Lately, I’ve become increasingly enamored with a woman named Kathy Sierra. Ok, not really with her – I don’t even know her – but with her writing. Kathy writes a blog she calls Creating Passionate Users. She’s got one of those “let’s change the world and here’s why and here’s how” attitudes, where “the world” is “the way we do business.”
Kathy’s post today is particularly striking. “Success” should not mean “Management” basically questions the entire model of how promotions in business work. She points out that while businesses always want to promote their people into management positions, a lot of people (especially technical people like programmers and engineers) don’t want those jobs. They take them because the pay and benefits are better, but they don’t necessarily involve doing the things they actually want to do.
While Kathy does discuss some of the reasons for this, I think one thing she misses is that the people running the business are the people who LIKE management-type things, so they think that promoting people along those lines is a great reward. Like in so many other areas, they don’t realize that everyone has the same goals as them. This could be part of the reason why this happens.
I think this is part of the reason I enjoy being self-employed. With nearly total autonomy, I get to make sure that most of my work is things I actually want to do. If there was a company where the defined career path was increased opportunity to do the things I want to do, and decreased necessity of doing the things I don’t want to do, I would consider working there.