Monday, July 23, 2007

Career decisions - winners or losers?

Scott Adams has posted today about people making ego-driven decisions that damage their careers. He starts with a personal anecdote of the painful experience type, and ends with the post with the question "Has your ego ever driven you off a cliff?"

I've been toying with the idea. Of course, I have made many ego-driven decisions in my personal life, and the best decisions I have made are not among them. However, if I think purely of my career...

I made the decision to go freelance when my children were small so that I could work around them. Some people may see that as a self-sacrificial choice, and I think I saw it so myself. But perhaps it was my ego that told me my children would be better off with me than at a nursery or childcare centre.

I have had a few opportunities along the way to move into management. In every instance, the move would have meant moving away from direct contact with learners, so I refused. Would ego have dictated that I take the opportunity to become a boss? Or was it ego that kept me in the classroom where I had unshakable belief in my skill?

Two years ago, I made the move from the classroom into my current role as a learning designer. I wanted to increase my exposure to e-learning, and my previous job afforded only such opportunities under this description as I had forged for myself in an almost underhanded fashion. Was it ego that once again directed me away from management towards the opportunity to gain more skills?

Recently, working through some content resources on a quest for some material for a client, I found a publication on "managing the maverick" and found myself fairly accurately described. Is that what I have become? A maverick? Or is it merely my ego that attempts to attach a label that implies that my lack of progress up the hierarchical ladder is a Noble Thing?

Does this constitute having gone over a cliff? What a morbid thought!

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