Striving upward. It’s the American way. But when, if ever, should your way stop being upward? After all, people rising to their level of incompetence is common enough to have a name: The Peter Principle. Besides, even if you could succeed at higher rungs, is it worth the price? One size does not fit all.
This article’s purpose is to help you decide you whether to aim up, sideways, or down, at least for now. And yes, pulling back can be worthy of consideration.
Six questions to help you decide up, down, or sideways.
Consider these questions:
If you want to climb. These questions may help you identify what you need to do to accelerate your ascension:
If you want to step down. The challenge is mustering the courage to tell your boss, friends, and family. You might try wording such as this:
When I look back on my career, it seems I was at my best as an individual contributor. People always told me I did a good job, I wasn’t unduly stressed, and I had time for the things I wanted to do outside of work. I know it’s not the standard way but I’m thinking it’s wise to accept the raised eyebrows and take a step down. I hope you won’t lose respect for me for doing that. I’d really appreciate your support.
Up isn’t the only way. In today’s America, we claim to celebrate diversity. But truly, many of us are remarkably intolerant of people whose behaviors and ideas fall outside a very narrow range. If someone says or implies they’re ready to stop climbing, you might want to replace an accusation such as, “Why?” with something like, “That’s brave and often wise. Want to tell me what brought you to that decision?”
Wikipedia’s profile of Marty Nemko tells you more than necessary.