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realistic career expectations after taking a new position

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realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby PG » Sun May 20, 2018 3:04 pm

We have had a few people leave the company within a year and sometimes already within 6 months after accepting a position. The reason given for leaving is that they have not received the career development they wanted. Our total turnover of staff is very low but I still find this interesting.

What expectations are reasonable to have when you join a new company and how fast should you expect to be able to get for example a promotions?
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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby Dick Woodward » Sun May 20, 2018 3:55 pm

PG:

The path to promotion, etc. is different at every company. Perhaps it would be useful during the later part of the interview process to discuss the candidate's expectations, and also to discuss the kind of career support, performance reviews and the like that they can expect from the company. This is especially true of the people coming into industry from academia, who are often clueless about what life is like in industry and who may therefore have expectations that are not aligned with reality.

Just some thoughts.

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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby Dave Jensen » Sun May 20, 2018 5:41 pm

PG, is it a generational issue perhaps?

My Dad had a heck of a lot longer career perspective than I do. He was with one company for 40 years or so, got the gold watch and so on. For me, if it didn't work out well, I was gone in 4 or 5 years. Younger generations may have an even shorter time horizon (we need some young scientist comments here please! Not trying to stereotype.)

I think a lot of these expectations are set in the employment process and the on-boarding that occurs. Companies need to a structure whereby newcomers are mentored by older, more advanced team members. There, they can learn more about what it takes and how to get there. I've seen what you describe quite often actually.

Mentors should NOT be the supervisor.

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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby ATF » Sun May 20, 2018 8:14 pm

As a younger scientist, I have to say that I don't think any of this likely has to do with a particular employer or "career development" per se. Speaking to others in industry around my age, the fastest way to move up and get salary increases has been to quickly leave a company and jump to a new position. Not a single person is under any illusions that their company/ startup etc. cares about them or wouldn't lay them off tomorrow if it was to their benefit, so unfortunately there isn't much loyalty to any of these companies. Added to that, companies seem to not want to hire or promote much on "potential" as much as current title and the logical conclusion is to move around with increasing responsibilities. Especially with startups too, it just seems to be such a crap shoot that honestly, why wouldn't you jump if somebody offers more money? The "equity" at entry level is a joke most of the time, and all of them just want to work you as hard as they can... no reason to stay with one if somebody else will pay more money.

Sorry if that sounds cynical, but that's the honest feedback I've heard from former post-docs in my group.
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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby Tony Derten » Mon May 21, 2018 8:24 am

Speaking as somebody who'll be likely moving to the industry very soon, I know that I will not be a lifer. And not just with the company I start with, but with any company, no matter how good of a fit the job may be or how effectively I work there. So I'll be doing my best, work hard and smart, and at the same time will be looking for the next position. Internal promotion would be great, but as we all know it's both unlikely and wouldn't offer same advancement as a position with another company.
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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon May 21, 2018 10:27 am

The last two responses ahead of mine, from ATF and Tony, really point out that there are generational issues at work here. I didn't want to stereotype the situation, but those comments sure resonate with me. This is what I hear from many scientists -- they are a bit too anxious to await the good things that come with one employer. They want to leave as soon as they see an opportunity to move up the ladder, instead of waiting for that ladder in their present organization, Frustrating to the managers, to say the least,

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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby D.X. » Mon May 21, 2018 11:51 am

ATF wrote:As a younger scientist, I have to say that I don't think any of this likely has to do with a particular employer or "career development" per se. Speaking to others in industry around my age, the fastest way to move up and get salary increases has been to quickly leave a company and jump to a new position. Not a single person is under any illusions that their company/ startup etc. cares about them or wouldn't lay them off tomorrow if it was to their benefit, so unfortunately there isn't much loyalty to any of these companies. Added to that, companies seem to not want to hire or promote much on "potential" as much as current title and the logical conclusion is to move around with increasing responsibilities. Especially with startups too, it just seems to be such a crap shoot that honestly, why wouldn't you jump if somebody offers more money? The "equity" at entry level is a joke most of the time, and all of them just want to work you as hard as they can... no reason to stay with one if somebody else will pay more money.

Sorry if that sounds cynical, but that's the honest feedback I've heard from former post-docs in my group.


Well not to cynical - that is a reality for most of us and i'll put myself into that bucket. They reality is that most times there is a mis-alignment of an employees time horizon for movement vs. that of the employers. Linked to that and root cause is there is differentiated view of employee readiness vs. that of the employer's view of that employee's readiness. Provided the employee is performing well, i.e. meeting their objectives, if not exceeding, the reality is that employee is being trained, getting experience and well sufficient to eventually port. Not every employer or boss is aware, however i did have a boss once plead with our newly formed team.."please give me at least 2 years before you move on and when you're ready to move on, talk to me before" . That was an awesome boss. Alas i moved on - company was acquired in that time frame.

So i've moved from company to company just as you described - getting the outcomes just as you described, is the norm in the industry. Though some are getting smart, I saw one company put in thier job ad a line item about having to be with you last employer for at least 5 years. I'm curious how many applicants they got.

Going to career expectations, unwritten rule, expect the employee expectation to want to be in thier next position by year 3 or close to that. Provided they are performers (documented) and see themselves as such (they know they're valuable externally).

Best,

DX

N.B. is it generational? it's the times we live in, so as a Gen X'er that's still about 20 years or more from age-defined retirement... well that's our reality, unlike my parents, same employer for 30 years or more. Both of them.
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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby Tony Derten » Mon May 21, 2018 12:06 pm

Dave Jensen wrote:The last two responses ahead of mine, from ATF and Tony, really point out that there are generational issues at work here. I didn't want to stereotype the situation, but those comments sure resonate with me. This is what I hear from many scientists -- they are a bit too anxious to await the good things that come with one employer. They want to leave as soon as they see an opportunity to move up the ladder, instead of waiting for that ladder in their present organization, Frustrating to the managers, to say the least,

Dave

Dave,

There is certainly a generational component, but probably not in the way you think. It is fair to say that people are entering the job market at much higher age, e.g. mid-late 20's before vs mid-late 30's now. By this time, you really want to be in stable mid-career, in parity with people in other industries. Waiting for internal opportunities to come to you, will only make you a dinosaur you company won't want to keep and others won't want to hire. Or is it not so?

I would love to join a company and stay with one for 20-30 years. But the opportunities are simply not there. Unless companies rethink how they do things and some positive changes happen in academia (far lesser number of grad students and trainees, better training), this will not change. Understandably, people in the job market plan accordingly.
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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby RSD » Mon May 21, 2018 5:58 pm

Within an growing company (ie opportunity exists in-house), I've seen two distinct groups of early career scientists who leave for different positions. The first are high performers who leave for a position with greater responsibility and challenge than there were able to get in-house. In short, we failed to develop and retain them like we should have. These people will be true assets wherever they work. The second group are people whose self evaluation is much greater than their performance, and don't often grasp why they haven't been promoted or given greater responsibility yet. These people might get some short term career progression through jumping to a new company, but eventually you have to produce.

I don't know if its generational, but there is absolutely an attitude of entitlement in some people that leads them to move jobs. They believe they should get promoted after 18 months...
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Re: realistic career expectations after taking a new position

Postby PG » Mon May 21, 2018 6:26 pm

Although from a Company Point of view we would like people to stay a bit longer I can see an argument for moving to a new position (not necessarily a new Company) after maybe 2-3 years or at least to have a very clear view about what the requirements are to get that new position and when it is realistic to happen.

Having an expectation to get promoted within 6 months seems like overdoing it since most people are still learning the position that they are in after that time. Also as a hiring manager I would hesitate to hire someone who has been in previous positions for less than a year and especially if there are several short positions.

As for keeping people around we have a target to have a staff turnover below 5% within our group of companies. That assumes that people will stay for a rather long time. Clearly to make this happen they will have to be able to get promoted and grow their careers not only within a single Company but also by moving in between companies in the group. To make this happen we also have high targets for internal recruitments for more advanced position and we are workign very actively with career development plans etc.
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