What To Do When You're Being Groomed For A Job You Don't Want

Are you being groomed for a job you don't want at your company? This happens all of the time. You’re a rockstar at your company, and your boss starts preparing you for a role you would excel in. Meanwhile, you realize that this particular role doesn’t excite you, you’re not engaged by the work, or it’s just not where your passions lie. So, what do you do? “If you’re not fully engaged with your work and you don’t see it aligning with your future career goals, it will cause problems for you,” said career expert J.T. O’Donnell. According to O’Donnell, you won’t be as effective or engaged at work, and people will notice. As a result, you’ll be unhappy and you won’t get where you want to go in the long run. So how do you deal? How can you overcome this obstacle?


Understand what doesn’t excite you about the role.

Before you have a conversation with your manager, sit down and think about WHY you don’t want the role. What about it doesn’t meet your needs? Why doesn’t it get you excited? In order to articulate your concerns, you have to have a clear understanding of the “WHY” factor.

Figure out why you want to go.

After that, you need to understand where you want to see yourself. If not this role, what role? Why? What role within the organization would be a better fit for you?

Think about the added value you would bring to the organization by making this pivot.

What’s the business case for letting you pivot roles? What value can you bring to the organization in this other role?

Have the hard conversation.

After you’ve figured out all of the above, it’s time for you to sit down with your boss and explain why you don’t want to take the job. You can say something like this: “This is a really tough conversation for me. I know you’re grooming me for this position, and I’m grateful that you believe in me and support me. However, my challenge is that it doesn’t align with my vision for my own career. Here’s why…. [insert reason]. Now, I do see an opportunity for myself here that aligns with my vision… [insert position and why you feel it’s a better fit for you]. More importantly, here are a few reasons why it would benefit this organization if I moved into this role instead [insert value add]. This will be a difficult conversation. However, if you've decided this is a job you don't want, you need to take action. Otherwise, you're going to be miserable, disengaged, and ineffective.

WARNING: You might not have a choice.

According to O’Donnell, your boss might understand where you’re coming from, but might also really need you to do this particular role at this point in time. You need to be prepared for that. “Remember, an employer is running a business,” said O’Donnell, “they can’t just move people all the time because they feel like it. There has to be a solid business case to make that move.” Unfortunately, if it’s not there, or they really need you to do that particular role, you have to decide if it’s worth it for your career. So, you might be getting groomed for a job you don't want, but if you can articulate a good business case for moving in a different direction instead, you might be able to avoid it. For more tips from O’Donnell, watch this video.

Want to get out of your career rut?

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