Has your career been like a game of Snake & Ladder? Left to chance, the roll of the dice?

I get to hear from many mid-level & senior-level professionals that, it is how they feel. For first 5 to 8 years life was fast, fun at work. They completed the graduation, got placed through campus. Got promoted every 18 -24 months. Hopped jobs for better salary or onsite projects. Now, after completing 8 to 10 years of experience, working as in different roles across industry as Specialists, Project or Program Managers, Relationship Managers, Managers, Assistant Managers, Team Leaders, Architects etc, they are wondering! They are wondering what they should do next!

It all seems that that they have been waiting for the next dice to roll and make a decision for them. They feel they do not have much control in these things. Life is as it comes.

However, they have observed in recent past, that when appraisals, performance reviews happen, they have been side lined for that peer who is well – spoken, well-travelled, many times younger too. They have observed a mystery gap in understanding this phenomenon, they are aware something is missing. So where did these experienced professionals, who saw rapid growth in their early careers lose out?

Some thoughts that I see could be the reason for the above and my 2 cents on working a way out through them:

1. Mindset – “My technical expertise is superior”:

Post the campus selection, in most organization, as new bees most of the employees get trained to be what the business wants them to be. Over a period of time and experience, you have excelled and been the best performer for consecutive years and reaped awards with promotions and even CTO / CEO ‘s special mention. You also received a lot of accolades for your work and project completions from your stakeholders. All this proves that you are at the top of the game. 

Is it still so, after so many years of working, can you confidently say that you are top of the game. If yes, great, if no, ever thought why? Are you blank to this answer? Why?

Relook at your tech and non tech skills. What upgrades are available that will enhance your path to a growing career.

Once you stop learning, you start dying

Albert Einstein

2. Mindset – “My work will talk for me”:

Culturally, we have imbibed the value system that which says not to blow our own trumpets. It promotes this belief “If you achieved something, it’s a proof in itself to the world, one does not need to talk about it.”The moral was to not be pompous and have a grounded personality. In today’s world, where, every little action done by an individual gets attention through various media, in that sense i wonder how is the old modest mindset going to work?

Your work spoke in the early years, but now, when the race is too close and edgy, will your work speaking for you be sufficient? Then who will speak for the experienced person you are?

Here is where you need to speak about you and your work to be noticed. Speak through your actions, be aware of the impact of your achievement, be “spoken about” by the way you conduct yourself.

The way you manage your interactions with people, internal to organization as well as external, the way you dress for meetings, client visits and other formal occasions, the way you prepare ahead for complex negotiations, or deal, the way you prepare for your regular meetings – all this contribute to you being noticed. Remember, all this along with quality work. Awareness of every small action and word you do or say could be huge contributors to your visibility across board.

You need to be aware of your achievements and successful interventions. I am not advocating loud, boastful announcement to everyone around you here, but, I am definitely suggesting grounded positive, true communication of your efforts to your key members of the team when you are provided an opportunity at relevant occasions. Appraisals are not the only places to do this. Just ensure to deliver quality work and be genuine in every communication you do.

Who will speak better than you for yourself? Who can better relate and communicate what challenges you had to overcome to accomplish your goal? Think about it.

3. Mindset – “I am an open person; I will say what I feel like:

While being able to express oneself in front of clients, stakeholders, supervisors is a great way to avoid any sort of miscommunication, when and the way you say it matters a lot. Many expert professionals, lose out on this front, especially during critical phases of the project (tech or non tech) as that’s when, as a key member of the team they give other members a taste of experience working with them. A bad taste leads to not a great impression however great your work quality is. A good experience on the other hand can win you recognition, earn trust and overall good lasting working relationship.

Tact is the key here! Develop your style of communication positively to put across your thoughts, your frustration and your pain points in getting what needs to be done with your colleagues, managers and other department members.

Remember not only to say the right thing at the right time, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment

Benjamin Franklin

Being assertive, open to 3rd perspective, open to learn, careful choice of words and of voice when in conflict will help in this regard. Agreeing to disagree amicably is another step towards dealing with complex conflict situations while not making rash decisions in such cases also buys you time to handle the crisis in a mature manner. Egos play spoil sport when you want to get things done from multiple people, so tame it for your own good and resort to mindset of “win with everyone” and “win for everyone”.

4. Mindset – “I don’t need coach/mentor to guide me”:

There comes a point in time when whatever you have done so far, whatever you continue to do is not taking you anywhere. You keep looking at the path you have taken, the roles you have donned in so many years, yet you are not sure where and when to make the change. Accept that this is the threshold, where to get across you need a mentor, a guide to help you.

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are. In fact the more experienced your are, it is recommended that you seek out experts in different areas of professional or personal life where you feel the need for directions and let them help you to a life more fulfilled and successful.

Mentor: Someone whose hindsight becomes your foresight


Remember, we as human beings never cease to learn. As adults, we have let life give us experiences that we learn from. At certain points, we need to supplement these learnings with some expert advice. Its part of the lifeline, as I see it.

5. Mindset -“As long as i get my salary, i am good”:

Salary is the string attached to your job. Are you working in the current role, just so that every month the money is credited to your bank account. For many people, a simple quite life could be well the chosen path; and that’s fine too. For every individual priorities of life vary.

For the others, who feel that their work life is slow or stagnant, is the “salary comfort zone” too comfortable that you don’t want to risk out to re navigate your career growth? Are you ok about working in the same role with least or no changes to responsibilities, or for that matter no new opportunities or challenges, year on year?

With disruptive tech across industries, you do see that new exciting roles are getting created across your company or outside your company and do you keep wondering “what if” you could attempt those roles. Sadly, that’s just it for many, because once the couch called “Paycheck” is seen they are tempted to snuggle back into it.

Point attempted here is, if you want to earn more, you need to work towards it, you need to take the first step to be better.

What got you here, won’t get you there

Marshall Goldsmith

If you noticed the above suggestions where ever applied are not quick fixes. They require time, perseverance and willingness to unlearn and learn new perspectives and may be new ways of doing things. I do hope that the above pointers would at least make you ponder and hence see where you are currently in terms of your career.

If you found this blog interesting, please share it with your network. Also like and comment your thoughts on where are you in your career journey. Feel free to input any additional tips that helped you come out of the “game of chance” with regards to your career.

Best Regards, The Image Ally

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