Take the leap

Take the leap

In my career, I’ve sometimes observed a stalemate between employee and company.

The employee's mindset: "I won't overextend or go above and beyond until I receive a raise or promotion."

The company's mindset: "We won't offer a raise or promotion until we see this employee show potential that they can step beyond their current role."

I’ll call it the “UNTIL impasse”.

My advice, though it might go against the grain, is for employees to take that leap, given two considerations:

  1. By doing so, you'll acquire a new skill or evolve personally.
  2. You initiate a conversation about your aspirations. (Never just assume they notice all the work you're putting in.)

If you act on the above, three potential outcomes emerge:

  1. You secure the desired raise or promotion, charting a growth trajectory within your company.
  2. While you might not receive the raise or promotion immediately, the conversation has begun, and you've been given clear guidelines for reaching that goal.
  3. It becomes evident that the promotion or raise is unlikely, signaling that it's time to search for employers who will appreciate your talents.

While at AEON, I invested nights and weekends crafting a Student Database in both English and Japanese. This enabled employees to monitor student progression more effectively.

I presented this to spark a discussion about possibly transitioning from teaching to a technological role within the company. Though I wasn't expecting full adoption of my solution, I aimed to showcase my drive and abilities.

Their response? "Foreigners are primarily English teachers here, but with time, they might become trainers." That was the moment I contemplated my next career move.

A similar episode unfolded at SEI. I dedicated my off-hours to develop a web application to streamline school management, bolster teacher-parent communication, and track student progress. I used this as a stepping stone to inquire about roles beyond being an ESL teacher. Their silent answer was loud and clear. Time for a new job.

Despite the disappointment from these experiences, both projects equipped me with skills that later proved integral to landing a better position.

On the other side of the coin, taking the leap at ProZ.com, Sidekick Therapy Partners, and Ambiki was rewarded with greater autonomy, trust, and career progression.

Take that leap. If you are waiting for the company to make the first move, you may find yourself waiting longer than anticipated.