I was a software developer 1988-1999, then a stay-at-home mom until 2010. I tried teaching for a few years, but was wholly unsuited to that career. In 2014, I got an admin job at a small tech company.

I've been here for 1.5 years now. I've been lucky in that they recognize I have skills beyond the typical entry level admin and so I've been doing more database programming, SQL reports, VBA, etc.; however, there just isn't enough of this type of work to keep me busy. I spend a lot of time doing really boring rote things like copying columns from one excel spreadsheet to another, until I automate it and end up with nothing to do at all.

I do look for and ask for more duties and responsibilities. As a result, I have my fingers in almost every part of the company, and I seem to have a really split reputation. That is, one of the managers and the lower level people seem to think I'm a worker drone, good mostly for data entry. The rest of management, including upper management and the CEO think I'm terrific ("exceeds expectations ++" on my review because apparently one + wasn't enough). But because I work in every part of the business, I have a reputation for being overwhelmingly busy.

My direct supervisor (one of the company officers) says that she has big plans for me and she wants me in management, I just need to be patient. Unfortunately, the boredom is really beginning to affect my job satisfaction, and the scattered nature of my assignments means I'm really not finding a niche or developing an expertise in a specific area.

So, my resume being what it is, I feel like I have a better shot here than I would in trying to find another job. But I don't understand how I can have such glowing reviews and still end up feeling stalled and passed by. I've already been told to be patient -- what more can I do to get my career moving in the right direction again?

  • "my resume being what it is, I feel like I have a better shot here than I would in trying to find another job" - When was the last time you applied to other roles (e.g. software developer)? – Brandin Dec 2 '15 at 16:33
  • 2
    My recommendation - start working on an interesting open source project... Any thoughts about a 'boring life/job' will immediately disappear... :D – undo Dec 2 '15 at 16:36
  • 5
    @RahulBasu Working on open source projects while on the job is a seriously bad idea. As the mom of a teenager I imagine OP has plenty of stuff to do outside work. – Lilienthal Dec 2 '15 at 16:58
  • 1
    @CPP Have you actually discussed this in-depth with your manager/supervisor? Maybe there are concrete plans to transition you into management, maybe they'll make them if you send a clear signal that you're ready, maybe they wont. You won't find out which unless you ask: managers aren't mind-readers after all. – Lilienthal Dec 2 '15 at 17:00
  • 1
    @RahulBasu, no way should she work on an open source project. As a working mother she already has two full-time jobs and you want her to add a third? Exactly when does she get to sleep? – HLGEM Dec 2 '15 at 19:00

The good news: With one exception, management thinks highly of you. It sounds like you're smart and you get things done. Competent management appreciates that, even if they don't communicate it well.

The bad news: In a small company, sometimes even the CEO can't make a new management position at the drop of a hat. Management might need to do a major re-org to make room for you. For what I hope are obvious reasons, they can't tell anyone (including you) that they're working on that.

What to do: @Lilienthal's advice is spot-on:

discuss this in-depth with your manager/supervisor

You've outgrown your present position and are losing interest in it. You are ready and able to take on bigger challenges. Hopefully you can get management to start thinking "we need to put CPP into a new position in the next couple of months". If they tell you "be patient", it's fair to ask "for how long? - a month? 3 months? a year?"

| improve this answer | |
  • Absolutely right. We're a small company and I just lost my best "smart and gets things done" person because they had completely outgrown the position and there was just nowhere else to place them. When they turned in their notice I was both sad (losing a stellar employee) and incredibly happy for them. – NotMe Dec 2 '15 at 22:13
  • Just to clarify, I realize that things don't happen immediately. She'd already told me that she needs to write a proposal to justify the change in position and get the CEO on board, and that it probably wouldn't happen until after this big deadline at the end of December. I would just hope that my assignments in the meantime would be getting more relevant not less. You and Lilienthal are right. I need to be prepared to approach her again when that deadline has passed. It's just a matter of figuring out exactly what my approach will be. – CPP Dec 3 '15 at 13:38

By the sounds of it you're a competent worker, but I think you have been out of the work force too long, many jobs are boring, people do them for the money and find the job satisfaction each payday when they buy stuff for their kids.

No offence but I think that is the attitude you should take towards this job, soldier on as patiently as possible and eventually you will be moved up. Meanwhile you are getting experience in multiple fields, which is probably more than can be said for some of the others working there. This does make you a good hands on future manager prospect.

A gentle nudge to the boss now and then wouldn't hurt either. But if you focus on building professional relationships and solid work then I would think your prospects are good. You have only been there 1.5 years, don't expect too much yet, there are many reasons why this is viewed as too short a time by some both above and below you in the pecking order.

| improve this answer | |
  • Agreed, many folks work for the paycheck alone. Many work for job satisfaction. That varies by industry, by job, by needs/wants, and by attitude. It's entirely reasonable to seek any mix that appeals to you, but the more requirements you put on a job the harder it us to find a good match. I work primarily for the joy of problem solving and for "ya done good"; it's just that money is how a company says the latter. – keshlam Dec 3 '15 at 1:54
  • I'm lazy I don't get out of bed in the morning unless someone is throwing money at me – Kilisi Dec 3 '15 at 5:08
  • I really want both! Is that too much to ask? Seriously, while job satisfaction is really important to me, with a second child about to enter college, money is getting really right. I've gotten 2 raises while I've been here, and while that seems like a lot in a short time, both have come with "we wanted to give you something because your salary is insulting" which it rather is, given that what I'm actually doing is actually in a different pay grade than the job I was hired in to do. I know I'm appreciated here though so I will give it another 6 months before I consider other options. – CPP Dec 3 '15 at 13:48
  • no harm in looking for another job meanwhile, 6 months is a long time to me. But my idea of job satisfaction isn't dependent on the tasks themselves, it's all about the money, I enjoy any job that pays me well. – Kilisi Dec 3 '15 at 19:00

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .