I worked as a lecturer, in the NHS for a few years, developing the existing staff for management roles. On the courses were a variety of healthcare professionals e.g. radiographers, physiotherapists, dieticians etc. and many of them had the same gripe.

They loved helping patients with their specialist knowledge and expertise, but the only promotion available was to become a manager and move away from doing the job they loved.

They felt this was a waste of all their years of training but if they wanted to gain a more senior position and earn more money, then a management position was the only way to go.

It’s a tough decision, do you choose to be happy doing what you enjoy doing or give that up for money, power and prestige.

Often we think the more successful we are the happier we will be. Success is often judged in terms of income and position but do these really bring happiness.

1We only need to look in the world of entertainment to see people with success and money but little happiness; in fact, they are often filled with despair and can no longer cope with life.

With the recent passing of Leonard Nimoy, it made me reflect on his role of Mr Spock and how he didn’t look for promotion, he found his niche and was content. “I realize that command does have its fascination, even under circumstances such as these, but I neither enjoy the idea of command nor am I frightened of it.” Star Trek: The Original Series, “The Galileo Seven”

Captain Kirk on the other hand did become an Admiral but he was eventually demoted back down to Captain, a role both he and his superiors prefer him in.

Finding we are a round peg in a round hole can be satisfying and bring us happiness. So does this mean we shouldn’t try to progress once we feel fulfilled in a role?

I think we need to ensure that it is what we want.

2Progressing into a management role can be very fulfilling if we enjoy doing what they do. Peter Drucker, a management guru said, “ No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.”

He divided the job of a manager into five basic tasks.

  1. Sets the goals for the group, and decides what work needs to be done to meet those goals.
  2. Divides the work into manageable activities, and selects people to accomplish the tasks that need to be done.
  3. Creates a team out of his people, through decisions on pay, placement, promotion, and through his communications with the team.
  4. Establishes appropriate targets and analyses, appraises and interprets performance.
  5. Develops people, people are the company’s most important asset, and it is up to the manager to develop that asset.

So if you think that kind of person wears your clothes, sits in your chair or drives your car then go for it, but remember:

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” Audrey Hepburn

3

Star Trek Image CreditDrucker Image Credit, Hepburn Image Credit