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Last week I got promoted and next week I have a talk with my lead to plan my future development. I am happy with my job and I think that I'm good at it, but the truth is that I have no hope in being further promoting in the foreseeable future. From what I have seen in my three years in this company, moving from my category to the next is very hard, close to impossible lately, as the company grows much slower as it used to do and there are hardly any openings. The people that I have seen trying have ended up quite frustrated, and have then quit. I have no wish to make that mistake, so my plan is to stay 1-2 years more here and then apply to a better company.

My company puts emphasis on career development throughout the whole year, and although I consider it's absurd due the lack of promotion chances that in reality exist, it's nevertheless part of the company culture and values that management tries to promote.

Of course I'm not going to tell my lead that my plan is to quit next year, but should I tell him openly that I don't believe the effort required to move to the next category is worth, and I want just to keep my current status, or should I try pretending that I'm interested? With the second I risk being given responsibilities that I don't want to take; with the first, at least going against company culture.

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    Why not take the learning opportunities and just... keep quiet about your plans? Is there a downside to it? – Tymoteusz Paul Jul 26 '20 at 14:04
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    @TymoteuszPaul because the responsibilities I'd probably have to take are not necessarily something I'm interested in learning, and mainly because they entail a considerably higher pressure and workload. – lmrn19 Jul 26 '20 at 14:20
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Development isn't always about promotion. Often it's about being better in the role you're currently in. Just because you got promoted doesn't mean you can't be better at what you do. Why would a "better" company hire you if you're just meeting the status quo?

A simple option for you (since you mention you just got promoted) is to indicate to your lead that you recognize you can be better in your current role. You can say you'd like to focus your development on improvement where you are right now. This should "buy" you at least a year, show that you're still interested in your development just not interested in fast advancement.

I'm always pushing development with my directs, and I tell them point-blank I'm interested in their growth where ever they want that to be. If that leads to more opportunities where we are, then great. If it leads them to an opportunity somewhere else, then great. I'm only concerned with their success as they see it. That being said, when a direct tells me they're not interested in growing (and it has happened), they immediately go on my radar as someone to watch. People who aren't growing, at least in some way, are falling behind. We live in a rapidly changing world. Those who don't change with it fall out of it.

There's nothing wrong with being satisfied with your role. I have several engineers who are happy with their station. That doesn't mean they get to stop growing. I expect their skills and knowledge sets to continue improving. For some of them, their growth is actually in areas that are not directly tied to their technical skills. Their growth is centered around interpersonal skills or business domain knowledge improvement.

There are always ways to improve without changing your role. I don't ever recommend saying "I'm not interested in growing or developing."

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  • So true, People who aren't growing, at least in some way, are falling behind. We live in a rapidly changing world. Those who don't change with it fall out of it. – fran Jul 29 '20 at 6:38
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Forget for a moment about the current situation. You just realized that, if things stay as they are, you are going to leave. What you say in this scenario is basically irrelevant.

However, in business things may change quickly. Imagine instead what would be your position given that the company situation improves to a point that lets you want to stay and formulate your development plan in that scenario.

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