Good at the job vs. good at the company

Say you get a job as a Product Manager at FireMuffin Co. The first year or two, you grow a lot. You learn all kinds of great stuff about effective product management. And then at a certain point, that growth curve levels off, especially if you don’t get promoted.

But here’s the tricky bit: that stagnation is invisible, because you keep getting better at being an employee there. You’re learning to navigate the culture, you’re building relationships with the movers and shakers, whatever. And since you’re improving in your job overall, you can’t tell that you’ve stagnated in the stuff that really matters.

The good companies (or even good managers) have workarounds for this. Embedding into another team, trying out new roles, whatever. If you’re in one of those companies, take advantage of that.

If you’re not, and growth is important to you, leave earlier.

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