The question: After graduating I started a job in a large organisation. During the previous five years I was a part-time systems administrator for a medium-sized company, and consequently my new employer put me in a similar role. I have been promoted but ideally I would like to be doing systems analysis/project management work. Should I continue plodding along, look for an opportunity elsewhere, or tackle my employer about this?
The solution: Balance patience with desire to progress
Communication is key to your future progress. It is completely understandable that a new employer would put you in a similar role to the one you have done on a part-time basis as they have little knowledge of you on which to base the decision on how best to utilise your skills.
As time goes by you will have the opportunity to apply for internal roles and move more into the analysis/project management type of work you are keen to experience. You need to give both yourself and your employer the opportunity to see what you are made of and how professional you are.
You are not plodding, you have joined a new company fairly recently and already been promoted once. Tell them about the parts of your current role that you really enjoy and be less vocal about the bits you don't. That way you will be seen as a positive and enthusiastic employee, and one that they will want to keep. This is great. Keep talking to your managers. I would always suggest that a minimum of 12-18 months is spent in your first role.
Be clear and concise at reviews and in meetings about the path you would like to follow and volunteer, time permitting, to help on projects that will give you the right exposure.
Solution by Tracey Abbott, divisional director, Zarak Group
The panel: Plan-Net Services, Spring Group, E-Skills UK, British Computer Society, Computer Futures, Hudson, Elan, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology.
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This was first published in May 2005