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August 04, 2011

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Overall, I think theses are good suggestions. I do have a comment on #2, though. Sometimes, solving the bosses problem can make you a threat ("Hey, I'd better keep this person out of sight or they might take my job.") (although, this usually is only an issue in middle management) and I have been seeing a management trend where the boss uses that to abdicate themselves of doing their job ("Hey, don't bring me problems - bring me solutions" translates to "Hey, I don't want to solve any problems, so you do all the work for me.") Still, solving the bosses problems will certainly get you noticed, so as long as you can maneuver yourself to offset any potential repercussions, it's still a good idea.

Just my 84 cents (an inflation-adjusted nickel)

I made a lateral move to another department within my company when I felt I reached a point where I could not advance further in the department. At the time, it almost seemed like a bad move because I had additional commuting/parking expense from my previous position and did not get any additional pay (I went from a suburban office to a downtown office). However, it's been 8 years now and I am making over twice my prior salary, which would have never happened in the old department. So for me making a lateral move, as crappy as it was initally, really paid off.

Sort of along the lines of item #2, I like to tell myself that one of my jobs is to make my boss look good. This could be by helping them, or just keeping them in the loop about something (so they don't look like they don't know what is going on), or not being a headache for them in one way or another. You have to do it so they don't even really notice (you don't want to look like a brown noser). If you can make your boss look good it can really help your career. ;)

Just an additional note on a lateral move - sometimes it is worth taking it to refresh skills or expand your skill set even if it doesn't come with additional pay up front. Our company encourages lateral moves periodically since we have a very flat organization with few move-up options. Moving to other departments within the company can refresh your interest in a job that was getting boring, let you use new skills and learn another area of the business. In the long term, if you excel in each position you take on you will have expanded your promotion options as well since more people in the company will know what you can do and you will have the business knowledge to move up in more departments.

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