At the beginning of your career you soon become used to the cliché ‘it’s good for your development’; whenever you are given a job you don’t want to do your boss will say ‘it’s good for your development’. Like all good clichés it based in truth – it probably will be an experience that will help you become better at what you do, but it can also be hidden behind, because it’s usually something that your boss is keen to get out of doing themselves. It’s a right of passage, an initiation.
It doesn’t end there though unless you never change jobs, because with every knew job – especially if you are climbing the greasy pole towards management – you’ll meet more ‘development opportunities’.
This was brought into new focus for me at a recent ICMA Centre alumni event. I was chatting to an MSc alumni who successfully moved from his studies here to one of the big shiny institutions that people seem to aspire to. I was asking him about what it’s like there and he was really positive – ‘friendly’, ‘supportive’ , ‘challenging’, ‘interesting’, ‘exciting’ were all words he used – then he started talking about all the development opportunities he was being encouraged to take advantage of, and he was telling me how he was improving in this, getting better at that, achieving things he didn’t think possible. But then he stopped, his face changed and he said ‘the problem is, it’s not really me any more, it’s turning me into one of them.’
This has lead him to question his path and he’s now thinking through his next career & life choices – and whatever he decides will lead to more ‘development opportunities’.