A reader writes:
I’m in my mid-thirties and have a fairly successful technical career — I have a good reputation for dependable work, common sense, and seeing connections that people miss. Every year, in my performance evaluations, I’m asked how I want to move ahead: my manager sees potential in me, and keeps encouraging me to move up a ladder into leadership positions.
I really don’t want a leadership position. I am happy with what I’m doing now, and the leadership roles all seem to come with an enormous amount of stress. I make enough to take care of myself and my kids, and I give value to the company where I am right now. I don’t want to buy into the more-more-more and sacrifice my happiness, my comfort, and time with my family for a bigger paycheck and more responsibilities.
Is there a way to say this to my manager? Every year, I say something like, “I’m really just looking to broaden and deepen my technical skill set,” but he keeps pressing me to take on different (higher-stress) roles.
I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.