Thursday, December 03, 2009

People or Position

I made an importantish (as C.S. Lewis would say) discovery yesterday about my career: I don't want (or need) to be a senior level executive.

(Yes, I know, you ask why I say this now in my lowly position. Stick with me.)

The realization burst on my consciousness yesterday as I was sitting amongst some coworkers at lunch, chatting about different items. Suddenly I realized: anyone above a managerial level doesn't get this.

They never get to eat lunch with the people that work under them - and when they do, the conversation is so often not free flowing but forced. They often really don't understand what is actually going on at a company: they set policy and goals, but too often don't have a pulse for what is going on beneath them, like living in California but not knowing what the slow but steady tectonic plates are doing underground.

Simply put, they just lose touch with people.

And that is actually part of my job that I like - not so much the enforcement that goes along with it, but the being able to stop by anywhere and simply have people be themselves as you interact with them, not suddenly becoming stiff or fearful or just clamming up.

Does that mean I don't ever want to be in charge? No, not saying that. I enjoy being responsible - but as long as I have the authority to go along with the responsibility. So being in charge of myself or a few others is not something to continue to work for - it's just where I do it.

What it does mean is that the idea of me continuing in industry with the hopes of rising to the senior "C" level is against the grain of what I value in human interactions and therefore not a direction to pursue.

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