Q&As | How can I approach my supervisor about my future career path?

In this edition of Q&As, I caught-up with Art Berman—President & CEO of Twin Cities RISE!—to discuss what seems to be the no man’s land of career planning with your superior. Checkout his thoughts below on handling this daunting issue!

Career planning is something that’s always on our minds, but it can be an uncomfortable topic for a candid conversation—especially for supervisors. It is the rare and progressive supervisor who will bring this up unprompted. So you should always assume that the onus for career planning is on you.

This conversation should take place periodically, but not frequently—perhaps a couple times a year. It can take shape in the form of a performance review or be planned independently. No matter the context, be thoughtful and purposeful. Having been on both sides of these conversations many times (and I have the gray hair to prove it), I can assure you that it’s a very reasonable request. While you shouldn’t expect your supervisor to initiate this idea, you absolutely should expect him or her to be receptive to it, and to address your request seriously.

As for the conversation itself, be candid about your own thoughts and be open to feedback.  I am always (still) pleasantly surprised that these discussions seem to go better than expected. Open communication—despite the anxiety we all feel when in the anticipation phase—is a very good thing!

Got a burning question you want answered? Send it to the [email protected]. We’ll search for the expert to tackle your question. 

Art Berman is President & CEO of Twin Cities RISE!, a local nonprofit whose mission is to provide work and life skills training, personal coaching and job placement program for chronically unemployed adults living in poverty. Prior to that, Art was Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Ameriprise Financial. He held several senior management positions with American Express and Ameriprise Financial over a 20-plus year career span.

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