Slowly Sipping Coffee

I’m Getting Pulled up the Corporate Ladder…

Yesterday, I found out that I am being recommended for the next Geoscience leadership position that becomes available. My reaction was pretty mixed, sort of like a dog that chases cars, and then finally catches one. “Hooray! Wait… Now what do I do with this?” Not that I’ve been chasing a management spot because I’ve told my managers I wanted to stay technical rather than go into a leadership position. I put the caveat that if it was a small team lead type of position, sure, but having 8+ direct reports sounds pretty horrid. I’m fine with staying on the technical side, but I have always thought that being a team lead could be fun. Like Mrs. SSC and I discussed, “Well, now that I’m in the twilight of my career, if I become team lead and it sucks ass, I only have a couple of years to deal with it, lol.”

Are “Bad” Changes Coming?

It’s exciting and scary and may not even come to fruition, but it’s nice to know I’m respected enough to even be considered if it doesn’t work out. My biggest fear isn’t about transitioning to a leadership position, my biggest fear is that it will suck. I’ve read multiple bloggers write about being promoted into a leadership role and hating it. This wouldn’t be good because I like my company, better yet, I like the people I work with, and I love the current work-life balance. I currently, don’t check my phone at night, don’t check work email after I leave at 3:30pm each day, I get every other Friday off, I can take my vacation pretty much whenever I want, and well, yeah, it’s a pretty sweet balance right now. Having more responsibilities could disrupt that, but I think I should be able to manage that if it becomes an issue. However, it seems very dependent on which asset/group I end up under.

Will there be less of this now?


I Love Work, Except When I Don’t

I love my current group and managers, GM’s, and VP’s that preside over us. Considering I’ve reported to most of them in various different roles over the past year or more, I know we get along very well work well together. What I like most about them is that they are not very reactionary or scattered in their thought processes. Some groups seem like they are led by someone with severe ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and they react to everything with little to no planning ahead of time. That does not work well with me or my style. Actually, I think it probably doesn’t work well with anyone’s style? Who likes being told, “Hey, work on Project A. We really need it done so we can drill a well and test it!” Then 2 weeks (or less) later you get told, “Stop working on Project A, Project B came up! It’s even better than A, much more shiny and distracting! Work on Project B, we need to execute Project B!” And repeat… Better yet, try having 2 different managers telling you to do competing things and both telling you that theirs is more valuable. Yeah…. That’s the group I’ve been lucky enough to avoid so far.


Succesful? Sure. Happy? Not So Quick…

Whatever role I land in and group I get assigned to, I’m confident I can be successful at it, I’m just worried about continuing to be happy. My last assignment at megacorp, I was very successful, but dreadfully unhappy. I proposed a great business reason to leave that group, got support from the supporting BU’s GM to get me over there and then got blocked by my manager. The worst part was that he took it personally that I wanted off his team and that I felt that it was unfulfilling work for me. Note to self, don’t say your current assignment is unfulfilling and you’d rather be drilling wells… To be fair, how was I to know he’d be unprofessional about it? Lesson learned. Play your cards close to your chest, and keep most if not all “feelings” out of it.

Not fun at all….

At Least I Have a Parachute

The beauty of getting offered this new opportunity (if it even comes to fruition) is that we are at an excellent place in our careers and more importantly, our finances! Yep, if this new assignment turns out to be horrid, I already have a parachute packed with my name on it and I can jump out of this plane at any time knowing that I will land safely on the ground below. That in itself is a great feeling. It lets me take a totally different attitude towards this possible new role than if our lives were dependent on needing that paycheck every month. Now my attitude can be, “What the hell? Let’s do this!” and I can charge forward more confident than apprehensive about it rather than, “I hope this is also fun, otherwise, I’m F’ed….”. ‘Yuge difference. Ultimately, I’m excited to see what comes of this potential new role and how it will affect our lives.


What about you? Have you gotten similar exciting news about a potential career change this year? Have you been in this situation before? Did you get put in a leadership position that turned out to be everything you DIDN’T want? I’d love to hear about it!

29 thoughts on “I’m Getting Pulled up the Corporate Ladder…

  1. Mia

    Wow, I can totally relate! I set myself up on a comfortable path by moving to a LCOL city and working remotely with the same job I had for 10+ years. Work life was good but within a year I was promoted on the technical ladder (long time coming) but then asked to take the lead / management role. I couldn’t get away from the lead role so I said I rather do it all but only for a year or two until they can hire someone. It’s funny how your career progress once you stop worrying/caring about it.

    I don’t hate it but it is definitely more time consuming and prefer my previous life. I was surprised about a change in my own attitude taking more accountability and initiative so it’s a bit fun in that respect. Also, I am glad to have this experience and getting the inside track as I roll up my career in the next year or two. On the plus side it is less stressful than typical because of my FIRE outlook.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I’ve been more laid back and less worried about my career these last 2 years and it seems that I’ve also gotten some great acknowledgement and visibility with that attitude. Along with good technical work still, of course, lol.

      I’m curious to see how it pans out, if at all. Like I told a friend, “Well, at this point, I’ve checked off all my goals for this industry career change. Even if it doesn’t happen, just being considered for that position is good for me.” 🙂

  2. Ty Roberts

    Congrats! Getting blocked for a move by your manager is rough. That’s happened to me and the work relationship with the blocking manager got toxic, very quickly after that. So happy to be out of that situation – life is so much better when work doesn’t suck!
    If and when the opportunity presents itself I hope it works out for the best!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! Yeah that relationship got toxic pretty quickly after being blocked. Amazingly, I started at this company 4 months later which is lightning quick in our industry. I went from not looking to walking in the door of another company in that time frame, so yeah, I was pretty motivated to exit that situation.

      I agree, life is SO much better when work doesn’t suck. We’ll see how it plays out, and I’ll definitely keep everyone informed, for better or worse.

  3. Accidental FIRE

    Congrats! But I’m one of those bloggers who has written about how management, well, sucks. To be honest, I don’t think management in and of itself sucks. But I work for the government, and they pile so much bureaucracy into it, so many unnecessary practices, that it does indeed suck.

    I can see management being rewarding or even fun in a good company with a great culture. But alas, the government could not be further from that.

    1. Mr. SSC

      You’re not the only one. 🙂 That gives me pause for being recommended to that position, but at the same time, I also agree that it seems like paperwork and bureaucracy would kill the fun side of it at any company. Our culture here is shifting, but at least the last 3.5 yrs I’ve been a big fan of it. I’m optimistically hopeful that it will be a good thing, but still cynical enough to realize it won’t all be sunshine and roses. Hopefully, the good can overcome the bad if/when that move happens.

  4. EZ Does It FI

    Go be a manager for 2 years and come back to technical. It will make conversations with bosses in the future because ‘hey- you’ve done their job’, and they have to respect that. It will also make your resume muuuch shinier (proof of being a leader).

    1. Mr. SSC

      Hopefully, in 2 years I can go manage the homestead out at Canyon Lake and make that type of move. 🙂 If it does come to fruition, it will be a nice addition to my resume, whether it leads to anything else or not. Either way, it’s nice just being recommended and considered for that role. Sort of my personal, “Yes! I did it. I can now retire happy, lol.” Not that I wouldn’t be happy if it hadn’t come up, but it’s nice to know I got to that point.

  5. Wealthy Doc

    Good for you. You win either way.
    I started enjoying my job more after FI.
    I’m loving working part-time right now. Just be sure to make the decision based on what YOU want, not what they want. There is no wrong answer here.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks I agree that it’s basically win-win regardless. I think like you, with a more relaxed attitude toward work after hitting FI, even if it’s just a “base FI” and not a “super luxe comfy FI” it got my mindset thinking that “this is just work. Do my best, and all of that, but there’s no reason to take it personally or get so irrationally emotionally attached to something.” I think it has been paying off handsomely, because 3 of the 5 reasons mentioned for recommending me for the leadeship role was that I handle conflict and difficult people well, I don’t take things personally, and I challenge people when it is warranted. All things I didn’t do as well at my last company because my overall attitude was different.

      Like you, I’ve definitely been enjoying work more and it’s been good these last 3.5 years here which is about 3 years more than I can say about my last company.

  6. Live Your Wage

    Personally, I’m excited for you. I’m also at the top of my career without going into a management role, and I’ve turned down several. So, a bit selfishly, I’m excited to hear how things go. I hope you love it. But love it or hate it, I look forward to hearing about it – and I’m glad you have a parachute that most of your peers won’t.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I’m excited about it too, whether good or bad and I’ll definitely write about it when/if it comes to fruition. Like I’ve mentioned in rpevious comment replies, I think that having the parachute and less stress about work as a “need” has really paid off in a lot of ways. I can approach it a lot differently because there is a LOT less riding on keeping this job. Don’t get me wrong I don’t walk the halls with a flamethrower but it’s easier to detach emotionally when needed, and challenge ideas and concepts when needed. I think that helps a lot with being able to do my job better because I don’t have this whole “what if i lose my job” always in the back of my head. I do, but in a totally different way. Like, “I wonder how much severance I would get if they were offering packages” sort of way not a “my bills won’t get paid and I’ll lose the house and car” sort of way.

      Congrats on getting to the top of your career AND avoiding mgmt roles. Not an easy thing to do at some companies. 🙂

  7. Jason

    I think this is great. And as you said if you don’t like it you have only a short period of time left. If you do you go out with a great bang.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I agree, it seems perfectly timed so i can enjoy the last few years, or really dislike them, but either way, it isn’t forever. I hope I didn’t just jinx myself by saying that, lol.

  8. Mrs. BITA

    Congratulations! We are in a pretty similar spot with Mr. BITA considering a move to management this year, and like I said to him – we have nothing to lose. If he loves it, fantastic. If not, he can always go back to a purely technical role – no harm, no foul. We don’t *need* either one of us to make more money at this stage, so experimenting with new things is much less scary.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yes, experimenting with new things and roles IS much less scary when you don’t “need” the income. It’s kind of amazing how freeing that has been on my work attitude, stress levels, and more just by being at base level FI, and most of the way to luxe comfy FI. Like you told Mr. BITA, I’ve got nothing to lose, so why not try it and see how it goes. 🙂

  9. Jacq

    The guy several spots up the ladder from me just left, and therefore his direct reports have been filling in until his replacement can get up to speed. He used to stay til 630 or 7 pm (or later) and work weekends. His direct reports have been finding out why. There are just so many meetings, that to get things done, you have to do it once others have left.
    I don’t want that for my life. I’m already my own CEO, CFO etc for my Sole Proprietorship of my side hustle. I’ll pass on the fight for a corporate c suite job. I’m also not good at being competitive at work. Let’s all just get our stuff done, I don’t have the time or energy to knock you down the ladder, nor the time to worry about someone else having it out for me.
    I’m still learning office diplomacy, I’m not sure I’d be great at advising people reporting to me, when I still check with my boss for how to word emails sometimes.
    But when they ask where I see my career going, I don’t say, well in 10 years ideally I’ll retire. I have to say that I’d like my boss’s job. I am honest that if my skills serve a need elsewhere in the company, instead of directly up the ladder, I’m open to that too. Saying yes to opportunities has shaped my career so far.
    Best of luck, if and when you make your climb up the ladder.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      The good thing about my company is that people don’t tend to stay that late at the office. Some people still send out 7pm, 9pm sort of emails and I think, WTF? Really, this was that important that you’re working on it at night, or you just want mgmt to see you’re sending out emails about work at that hr of the night?” Either way, they do seem to actually honor that dreaded work-life balance phrase so many companies throw around but don’t honor.
      I’ve been invited to meetings from 3-4 and I usually leave by 3:30. When i told my supervisors that I was going to duck out at the end of the meeting and they asked, “Ok, why?” I said, “That’s when I go home…” They’ve replied, “Oh, yeah, no worries”
      Of course I’m not naive enough to not realize that especially initially, this will be way busier than I am now. The stress will be higher due to learning a new role, new peers to present to and deal with, and a lot greater responsibilities, but I think having a parachute option will help me keep it in perspective.

      I’ve told my supervisors that I’m fine with technical, but open to a leadership position if it’s not like some of the crazy ones I’ve seen more way experienced people land in. I think it could be fun, and challenging and keep things fresh the last few years (hopefully) of my career. Like you, I don’t say, “I want to be out at my retirement house by 2020, 2021 tops!” when we discuss career paths and options. I’m no idiot, but at the same time, that’s still in my head as an endgame.

      If it works out and is a good fit, then awesome. If it works out and it isn’t, well… I’m fine with a smile and a handshake goodbye and then pulling the chord on that parachute as I jump away from that situation. 🙂

  10. Mr. PIE

    Congrats this is fabby dabby dozzy!!

    I have been in roles with many reports, large teams, either direct or matrix relationships or sole contributor. The latter is one I am in now and the massive advantage is at performance review season or goal setting season, I watch others in pain.

    Honestly I have loved aspects of all the different roles. Leadership of matrix teams is an ideal balance if you can engineer it. As I head towards retirement, I am glad to be in the role I am.

    Super happy for you. Continue to Supercharge that plan and you will be escaping earlier than you think!!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! Yep, it’s goals season, but fortunately most of mine are related to getting visibility and small projects to lead in preparation for the leadership role. It seems like it would most likely be a matrix team but you never know how things shake out around here from day to day. 🙂

  11. FIways and Byways

    PEOPLE! They can make or break the leadership position. At least that is my experience. I spent much of my career in a management role and the best part and worst part was the people I managed. It was at times rewarding as you see people develop and various teams accomplish great things together.Yet, there were times when I thought I was babysitting little kids and that was very frustrating. I left that company and went into a role were I manage myself. What a great place to be! I am in control of me and my performance but am not responsible for anyone else. Yes, I have someone I report to but for the most part, I am left alone as long as I am performing. My management experience gave great insight into how important the people are in a business and helped me to understand the stresses that my current Managers are feeling. I can honestly say that I am much happier not in a leadership role. With that said, all situations are different and there are some that love to be in that role. As you mentioned, you have a nice fluffy parachute on your back if you need to use it so what do you have to lose? Good Luck!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That’s a great point. I think that just like having a bad manager can sour someone on a team and even a company (the main reason I left my last company) I bet having difficult people as direct reports can be just as bad. It hopefully turns out to be more fun than stressful, and it’s something I’ve been interested in but just not actively pursuing. Maybe after a year or so in a leadership role I might be back in the “OMG, what I wouldn’t give to just be back on the technical side dealing with only me to deal with.” Fortunately, if it turns into that kind of role, I only have a couple of years to deal with that before I can exit on my own terms or even have that leverage to go back to a technical role if I don’t “retire” at that point.

  12. Chris @ Keep Thrifty

    Congrats! (?)

    I made the transition to management earlier in my career and found (like most things) that there were lots of pros and cons. I had more influence, which meant I could help my employees and others achieve the work life balance I had struck. On the flip side, there were a lot more meetings and a lot more bureaucracy.

    One thing I can recommend is to voice your thoughts on work life balance *before* you take the role. I always tried to be up front with HR and my manager about promotions – that if they required too much travel (which I quantified) or too many hours a week that it wasn’t the right fit for me. I always put the discussion in “best for both of us terms” – if the job demands something I’m not interested in doing, let’s avoid the situation ahead of time 🙂

    If you are being considered for a promotion, it’s a strong signal about how your company feels about you, so it’s fair to take the opportunity to set the boundaries first!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Haha, yes, congrats!(?) indeed. 🙂 Like I said, I ahven’t actively pursued it, but I have made it open to a couple of managers that if the right position came up, I’d be interested in it. I just haven’t been actively campaigning for a leadership role. The additional bureaucracy is something that I’m not looking forward to dealing with. Even though it’s not as bad here as my last company, it’s still an 11k person sized company, so, um, yeah… there’s still a LOT of bureaucracy.

      As it moves forward I’ll definitely make my concerns about a disruption in work life balance known before anything solidifies. Fortunately, being in the position I am financially I do have more leverage than most, even if they don’t know it yet, lol. That’s a good tip on setting the boundaries ahead of time. I’ll work that angle and not get pushed into something that disrupts the nice lifestyle we have now. It would suck to go backwards with our current lifestyle being so comfortable and free feeling right now.

  13. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life

    Eewww at your old manager. When I was early on in my managing career, one of my staff wanted to move groups. He was an amazing asset to our team so I had a chat with him about it, and decided that no decent manager worth their salt would block the progress of a star performer. There would be no reason he’d want to continue to be a star for me if I were that petty, so I wished him well, reminded him he was always welcome to come work for me again, and sent him with recommendations. We missed him on our team but we didn’t regret the decision.

    I think I had a good grounding in all the suckiness of management before getting into it, I just knew that I had to commit to the management track to make the money that I was looking for in order to achieve FI, so I went into it with mentors who’d managed their entire careers (30+ years) in various industries backing me up and saying yes, much of people mgmt is terrible but if you work hard at it, you can do your part in making it work. And they were right, much of it WAS terrible but it’s also paid off, both in money and in people karma. 🙂

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      I totally agree that managers can horribly derail their employees career development, sometimes, intentional sometimes. not. My current mentee got blocked from moving to a position that I think would grow her skill set way more than staying in our current team. I’ve put in the word to her about my opinion and why she should keep that as her next assignment, but I’m a bit pissed that she got blocked from moving there to begin with.

      That’s awesome you were so supportive of your staff member that wanted to move on.

      I hope it is better than anticpiated, and yes, if it is sucktown, I can at least choose to not be in it for the next 5-10-15 years. 🙂

  14. Mrs. Groovy

    I think for technical people it’s easier to manage projects and processes than it is to manage people. It might depend on whether you’re assigned a good group of people.

    You said you have no doubt you’d be successful at management. If you dislike it, you may not want to be successful at it and if that’s the case, you just need to coast for a short while.

    That’s gold, Jerry. Gold!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Quote from Office Space, “I have people skills! I’m good at dealing with people!!” lol
      I usually manage my own projects and assignments quite well, however, I always have to deal with someone somehow in any facet of what I do. I currently manage people, but mostly manage their expectations. 🙂

      Here’s to just coasting if I’m good at it but dislike it. *toast*

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