My less-painful-than-it-could-have-been transition got me thinking about why I left my office job in the first place, because there was pretty cool milestone in August: the year anniversary of the birth of WaterMullen.
The nitty-gritty details of my departure from my quote-unquote real job aren't worth repeating, but maybe one of my lessons is:.
Promotions come with additional responsibilities, one of which (or maybe all of which) is managing other people.
That progression (promotion->manager=direct report) used to make a lot of sense to me, maybe because it's commonplace, and also because from a pedagogical perspective, experienced professionals should guide/mentor tadpoles to build a better company etc.
And yet...how many people have absolutely f***ing awful managers, and leave their jobs because of them? Many. So many. Oodles and oodles.
At the time of my departure, I was a manager, and at the height of my unhappiness, I was convinced I was a terrible boss. I don't think I'll ever know if I was truly as awful as I feared, but my concerns about my own capabilities and my observation of other managers made me realize that there are a lot of people who shouldn't be managers. A LOT.
It would be so great if more companies figured out ways to promote their employees by emphasizing their strengths instead of tossing everyone into the managerial meat grinder to make shitty-boss-sausage.
If I'd been a great boss, if I'd felt like I had a really great role model boss to emulate, I can almost guarantee you I'd still be at that job.
I think I deserved my promotions. I worked hard, I got things done, I did it fast, and I did it really well. For a while at least, I thought I was helping my employees to do well without helicoptering. Again, totally might not be the case. I could have been the worst boss on the planet.
So maybe, instead of managing coworkers, I should have been handed a greater portion of work that I could slay at and about which I was truly passionate. If I felt like I was contributing as only I could, using my unique talents, if I felt like my skills had been valued, I can almost guarantee you I'd still be at that job. If I hadn't been haphazardly tossed into the boiling mess of leftover gristle, and squeezed into a casing that fit like an Iron Maiden, maybe I'd be there. Maybe if I'd been more adaptable, I could have turned that shitty boss sausage into something delicious and nutritious.
Or maybe it wouldn't have made any difference at all.
Luckily, I transitioned into a position where all of my projects play to my strengths, and I have an awesome boss: MYSELF.