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Have You Reached the Top of the Ladder at Your Company? Here's What to Do Next

Fri, Dec 20, 2019

You’ve come a long way since your first job. 

You put in the time and work to prove your value as an employee time and time again. Over the years, you climbed your way up the corporate ladder, and here you are at the top. 

Now what? 

Many professionals spend years working towards the next advancement in their careers. As long as there is another level of expertise or leadership above them, it’s easy to define what their next professional goal is. 

But what happens when you’ve worked your way through all the levels at your company? It’s hard just to settle down and stay motivated without a new goal in sight. 

If you have reached the top of the corporate ladder at your company and are unsure of your next steps, here are a few ideas to keep your career on track. 

1. Look for opportunities elsewhere.

Sometimes, when your current company can offer no more advancement opportunities, your only option is to look elsewhere. This is especially true in smaller organizations where there are not as many levels of leadership or leadership roles are not as prestigious or challenging as at major corporations. 

If you are on the top rung at your current company and still looking for further advancement, start job searching. Update your resume, spread the word to your network and enlist the help of a recruiter

When interviewing for roles, ask about advancement opportunities, so you don’t get stuck at the top of someone else’s ladder right away. 

2. Create a new role.

From your corporate perch, you probably are aware of unmet needs and skill gaps in your company. If you have the means to fill them, begin discussions for creating a new role for yourself

Whether this move is lateral or vertical, make sure it’s a new challenge that will motivate and fulfill you the way past promotions have. 

3. Mentor someone else.

Maybe your own career has run out of steam, but you still have a lot of leftover energy. Why not share it with someone else? 

Few successful people get where they are alone. If planning your next career move isn’t feasible, look around at future up-and-comers and offer your services as a mentor. 

Less experienced professionals appreciate advice and attention from higher-ups. If there is a star performer or employee who shows a lot of potential on your team, take them under your wing and offer them guidance on their career path. 

4. Channel your energies into different kinds of goals.

If your career goals have always focused on advancements, maybe it’s time to think outside the box and make different kinds of work goals. 

Perhaps instead of personal goals, you can focus on departmental or company-wide goals. Or make it your personal goal to improve or expand upon something at work. 

Whatever you choose, make it something meaningful and satisfying, so you don’t miss the thrill of chasing that next promotion.

5. Decide it’s time to settle down.

After all of your success, perhaps it’s time to take a break and coast. 

If you’re approaching retirement, maybe you’ll be satisfied to relax into your current role and ride out your remaining working years there without the pressure of looking for the next big thing. 

This kind of deceleration might take some getting used to, but it might also afford you more work-life balance and allow you to focus on other priorities. If you have spent your entire career climbing that ladder, it might be time for a well-deserved rest. 

You can balance this kind of personal inertia by keeping productive in your job and focusing on helping your team and organization be successful.

They say it can be lonely at the top. It might be boring too. If your head is on the ceiling and you’re looking for the next goal or advancement to work towards, you may find your options limited where you are. 

Your best bet is to look elsewhere, get creative with what you have, or change your priorities. Whatever you do, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for getting as far as you have! 

Do you want assistance taking that next step in your career? Make sure to take a look through SelectOne’s job listings here.

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