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Candidate Help & Advice

Seven Reasons Your Employer Is Hurting Your Career

Down Career photo from ShutterstockI was recently approached by two different employees of a successful $2B+ Atlanta company. They both were unsatisfied with their career situations and wondering if they should look for better opportunities. Both were very smart, highly motivated, and well accomplished… the type of employees you would likely rank a 9 out of 10. I referred them to, where their CEO was rated 2.8 out of 5 by fellow employees, which equates to a 5.6 out of 10. In general, motivated 9’s don’t enjoy working in large corporations run by 5.6 CEO’s.

In an effort to help you identify specific items you can address to improve YOUR career situation, last week we discussed Seven Reasons Your Resume Is Hurting Your Career. This week, let’s examine the possibility that your choice of employer could be a problem that needs your attention. As I note in Chapter 4 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!),

The evolving job market is taking its toll on reactive workers in such companies because their inaction effectively gives control of their careers over to their stumbling employers. Betting your future on an employer with unimaginative leadership is a poor strategy in the 21st century.

When you choose a new employer or choose to stay working for your current employer, your choice has many implications for your career and happiness. In the 21st century employment market, these choices are more important than ever before. Your employer can motivate and reward you… or not. Here are some situations in which your current employer (or a prospective new employer) may hurt your career:

1. The company has a poor image… and your image may suffer from “guilt by association”.
2. The company has a poor culture… and your attitude and motivation may wither.
3. The company tolerates poor managers… and your happiness and success may suffer working for a bad one.
4. The company does not develop their employees… and you may be stuck in a repetitive, dead-end job.
5. The company’s financial performance is poor… and your success and job may be jeopardized.
6. The company undervalues their employees… and you may be underpaid for your contributions.
7. The company makes you feel valued with awards and recognition… and you may continue to work there without recognizing many other rewards that are missing, such as income and promotions.

Are any of these employer situations hurting you in your career? If so, I hope this will stimulate you to take an honest accounting of your situation and, if warranted, seek out something better (internally or externally). You don’t have to settle for something less than you deserve.

On the other hand, if you are fortunate enough to have reviewed these seven factors and determined they are not problems for you, then by all means stay where you are and give thanks for being in one of the better employers. Good luck and best wishes!