We might all say that career success should be measured by how fulfilled you are on the job, but in practice, most people and companies still measure success by how high you climbed the corporate ladder. Clawed yourself near the top of the org chart? You ARE successful. But if you’re not on a leadership track, playing the “my number of direct reports is bigger than yours” game, you’re probably not. We all know this is lunacy, especially in the tech world, so why do so many companies still have only a single path for promotions? You either move into management or your career (pay, benefits, perks, control, etc.) stands still.
Isn’t it about time we quit measuring professional success in one dimension, vertically, and start considering how much your actual work matches your desired work?
And isn’t it about time more companies started offering multiple career tracks, where management is no more valuable or important than the highly-skilled work of an individual contributor?
What happens when a company gives an employee no option for growth other than management? Yes, lots of individual contributors (even programmers) want the challenge of a management role, but some of the best feel forced into trading the work they love best for more “advancement opportunities”. How senseless is it to take a star programmer and make her do Gantt charts? How lame it is to take your best designer and make him run budget meetings, review TPS reports, and consolidate time sheets?
I would always want to be a star programmer instead of a star manager?
Whats your choice?