What do you consider reaching the top of your career? Priya Runthala, Sr. Talent Acquisition at Prakat Solutions, offered this great story that provided an important perspective for hiring managers and employees alike:
I called a candidate about a new opportunity. It was a promotion from his current role, and he had the right skills and qualifications.
“Sorry but I’m not interested,” he politely said.
I pressed him on it until he said something that really confused me. He told me that he “already made it to the top”.
I was familiar with his current company and looked at his CV again.
He wasn’t anywhere near the top. He would have needed binoculars to see the top. He wasn’t even a manager yet.
He explained to me that “making it to the top” for him meant he loved the exact work he did each day, he loved his company, he was treated fairly and with respect, he made enough money to be comfortable, he had excellent benefits, he had flexibility, and most importantly to him, he’s never missed a single football game, school play, parent-teacher conference, anniversary, birthday, or any family event.
He knew what taking the next step in his career meant. More time, travel, and sacrifice. “Not worth it,” he said.
Your definition of “making it to the top” doesn’t have to be society’s or anyone else’s definition. You Do You.
It’s an incredible thing for you to understand what’s most important in your life and seek after it. The problem is that many people don’t have a clear vision of what’s most important. Plus, our society has kind of indoctrinated us with this idea that the only way to be successful is to keep moving up. This story illustrates exactly why that is false.
The reality is that many people would be much happier having reached the “top” when they reached a position that they loved and paid them enough to live the rest of their lives the way they want to live. I realized this early on in my career. I always thought I wanted to be a C-level executive. As I learned more about what they did and the things they had to deal with, I changed my mind and decided that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
What do you consider the top of your career? Don’t let others influence you based on their thinking. Make a decision based on your own feelings and desires. Of course, many people love being leaders and are incredible managers. If that’s you, then pursue that as well, but don’t feel forced to “move up the ladder” just because society pushes us that direction.