Getting Ahead – Phases and Changes

“Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go there will be trouble
An’ if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know…” – The Clash

When thinking about career advancement, you must be aware of the things that you can control and the things that you can’t. You can control your performance on the job – carrying out tasks well, being consistent, meeting and exceeding expectations – unless your boss refuses to see your performance as outstanding. If you try and try again, yet your boss still doesn’t understand your value, it’s important to recognize that this reaction is out of your control. It could be that the culture of your workplace is not organized to provide the kind of recognition you deserve and/or desire.

Can you, as an individual, change the culture of a workplace? Maybe – I have seen the removal of one person completely shift work culture – but generally speaking, workplace culture is largely out of your control. Knowing what you can control – your actions and, to some extent, your family, close friends and co-workers – and what you cannot is critical. Otherwise you will keep bashing your head against a wall and wonder why the result stays the same – a headache.

A reality in today’s workplace is that opportunities for advancement within companies— promotions, raises, etc.—are not as widely available as they once were. When this is the case, sometimes your best option is to leave and find a new job. I want to be clear that I am not recommending job hopping, but rather thoughtful, strategic, planned moves that are designed to provide the highest probability that your job change will bring the results you want.

But how do you know what to do? How can you decide? The Clash lyrics above often run through my head when an important decision is at hand. In my mind, they capture the risk and uncertainty of choosing a new path over a known path. Whenever a decision is made to change jobs so you can do better, climb the ladder, make more money, have more responsibility, be more satisfied, and so on, there is risk. Will the new situation be better? How do I know how to make the right choice? Or do I just stay put? These are questions you have to answer yourself; no one can tell you the correct answer.

Even so, you can find help. There are experts who know what works best when changing jobs, people who can guide you on doing career research so decisions are informed by evidence to back up your gut instinct. If you are conducting a job search or considering a change please contact us at We offer free initial consultations that will help you understand the job search process in greater detail.

By: Bryan Dennis, Career Solutions Group