27 Aug 2014

Candidates- Don’t Get Too Big for Your Britches

27 Aug 2014

I met with a very junior account candidate the other day and was inspired to blog about my conversation with her. This is a good lesson for candidates at any level and in any function but most relevant to those who do not have a ton of real work experience and are just starting out. Again this candidate was a very junior account person with one year of experience yet she was given the unique opportunity at her level to truly own projects and to interface with the client. I told her that she is actually in a unique position at her agency in terms of project ownership as her level is often more administrative/pure support in many agency environments and structures. I actually even said “the grass is always greener” to get my point across. I was shocked as she was calling the clients “her client” and also expressed frustration that the Account Supervisor on her team was more strategic while she handled the day to day—this is exactly how these levels should function!

This candidate had somehow gotten too big for her britches. It is normal to have frustrations in the job and to feel disgruntled from time to time. However, it is very important to keep the big picture in mind, to take a step back every now and then and think about whether or not things are that bad. It is wonderful to be eager to grow in one’s career but it is also important to remain humble, to not become impatient, and to look at the positives in your situation rather than possessing an attitude that something is owed to you. Surely there are some awful work situations where candidates have every right to want more for themselves but this particular candidate was clearly in a great spot for her level. My advice to her was to have some healthy and open internal conversations with her supervisor. I advised her to position the conversation as “I am eager to grow here and would love to discuss the next steps in my career” rather than “I feel like I deserve a higher title due to all of my responsibilities.” Perhaps she should be more thankful for the amount of responsibility that she has been given and realize that this will help her to position herself in a slightly more senior light once she decides to explore new roles.

Hopefully it will all work out for her but I decided to hold off on presenting her anywhere until her internal situation is resolved and she can think more clearly and with less frustration when exploring new opportunities.

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