People are wired for progress, and regression looks and feels like failure. — Rising to Your Level of Misery at Work
A fantastic piece in the New York Times about the constant pressure, both within ourselves and from external forces, to always be moving up the career ladder. I talk about this at length in the book — in fact there’s a chapter called “Leaning Out and Climbing Down” that refers to that very ladder — and how it’s so difficult to imagine taking a step down a rung, or even moving to a new ladder. Part of that is because so many companies and industries are designed so that you cannot succeed without always moving to the next position above you. Even if you don’t like sales, the only way to get a raise or a good job review is to say, ok, I’ll do sales. Even if you don’t want to be in management, the only way to get a raise or a good job review or advance is to say, ok, I’ll be a manager. And again, that pressure is so prevalent and intense that it either forces people into positions they don’t want, or it keeps them from making a lateral move that might be even better for their happiness and overall sense of job satisfaction.