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Job Doc

Getting ahead may take patience early on

Q. I’m a recent graduate with a degree in computer engineering, and I work at a software company. After six months, I realized that this job wasn’t my thing, and I want to pursue software development. I talked to my boss about a move and she said I can’t request a transfer until 12 to 18 months on this job so she can get her full investment in me. I just find this ridiculous. I’m putting my career on hold. I am in my ninth month and hate my job. I really want to stay in this company. Should I talk to her boss? Should I go to HR?

A. Before doing anything, you should read about how different generations view work and careers. A recent CareerBuilder survey showed that a high number of millennials believe, “You should stay in a job until you learn enough to move ahead,” an idea not shared by the majority of baby boomers, who are often found at management levels.

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Many organizations ask that employees stay in jobs for at least 12 months before they apply for transfers. There is a cost to employers to hire and train new staff, and managers want to make sure there is some kind of payoff. Organizations also want to make sure they are giving opportunities to people they want to retain.

Good employees recognize that the employment contract is a two-way street. The more you can see your manager’s side of the equation, the easier it will be to move forward in the organization.

There is more to learn in your first few years at work than just the functional responsibilities of the job. Assess the skills that are rewarded and promoted at the company. Patience, as difficult as it is to learn, will prove to be a valuable competency.

Having a plan and goals are great. Work with your manager to look at what your future might hold and how best to get there.

Going over your manager’s head is not a good strategy, especially so early in your tenure.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.

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