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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stuck in one position

Stuck in one position

Words by Francis Kahihu

When Daudi joined the milk production company straight from college, he was a very happy young man. He was glad to have escaped the nightmares his colleagues had to endure as they sought for jobs. He joined the company as a Quality Assurance Officer, a job he really enjoyed. However, seven years down the lane, he is still serving in the same position, the only real change having been the 2% annual salary increments. Having met some of the colleagues he had left college with and learning of how well they were doing in their places of work, he realized that he had actually stagnated even though he always boasted to his peers about his job with this great company.

Daudi is not alone through these experiences. Many employees complain at the length of time they have been stuck in the same position. This does not serve to motivate anyone. As much as being in the same organization for a long period indicates something about your capacity to hang on and endure challenges in one place, being at the same organization in the same position is actually disastrous to your career. Many potential and subsequent employers will be concerned about your inability to grow at your place of work. In most cases, this is seen as an issue to do with you and not the employment environment.

This could actually be true. In the illustration above, Daudi, just like any other person would want to shift the blame for lack of growth to the employer. Little do we consider the role we play in sticking ourselves in the same position. There could be three reasons why many people get stuck in the same place.

There are employers whose organizational structures do not have opportunities for upward growth. In such cases, employees find themselves hitting the ceiling on the organogram rather fast and have to remain there since there is no other opportunity above where they are. At this point, the only opportunities could be created upon the demise of the person above them. There is little hope for such people within the organization and the only option is usually to exit if they are not powerful enough to influence the review of the organogram to facilitate provision of extra opportunities and responsibilities.

Sabotage by supervisors could be the other reason that employees get stuck at the same position. For many employees, the time of the year when they facilitate the performance appraisals is usually the most dreaded. This is because their superiors always use that opportunity to intimidate and settle scores with their juniors. Apparently, bosses have a way of linking up and sharing information about junior staff. In these cases, the fate of the employee lies with the bosses hence if the bosses decide not to promote them, they are almost doomed to stagnate.

Finally, many employees who do not climb the ladder are solely responsible for their stagnation. There are employers who provide immense opportunities for self growth within their circles for those employees who are keen to adding value to themselves and the employer. How would you as an employer treat an employee who adds the same amount of value to an organization for five consecutive years? In this case, helping the employee retain the job would be doing them a real favor. You would not want to consider opportunities for promotion since the value added by the employee is not commensurate with the salary and benefits higher positions would attract. Do you want to start making a case for a promotion, seek to add value to your employer. Seek to do more than what you have been assigned and watch to see the happy face with which your boss would look at you. This could just be the start of a rewarding relationship and better perks.

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