So I have begun wondering over the past few years about when the view of our personal future changes. In other words, when do you make that switch from “upwardly mobile” to “hanging on ’til the end”? And how do you deal with that?

My life and career has centered around the company I work for (poor sentence structure, sorry)…for many years. Let’s just use an ambiguous term of “many” here. And I am frequently asked where I see myself in __ years. I may be short-sighted, or just complacent but I don’t have that vision anymore. I used to struggle with the answer because I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I struggle because I see retirement in my future and I’m gonna guess that’s not the answer most forward-thinking companies look for.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any intention of slowing to a crawl as my “days are numbered” or shelving projects because I have lost interest. I love what I do. It’s challenging and exciting. Most days it’s not depressing to go to work (although it is increasingly difficult to get UP for work). I love writing, and I love my co-workers, and I love the industry we work with. I do feel strongly about education and I believe in the power of a nonprofit organization to change the world. I think that the little bit I contribute to my company’s success is an important little bit because if you’re not learning, you’re not alive. So, I don’t think that I’m winding down…not at all.

I do worry, though, because I see myself sitting here (or in a slightly nicer version of my office as it stands now) working for the same company, learning more about the business we are in and learning more about my craft. I don’t see myself climbing a corporate ladder or reaching to be a manager or a director, or a vice president. I don’t see that.

Funny…as I typed that last sentence I realized I’ve been a president of a “corporation” for a few years and I walked away from that drained and beaten down…my own fault, I know but it happened and it was real so…

What do you think? Where are you in your corporate cycle or just career cycle? Do you look UP the ladder, laterally, or down? When you’re asked those ever-painful questions of “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” are you able to pinpoint a place and reply? Maybe I am just waiting to see what I’ll be when I grow up…if I grow up.



About maryaquino

Food, rock and roll and greyhound lover
This entry was posted in Crazy Random Thoughts, Journaling, My Thoughts and Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Wondering

  1. Coop says:

    Hope I’m still in the picture you have in 5 years….


  2. maryaquino says:

    You *are* the picture of me in 5 years….


  3. Kim Gillen says:

    I’ve grown to accept the fact that, no matter how much I’ve tried to guide my life and future in particular directions over the past many decades, something always turns up to surprise me. So, now I give my life gentle guidance but mostly look forward to seeing what the next surprise will be. Life is like that old game (dating myself here) “Chutes and Ladders” – a little diagonal, sometimes up, sometimes WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH down, but always interesting (at least to a 4 year old, HA).

    Liked by 1 person

    • maryaquino says:

      I’ve spent my career on that slightly diagonal ladder…never really up, but only once or twice DOWN. The “corporate ladder” (I was gonna put a corporate ladder jpeg as the picture for the blog) is sometimes scary. Especially in a high-tech company and while my company is *really good* about promoting from within…and promoting women, it’s become a THING in the past few years. Actually, since the most recent CEO came on board. That said…I am comfortable where I’m at now. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.


  4. Lindsay says:

    Funny, I just had a somewhat-relevant conversation with a friend/coworker this afternoon. She was saying something like, “Can you even imagine saying, ‘Hi, my name is Lindsay, I’m the Director/Vice-President/etc of ___?” She couldn’t imagine it at all (and she’s a couple years younger than me), but I think I can now. It doesn’t seem so far out of reach, I guess.

    Although, in my current position, it would be extremely difficult to move up. I’m fairly confident that if I want a Director role or more, I can achieve that within the next 5 years, but I’ll have to move to a different team.

    So yeah, at 34, I’m still thinking upwards. Time will only tell how long that lasts…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. maryaquino says:

    Yeah, that’s the thing. Blackbaud is that kind of company that promotes (women) from within. I spent 10 yrs with my head down and now in the “back 9”, I’m still head down. Funny, I’ve often thought that really all I would like to have happen in my lifetime is have a headhunter reach out to me and see if I were interested in changing jobs. I’m not. Just weirdness on my part.


  6. Kim Gillen says:

    I think we are often caught up in the artificial construct of “you must achieve MORE, you must have AMBITION, you must IMPROVE upon your current reality” – when the truth is, if our current reality brings us joy, helps others, and leaves us feeling like we are making a difference to someone, somewhere… that’s really all that matters. Why trade in joy, helping, and fulfillment for the HOPE that a “bigger” position will somehow improve upon a life that is happy and excelling right where it is? Humans are built to question – but sometimes we ignore the answer that is staring at us, because we are conditioned to “achieve.”

    I commend you for seeing that you may just be achieving your best self right where you are! A CEO who is stressed out, miserable, and always feeling like the company is a fingernail away from falling into an abyss has nothing compared to the cafeteria worker who loves seeing all his favorite customers every day, leaves everyone feeling happy with a smile on their faces, and goes home at night enriched by his daily connections to the joy in all of us. If you’re not built to love being a CEO, you would be doing yourself and others a disservice by wasting your talents trying to achieve that position because society says you “should” move up. Keep that spot open for the person who truly thrives on the challenges of being a CEO, and spend your talents where you love to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. maryaquino says:

    You’re so right. We forget that some of us are cut out to be indians…not cheifs.


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