By: Revanche

Careering: Depth or Breadth?

July 22, 2008

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately. By my measure, I’ve reached the height of my career with this company. There are a lot of reasons to stay: more experience, projects and management courses, not to mention the fantastic tuition reimbursement and retirement plans, but the overriding reason to leave can’t be argued with. This environment will get a whole lot worse before it gets better. My sanity has already been through the wringer and back, and the law of numbers says I’m going to lose it permanently if I stick around too much longer. No one wants to be the best-performing lifer in the asylum, right?

This brings me to a very important question: what’s next?

I ask myself that question daily to keep myself moving, working harder, smarter, faster and as best I can manage, more than 100%. And it was all to build my skill sets and knowledge, to get the promotions and raises to set myself up for the next step in my career. I thought I kept my eye on the bigger picture this entire time, but it turns out, the next step isn’t always that obvious. I need to break out of the comfort zone that is my job with the uberstress but is a known quantity, my responsibilities, my cushy healthcare with a doctor that takes me seriously and takes good care of me. The benefits, the things that are basically peripheral to the job itself are great, but the main dish isn’t so hot anymore.

So, this early on in my career, I’m not sure what the best next move is: to pursue higher education, deepen my experience by climbing the ladder to the next logical step (management), or broaden my horizons by expanding on my current experience in a related job (lateral move)?

What’s more important? Which road is the best for both the journey and where I want to end up? More than job security which doesn’t truly exist, more than oodles of money in the bank that can go away, I want to know that come rain or shine, richer or poorer, I have developed the ability to survive and thrive. I want to be the person who can pick herself up in any set of circumstances, determine what needs to be done to succeed, and make it there. The key to this is marketability and flexibility.

Decision making process to follow ….

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