11 Signs Your Life Science Manager Role Is Going Nowhere
December 19, 2016
One of the greatest dangers of professional life is allowing your career to stagnate. Whether you’re a life science manager or a pharmaceutical salesperson, you cannot afford to languish around a dead-end job. The longer you plateau at a certain title and skill-set, the more that senior execs and potential employers will wonder why you didn’t rise up the ranks— thereby making it harder and harder to compete against your peers for top jobs when you do finally decide to make a move.
Luckily, it is well within your power to change your circumstances and kick-start your career again, particularly in an exciting growth industry such as life sciences.
Danger signs that your career has stalled
1. You can’t think of anything you’ve done in the last year that adds value to your CV.
2. There are no opportunities for advancement in your role.
3. You’ve requested further training and career development, but are refused or ignored.
4. Promotions have passed you by, despite you being qualified for them.
5. Your suggestions are not acted upon, or even genuinely considered.
6. Your job is exactly the same as it was a year ago.
7. Your job description requires you to do things to the letter, with no variation or input from you.
8. Your company isn’t performing well, or you’re in a declining industry.
9. You have lost all enthusiasm for your job, and can’t wait to leave every day.
10. You don’t get along with your boss, and they’re thwarting your growth.
11. Your boss is great, but not proactive. He or she has been in the same role for years, and is obstructing your way to the top!
Yet this sad picture is certainly not the whole story: it is also possible to be stalled in your career despite liking your job very much. This often happens when an employee gets comfortable in a role where they like their colleagues and the company has a good culture. This is a particularly dangerous type of job inertia as it feels rather nice. However, if you’re not growing your skill-set and developing your competencies, then you have by definition stalled in your career development.
You’re in luck!
Life sciences is an extremely diverse field, with steep skills shortages opening up and even more predicted in the coming years. Luckily, this puts you in the powerful position of being able to revitalise your career relatively easily, as long as you consider your strategy carefully.
Steps to kick-start your career
1. Be upfront about where you want to go. The first step is to register your career goals with your manager or HR advisor. Perhaps you haven’t adequately signalled your desire for promotion or further training, so you need to be sure they’re aware of your aspirations before making a decision on whether to move on to another role or employer.
2. Consider which skills you need in order to move towards a better role. Be extremely strategic and plan for the long-term: which skills and jobs are likely to be in great demand in the future of life sciences?
3. Start skilling up in those areas. If your request for further training is refused by upper management, that’s no reason to give up. Quite the opposite in fact: this is a sign that your employer is not enthusiastic about developing you, so you need to take responsibility for your own growth if you want to re-energise your career trajectory.
4. Update your resume to reflect your best achievements. You may have stalled in your current role, but there’s almost always something you’ve learnt and succeeded in, if you just think hard enough about it.
5. Figure out what’s holding you back in a more big-picture way. Do you avoid conflict with your team? Do you dread public speaking in meetings? Do you avoid upper management, or feel awkward about selling your successes?
6. Get feedback on your current performance. Request performance reviews from your team and superiors. Lean in to any constructive criticism you receive so that you can plan how to overcome that weakness.
7. Jolt yourself out of inertia. A dull job can create a feeling of lethargy and dispiritedness that permeates everything we do. So get moving. Schedule coffee dates with people in your network, take on fresh challenges and new routines, and get exercising to lift your mood. You’ll quickly feel like your life is transforming, and the job change becomes the next step in a process that’s already started.
8. Volunteer for different tasks. When a project comes up and they’re looking for people to implement it, put your hand up- even if it’s not wildly interesting, and even if you don’t have a lot of spare time. The point is it will add a new skill to your bow, and alert senior managers that you’re up for a challenge.
9. Don’t just wait for jobs to come up at companies you’d like to work for. Be proactive. Write to the companies to pitch your services, and keep a close eye on LinkedIn, building your network so there are more and more crossovers with employees and contacts of your dream employer.
10. Use your time wisely. Consider your unfulfilling and routine job a short-term bonus, as it frees up lots of mental space for planning your career and job-hunting.
The time is now. If you’re stuck in a dead end job with no prospects, plan to leave while you still have a positive story to tell.