I watched as a friend went through an interesting lesson last month. I had been coaching him about his career and talking to him about what is next for him. Over the course of the past month, he had been courted by a start-up company that was growing rapidly. The company was seen as highly creative, innovative and was very young. There was stability in the organization, it had a very mature parent company; but there was autonomy. The role was interesting and was going to provide great cross-functional opportunities and there was talk about rotating through different roles in the organization.
Sounded like a no brainier to me when we discussed the role and talked about where he is in his current organization. But something unexpected happened when he went to walk. His company countered and they countered strong. Quite honestly, he was surprised. I think he was hoping they would, but I don’t think he expected what happened. He was forced into a decision that he didn’t expect he would have to make. It is at that moment, he realized that he had a future with the organization.
He has done well with his current company, but always had some trouble reading the ” tea leaves” and getting a sense of what his future holds there. So when the new company came calling, he was open to listen, and then they pitched him, and got him to a point where he could see himself there. I know he analyzed all angles, reflected thoughtfully on both options and ultimately made the decision that was best for his family; that didn’t make it an easy decision. But ultimately, he realized it was the right decision.
I hear these stories all the time, and it always astounds me that your value is not fully recognized until you are about to walk. Never forget that you must own your personal career succession plan. If you want to avoid being stuck in the middle, consider how you can play a good offense in your organization in order to make things happen and get yourself unstuck.
Waiting and hoping will not bring you the career that you want … you must actively seek and find your career success with passion.