'The joke was definitely on me'
Heidi McBain, a Texas-based counsellor, says moving into management can be particularly hard for people who are doing something that they love. She ended up resigning after taking on a supervisory position that meant giving up her counselling clients.
Although the position was better paid and offered a more senior title, McBain missed working directly with her clients – and managing the work of other counsellors wasn’t the same. “The joke was definitely on me,” recalls McBain, who now owns her own online counselling business.
Diane Domeyer, of Robert Half, says things are changing. As organisations “flatten” and require fewer employees in middle management, career experts are seeing younger workers declining roles that would allow them to climb the ladder in the traditional manner.
“Many individuals either in IT or creative professions have a major impact without ever managing people,” says Domeyer, who focuses on creative careers. “Your value to an organisation does not need to be aligned with where you sit on an organisation chart.”
When counselling younger employees, Jo Miller advises them to be cautious of accepting a more senior role as a way of improving self-esteem and talks to them about the overlooked benefits of taking a lower position at another firm.
She often has to dispel the myth that all promotions lead to career benefits: “People shouldn’t be afraid to step down and take a step back,” she adds.
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