Yesterday, I had a pleasant conversation about my career with my Director. My career and the many recent changes at the company have been on my mind for a while now. I had begun to feel helpless that I would always remain in my present role at the company — I’ve been here 8 years — and that I would continue to be assigned unchallenging non-technical work.

Last year, I applied for an interviewed for an open position within the company. A staff member, an Associate Director, was moving into a new role in another department and she suggested that I apply for her position. Before she left she took me under her wing and taught me about the service. I attended her staff meetings and she introduced me to the business people who were here important clients and contacts. I was valued for my technical acumen and insight and I was learning to understand network Layer 8.

While the Director ( we got a Director in April ) decided on how he wanted to structure the role, he assigned me as interim manager for the next three months. It was an excellent opportunity to step up and take on more challenging and more client facing work. During the summer, I ran the program, making a few small changes and documenting my observations. I had one consultant working for me, a woman who was my summer Intern just a few year earlier. We worked well together.

I felt positive and upbeat after each job interview. Each of the interviewers was a peer with whom I had worked in the past and I had a good relationship with each one. I was starting to feel good about my career prospects.

I did not get the position. At the hiring decision follow-up my Director told me that although the interview team felt that I had the right mix of technical and service management experience — after all I had run the program for three months — they felt that I lacked experience in one important aspect of the job — people management.

So what do I do with that? I can take all the technical and business skills training available but none of it will give me experience managing teams of people. My Director admitted that was something he needed to address.

That was four months ago and I wanted to bring conversation topic back to the new Director. I explained that I had seen several positions posted that were of interest but I felt constrained in applying since they all required “manager of staff” experience. How could I be assured that I had a future at the company if I was unqualified to apply for more challenging roles. She admitted that it would be tough. Since 2004 the company has been outpouring more it’s IT services to external providers; about 90% of our IT is done by non-company staff. The new Director promised to keep an eye out for “special projects” — projects where I could take a role leading a cross-functional role team. However, neither she nor I knew of any current or planned special projects.

Time to move on?