The career plateau is the point in a career where the probability of further promotion in the hierarchy is very low. Employees often experience this mid-career plateau. Some people may experience career plateau because they have no desire for future promotion. They may enjoy their current jobs and do well, but be reluctant to take on additional responsibilities. Others may have stalled due to poor performance. Still others find that there is simply nowhere to go: there are no openings at the higher levels. The fact that an employee has stalled may not say anything about desires or performance.
Here are six examples of employees who may have reached their career plateau.
1. “Window Watchers”
They could be workers who have peaked due to low demand for labor or due to poor performance. Excessive white-collar 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 Keepers”
They may be Executives whose careers have stalled and who have been “put on the shelf” in dead-end, jobless positions. These workers could be the executives of today, waiting to be fired or replaced, as their Corporations are now considered failures.
3. “Potential stars”
Students have high growth potential, but are now performing below standards. Apprentices or employees recently promoted to new positions that they have not yet mastered, and the Company does not have time to wait for the results, are good examples.
Stars who have performed well in the past, but as economic conditions change, experience and knowledge are part of the old economy and not the new.
5. “Solid Citizens”
Solid citizens are employees, who are currently performing well but have little potential for promotion, who do their jobs well but are seen as more on the positive side of their career plateau. These could be employees, who keep the ship going, but don’t run it. Not leaders but coordinators and middle managers.
6. “Dead Wood”
Underperformers who have little or no chance of moving forward within the organization, stuck with no ideas and basically hanging around because there is nowhere 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 lack of motivation from top management, created the “dead” employee.
Employees hired or promoted based more on their race or ethnic identity than on their performance. They could be symbols of how the company progressed in the era of correction, during the “boom” years. Now, they must work, instead of being a symbol of the “correctness” of companies.
There are some interesting questions regarding these different career stalled employees, often 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 jobs and are not looking for promotions, just security. Others are “past”, because there are simply no prospects for promotion in the company.
Other employees may have skills relevant to helping corporations deal with this economic crisis, rather than the skills that were needed in the previous “bubble economy.” Therefore, evaluations should be made on what each employee can offer today, rather than what they did yesterday.