When you start to form a career, or just start out in your first job you will find that there isn’t a lot to worry about as far as what the company expects from you. You’ll have a fairly defined set of tasks, and often these will be something worthy of an entry level employee. So don’t worry too much about being a star employee on day one, you will have time to adjust and become part of the firm. However, as time goes on, you’ll find that in order to get promoted or get a raise in salary, you will have to outshine your peers.
Entry Level Jobs
As we mentioned above, with your first entry level job, you won’t have too much expectation put on your from the management of the company. Your immediate boss may pressure you to be your best, but overall the company will know full well that you are just early in your career. As you start off with the company you will spend time learning the culture and learning about why and how the business works and where they earn their money. This early on knowledge about the business and what makes it tick can help you to drive your future with the company or in the industry.
Your goal in this time, will be to understand why the business is working and how they make their money. The reason why you want to know how they make their money, is because the people in these areas are typically those paid the best at those firms. In general these can be referred to as “front office” jobs, as opposed to “back office” jobs. The front office jobs are typically client facing like sales, marketing, development, production, etc. The “back office” jobs on the other hand are commonly finance, accounting, computer support, mail, etc. The back office jobs will typically pay less than the front office jobs. The number of back office jobs is often closely correlated to the success of the front office employees.
Mid Career Jobs
Building upon a base of knowledge will help to propel your career in both responsibility and salary over the years. The goal for most employees will be to grow both professionally and financially, or simply put, to get raises and promotions. To build a career you’ll want to have a number of different roles, that will give you a base of experience to draw from. Hiring managers may like this because it shows that you have a broader set of experience. You will also want to work for a larger organization if you can because this will give you a better opportunity to receive more training, and stay closer to cutting edge technology or processes.
So, if you find that you are not advancing in your career at the mid level, or that you aren’t getting the promotions or raises that you hope for, it may be time to move on. When you find yourself in a stagnant career, you’ll have to first make sure that you assess what is exactly stagnant. It may be totally possible that your career has hit a plateau, but that may just be a temporary settling point before you move to a higher level. I have a friend who worked for 25 years at the same company, he hit the maximum pay for his position, and just only recently he was promoted to the management of the company. So, even if you hit a ceiling, you’ll have to assess what your opinion is and also try to understand what may happen if you stay. Do take careful consideration before making a hasty decision.
Late Career jobs
Later in your career, you mostly rely on what knowledge your have built up over the years and then you can rely on this to hopefully get better jobs. When you are later in your career you will have a harder time finding good jobs, if you don’t have a good resume or work history. So you will want to make sure that as you move through your career you are building up a base and improving your resume.
It is probably too late to start a career over, or at least one that pays you as well as one based on your career knowledge. So, if money is important to you then you’ll want to stay focused on what you have been building upon in your early and mid stage career. To jump into something new will be like starting over from scratch, and this won’t be easy to do.
How can I get ahead in my career?
The best way to get ahead in your career will be work hard and focus on knowing what you need to do at each stage of your career. The early, mid, late stage cycles are very important for you to understand as you think about improving your knowledge in your career. In the early stage this is to explore your career and to learn about the industry and decide if you like the industry and career overall. The next phase is your mid career and in this phase you’ll want to enhance on your knowledge and it can propel you to make a lot more money than an entry level employee. In the final stage, you’ll probably not want to start over, so you’ll hopefully already have a lot of knowledge in your chosen field that you can rely on to make a good salary.