Career Goals – The Window Seat

What is your career goal? Lately I have been reflecting and reading about this question – and how people answer it.

Several things I have read and listened to have ben written by people who have ideas and have shared them with others via various forms of communication. Not just a Facebook posts – but something more bold – taking part in the larger conversation – making a statement. These “bold” people – who we call authors – are all businessmen and women – out selling what they have to offer the world. Some I like, some I do not, and some are just plain crazy. Yet, they are the voices that set the trends and steer the conversations – if only for a moment in time.

But they are not important here. What I wonder about is the silence. What about those are those people who are afraid to speak? What are they saying? Or perhaps they are not afraid – they are just too busy working – often for those people who do speak.

I have interviewed many people in the past few years. I was interviewing them either for acceptance into the IEM program, or for a position for which I was hiring. I often ask them where they want to go. I am not sure if they think the quesiton is some interviewing trick or what – but they answer is often something like “I want to take the next step.”

What is the next step? For many it is a move into management. For other a move one rung up the ladder in the corporation. But where does it lead? Where are they heading?

I was interviewing a candidate, we can call him Douglas, for acceptance into IEM. I asked him what he wanted – and instead of telling me what he wanted – he explained what he did not want….

Douglas has been working for large company for two years. Recently a set of personell changes left a window cube open – and one of the 25 year veterans was given this prime piece of real estate and proudly went around telling everyone he had finally made it to the window seat. Douglas was stunned – after 25 years all you have got to show for your effort is a window seat? Douglas told me this is NOT want he wanted – he wanted something more!

Yet, day after day I see people jocky for the window seat. Political battles sometimes ensue. Long hours and even backstabbing take place. It can get bloody. Sometimes the window seat is really a job title or a perk – but the reality is it is never the freedom to call the shots.

What is your goal? Is it a window seat, a job title, or other perks? But the bigger question is “Why?” Is this “perk” really what you want? Come on – really? You have the option to define it – so have you done so?