Joy Magazine

Moving On Up: Planning Your Career Path

You've seen the ads, everyone has — on billboards, telephone poles, in e-mail and in the classifieds. But moving up in the world isn't as easy as an 800 number, it's the result of hard work, planning and preparation. Here are a few suggestions:

Ask About Internal Opportunities

How Not to Move Up

Whether you're looking for a job or planning your move up, here's what Maria DelCastillo with Advanced Placement Solutions in Medford says not to do if you want that dream job.


Be unenthusiastic about work: treat it as a job and not an adventure.

Work Habits.

Don't complete assignments; be disorganized, lose papers and forget details.


Say "I don't know how" and throw up your hands over an assignment, instead of figuring out what you need to learn to get it done.


Come in late to work and leave early; call in sick frequently.


Change jobs once a year and don't establish a good work history.


Be shy and timid, don't show that you have confidence in yourself and shake hands like a wimp; your employer will pick right up on your vibes.


If you're going to a party, careless, casual or revealing clothes may be just right, but won't help you climb the ladder. If you want to move up, dress like your boss or your boss's boss.

Checking out your current employer's opportunities for internal transfers and training might be your most direct path to career advancement, especially if you want to stay with your company.

Suzanne Rosenberry started in payroll at Lithia Motors, but with a degree in marketing, it wasn't exactly her dream job. After a year, she moved into an advertising position and before too long, Suzanne was promoted to print buyer. "It's all about learning for me; if I'm not learning my brain stops," she says. "Also, just proving yourself, exceeding their expectations. I'm always trying to think of ways to improve the job I'm in."

Do Well with Can-Do

Employers love a can-do attitude, and it certainly worked for Suzanne at Lithia.

"You can't wait around for someone to hold your hand and say this is the next step you have to take and the exact thing you need to accomplish in your career," explains Emily Malone, Lithia's human development manager. "Employees really need to take a step back and say, 'OK, this is where I want to be one day. How am I going to get there and what do I need to do...?'"

Education and Training

Moving up means taking a hard look at yourself to figure out what skills you have and what skills you may need. Maybe you'll need to complete a degree program or build new skills.

"Completion of a high school diploma versus a two year degree is about $12,000 a year [in wages]," explains Gaia Layser, coordinator of the Career Development Center at Rogue Community College. Whether it's computing skills, business programs or a new certification, investing in education can give you a leg up the ladder.

Personal Sacrifice

If you're looking to move up in the company or advance with a new job, be prepared to trade off personal time and make sacrifices for more responsibility. "Talk to other people in your personal life," suggests Dr. Joan McBee, director of Southern Oregon University's Medford Campus. She warns that the support of family and friends is crucial because making a job change is an important decision and may take you out of your comfort zone for a time.

"There's always the risk that it may not be what you thought it would be, that you won't like it, that it won't fit for you, that it will require more of you than you thought," Dr. McBee advises. "I think we all have to take those risks, if we're going to get anywhere in life."


For Dr. McBee, mentors have been as important to her career development as anything else. "My mentors have been people who have been around a long time and know the ropes and know the politics of the organization and the organizational culture. They can advise you through a lot of different situations." Not just anyone can be a mentor, though.

"Pick someone who's secure in their job and what they do and themselves, so they don't fear your successes," explains Dr. McBee. "They'll pat you on the back and applaud you when you do succeed."

Whether you want to move up in the company or move along to a better position, self-assessment, setting goals, working toward your goals, and talking it through with others are all keys to success.

And don't be afraid to blow your own horn, in a respectful way of course, backed by reason and hard work. "If you don't say anything, nothing's going to happen," Suzanne says.

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