Michele Terry is a 45-year-old assistant vice-president of marketing services at Federal Bank…

Michele Terry is a 45-year-old assistant vice-president of marketing services at Federal Bank (fictitious name), a medium-sized financial institution. The fact that some of the staff she once hired have been promoted above her in recent years is a daily reminder that Michele’s longtime ambition to become an executive vice-president at Federal Bank is not likely to be fulfilled. Her recent performance appraisal meetings with her 40-year-old superior, a senior vice president, left no doubt in Michele’s mind about Federal’s plans: she will most likely retire at her current level. In fact, the handwriting had been on the wall for more than five years. During this time, Michele reexamined her original goal. How important was it for her to become an executive vice-president with Federal or some other commercial bank? Her conclusion was that it was still a personally important goal. As a result, Michele had at least 15 interviews during the past five years with other banks. In each case, she got a polite but negative response. All of the institutions were hiring MBAs, and Michele had only a bachelor’s degree. More important, Michele was competent enough but did not have sufficiently varied experiences in the financial services industry and did not seem to project the image of a higher-level officer, let alone an executive vice president. In a state of dismay, she also spoke with officers of other institutions in the financial services industry. The reactions to these inquiries were all similarly negative. Last year, several conversations with Federal’s senior officers and her husband convinced Michele to give up her dream of becoming an executive vice-president at the bank. It was simply out of the question. Although there was a chance of further advancement, Michele concluded that it was slim. In the meantime, Michele reexamined why she always wanted to become a senior officer at the bank. In addition to money and status, she wanted the opportunity to affect broad policies as a way to make changes in the services that banks provide to the community. Therefore, she concentrated on broadening the scope of her current position by looking for ways to influence the bank’s approach to community reinvestment. Michele enrolled in several training seminars on community reinvestment and convinced her boss that she should chair a task force on new market development. She also began to serve as a mentor to several of Federal’s younger managers, helping them get their careers established and perhaps avoid some of the mistakes she may have made earlier in her career. On the home front, Michele seems more relaxed than she has been in quite some time, and she is better able to enjoy her family. She has encouraged her husband to switch to a more personally satisfying career field, has freely given him advice and support, and seems to enjoy the success her husband is beginning to experience in his rejuvenated career. Michele is also spending more time with her children and her infant grandchild and has rekindled her interest in the local political scene. Michele’s most recent performance appraisal was outstanding. Although she doesn’t put in nearly so many weekends and evenings as she had in the past, her job performance has not suffered. On the contrary, her marketing group is working on several innovative projects, the task force she heads is making real progress, and she is deriving great satisfaction from her mentoring relationships with several of the bank’s younger managers. Although Michele is periodically frustrated over her lack of advancement, she is a respected contributor at the bank and, little by little, is coming to terms with her disappointment. Case Questions 1. Identify the specific career exploration activities that Michele undertook to gather information about herself (her values, needs, abilities, interests, and desired lifestyle) and her environment (different jobs, employers, industries, her family). What could she have done to acquire more information? 2. Does Michele currently have conceptual and operational career goals? If so, what are they? If not, explain why you believe that Michele does not currently have career goals. 3. What specific career strategies did Michele implement? Were they effective? Why or why not? 4. To what extent has Michele received useful feedback regarding her career? Should Federal Bank have been more proactive in helping Michele manage her career? What could the Bank have done to help her? 5. If you were advising Michele, what recommendations would you give her to help her effectively manage her career going forward?

 

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