Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

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bigtex
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Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by bigtex » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am

Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc? I am at a point where boss says I can be promoted but must be willing to work more hours be available at all times of day etc. Basically my work life balance spending time with family and kids goes away but now I make more money. Why not just stay where I am if I can still hit my financial goals for retirement etc?

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by livesoft » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:49 am

Because you will be fired to make room for the people that you are blocking behind you.
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:55 am

I've spent my career as a technical contributor and make it very clear with management that I want nothing to do with becoming a manager of any kind. This has led to me doing just fine, in one case being at the level where any technical project in the ($16B) company had to get my technical OK before being finalized. I've seen many other engineers climb up to become director level and back pedal to again work as "real" engineers. Every one of them appear to be about a million percent happier than when they were Grand Pubah of the division. I've worked as an engineer for 34 years.
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by daheld » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:03 am

livesoft wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:49 am
Because you will be fired to make room for the people that you are blocking behind you.
Where I work, the inverse is actually true. The higher you climb, the easier it is for you to be fired.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Ged » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:05 am

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc?
Livesoft pointed out one of the dangers of this approach. Another is that you will max out your pay for the job you are doing, making replacement by a younger lower paid person with fresher skills likely.

If you don't want to be a manager (and I can definitely understand that) you still need to look for other ways to increase your value to your company over time.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:13 am

daheld wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:03 am
Where I work, the inverse is actually true. The higher you climb, the easier it is for you to be fired.
Perhaps, but at least if you are higher up you have a fighting chance at influencing your fate. Peons have to just accept layoffs as they come. In other words, you want to be at the table, not on the table. And even if you do get fired as a Director/ VP, the severance packages are much better.
Ged wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:05 am
bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc?
Livesoft pointed out one of the dangers of this approach. Another is that you will max out your pay for the job you are doing, making replacement by a younger lower paid person with fresher skills likely.

If you don't want to be a manager (and I can definitely understand that) you still need to look for other ways to increase your value to your company over time.
+1

OP should google “growth mindset”
Last edited by HEDGEFUNDIE on Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Watty » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:40 am

If you are in a technical field it might be a bit different than other fields.

I worked in various roles as a software developer and the few times I dabbled in people management I hated it and frankly I probably was not very good at it. I was a "techie" and just did not have the right personality to me a manager.

Over the years I saw a number of "techie" people go into management and many of them did not do well but after being out of hands on work for five+ years they were in a bind since it would have been difficult to get back into a technical roll.

I managed to keep working as a "techie" until I retired but as others have said you really need to keep your skills current, get on important projects, and be flexible. There is also a gray area of project management and system design that is still technical but more advanced.

Years ago when talking to other software developers someone compared it to being a dentist in that you can work for decades doing the same job but you need to keep up to date.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by SQRT » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:47 am

During my career, quite a while ago, I had to “let go” people who had basically retired on the job. Not saying the OP would do this but a mindset of low ambition, lack of improvement, complaining about the bosses, etc can often mean being unemployed in your early ‘50’s. If you aren’t progressing it can often mean you are falling behind. Of course there are always exceptions and environments vary by industry somewhat.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:50 am

SQRT wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:47 am
During my career, quite a while ago, I had to “let go” people who had basically retired on the job. Not saying the OP would do this but a mindset of low ambition, lack of improvement, complaining about the bosses, etc can often mean being unemployed in your early ‘50’s. If you aren’t progressing it can often mean you are falling behind. Of course there are always exceptions and environments vary by industry somewhat.
+1. There are cases where you aren't able to progress particularly in companies where there is little growth, you have a few chiefs and many foot soldiers and that is it. The choice then, is to move up if a position opens or to move out. If you stay, the new chief looking to make a name for themselves may cull the population of foot soldiers.
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Longdog » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:54 am

SQRT wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:47 am
During my career, quite a while ago, I had to “let go” people who had basically retired on the job. Not saying the OP would do this but a mindset of low ambition, lack of improvement, complaining about the bosses, etc can often mean being unemployed in your early ‘50’s. If you aren’t progressing it can often mean you are falling behind. Of course there are always exceptions and environments vary by industry somewhat.
I'm curious - is it possible that any of those people were doing that intentionally, expecting to be let go as part of a larger strategic plan to retire early? Or was it always an unwelcome surprise to them?
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:55 am

If you get a leader, who is clueless, then at your level, you may see some unwanted office rules, that you may not like.
You do need to be prepared to "keep the heads down, and do your work"

You mostly be self independent and do not care who the boss is ?

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:55 am

I don't think it is an issue. I used to work at mega corp, $60B company at the time. The other side of the coin with regard to the growth mindset is that if everyone wants to be the CFO, but there is only one CFO, where do the rest of the people go? You need people who are happy to be at each level at some point.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by SQRT » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:57 am

Longdog wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:54 am
SQRT wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:47 am
During my career, quite a while ago, I had to “let go” people who had basically retired on the job. Not saying the OP would do this but a mindset of low ambition, lack of improvement, complaining about the bosses, etc can often mean being unemployed in your early ‘50’s. If you aren’t progressing it can often mean you are falling behind. Of course there are always exceptions and environments vary by industry somewhat.
I'm curious - is it possible that any of those people were doing that intentionally, expecting to be let go as part of a larger strategic plan to retire early? Or was it always an unwelcome surprise to them?
Usually a very big surprise. Quite often they thought they were doing a great job but always complained about all the “stupid” meetings and the “idiot” bosses and coworkers. They never really figured out that going to meetings in order to influence associates and work as a team, was a big part of their jobs. A little sad really.
Last edited by SQRT on Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:00 am

daheld wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:03 am
livesoft wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:49 am
Because you will be fired to make room for the people that you are blocking behind you.
Where I work, the inverse is actually true. The higher you climb, the easier it is for you to be fired.
+1

Seen directors and VP level people walked out the door.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Go Blue 99 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:02 am

A lot of this depends on how much importance you put on being challenged, learning new skills, having influence and power, etc.

Personally OP I'm with you. I'm in a nice gig right now where I have a manager title with good pay, but also have excellent work-life balance and low stress. With two small kids at home and a working spouse, this is important to me. At my current company, wanting to move up to the next level would mean a big increase in hours and stress. Being in a MCOL also helps with this. My friends that are in HCOL are always trying to climb the ladder, partly because they need the extra money to live the lifestyle they want.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by bigtex » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:06 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:13 am
daheld wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:03 am
Where I work, the inverse is actually true. The higher you climb, the easier it is for you to be fired.
Perhaps, but at least if you are higher up you have a fighting chance at influencing your fate. Peons have to just accept layoffs as they come. In other words, you want to be at the table, not on the table. And even if you do get fired as a Director/ VP, the severance packages are much better.
Ged wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:05 am
bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc?
Livesoft pointed out one of the dangers of this approach. Another is that you will max out your pay for the job you are doing, making replacement by a younger lower paid person with fresher skills likely.

If you don't want to be a manager (and I can definitely understand that) you still need to look for other ways to increase your value to your company over time.
+1

OP should google “growth mindset”

I have the growth mindset and have communicated this to my company, but is it worth it at the expense of not having family time anymore, high stress, not getting to be at my kid's events etc?

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:07 am

Unfortunately, corporate hierarchies are set to encourage/demand peak working levels to give the often accurate, often false, impression that hard work leads to promotion and reward. After all, those at the top think what rewarded them is the goal of others which is often the case. As someone said, probably not tongue-in-cheek, the problem with your proposal could be getting fired for holding back others (Or being seen as "unmotivated"). Your concept is an excellent one for many, however. It is an issue of life/work balance. Jeff Bezos said life/work balance is a "Debilitating phrase" and that work/life harmony sounds better. Arguably, that approach is a reason he has been in the news lately in terms of his non-work life. We make our choices depending on our own psychology when we move past the first few rungs of Maslow's hierarchy, and you are considering choices others have made before you.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Longdog » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:08 am

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:06 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:13 am
daheld wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:03 am
Where I work, the inverse is actually true. The higher you climb, the easier it is for you to be fired.
Perhaps, but at least if you are higher up you have a fighting chance at influencing your fate. Peons have to just accept layoffs as they come. In other words, you want to be at the table, not on the table. And even if you do get fired as a Director/ VP, the severance packages are much better.
Ged wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:05 am
bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc?
Livesoft pointed out one of the dangers of this approach. Another is that you will max out your pay for the job you are doing, making replacement by a younger lower paid person with fresher skills likely.

If you don't want to be a manager (and I can definitely understand that) you still need to look for other ways to increase your value to your company over time.
+1

OP should google “growth mindset”

I have the growth mindset and have communicated this to my company, but is it worth it at the expense of not having family time anymore, high stress, not getting to be at my kid's events etc?
No.
Steve

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by midareff » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:28 am

Dottie57 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:00 am
daheld wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:03 am
livesoft wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:49 am
Because you will be fired to make room for the people that you are blocking behind you.
Where I work, the inverse is actually true. The higher you climb, the easier it is for you to be fired.
+1

Seen directors and VP level people walked out the door.
Yup...... seen IT crews come in and carry off your computer to look for reasons.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by dcabler » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:38 am

livesoft wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:49 am
Because you will be fired to make room for the people that you are blocking behind you.
And the flip side is that as you climb, your are much more visible to many more people in a company, not all of which have your best interest in mind. At least in my industry, the mean time in a position before leaving drops the higher the level in the company.

Still, people climb. I did it and plateaued probably about 15 years ago. And sure enough, there have been a lot of job changes for me during that time, but my salary has remained in a narrow, but nice, range the whole time and that will help me to retire in in the next 1's of years.... YMMV

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by dcabler » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:49 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:55 am
I've spent my career as a technical contributor and make it very clear with management that I want nothing to do with becoming a manager of any kind. This has led to me doing just fine, in one case being at the level where any technical project in the ($16B) company had to get my technical OK before being finalized. I've seen many other engineers climb up to become director level and back pedal to again work as "real" engineers. Every one of them appear to be about a million percent happier than when they were Grand Pubah of the division. I've worked as an engineer for 34 years.
In my tech industry (semiconductor), it's common to have two ladders: Managerial and Technical. I jumped from Technical to Managerial after rising up several levels on the Technical Ladder and I've known many who've jumped the other direction.

The two ladders are different: For the Managerial ladder, first, there must be a need in the company for the position you want. Then, of course, somebody has to be convinced that you're a fit for it. And anybody who has been there knows both the good and, especially, the bad parts of being in management. I've coached people who have expressed interest in this path to make sure that this is something that they really, really want to do.

For the Technical ladder, there is no "need" gate; it's supposed to be purely merit based. But via a Technical Ladder committee, a number of people have to be convinced that you should move to the next rung. And to reach the highest rungs, you don't just need to be good and recognized in your company, you have to be recognized in the industry. And if you wish to plateau at a certain level, you can also expect to have your salary plateau as well. At least in the larger companies where I've worked, there are some strict rules about salary ranges and you'll find yourself eventually hitting the upper limit for your level such that raises will be low, or gone altogether and, perhaps, replaced by a lump sum payment.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:56 am

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc? I am at a point where boss says I can be promoted but must be willing to work more hours be available at all times of day etc. Basically my work life balance spending time with family and kids goes away but now I make more money. Why not just stay where I am if I can still hit my financial goals for retirement etc?
Over the decades, it seemed to me that advancing in corporate management would mean more and more "meetings" of the type I hated (and still hate).

Seems to me, your problem or risk is that you may not be able to stay where you are. Might me up or out. It might be time to look around for a position like you want to have.

Some folks, though, seem to be able to advance, have the added responsibility/work - BUT not have it materially interfere with their life balance. I don't know how they do it - but I see many such folks. Maybe (?) the added money allows them to attain the "life balance".

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by megabad » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:59 am

In my experience, the higher you go, the more vulnerable you are to removal. However, you also have much lower expectations for workload. People always tell you that workload will increase, but it seems to decrease to me. Basically, the higher you go, the more disconnected you get from "real work", so people have no expectations for your workload but rather the performance of your team as a whole. So if I wanted work life balance, I would likely choose to advance with the tradeoff being that I would have an increased likelihood of losing my job. I essentially have the exact opposite view of OP. I suppose if you had a position where job performance expectations are abnormally low for the front line folks, than this would not apply as much (low end retail, fast food, etc).

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by dm200 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:02 am

megabad wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:59 am
In my experience, the higher you go, the more vulnerable you are to removal. However, you also have much lower expectations for workload. People always tell you that workload will increase, but it seems to decrease to me. Basically, the higher you go, the more disconnected you get from "real work", so people have no expectations for your workload but rather the performance of your team as a whole. So if I wanted work life balance, I would likely choose to advance with the tradeoff being that I would have an increased likelihood of losing my job. I essentially have the exact opposite view of OP. I suppose if you had a position where job performance expectations are abnormally low for the front line folks, than this would not apply as much (low end retail, fast food, etc).
Sometimes, in the corporate environment, there are some niche positions like what the OP desires.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:02 am

It depends on the company, industry, and position. A nonzero number of companies have an “up or out” mentality, and if you aren’t moving up, you will be let go at some point. At most companies that do this, there’s a level that’s considered terminal, where if you get to that level, it’s perfectly okay to spend your career there. If you’re at that level, you probably would know it, and wouldn’t need to ask the question.

A question to ask yourself is, are there other people at your level who have stopped moving up? If there isn’t anyone, that might be a clue.

The other thing is that to stay employed in the corporate world, we need to be worth what the corporate world is paying us. As we get older and make more money, we need to provide more value. You’ll have an answer for what value you’re providing the company that they couldn’t get from someone younger, less expensive, and with more upward potential.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:13 am

SQRT wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:47 am
During my career, quite a while ago, I had to “let go” people who had basically retired on the job. Not saying the OP would do this but a mindset of low ambition, lack of improvement, complaining about the bosses, etc can often mean being unemployed in your early ‘50’s. If you aren’t progressing it can often mean you are falling behind. Of course there are always exceptions and environments vary by industry somewhat.
At least in my experience, this is a significant factor in the workforce "age discrimination" so often discussed on this board.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by surfstar » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:24 am

#capitalism

Don't let your career get in the way of your life. Do whatever it takes to structure your work-life balance to have the time for important things (which are NOT work).

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by samsoes » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:30 am

surfstar wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:24 am
#capitalism

Don't let your career get in the way of your life. Do whatever it takes to structure your work-life balance to have the time for important things (which are NOT work).

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by jharkin » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:38 am

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc? I am at a point where boss says I can be promoted but must be willing to work more hours be available at all times of day etc. Basically my work life balance spending time with family and kids goes away but now I make more money. Why not just stay where I am if I can still hit my financial goals for retirement etc?
Congratulations, you took the red pill. Welcome to the realization that it isn't all about money and work, work and money. and work.

When I hit this realization, as as another person below pointed out realized that being a mid/high level manager made me MORE replaceable, not less- I jumped ship and left for a company with a more rational pace that will let me stay in a long term IC role if I so desire.

The big differentiator is the new company is privately held, so there is not all the grow or die pressure of a publicly traded tech firm.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by jebmke » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:57 am

When I was working people would posit the false choice of up (promotion) or stay put. As a result they would not look at lateral moves or relocation to expand skills/experience in order to make themselves less expandable. As a result, when things started to change, they couldn't adapt and were more likely the ones whose jobs were eliminated as the company changed directions.

I was in finance for much of my career. One of my best managers had taken side trip earlier in his career and worked as a salesman for five years before returning to the finance function.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by vitaflo » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:28 am

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:06 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:13 am
daheld wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:03 am
Where I work, the inverse is actually true. The higher you climb, the easier it is for you to be fired.
Perhaps, but at least if you are higher up you have a fighting chance at influencing your fate. Peons have to just accept layoffs as they come. In other words, you want to be at the table, not on the table. And even if you do get fired as a Director/ VP, the severance packages are much better.
Ged wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:05 am
bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc?
Livesoft pointed out one of the dangers of this approach. Another is that you will max out your pay for the job you are doing, making replacement by a younger lower paid person with fresher skills likely.

If you don't want to be a manager (and I can definitely understand that) you still need to look for other ways to increase your value to your company over time.
+1

OP should google “growth mindset”

I have the growth mindset and have communicated this to my company, but is it worth it at the expense of not having family time anymore, high stress, not getting to be at my kid's events etc?
Nope. You only live once, and the kids are only young once. There are thousands of companies to work for. If you work hard and are pleasant to work with you won't have much of a problem. Everyone at every company is expendable, it doesn't matter what level you are. So just make sure you have a safety net to fall back on and work the way that fits best with your life goals.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by changingtimes » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:39 am

Go Blue 99 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:02 am
A lot of this depends on how much importance you put on being challenged, learning new skills, having influence and power, etc.

Personally OP I'm with you. I'm in a nice gig right now where I have a manager title with good pay, but also have excellent work-life balance and low stress. With two small kids at home and a working spouse, this is important to me. At my current company, wanting to move up to the next level would mean a big increase in hours and stress. Being in a MCOL also helps with this. My friends that are in HCOL are always trying to climb the ladder, partly because they need the extra money to live the lifestyle they want.
It's pretty much where I am. Same gig for 20+ years at the same (non-IT) company, doing IT stuff, but still do a bang-up job in my role. Was a manager once at age 26, and resolved to never ever ever ever do it again. I have flexibility that other people would kill for, great benefits, an employer I always dreamed of working for, and really just kind of do my own thing. My manager has some level of panic that I might decide to bail, which financially I could at any time. But, on the flip side, I also have pretty much topped out my salary.

So, the stars can align for the sort of thing OP is talking about, but don't become a surly malcontent. Do your job and do it really well if you want to stick around. And even then it might not be enough.

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Afty » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:44 am

What's the point?

1) Money
2) Status
3) More control over your work/career

I'm a first-line tech lead/manager at a big software company. This means I both manage people and am the technical lead for a project. I don't find that my workload is any larger than it was when I was an individual contributor (IC). But it's more unpleasant -- delivering bad news to my team (often for things that are out of my control, i.e. toeing the company line), doing performance reviews, having to kill projects, etc. Part of my job is to make tough decisions, and those decisions now affect my whole team instead of just me. I find it very stressful and think a lot about going back to an IC role.
Last edited by Afty on Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

Dottie57
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:44 am

stoptothink wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:13 am
SQRT wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:47 am
During my career, quite a while ago, I had to “let go” people who had basically retired on the job. Not saying the OP would do this but a mindset of low ambition, lack of improvement, complaining about the bosses, etc can often mean being unemployed in your early ‘50’s. If you aren’t progressing it can often mean you are falling behind. Of course there are always exceptions and environments vary by industry somewhat.
At least in my experience, this is a significant factor in the workforce "age discrimination" so often discussed on this board.
Yes and no. At 50, my work group took on a new technology and project deemed critical by the company. When I expressed excitement for the change my (new) manager said it was nice to see someone “older” be excited at a new challenge! :shock: It was enlightening to hear the comment and the assumption of the manager.

Teague
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Teague » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:49 am

SQRT wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:57 am
Longdog wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:54 am
SQRT wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:47 am
During my career, quite a while ago, I had to “let go” people who had basically retired on the job. Not saying the OP would do this but a mindset of low ambition, lack of improvement, complaining about the bosses, etc can often mean being unemployed in your early ‘50’s. If you aren’t progressing it can often mean you are falling behind. Of course there are always exceptions and environments vary by industry somewhat.
I'm curious - is it possible that any of those people were doing that intentionally, expecting to be let go as part of a larger strategic plan to retire early? Or was it always an unwelcome surprise to them?
Usually a very big surprise. Quite often they thought they were doing a great job but always complained about all the “stupid” meetings and the “idiot” bosses and coworkers. They never really figured out that going to meetings in order to influence associates and work as a team, was a big part of their jobs. A little sad really.
Or they may have been right. It sounds like the feeling was mutual, and they thought management's skills and attitude were "a little sad."
Semper Augustus

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corn18
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by corn18 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:53 am

How far up are we talking? I like running a business/business unit from the leadership aspect. The BS factor goes up exponentially when you reach P&L responsibility at a business unit level (not just a PM). But I know how to navigate the BS fairly well and really enjoy leading people. So, I'll take the bad with the good.

As far as comp, sometimes you make more, sometimes not. Depends on how the company is structured. Our company used to make everyone a President that ran a business unit, regardless of size, and paid them accordingly. Now we are transitioning most business units to VP/GM roles with a pay cut. Based on what I read about tech pay in certain areas, an IC is making more than I did as a new President. I wouldn't climb the ladder for the pay if you don't enjoy leading people and dealing with HQ, though.
Don't do something, just stand there!

JTColton
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by JTColton » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:54 am

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc? I am at a point where boss says I can be promoted but must be willing to work more hours be available at all times of day etc. Basically my work life balance spending time with family and kids goes away but now I make more money. Why not just stay where I am if I can still hit my financial goals for retirement etc?
The system depends on it.

In seriousness the perpetual growth paradigm we find our society in these days demands it. They demand more work with the promise of a better evaluation which leads to the hope of promotion and more money. "Continuous growth", "up or out", etc are all methodologies designed to get you to give more of yourself to the organization while keeping less of yourself for...yourself. Its how they get leverage over you. By first realizing you have enough and that their promotions and fancy titles are either meaningless or not worth effort expended, you both remove that leverage and become a threat to the system. The nail that sticks up. If everybody saved half their incomes and then FIRE'd or downshifted or coasted it would all collapse!

Ive seen people who don't stop gunning for the next promotion. They sacrifice everything to do it too. Their health, their families, sometimes their lives. And what for? So you can have a title that doesn't mean a darn thing once you leave? So you miss your kids growing up? So you become a stranger to your own spouse? So your body is ruined from stress and lack of sleep? Congrats, you made it to the top 1% grade in your field but your wife left you, your kids don't know you, youre 40 but look 60 and you have chronic anxiety and sleep apnea. Hah! No thanks, not worth the money.

What I have seen is extreme.

So how do you survive in such a world? You have to have some type of value that sets yourself apart. Your expertise/proficiency should be so off the charts that everything else is forgotten and no one cares if you missed that meeting or didn't put in weekend work. The good thing is that if youre not obsessed with climbing that ladder you have plenty of time to perfect this niche for yourself. For myself instead of chasing every job or project which would advance my career I became the best at a very complicated niche program which is vital for day to day operations across my entire organization. I bust my ass 100% during the workday. But I don't go to meetings. I don't go to after hours trainings. I don't work weekends or nights. I don't do other peoples' work. This method has enabled me to become somewhat renowned in my field, but allowed me the take to take or turn down jobs which don't interest me, or won't advance my agenda while maintaining as a good a work/life balance as one can have in my line of work.

I think it's a good trade. YMMV

Ive posted about this before but here is the article that explains the "workism" phenomenon a bit and another article with reader responses.

The Atlantic: Workism Is Making Americans Miserable

Letters: Readers Discuss American Workism and Its Discontents

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djpeteski
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by djpeteski » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:56 am

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc? I am at a point where boss says I can be promoted but must be willing to work more hours be available at all times of day etc. Basically my work life balance spending time with family and kids goes away but now I make more money. Why not just stay where I am if I can still hit my financial goals for retirement etc?
Kind of like this:

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Tamalak
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Tamalak » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:58 am

I'm with the OP, happy with my current position and salary, and I've noticed that ranks above mine tend to increase in responsibility and work more than they do in salary.. unfortunately they plan to promote me soon. I need to get to that FIRE number quick..

Bob Sacamano
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Bob Sacamano » Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:59 pm

djpeteski wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:56 am
bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc? I am at a point where boss says I can be promoted but must be willing to work more hours be available at all times of day etc. Basically my work life balance spending time with family and kids goes away but now I make more money. Why not just stay where I am if I can still hit my financial goals for retirement etc?
Kind of like this:

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”
i love this

JoeRetire
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:09 pm

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc? I am at a point where boss says I can be promoted but must be willing to work more hours be available at all times of day etc. Basically my work life balance spending time with family and kids goes away but now I make more money. Why not just stay where I am if I can still hit my financial goals for retirement etc?
We all get to make choices. And all choices involve tradeoffs. Some have goals that require a fair amount of money. Others don't.

If you think you can get away with just staying as you are for the rest of your career, and still meet all of your financial goals, then good for you.

Make sure you aren't projecting perpetual raises though. Many roles max out their "salary bracket" and hit a ceiling eventually. I've worked at several companies where some such workers could never get more than an inflationary raise. A few of those workers were surprised.
Last edited by JoeRetire on Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Colorado13
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Colorado13 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:16 pm

Here's a perspective from a child of a parent who worked so much when I was young that he never had time to attend my basketball games, college graduation ceremony, etc.

My father is aging and the light bulb of "I need my family and should have spent more time with my family" has lit up for him. Not surprisingly, his kids are not as on board with his realization. It's too late, in some ways, to make up for lost time. (Song reference: Cats in the Cradle.) So my advice is: don't let this be you.

Others have raised valid points about your career, my post is a different perspective on the family impact. One difference is that I grew up poor/not financially stable. Your situation is different and you likely have more flexibility than my father had. Whether you are the mother or father, consider what kind of relationship you want with your kids in 10, 30, 40 years...

pdavi21
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by pdavi21 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:19 pm

From the perspective of most employers, the perfect employee is the one who wants to advance but never does.
"We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity." -Stephen Hawking

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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:20 pm

Some people want the power. Some people want the title or prestige. Some people want the money. A few people are actually good at being leaders, even the reluctant ones.

It doesn't sound like you fit into those categories, but I'd also heed the advice of those telling you to not get too comfortable. You don't want to be the one getting a pink slip for being too expensive when there's a young kid waiting to take your place.
"Knowledge and innocence are both excellent things, and they are both very funny. But it is right that knowledge should be the servant and innocence the master." - GK Chesterton

JoeRetire
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by JoeRetire » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:21 pm

Colorado13 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:16 pm
My father is aging and the light bulb of "I need my family and should have spent more time with my family" has lit up for him. Not surprisingly, his kids are not as on board with his realization. It's too late, in some ways, to make up for lost time.
Not on board with his realization? What does that mean?

You can't turn back time. You can't undo what was done.

fourkids
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by fourkids » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:26 pm

to maximize your professional learning
to challenge yourself intellectually
to avoid boredom
if you are passionate and great at your job, to fulfill your highest potential

the money doesn't hurt either... especially when it can help achieve a much earlier retirement

Colorado13
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by Colorado13 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:31 pm

JoeRetire wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:21 pm
Colorado13 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:16 pm
My father is aging and the light bulb of "I need my family and should have spent more time with my family" has lit up for him. Not surprisingly, his kids are not as on board with his realization. It's too late, in some ways, to make up for lost time.
Not on board with his realization? What does that mean?

You can't turn back time. You can't undo what was done.
We kids think it's too late for him to have time for us now that we are busy in our careers. He didn't have time for us when we were kids/young adults, so the fact that he's retired and wants to spend time with us now is a bit of too little, too late... Blunt and a bit sad, but true, which is why I am sharing my story with OP.

furnace
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by furnace » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:39 pm

Whatever job you decide on, build up a large financial cushion on the side. Then no job can "own" you. You will get to pick the job, instead of being forced into a job.

rich126
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by rich126 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:43 pm

I think this is going to depend on the career field.

As a technical person, the people that seemed most likely to get laid off when there were financial issues were the middle management. Higher up management often protect each other (within limits) and the hands on technical people are the ones that are either billable or building the products that bring in the money.

Personally I consider myself much more of a technical, problem solving type person and not a people/politic person so I've generally avoided managing anyone except on small teams.

And if everyone was trying to climb a ladder I think it makes the work environment much less productive. You end up with a bunch of people trying to take/steal credit for projects, back stabbing people, etc. I would think most good managers would love to have strong technical people that are happy doing technical work. Sure you could end up maxing out at a salary but that doesn't matter to everyone.

Obviously this varies.

mak1277
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Re: Whats the Point of Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Post by mak1277 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:45 pm

bigtex wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:46 am
Whats the point of climbing the corporate ladder if I'm fine with my current salary and position and can hit all my financial goals without future promotions raises etc? I am at a point where boss says I can be promoted but must be willing to work more hours be available at all times of day etc. Basically my work life balance spending time with family and kids goes away but now I make more money. Why not just stay where I am if I can still hit my financial goals for retirement etc?
The way I look at it is in terms of total hours worked. If you get promoted and have to work 50% more hours for 10 years, but get paid enough that you can retire 10 years earlier, then you win in the long term (obviously there are other tradeoffs to going from 40 to 60 hour weeks though). But the way I look at it is that I'd be willing to kill myself for a short period if the result was fewer total hours in the long term.

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