It happens to the best of us: the career rut. Perhaps you’re three or four years into a job, and you feel you’ve gotten all you can out of it. It’s not that you want to leave the organization; it’s that you feel you can provide more value. But there aren’t any open positions. What do you do?
Convincing your boss that you want more responsibility isn’t always the easiest conversation to have. But when done right, you’ll be happier in your job, which can translate to other areas of your life, too.
When you’ve hit your career brick wall and want a little something extra, here are some basic rules to follow:
1. Evaluate what you can do
You may want more responsibility, but what does that actually mean to you? Does it mean a cozy corner office? The ability to manage people? Trying out a new skill? Figuring out why you want more career responsibility and what you want to accomplish will help you to create a plan of attack.
2. Explore what you’d like in return
Let’s say you’re a junior advertising executive and want to move up the ladder. Does moving up mean more money or a title change? Some people need both, while others are okay with one or the other. Exploring what you’d like in return assists you in understanding the benefits of more responsibility, whether those benefits are monetary, professional or a bit of both.
3. Create a mock-up
Prepare for the inevitable talk with your boss about wanting more out of your career. Create a mock-up, or plan of attack, for where you want to go.
As a junior advertising executive, you’d probably create a portfolio that showcases your accomplishments and where you’d like to go with your new responsibilities. This helps your boss visualize the journey you’d like to make and the benefits you can provide to the organization once you make the transition.
4. Have the conversation
Let’s face it: conversations with your boss can be awkward, no matter how close you are with him or her. Some may take your desire for more as an insult, while others may not understand why you deserve it in the first place. (The best scenario? A super-supportive boss who totally understands your thought process.)
Whatever situation you’re faced with, remember to be as professional as possible and keep the conversation focused. A simple way to do this is to have the talk in an area where your boss is comfortable, like their office or at lunch. This can help to eliminate any uncomfortable feelings on your part, while meeting them on their own turf.
5. Prepare your plan B
In a perfect world, your boss would love every idea you have and throw piles of cash at you for your new endeavor. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that world. We live in a world where your manager may argue against your case. When this happens, have a counter-offer ready.
You may not be able to advance beyond a junior account executive yet, but you may be able to work on an extra project. Though these situations may not be ideal, they can give you and your boss extra options that will still allow you to have more responsibility, but in a different way.
Convincing your boss to give you more responsibility may seem tough, but when you do it correctly, your career—and your happiness—will certainly benefit.
What do you think? What are some other ways to gain more career responsibility?
Lynn Dixon is the Co-Founder and COO of Hourly.com, an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities. Connect with Lynn and Hourly on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.