Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

Published: July 23, 2018

The rookies bring energy and the veterans bring wisdom. Those in the middle provide the network of connections. These are among the stereotypes of teammates in early, mid, and late stages of their careers. Let's look at a lifespan model of professional development.

Early Career

Hone your skills and build a reputation for being a good teammate. Resist the urge to specialize in exchange for exposure to the broadest array of work. Find strong mentors. Join forces with the people who challenge and fuel you with the most positive energy. Embrace the activities most aligned with your natural strengths. Keep your curiosity in a state of continuous discovery.

Mid Career

Build a network of talent and resources. Use the respect you have earned as a platform for making impact. Elevate your craft with a peer group of collaborative specialists. Insist on meaningful work and healthy workplace culture. Capitalize on your influence and be a good steward of your rising responsibilities.

Late Career

Strategically deploy the rich network of connections and tools you have accrued over decades of investment. Be willing to take a risk and change direction. Find a way to give back in appreciation for all that has been given to you. Teach, mentor, advise, counsel, and consult. Memorialize your accomplishments by passing them on to the next generation.

Everyone is at some stage of beginning, middle, or end. Depending on your place in the team’s lifespan, build your skills, play nice in the sandbox, discover your strengths, grow your network, finesse your resources, try something new, return a favor, share some wealth, and leave the world in a better place.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.