The career plateau is the point in a career where the likelihood of additional hierarchical promotion is very low. Employees often experience this plateau at mid-career. Some people may experience the career plateau because they have no desire for future promotion. They may enjoy their current jobs and do them well but be reluctant to take on additional responsibilities. Others may have plateaued because of poor performance. Still others find there is simply no place to go: There are no openings at higher levels. The fact that an employee has plateaued may say nothing about desires or performance.
Here are Six examples of employees, who may have reached their Career plateau.
1. “Window Watchers”
Could be workers who have reached their plateau because of slack demand for labor or because of poor performance. Japanese white-collar excess workers are called madogiwazoku, or “window watchers,” because they have little to do but stare out the window. They may be assigned to lawn or maintenance work.
2. “Shelf Sitters,”
Can be Executives whose careers have stagnated and who have been “put on the shelf” in make-work, dead-end positions. These workers could be the executives of today, waiting to be laid off, or replaced as their Corporations are now deemed failures.
3. “Potential Stars”
Learners have high potential for advancement, but are now performing below standards. Trainees or employees recently promoted into new positions which they have not yet mastered, and the Company have no time to wait for results, are good examples.
Stars that did perform well in the past, but as economic conditions change, there experience and knowledge, is part of the old economy rather then the new.
5. “Solid Citizens”
Solid citizens are employees, who have good current performance but little promotion potential, who do their tasks well, but are considered more on the positive side of their career plateau. These could be employees, who keep the ship running, but do not steer it. Not Leaders but coordinators, and middle managers.
Poor performers who have little or no chance of advancing inside the organization, stagnant without ideas and basically around because there may be no where else to go. This is typical of mid-career employees, who may have been a “Star” or even a “Solid Citizen” in the past. But perhaps loyalty, or the lack of motivational Management from the top, created the “deadwood” employee.
7. “Window Dressing”
Employees hired or promoted based more on their race or ethnic identity, then their performance. They could be symbols of how the company progressed in the era of correctness, during the “boom” years. Now, they need to perform, rather then be a symbol of the companies “correctness.”
There are some interesting issues regarding these differing Career plateaued employees, often they are the first to go, in severe economic conditions. But it may not be their fault that they have become expendable. Many are happy in their positions, and do not seek promotion, only security. Others are “passed” on, because there is simply no promotional prospects in the company.
Other Employees may have relevant skills to help Corporations face this economic crisis, rather then skills that were need in the previous “bubble economy.” So appraisals should be made on what each employee can offer today, rather than what they did, yesterday.