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.