In the past several years This Tech Geek has found himself all over the place with jobs. I had a few different full time jobs in that time, and I also run my own business on the side. With this unusually rapid cycle, I was able to spot some trends in myself that led me to good success in my current position. Perhaps you’ll recognize the same Job Stages in your experiences. So I give you Ryan’s Four Job Stages for Success.
Oh no. What have I done. I can’t do this. I’m going to fail! Welcome to Stage 1. This is where you’re in total freakout mode and am wondering why you chose to inflict this mode of failure on yourself. Don’t worry. You’ll survive, probably. If you don’t, then you might find yourself on the wrong side of a 90 day trial period, or perhaps you’ll just stumble through mediocrity and eventually move on to Stage 2. But there’s a chance that this is going to be an important formative stage. This is the time that you can start some great work habits and learn where (and who) your best resources for knowledge and help are. If you’re an expert in your field, or have many years of experience, Stage 1 might last only as long as you acclimate to your new environment. Companies these days have a tendency to throw people in the deep end after short (or nonexistent) training.
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. Yeah, you can do it. The Stage 1 jitters are gone and you’re getting your footing and it doesn’t feel like you’ll drown any time soon. You’re on your way to competency! Whether it be because your skill set isn’t up to par with the “old timers” or because you’re still the new kid on the block, Stage 2 is all about learning to stretch your legs a little. There’s no obvious failures on the horizon and you start to feel like you’re going to find success. You are seeing your potential realized. Before you know it you’ll be in…
This is workable. I can do this. I might even be really good at it. Your evaluation is coming up and you’re not dreading it. You’ve been contributing positive things and your coworkers are now your peers. You have gained the respect of your coworkers and supervisors or even management. That promotion you thought was unattainable in Stage 2 is starting to look realistic. People are coming to you for answers and you’re providing them. You’re good at your job and it shows.
I feel comfortable. In fact, I like this and I could probably keep doing this for a long time. This is almost a continuation of Stage 3, with the exception that you’ve made a conscious decision to be here at Stage 4. Perhaps you’ve been promoted to a level you are comfortable with, or are “in the zone” with your current position and are satisfied. This can be wonderful and lead to good job satisfaction.
On the other hand, you might be in Stage 4 because you’re in a dead end job and have been passed up for further promotion, or have lost motivation to move up. Maybe Stage 3 was better for you. Really, it’s up to you to decide why you’re here and what to do about it.
You’ll notice that each phase has its ups and downs. Stage 1 can be very stressful, as can Stage 2. But, so can Stage 4. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a dead end job with nowhere to go. I once worked in a virtual call center environment and I was stuck in Stage 4 for most of my employment there. When I saw instability in the company, I left. But Stage 4 can also have a lot of positive things about it. For example, if you’ve reached a comfortable level of competency and job satisfaction, and they are both reasonably good, then Stage 4 can last a very long time and be very rewarding. On the other hand If you’re chomping at the bit for something more challenging, then being at Stage 4 can be dangerous for both you and your employer. You’re more prone to go outside the norm to get things done, and your employer is more likely to lose you to a more challenging job. If you’re uncomfortable in Stage 4, then perhaps it’s time to either start hunting for a promotion or a new job.
Certainly there are more nuances to having a job than can be covered in a 825 word article. But these Four Stages are fairly common and I have personally experienced each of them at nearly every job I’ve had. It’s like The Gambler said: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, and know when to run.” Recognizing those Job Stages is vital for having success, whether you’re flipping burgers or saving lives.
Have you experienced the same? Leave a comment for us below. We’d love to hear your feedback.