Might take 8 years to become a senior analyst
November 18, 2014 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Should I stay or look for another job?

3 years ago, my manager told me at the job interview that promotions don't happen so often in our department. Based on my observation, it takes about 7-8 years for the employee to become a "senior".

I am only afraid that if I stay too long (7-8 years), I might not be able to compete in the job market if I were to look for another job because I haven't really learned a lot in my 3rd year at this place.

If I find another job, I will most likely need to start from scratch and build my reputation all over.

Another thing is that my manager appears to have someone in mind to become the next 'senior'. The other person is more outgoing but lack analysis/troubleshooting/detail oriented skills. I have all of those skill sets (even exceeding expectations) except I am not too outgoing. Our current senior is not really outgoing as well but has been here for 8-10 years.

Either way, I don't see myself here until retirement. Advice?

Note: I work in a medium sized company but 5 employees in our department. I've seen large organizations where people get promoted after 2-3 years but i'm afraid of layoffs.
posted by Mountain28 to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You wouldn't be starting from scratch, though, you'd be starting with 3 years of experience. I'd say it wouldn't be a bad idea to start looking and see what's out there for your type of job.
posted by dawkins_7 at 6:33 PM on November 18, 2014 [7 favorites]

I think it's time to move on. Try to find a position where your current experience counts, but where you will get to learn more and build on what you know. After three years in a position, I don't think you'll be looked down upon as "job hopping" and I think you are better leaving soon than staying in a position where you aren't actually growing anymore. Maybe your new position could be something that helps you learn to be more outgoing?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 6:36 PM on November 18, 2014

Large organizations have layoffs.

Small organizations have layoffs.

There are lots of reasons to work for a larger or smaller company, but any time a business suffers poor performance, or pressure from owners, or a new CEO wants to make their mark, or the winds change - layoffs can happen. This is true of organizations of all sizes.

Go look for a new job. "I'm not growing in my current position" is a fine reason to look.

I don't know your exact industry, but in most fields, looking for a new job is a more reliable way to get more money or a better title or more responsibility, than waiting around to get promoted. It's far from unheard of for someone to feel they're ready for a higher position, not have the opportunity in their current organization, and go somewhere else to find that change.

You have literally nothing to lose by starting a job search and seeing about getting a more-senior position elsewhere, or one at a place where you'll have a faster career path.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:37 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you should look for another job that you can advance your career.
posted by WizKid at 6:43 PM on November 18, 2014

Become a senior in a different company. You aren't learning, and you aren't seeing a future here.

Three years is quite respectable I should add.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:48 PM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

Find a new job that ranks higher or offers better upward mobility. You will absolutely not be "starting from scratch." You will be coming in with the experience you already have and experience that will likely have taught you a few things to do and not do at your new office. That experience translates and it's valuable.

As for your "reputation," that is not something that takes years to amass. You don't need to work in a job three years before you have a reputation. Do a good job at your new job and you will quickly get a good reputation. Do a crappy job and you'll get a bad one. It's dead simple. Everyone earns a reputation fairly quickly, whether they try to or not, so I'm not sure why you think a reputation is a long-term entity.

I've never worked at an office more than two years. I wouldn't advise everyone do that, but the fact is, it's what has helped me continue to move up the ladder rather than waiting around for internal promotions, which can be slow. (It's also allowed me to relocate a few times to nicer cities.) Like I said, I'm not saying you should become a job hopper, but I mention it to say that I'm not sure why you seem to think you can't look for a job after three years. If you feel like there's no development or growth opportunities for you, that's a great reason to look elsewhere.

See what's out there. I'm guessing a higher rank and more money is out there, if you're willing to look.
posted by AppleTurnover at 7:09 PM on November 18, 2014

Best answer: It's time to move on friend!
Not to sound pessimistic but say you wait a few more years in the hopes of the senior level position, and this person that your manager seems to have in mind gets the job- would you regret sticking to the job? Let's ignore that fact for a minute. If you're not growing at the job or see no potential to grow, that's a big negative.

Yes you would have to start over in terms of the environment but you bring skills and experience with you! It's all about how you sell yourself. Aim high when applying to the next position, market yourself with enthusiasm and extroversion and don't leave this position until you find one that excites you and encourages you to grow. You may not be at a senior level in the next position (I hope you are) but if you enjoy your job, get paid well and have job security...that's a good package right there. Good luck!
posted by BeSumr at 8:16 PM on November 18, 2014

Yeah, you don't say your industry, but I can think of a lot of settings where three years of productive work in an analyst position would be the perfect time to start applying to external senior analyst jobs. Listen to AppleTurnover. (Eponysterical?) Start looking at job postings.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:37 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

It sounds like you haven't discussed this with your manager since you were interviewing three years ago. You should open a dialog where you learn (a) the specific criteria for senior status (b) where your manager thinks you stand with respect to these criteria, and (c) what areas of self-improvement you can work on in order to make progress.

It's good to have your manager know that this is something that's important to you and that you're actively working on it. Don't just expect to passively sit around for eight years and then get handed a promotion.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:18 PM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

something like this worked well for me, but it is not without risk:

"Hi Boss. I need to talk to you about growth. I have the qualities the firm looks for in a Senior Analyst: great analysis skills, I am second to no one at troubleshooting, and I'm detail oriented as you can see from these <listOfPastSuccessfulAssignments/>. I have all of those skill sets - exceeding expectations. I recognize that I'm not too outgoing, so if that's critical, let's set some milestones around that. I think I should be promoted at the next evaluation cycle. What are your thoughts? Is that something you can commit to?"
posted by j_curiouser at 12:43 AM on November 19, 2014

Ask for the promotion at your next review, using the chat j_curiouser has provided above.

If they fob you off or flat out refuse you, start looking for a new job.

Bad companies dangle the prospect of promotion as a cheap and shitty way of doing employee retention. Good companies recognise that actually promoting and rewarding people is a very good way of entering the virtuous cycle of reward > more effort > good outcomes for everybody.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:04 AM on November 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I was just in the exact same situation. I was also told 7 or so years to become a "senior" but I was given any little excuse/reason over the past 2-3 years as to why I couldn't advance.

So I gave myself a promotion and a raise by finding and getting another position somewhere else.

You sort of have to start from scratch on making your professional reputation but job function-wise I was able to hop right in.

That 7-8 year you were promised will turn into much longer. In my case I was doing "senior level" work my second or third year in so after 6 years it was just an administrative matter to make me a "senior" but I would've been waiting another few years before they felt compelled enough to make it happen.

Good luck.
posted by eatcake at 6:22 AM on November 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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