What If I Don’t Want the Promotion?
What if I have absolutely no desire to move up the corporate ladder?
Ever since I graduated college, it feels like there has been this invisible string that’s tethered me to my seemingly inevitable “career trajectory”.
It’s like there has been this unspoken code that if you aren’t moving up the corporate ladder, then you’re an unsuccessful loser…at least, that’s how it feels within the industry that I work in.
For the past few years, I’ve been slowly noticing my colleagues and former colleagues rise up in the ranks — Getting promoted to newer, fancier titles, gaining more responsibilities, and adding a couple extra grand to their salaries. And it does seem fitting. I am at that age where people are really starting to make moves in their careers.
But for me, I kind of hit a plateau.
For a short period of time, I really did genuinely care about those things; checking off the boxes and moving up the ladder. I figured that it was the right thing to do, that it was the only thing to do.
Eventually, I had the word “Senior” added to my title, indicating that I had enough work experience to the point where I didn’t have to be bucketed in the same pool with the newbies or the fresh-out-of-college graduates.
However, the title change made no difference to me — I didn’t feel any more proud or accomplished or successful than I did before. I didn’t feel any happier or more superior or more fulfilled in life.
It didn’t really do anything for me.
So, I started to wonder if continuing to climb up an extra rung in the corporate ladder and getting another promotion would really get my wheels spinning.
I realized, it wouldn’t.
I recently came to the realization that checking off the boxes and getting a promotion doesn’t necessarily motivate me. But, it puts me in this awkward position of asking myself, and even wishing I could ask my colleagues, this question —
What if I don’t want the promotion?
What if I have absolutely no desire to move up the corporate ladder? What if I don’t care about the extra money or the fancy title? What if those things aren’t what I want in life?
What if I’m the one who’s left behind, staying in the same exact spot, while everyone else continues to move up?
Of course, I’m not saying that I have no ambitions or that I’m unmotivated to work in general. I’m not saying that I want to be poor or that I wouldn’t appreciate the extra money. I have the integrity to do well in my job and I obviously need the money to make a living somehow — I need to pay my bills, rent, buy food, and support myself in all the ways I need to survive.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it feels like I should aspire to move up in my current industry, but deep down, I know that I don’t want to. It’s like I’m just killing time staying still until I can’t do it anymore.
I know that in life, there will always be those things that we don’t necessarily want to do, but we know that they just have to get done. I guess I just need to figure out if the promotion is one of those things.