What do you want most for your career in 2014? That was the question Money magazine asked its readers in a recent poll (“The Money Poll” March 2014, p. 106). Survey results were interesting, but you will notice the top choice out of the four options was show me the money. Here are the results along with my thoughts:
1—Get A Raise (33%). Although money is not always a top concern for every professional, it came out on top this time. Given some of the dampers on the economy, coupled with the less-than-the-best recent history of raises, this choice is not surprising. Very few folks I know scoff at additional green stuff. Heightened base pay will also likely offset increased healthcare costs many will face this year.
2—Find A New Job (31%). It is no secret that a significant segment of the labor pool is dissatisfied with its current employment and therefore is actively seeking new opportunities. In some cases, this is a good thing. People might outgrow current positions without a clear opportunity to grow into a new slot. Sometimes, the employee is not working out well, but the company has been reticent to take specific action. In other cases, this is not a good thing. Companies might lose some of their most valuable employees if their needs are not addressed—which segues us into the next-up 2014 career goal.
3—Land A Promotion (24%). Professional growth is always a good thing both for the employee and for the company. Professional growth and promotion enable the company to retain, engage, and better use a valuable employee. Simultaneously, the employee enjoys an enhanced sense of company appreciation while entering into a new challenge he or she genuinely finds exciting and fun. Although every employee needs to assume full responsibility for working toward promotion opportunities, companies that do not read their employees well may be doing themselves and their employees a disservice. This means that bosses, HR staff, and executive leadership must be actively using a succession plan strategy that includes all levels in the organization.
4—Switch Fields (12%). Although the lowest rated selection among the four, this one could be the most exciting. Some employees have simply determined that their current place is not where they want to be. This means that they are actively working to position themselves for an entirely new industry via continuing education, certifications, job searching, and professional networking. This is a formidable task. The person who has embarked upon this mission is definitely entering into a brave, new world. Nevertheless, it is a brave, new world that ultimately can pay many dividends.
Which of the four categories defines you? Regardless, my advice is to do your research, create a plan, and execute. The realities of the labor force are never stagnant. You should not be either.