Experts POol


How satisfied are you with your career development opportunities? If you belong to the 51% of the employee population who are not satisfied (according to a recent Harris Poll earlier this year), I hope to offer you some thoughts to help you improve your satisfaction.

Talking to employees and colleagues, I regularly hear that their workload is heavy and the pace at which they need to produce continues to increase. Before one realizes it, a year has passed and not much has happened around the planning or the development for career opportunities. The demands to keep up with the job are more than challenging.   

This reminds me of the Hasbro game called “Bop It!”. For those not familiar with the hand-held family game (designed for those ages 8+), when you turn it on, the Bop It! calls out commands that come faster and faster as the game goes on. When you hear a command, you need to bop it, pull it or twist it to stay in the game. The better you perform, the more skill levels you unlock. This cycle of tasks occurring faster and faster continues until one does not bop, pull or twist the game at the right time. A loud noise denoting failure sounds and the game is over. When this happens, the players normally resume their positions and restart the game for another attempt at going faster and longer.

Unfortunately, not many players take time to ask themselves: “What will it take to get to the next skill level? Should I change the way I hold the game? Is there one of the tasks (bop, pull or twist) that is more challenging to complete? How do the other players go farther into the game before failing?”  

Our careers and jobs push us every day. Most of us continue to do many of the same things but with the required faster pace. To be able to move ahead, I suggest the following steps:

  • Schedule time on your calendar to stop and explore career development
  • Understand your goal or desired role
  • Identify the required or desired skills
  • Honestly assess your current capabilities
  • Talk to those in the role to understand how they got there
  • Plan the course of action: trainings, projects, developmental jobs to close any gap in required skills
  • Market yourself to the future role decision makers (inside or outside your company)
  • Put yourself in situations to be exposed to others in this area of interest (professional and/or social meetings)

I once heard someone who spoke about change. He mentioned that the word dinosaur means “terrible lizard” (although dinosaurs were technically not lizards). However, the lizard that appears to have avoided extinction is the chameleon. With the ability to change colors based on environment and situations, one has to wonder if that ability to change has kept it from extinction.  

To improve your career development satisfaction and avoid extinction, I encourage you to stop the “Bop It” cycle. Change and take steps to plan to improve your situation. 

noviskis3 Brian Noviskis, Bus Ad '82, is an experienced human resources executive and can be reached at





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