Near, Janet P.
October 1980
Business Horizons;Oct80, Vol. 23 Issue 5, p53
Academic Journal
Ned Morris has worked for XYZ Chemicals for the last fifteen years, ever since completing his MBA at a prestigious eastern school. This was preceded by five years' work as a chemical engineer. He is now 45, with two kids in high school, and has spent a lot of weekends working overtime for his firm. Morris was labeled a "whiz kid" during his first decade in the firm, moving up rapidly through a series of rotations and promotions in five different divisions. But for the last three years he has held the same position, reporting to the vice president in charge of Division B. After about a year in this job he was tentatively approached about the possibility of transfer at the same level to another, larger division; he turned it down, feeling that he still needed time to master his present job. Besides, the kids didn't want to leave their high school so close to graduation, and his wife seemed pleased with her current teaching job. Now he wondered if his rejection of the transfer had closed doors to him; or maybe the steady, go-slow reputation of his boss had something to do with it. Having his advancement opportunities cut off so early in his career was a possibility he had not even considered when joining the company. Reaching the career plateau can be upsetting at any age. For several reasons, the "Ned Morris predicament" is likely to occur more frequently and at an earlier age for managers in the next decade. While it is true that every case is different, there are also enough similarities to suggest a list of frequent causes and effects of the career plateau.


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