This is one of this phrases I hear ad nauseam. In interviews, in my classes, and workshops. It has become part of a hollow script of job seekers and career changers. Young and old utter this phrase as part of their quest for a better job. Who seeks a position with no growth?! Young people use “growth” as upward mobility or career path. Others imply professional development. What do these meaningless words convey? Do you ever hear anyone say I like gravity?🙂 Since everyone has ambitions, would like more challenges, and a accelerated progressive compensation path–how does this differentiate you?
Recently interviewed a dozen people for an entry level spot and 3 of them asked me in the first minute “what is the potential for growth”? Are you kidding me? I literally said to one candidate, "So we just met on a blind date and you want to know if we might live together?!" C'mon, just saying "growth" is a cop out, possibly a smoke screen that says something about your judgment–your current/former employer did not want to invest in you or a realization that you did not know how to select a job for this magical "growth" thing. Always leads me to my next questions: "How have you grown in your current/last position as a professional and as a person?" And "What are the ways you want to grow professionally and personally in the next few years?" And "How do you see this job you are applying for enhancing your specific growth plans?" Then I just sit back and listen, but not for long because I usually hear the sweet chirps of crickets.
So easy to look at the next and ignore the now. Yeah, what's after this job, this relationship, this opportunity in front of me? Of course, it is assumes that I will manage this well, so let's jump over the present and plan out the future. Basic common sense should prevent us from mouthing such meaningless words. Yet they tumble from the lips. Lot of talk about mindfulness. Being fully engaged in what is in front of us. But these phrases are mindlessness.
Don Nathanson, a famous ad executive, mentored me by saying, "Always try to place yourself in a growing company in a growing industry?" I followed that advice in the 18 jobs I have occupied. Why not explore the job you want fully. Is the organization growing? Is the industry or sector growing? How is the prospective employer doing relative to its peers/competitors? How does the organization assist the growth of its top performing employees (see what I did here?)
No one place will meet all of your needs. Your "growth" will be driven by YOU and your portfolio of passions, personal development and side hustles. Be nice if you could be given a little map with a ladder of steps that you could follow without any risks of change. Wake up! That does not exist. First of all you will change. Second the organization will change. Third the market will change. The real question is are you adaptable? Really capable of unlearning and learning. Of evolving? That is what the employer is looking for. You ask for a certain growth plan and the employer wants someone who will help the organization grow with uncertainty.
Put your little selfish little feet into the interviewers' shoes for a moment before you say something out loud that destroys your narrative, your opportunity and your chances to even get in the door.
Thanks for reading. John