Meet George. In 2004, he completed a three year degree at a leading university. He joined the job hunting crowd, looked at dozens of positions and got interviewed for three. In the end, George went for the world class company that offered competitive remuneration, extensive training and opportunities to travel abroad.
He put in the hours and performed well. Honestly, he had little interest in the job, the training or work. George travelled a bit, mostly to crappy locations. He knew that life would get better as he climbed the ladder, while others job hopped.
After two years, George was promoted to a supervisor position, with a 20% pay increase, four weeks additional training and more travel. While he was proud to show off his new business card, he wasn’t too happy about managing five staff. He was bored, but got the job done. Fast forward to 2007 and he moved up to the manager rung for the local operations. George found little meaning in his day to day work, but he survived from one payday to the next. He was travelling a lot more, and soon resented spending weeks away from his family.
George was ambitious and believed that if he reached the next level, he could be happier in life. However he needed more than a degree and George sweated two years in MBA classes. He graduated cum laude. George continued working hard, patiently waiting to reap the rewards.
When the senior manager retired in 2010, George was in the running for the top job.
He easily beat the competitors, packing in the qualifications, experience and relationships for the position. George was appointed as Senior Manager – Africa & Middle East. He’d made it – the status of a position in a top company, a corner office, a plum remuneration package & bonus scheme and first class seats to exotic destinations.
Six months later, George had a heart attack and during his stay in hospital, pondered over what really mattered to him. He’d realised what many talented professionals still had to learn: he built his career by ignoring his passion, chasing qualifications & skills, climbing the ladder for more perks and doing a terrific job at something that he doesn’t want.
Are you climbing the wrong corporate ladder?