A while ago I wrote a post about all the life-chaos that seemed to have hit the fan at once. I have some resolution on one of the topics: my career direction decision.
Since I wrote that post, I’ve talked with people who have many different perspectives on this, ranging from high-level corporate managers to moms to work colleagues. So many different opinions and so many good thoughts on reasons to do it, or not. I’ve spent this whole time thinking very deeply about it, because I’m not the only one impacted here.
For those with short attention spans, I’ll just say that I’ve decided to pursue the opportunity.
For those with longer attention spans, here’s my reasoning.
Supporting others’ growth. I really enjoy smoothing the path and making it possible for other people to succeed. Several of my colleagues expressed a hope that I’d become the team manager. That’s a really encouraging endorsement.
I’ve been doing it already. The last six months or so I’ve already taken leadership responsibilities on the team; I’m just not getting paid or acknowledged for it, and I’m having to manage my own writing workload on top of it.
Influence. I have opinions about what happens to the writing team, and this gets me a seat at the table. “If elected, I will fight for all writers to have a fully flexible remote work schedule. Vote for Katie!”
Personal growth. I’ve been doing essentially the same job for four and a half years, and I’m ready for a new challenge.
Career advancement/pay bump. The obvious reason, but not that motivational for me.
Not much to lose. I’ll give this a try, but if it doesn’t work out, I can move on — with the bonus of a manager title on my resume.
Time commitment. The heavy-hitter, and one I’m still the most concerned about. Despite the fact my boss said he works more than 40 hours a week, I hope to maintain my work-life balance and set a good example for the team. If I can’t, I’ll move on.
In-office/travel requirements. A subset of “time commitment,” I guess, and one we’ll figure out once the pandemic resolves. I will probably have to visit Raleigh periodically.
No more individual contributor work. The tech writing team comprises five or six people, too many for me to keep writing and do manager work. I can always channel my writing passion elsewhere; I’ve done that in plenty of non-writing jobs before.
Drinking the Kool-Aid/corporate drone. I very much despite the prospect of myself becoming a buzzword-spewing corporate lackey enforcing draconian policies that fall down from on high. If that happens, I hope someone will just put me out of my misery.
What’s next, now that I said definitively that I do want to try managing the team? Well, it doesn’t happen instantly. We didn’t have an open req for a tech writer manager; this is just an ongoing conversation my boss and I have been having. He has to get the position created and funded. We’ll have to backfill my position, and I’ll be hard to replace. (This isn’t a boast, just an honest assessment. We’re low on senior writers and very high on new and/or inexperienced writers.)
I’m okay with this taking time. It gives me a buffer to start learning about becoming a manager. My company doesn’t offer any in-person direct instruction for managers, which is unfortunate. I’ll seek out other resources; I know there are whole libraries of books and videos on managing a team well.
I know I’ll need a lot of guidance and support to start with, so most of all, I want to find a non-Envestnet manager to help mentor me.
I imagine it’ll be some months before I mention this again, but stay tuned for more career change updates over the next few months.