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Ambition ‘chat’ at work

(27 Posts)
Paperowls Tue 28-Nov-17 18:55:42

Looking for advice on how to handle being forced to have a ‘chat’ about my ambitions for my career at work. The ‘chat’ consists of being

Sophieelmer Tue 28-Nov-17 18:58:16


Paperowls Tue 28-Nov-17 19:01:00

apologies, bodged at screen at wrong moment.
The chat consists of being marked on a 1-9 scale for ambition and career progression. I’m really not in the mindset at the moment for this. I work a full time job in part time hours, juggle three kids under 10 and feel most days like throwing myself under the train rather than getting on it.
Chat is tomorrow. I’m really anxious. What Can I say to my boss to appease him that I ‘love’ my job and I’m committed without actually giving away that there is no way on earth I could take on more responsibility or workload? My main ambition every morning is to make it through the day in one piece and pay my bills at the end of the month.

BringMeSunshinePlease Tue 28-Nov-17 19:05:03

What is the reason for the chat, is it an appraisal and have you been singled out for it or are your colleagues doing something similar?

ParadiseCity Tue 28-Nov-17 19:05:48

You could go in with evidence of how much more you are doing beyond your role - and say that YES you Would like to be recognised for this and you are glad for the opportunity to discuss it. You have calculated you should be on x per cent higher pay grade, alternatively you would consider a package offering x more days of annual leave to bring you in line with similar roles elsewhere. And a job title of Senior Currrenttitle to more accurately represent reality.

' finally could we also schedule a review 6 months from now to talk about further career developments?'

JennyHolzersGhost Tue 28-Nov-17 19:09:36

Could you identify a couple of skills or abilities or responsibilities which you can say it is your ambition to ‘achieve’ in the next few months ? That might be enough to avoid you having to commit to any explicit ladder-climbing. Ideally pick things you either know you’re already competent at but management haven’t recognised, or things which would be easy / desirable anyway.

ScreamingValenta Tue 28-Nov-17 19:10:11

I've had this query during appraisals and usually suggest focusing on 'in role' development, i.e. being the best you can in the job you do, being a role model for others, being a source of support for less experienced colleagues. It's perfectly reasonable to say you're not looking for progression at the moment due to family responsibilities, but you are committed to honing the skills you already have.

JennyHolzersGhost Tue 28-Nov-17 19:10:18

And also what Paradise City says about asking for recognition for anything above and beyond which you’re already doing. Turn the tables.

JennyHolzersGhost Tue 28-Nov-17 19:10:58

And ask for training. That usually scares management off in my experience.

Paperowls Tue 28-Nov-17 19:12:13

I think it’s an exercise to work out which posts could be considered superfluous. They don’t do this kind of stuff out of the kindness of their hearts.
Pay and terms and conditions are non negotiable, unfortunately.

Paperowls Tue 28-Nov-17 19:13:52

I’d thought about the training thing but I can’t think of anything I could ask for that is job relevant. Been wracking my brains all the way home.

MaverickSnoopy Tue 28-Nov-17 19:16:50

Eugh I feel your pain. I get these monthly. My manager wants me to network. I'm not career driven these days. I'm family driven. Just the way it is. So my stance on this is to box tick and meet the requests and do a damp good job. Make a list before your meeting of how you're going above and beyond. Can you find a course that you'd like to do that would enhance the job (in work time) which would enhance your skills within the company and progress your career? I understand you're pushed for time so be clear about this too. This takes xyz and I will need xyz freed up. Be assertive and in control.

mumonashoestring Tue 28-Nov-17 19:22:32

Consolidate your existing skills grin Make some vague reference to a five year plan, pick out some stuff you already do, say you want a better strategic understanding of (marketing?), a more thorough knowledge of (budgeting?), or choose something you're pretty okay with and say you're sure you must be missing some tricks and ask for a formal training course in the next level up. Excel is good for that, most people working in offices are using it but could be getting it to do more of their work for them. It'll show you understand and are committed to your role without having to commit to going balls out for a promotion or something.

chevrechevre Tue 28-Nov-17 19:31:25

Ask to go on a leadership course, because you want to be a great leader, not just a great manager.

Ask what opportunities there are for work shadowing or mentoring, as you would like to develop in x area by shadowing x/give back to the company by sharing expertise with a junior colleague.

Is there a conference you could ask to attend?

Paperowls Tue 28-Nov-17 20:29:58

You have to do this every month Maverick? Oh god, I couldn’t deal with that. I’m very much a background person, a kind of ‘nothing to see here’ personality. I really don’t like this level of scrutiny. I would have thought it was obvious I’m not harbouring a desire to rule the world. I’m mostly grateful that someone employs me and I know I’m a heartbeat away from being replaced all the time. Which is why I feel that if I fail this test I’m going to get my card marked ☹️

Paperowls Tue 28-Nov-17 20:31:32

Chèvre - I have to avoid mentioning conferences as my boss gets asked to speak at them a lot and he will see it as a flag to ask me to do the presentation. I would rather walk over hot coals than do that.

Horsemad Tue 28-Nov-17 20:34:30

Or, just say you are not interested... wink My manager asked me how I felt about career progression and I just said in 5yrs time I hope to be retired (and I meant it!).

GhostCurry Tue 28-Nov-17 21:19:36

I think you should put this in Chat. I know this is the right board for it, but it's such a big issue right now. I see it all the time. Why is every single employee expected to be an ambitious overachiever, who wants to network, go above and beyond their job description at all times? Some of us just aren't cut out for it. So why are we expected to stretch ourselves constantly?

Iprefercoffeetotea Tue 28-Nov-17 21:33:45

Why is every single employee expected to be an ambitious overachiever, who wants to network, go above and beyond their job description at all times? Some of us just aren't cut out for it. So why are we expected to stretch ourselves constantly

This is me. I am in exactly the same position. Heading for an appraisal very soon. We get graded from 1-5 with 5 being the lowest. If you are doing well you get a 3, 2/1 is for the really high achievers who do everything you've said. That's fine, 3 says you are performing well. But I now have a boss who I suspect will give me a 4, because I've not achieved a 2. It makes me very unhappy. I just want to do my job well without constantly feeling pressure to go above and beyond. I do go above and beyond in that I work over my hours, help colleagues out when I don't need to bother. and make sure silly errors are sorted out quietly. But I don't go above and beyond in that I don't volunteer for big projects or ask to mentor someone, things like that. Things that get you noticed.

Don't we need people who just do their jobs well? Most organisations are pyramids, so you need more people at the bottom than near or at the top.

daisychain01 Tue 28-Nov-17 23:35:21

Don't admit to anything that shows you in a negative light.

Just blag it, say you want to continue to enrich your skills required to do continuously improve your current role. Ask if there are any relevant training courses to help you achieve that, put the ball in their court.

If they are trying to trim back, you probably won't get them spending £000 on training, but at least you've ticked the box.

ParadiseCity Wed 29-Nov-17 08:40:46

Ask to go on a public speaking course, your boss will love it, you can spin it out for months to find one on budget/right date etc. In the meantime you would love to do session at conference but just don't have the training yet what a shame wink

knotswapper Wed 29-Nov-17 09:02:56

I think you need to play the game here. If you're not co-operative or don't look sufficiently enthusiastic then you may get marked down and then you'll be on the chopping block if they need to reduce headcount.

You can say that you're doing "online courses" in your area of work in your spare time (or some work time if you're not crazy busy) to upskill/keep your skills up to date. You could also ask for "stretch assignments" or secondment to another part of the organisation for a week to help you "walk in the steps of your customers/colleagues" and get a broader understanding of how your role impacts other parts of the org etc.

As a manager who has to performance manage a large team twice a year, if you make my life easier by pretending to go through the motions so I can say we've set goals and personal development in line with the organisations strategy then we can all just press "submit" and leave it alone for the next 6 months.

Please be aware though that this sort of performance/growth management can be used if they decide to get reduce headcount, so it's important to go along with it.

Paperowls Wed 29-Nov-17 17:43:26

I totally agree. I’m not sure why the expectation is that everyone should be clamouring to be the CEO. Being good and being consistent at what you do should be valued.

Paperowls Wed 29-Nov-17 17:50:08

And I got it out of the way. I’m not sure how it went from my boss’ point of view but I found the whole thing excruciating.
I managed to avoid volunteering for any public speaking which was good at least.
I opted for the ‘my current work life balance means I must be sensible with taking any extra commitments on right now’ and this was duly noted. I’m not sure it’s the ‘I’m going set the world on fire’ kind of response they are looking for, but I’ve not got the energy for anything more than I’m already doing.
Thanks for all your suggestions on dealing with this.

Pollaidh Wed 29-Nov-17 17:55:02

This is a standard part of our annual appraisal (civil service role). I usually say I just want a job where I'm learning something new all the time - which my profession provides. I also point out areas where I'd like/need extra training, and this usually keeps my LM happy. Point out areas where you've 'stretched' anyway.

I've previously worked above my grade for some years, but knowing how stressful it is I've no desire to make that permanent now I've got kids. Current job is stressful enough as it is.

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