The view from the glass ceiling

I’m rapidly approaching another crossroads. This one has nothing to do with my health (thankfully) but it’s still a major crossroads and it relates to my job and career.

I’ve applied for an international secondment (which could in turn become a de facto transfer). By ‘applied’, what I really mean is – I’m lobbying hard for the move and have prepared and submitted a business case. To either Sydney or New York. I really don’t know how it will go down. My role is generally regarded as one most appropriate for ‘head-office’, where decisions are made. London is the global head office. It’s a gamble. In my business case presentation – I made it fairly black and white that if I don’t get this move there is a high chance that I will leave. That in itself is quite a risky and some would say foolhardy thing to do. But I wanted to be honest. Because – after two years in role – I’ve begun to ‘flatline’, to ‘plateau’; I’ve reached the proverbial ‘glass ceiling’. And I’ve now finally told them that.

So we’ll see. I’m meeting my boss on Thursday to discuss. At that meeting I should get the initial signal as to whether it’s viable or if it’s not. She had her usual fortnightly meeting with the top management team today and I am hoping my name appeared on the agenda somewhere. I just can’t call it. I can see as many reasons why they might oblige as I can see reasons why they will definitely say no, it’s not appropriate. There is also the chance that they might try and fob me off and say “let’s talk in another year” or something like that. I really do think the odds are 50/50.

What the business doesn’t know is that I have a major interview with a very high profile competitor (of sorts) on Friday morning. It’s with a firm that in my own mind I have always thought of as ‘super high end’, New York head-quartered, ultra-corporate, Mayfair/St James’ through-and-through. The role itself is significantly meaty and it has a salary to match. There was no advert, no agency, no form. I was head-hunted to it via a recommendation made by a business contact who recommended me personally for the role (who counts this firm as a client). Though I have the job brief, I have no real idea what to expect though I have had several telephone calls with the lady handling the job search who I’m looking forward to meeting. I’m also meeting the global director the role would report into at that meeting. I have no idea if there are other candidates in the frame. We don’t even call it an ‘interview’; it’s simply a ‘meeting’. And that first meeting will very much be one of personal fit. I’ve been told that the process itself is very long – up to 10 ‘meetings’ (!). I have no idea how it will go. The salary is significant, as is the status of the role (which I really have doubts I’m senior enough for – but they have my full CV and have pre-qualified me already). The role would lead the European function in the firm, reporting into a global director. There would be quite a lot of pan-European travel, although the role is London based.

So there are a number of scenarios in play right now:

  • I’ll get the global secondment (either to Sydney or New York) with my current employer.
  • I’ll get turned down for the secondment.
  • I progress (and maybe even get!) the job at this competitor, thus leaving my current employer.
  • Both fall through and I end up back at square one (which, to be honest, is not the end of the world. I have a good job and I like the people. It’s just that I want more from life and I’m getting bored).

Thursday and Friday of this week will provide fairly strong indicators of what my future holds. My first choice is the secondment but if that doesn’t get offered – I will almost definitely leave if I were to like and then get offered this other role.

Interesting times.

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