The dark side of movin' on up has finally come out of the closet. In today's THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Jared Sandberg documents how many newly promoted regret the whole thing.
Until Sandberg's article "Down Over Moving Up: Some New Bosses Find They Hate Their Jobs," I thought I was the only malcontent who got what I thought I wanted and was overwhelmed with how bad it was up there. Since I started as a corporate speechwriter I had fantasized heading up a speechwriting department and, of course, doing much better than the current incumbent.
Come the late 1980s, the opportunity came. I grabbed it.
Ah! The status. The money. The perks. The awesome responsibility to produce wonderful speeches for the brass and coach staff into brilliance. The chance, finally, to make major strategic decisions.
None of the above could compensate for:
- Staff who drained my time and goodwill with whining, lobbying for raises, pushing for more flexible schedules, and being missing-in-action for sundry reasons ranging from dentists' appointments to family upheavals.
- Being answerable to the big boss for everything, including the pain-in-the-neck staff.
- Vendors introducing themselves to the new kid on the block, strong-arming me for "just 10 minutes" to introduce themselves.
- Power-brokers in the organizations who complained about aspects of the department over which I had no control, at least not yet.
- Favors called in by those who wanted me to help folks on their network get jobs in the organization.
- Being watched, by everyone to check out if I was going to work out.
- Watching myself, to check out if I was going to work out.
The sad story had a happy ending when the corporation was disappeared. I used the generous severance (nice perk of being near the top) to launch my own consulting business. In it I only employ contract workers, no full-time staff.