University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Stay and Grow in Your Current Job

By Rosie Barry

You may have decided to develop some new skills or grow in your experience in your current job. Consider what seems to be missing from your current job, or are they just new parts of it to be learned? How could you add that to your current job?

The best way to start is to think about the needs of your department and supervisor. If you know what your department needs and these are areas in which you want to develop, you may have a win-win situation. Your needs and your department needs may be met at the same time. In This case, it is more likely that your department may support training and development that you may need.

However, your area of interest may not be of interest to the department. If that's the case, look for other ways to develop.

You can figure this out by talking to your supervisor. Be prepared to talk about what works in your current job and what new things you would like to learn. Here are some steps to prepare for a meeting:

Take stock of the current situation:

Think about what you like in your current job and why. Next, think about what you don't like. Try to be objective.

Identify developmental goals

Would you like to pursue new skills and/or knowledge? Can you think of ways within your current job or department? Do you have a vision of the ideal work for you? How might fit into your department?

Put yourself in your supervisor's place

Remember, your supervisor is not a career counselor. He or she is expecting you to bring ideas and questions to the meeting. In addition, your supervisor's primary responsibility is to make sure the work in the department gets done. This impacts how much or how quickly your ideas are addressed.

Departmental goals

How do your goals match departmental goals and objectives? It is imperative that your personal growth also contributes to the department, especially for training to occur during work time. If your personal goals do not match departmental goals, pursue them anyway, after work time.

Ideas for training

Are you aware of workshops or classes that will help you learn and grow? Do you have suggestions about assignments or projects for hands-on experience? Make a list to share with your supervisor and ask for his or her suggestions as well.

Review your plan with a trusted (and objective) colleague

Discuss your ideas, questions and strategy with a co-worker whose perspective you trust. You co-worker may provide valuable feedback and a reality check.

Ask to meet with your supervisor

Find a quiet moment to ask your supervisor if the two of you could discuss your professional development goals. Explain why you wish to meet and exactly what you want to accomplish.

During the meeting, be open to suggestions, feedback, and comments

Remember your purpose for the meeting and stay with it. Be prepared to hear your supervisor's perspective, even if it differs from your own.

Take notes

During the meeting, take notes about what is said. After the meeting, write a summary of what was discussed and pay particular attention to anything that could be considered an informal agreement about any follow-up.

After the meeting, write a thank-you note or e-mail

A thank you note is a professional way to acknowledge someone's effort to work with you. Even if you see your supervisor every day, she or he will appreciate your acknowledgement.