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 | By FAITH Catholic Staff

Caught in a box

After graduating with an architecture degree a few years ago, I took a job with a well-known firm that does “big” work. I assumed this type of firm would give me lots of opportunity for growth and advancement. But I just received a “Congratulations on your 5-year anniversary” certificate and I don’t feel as though I have anything to celebrate.

I routinely receive high marks on my designs and technical capabilities, and often am complimented by the project manager on my work. I meet deadlines and even sometimes help co-workers meet theirs. But when the next big project comes along, I am assigned by the office manager to the same level of responsibility in the new project. I feel like I’m being taken for granted, but I do like the firm and my co-workers, and would like to stay.

It’s possible your manager/employer still sees you as the young, eager college graduate, not the seasoned five-years-under-your-belt, ready-for-more-responsibility employee you feel you are.  Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, and many young workers decide to change jobs in order to gain credibility. When they do so, and have been successful in describing the responsibilities and duties they have been handling for several years, they come on board at a new job as an experienced employee with a new job title and salary to match.

But you indicate you would like to try and stick it out with your current employer. First, and this sounds cliché but it’s true: You do have to “put in your time” and be patient But you can also be more proactive. Perhaps choose a manager with whom you feel comfortable, and make your case. Or often larger companies have mentoring programs where younger employees can schedule time with someone who is more seasoned. This would be a perfect opportunity to obtain some advice on how to advocate for yourself in a way that coincides with your firm’s culture. It’s your career, and you have to curate it.

Give it a try. There might be a smaller project or assistant-manager type of role with your name on it, and then who knows? Perhaps your days of being the “reliable kid” on every project will be over for good.