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The Coach: ‘I can’t find a practice I like’

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Sometimes less haste, more speed is the way to develop an interesting career, says Matthew Turner

I can’t find a practice I like. I was 18 months at one office but all I did was sit in front a computer doing endless amendments. At the second place I worked they promised I would get exposure to site work but I never did. At my current practice they have already given people they recruited since me better work than I have. As I look now for another role, how do I make it clear that I want good experience in my next job?

Matthew turner

Matthew turner

Not getting what you want from work is frustrating, and it is great you want to advance your career.

Though nowadays remaining in one workplace for the long term is way less important than it used to be, looking back over the past years, are you sure you haven’t been impatient and moved on too fast?

Patience can sometimes be a virtue with work, and it is worth appreciating that running a practice is hard work, and opportunities may not be instantaneous.

Managing delays, droughts and gluts of projects in the office is like spinning plates, even before taking into account the myriad wishes and experience of individual employees, a factor that overlays how you resource the work flow.

It sounds like you are developing a narrative that your employer is not delivering their side of the bargain. That may be the case, but do be aware there are ways you can attract interesting work, and not just demand it.

A helpful mindset, especially near the beginning of your career, is to display enthusiasm, combined with a dash of humility. Those with these attributes nearly always are the people who are the best-regarded, and are most likely to come to the minds of those who decide and allocate workload.

It sounds like you find some work dull. I am not saying you should drop your expectations of what work should give you, but sometimes you can learn quite a lot from things that might at the time seem monotonous or inconsequential, that might be useful later. Those who really know detail might actually make the better managers later in their careers.

And then there is the less buoyant job market to consider. I remember when I worked in an office when a severe downturn started, there was a clear division between those who were let go, and those who knew the projects and could be relied on to take some rough with the smooth.

Are you sure it is the practices and not your expectations that are at the core of your frustration?

Having a hunger for broad experience is great. But when you say you don’t like these practices, are you sure it is the practices and not your expectations of your employers that are at the core of your frustration?

When you look at the length of careers that we have, and the decades ahead of you, sometimes less haste, more speed might be a good way to think of building your experience.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • So basically, the fact that a practice fails to provide the agreed experience in an interview is an "expectations" problem or to "been impatient and moved on too fast".
    Great advice.

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