my career. How did I get here? Let me share some of the steps I took and questions that I asked myself.
Understand where you are today
The length of time in a role may not be as important as understanding where you are today and what you aspire to do today and in the future.
Five questions you may ask yourself:
1. Are there work life integration factors that makes staying in the role the right choice for now?
2. Does the role allow you to showcase your strengths? How can you demonstrate this more?
3. Are you feeling challenged and learning something new in your current role?
4. Is this role helping you to consolidate your skills and build your toolkit of capabilities?
5. What changes in your work life situation would prompt you to consider a new role?
Extend your learning curve
There are small steps that you can take to extend the learning curve in your current role. Consider some of these ideas:
- Think about what you can learn from your colleagues and the people you interact with. Consider asking them for a (virtual) coffee chat to share their knowledge with you. Also identify leaders and colleagues who demonstrate strengths you admire. Observe what they do, the way they communicate their views, how they prepare for important interactions, and their leadership approach.
- Create opportunities within the role to do things a little differently or expand the scope.
- Seek out resources to expand or deepen your knowledge on a topic.
- Tap into or create your board of directors who are there to support you with advice and tangible experiences.
Is it time to move on?
Take time to self-evaluate if (and when) it is time to move on. I highly recommend talking with others to gain their perspectives. Consult with your boss/leader and mentors who see your performance firsthand to identify opportunities to refine your skills or gain new ones. Seek advice from a career coach to help you think through your short-term and future forward path. Break things down into stepping-stones of actions to support your growth and transition to your next role.
Understand where you are today. Find ways to extend your learning and growth. Pause to evaluate if and when you make your next move. I hope that these steps help you to paint your own career picture. Stop and relish the fact that YOU are a masterpiece in progress.