Author Topic: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?  (Read 3180 times)

wayfinder

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"long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« on: May 22, 2017, 04:08:02 PM »
Mustachians, how have you or how might you handle a situation like this?  You wake up one morning and notice you are a computer engineer with 6 years industry work experience and soon to pick up a master's degree in the field (pretty sweet life overall).  Your company is of the opinion that it is of utmost importance to have Career Discussions on a frequent basis with your manager, your most-definitely-very-un-Mustachian-and-proud-of-it-manager.  You get the standard questions like "what are your career goals in long term (10+ years) and medium term (5 years)?"

How do you approach answering those questions when the real answer to the "10 years" question is "barring unprecedented economic collapse I'll be long retired by then sucka", and even that 5 year forecast is pushing into "well I'd have been retired by then if I'd got my head out of it sooner, but as it is in 5 years I see myself winding down at the end of my career, maybe taking on some last hurrah projects".

Mr Pointy Hair Boss thinks you're crazy enough as it is for biking your beautiful 2 mile commute instead of just driving like everyone else, and suspects this might be somehow an indicator of your reduced value as an employee (his perspective: you could be spending so much time working extra instead of biking if only you would drive again and that you're being irrationally reckless with that head your company has invested so much in by strapping it under a helmet and zipping off on two wheels).

Given such a gap in perspectives with Mr. Pointy Hair No Mustache, how might you handle a conversation about career end games?

wordnerd

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2017, 04:15:46 PM »
It's a little odd, but not unique. I mean, people have these conversations all the time when they secretly plan to work at a different company, or become a stay-at-home parent, or make a career change. I don't have these discussions often, but for five years I talk about basically continuing and excelling in my current career trajectory. For 10 years, I often hedge about not really knowing (too far in the future, etc). Maybe think of it as "if I were still working here, I'd see myself doing X."

former player

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2017, 04:23:38 PM »
1.  Imagine the ideal career for someone on your current trajectory who is not mustachian.

2.  Talk about this future career using personal pronouns at one remove: "I think the ideal 5 year/10 year trajectory for a person in my current role would be X"

bugbaby

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This is only a dilemma if you would somehow want to indirectly gloat without overtly doing it.

We all have goals, and there are appropriate and inappropriate settings to share and discuss them. Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

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spjulep

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 05:24:34 PM »
In addition to the above, I recommend spending the time asking the manager about his/her career trajectory. People typically love to talk about how smart they were in achieving their career objectives and that can use up a lot of time in these meetings. Plus they feel good after the conversation.

okits

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2017, 09:31:10 PM »
Figure out what you want (promotion, status quo, step down, change paths, etc.) then couch it in corporate-speak to make it palatable to your company.  Never mention retiring, just answer what you would do if you couldn't retire yet in 5/10 years.  With any luck you won't have to actually do it.

Mrs. S

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2017, 11:05:49 PM »
I would lie my heart out. Even though it goes against my no BS nature I would rather not let my boss know he cannot count on me working for a long long time. These reviews do affect your raise and there is no good reason to give people more reasons to reduce your well deserved salary.

Zikoris

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2017, 11:52:39 PM »
I've just started being honest. "I'm looking to work for X more years, and focus on being a really good (insert job title here) during that time." has been my go-to script. I don't care about raises or promotions, since my current role and income provides me with an acceptable time frame. The possibility of slightly higher raises is not worth the mental energy of either lying about it outright, or lying by omission.

Laura33

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2017, 07:20:00 AM »
Lie.

Or think about it as: assuming that everything goes into the crapper and I am still stuck here in XX years, what job would I want?  Life does not always go as planned; might as well maximize all options until you are ready to pull the cord.

ysette9

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 08:25:34 AM »
Quote
Imagine the ideal career for someone on your current trajectory who is not mustachian.

Quote
assuming that everything goes into the crapper and I am still stuck here in XX years, what job would I want?

I deal with this myself very frequently because I have been anointed by HR as a "special people" and am in a development program. My company is also good about giving employees regular opportunities to have career discussions to make sure people feel like they are progressing.

Part of the time I am torn because I feel like I have a good gig here and (not to sound overly egotistical) I think I have the potential to go far in my career. In many ways I got to where I am in life now because I always lived up to my potential. Looking at my potential square in the face and choosing "no, thank you" is tough. So far my thought process is to continue on my path of achievement, or at least not make any choices that would actively derail me, while maintaining an adequate life balance.

As for my career discussions, right now I can honestly say that I am exploring the options and educating myself on what is available to me with my current skill set and experience. I have a list of what I like to do and what I do not like to do, as well as a list of what I feel my strengths are and my areas of weakness. I am meeting with various mentors to ask them about their jobs and ask for input on what roles would match up with my list of skills and interests. I am following the path of what I would do if I planned on another 20 years with the company but only to the extent that work doesn't interfere with my real life outside. My plan is to keep having fun and keep making as much money as I can in the process. I'm starting to explore the idea of something really cool, like an international assignment in a couple of years. In short, have fun, don't be too honest, keep your options open, and whatever you do, don't limit yourself prematurely.


InnTee

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2017, 08:40:50 AM »
assuming that everything goes into the crapper and I am still stuck here in XX years, what job would I want?  Life does not always go as planned; might as well maximize all options until you are ready to pull the cord.

This. Think of FIRE as the best-case scenario but where your employer is concerned, plan for a longer-term job. That way if you get hit with unexpected expenses or other nasty surprises, you haven't closed the door to continued employment.

And to reach FIRE you want to maximize your income from the job. Part of your value to the company is your unrealized potential, so if you are viewed as a "star" they will want to pay you more to keep you around. So be a "star" until you quit. All within reason, of course: don't jeopardize your health or compromise your values.

If you haven't already, you might want to check out livingafi.com - the author had a similar situation.

plog

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 08:47:33 AM »
Organizations are not real people and do not deserve to be treated with the respect you would show a real person. This goes the same for representatives of the company with whom you don't have a real person-person relationship.  That doesn't mean you make fart sounds whenever they ask their questions .  It just means you realize this is a lopsided conversation where telling the actual truth may harm you.

That means you have 2 possible courses of action:

1.  Complete honesty.  This is so fulfilling, but you also have to realize you are probably harming the relationship in some manner and hurting your advancement options if that is a concern.  So, if you still need this job, #2 might be the way to go.   

2.  Tell them what they want to hear.  The goal of this is to end the conversation as soon as possible without damaging your reputation with them.  This may or may not involve explicit lying, but who cares?  You are not lying to a human being, you are lying to a legal entity set up to conduct business.   

« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 08:49:38 AM by plog »

BlueHouse

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 09:28:17 AM »
1.  "As long as I continue to grow and learn and be an asset to this organization, then I'll feel I'm moving in the right direction."
2.  "I'd like to learn how to excel at ....., and I hope the organization will support me in training to become a ...."

So, just like everyone else has said.  Lie. 

But the real purpose of this conversation is for YOU to ask for what you want and need to get something else out of the company. Get training.  Go to a conference.  Ask for a nicer bike rack so you can be more productive once you're there.  Ask for a company-issued helmet so you can advertise for the company while you're racing around.  I have always used these conversations as opportunities to ask for things I wanted and ended up with some really great credentials that helped me with my next job or with personal growth. 

KungfuRabbit

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2017, 09:38:09 AM »
To maximize a career you need for them to think you want to be there 25 more years.  I think it's critical to lie not only to your boss, but our coworkers as well.

If he knows you are quitting in 5 years your best case scenario is fewer promotions / raises / worse projects, but if there are lay offs you'd likely be top of the list since they'll lose ou anyhow.

Like others said, invent a 10 year plan based on what a non-enlightened you would say.

And yes, I do this exact thing.  I actually had a conversation with another 30 something last week pretending to debate whether we should plan on retiring "early" at 62, or go until 65 or later.  He decided 65 was safer...which is certainly true with his current spending habits.

Scortius

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2017, 10:32:36 AM »
I don't even think it's lying.  If they're asking about your career goals for 10 years, that obviously assumes you're still there.  There are a ton of other reasons why people leave and they can still have constructive long-term career conversations without feeling guilty.  Just look at it from the perspective where you'd be assuming you were staying.  No one can give a guarantee they'll be with the same company 10 years from now in this job climate.

Dave1442397

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2017, 10:35:35 AM »
Lie your ass off, and then retire when you're ready. I know a guy whose retirement letter started with this:

"Due to a change in my financial circumstances, I can no longer afford to work here."

When they asked what the circumstances were, he told them he was making more than five times his salary with his side business, and he couldn't afford to waste 40 hours a week working for them.

SisterX

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2017, 11:36:48 AM »
Whatever you do, don't tell them you're planning to leave. Seriously. I was honest with a former boss (who was new to me at that time) in one of these meetings, saying that since my career hadn't noticeably progressed in the five years I'd already worked there I wasn't certain what my future plans were. She became a monster, to the point that I'm certain I could have (maybe should have?) sued her for a number of different violations of legalities. (I took the "nice person" path of complaining to HR...who did nothing except cover the company's ass.)

You don't owe them the truth. You owe them your hard work in exchange for the payment they will give you. That is all.

BlueHouse

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2017, 02:09:17 PM »
Lie your ass off, and then retire when you're ready. I know a guy whose retirement letter started with this:

"Due to a change in my financial circumstances, I can no longer afford to work here."

When they asked what the circumstances were, he told them he was making more than five times his salary with his side business, and he couldn't afford to waste 40 hours a week working for them.
This is awesome!  It even belongs in the Epic FU money stories thread!

jeromedawg

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2017, 02:14:56 PM »
In addition to the above, I recommend spending the time asking the manager about his/her career trajectory. People typically love to talk about how smart they were in achieving their career objectives and that can use up a lot of time in these meetings. Plus they feel good after the conversation.

LOL awesome tactic. Fortunately, I haven't had too many managers who make that a point of discussion. My current manager likes to shoot the breeze with me and ask about how the family is and talk a little sports. That comprises a majority of our one on one calls, the last 5-10 minutes we discuss the ongoing-events and issues to raise about work items in our group. The leads at my last company were pretty hands-off too, and the one lead I had who's a couple years younger would talk to me about it more as a peer/friend rather than a manager looming over "career goals" - the most I've ever had to discuss my career goals was always on the yearly review forms or in some of the interviews I've gone on.

spjulep

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2017, 03:38:48 PM »
Organizations are not real people and do not deserve to be treated with the respect you would show a real person.

Love this perspective.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: "long term" career conversations across the mustache gap?
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2017, 08:00:23 AM »
Organizations are not real people and do not deserve to be treated with the respect you would show a real person.
Love this perspective.

+1.

I like to think "if they were planning to fire 90% of my department, how much honesty would I be getting right now?" That is the amount of honesty the company deserves.

I solely answer based on what the answer would need to be in order for them to give me what I want next. Training? I'm highly motivated and want to be a super asset! Money? I'm looking for positions elsewhere! Want to be passed over for promotions and raises? It's truth time!