I remember once when a manager at my client was promoted and was making that milestone move from cubicle to a private office. This was a big career move and someone made the comment that she had “paid her dues” and was now reaping the benefits.
Paying your dues
I was younger than her and wondered when I would get to that point in my career when I had paid my dues and would reap the rewards. I was working at client sites, sitting in war rooms – usually a conference room where the whole team works together as a team. A bit of jealousy set in. I continued to wonder when I was going to get my just reward for paying my dues.
A few years later, I had the opportunity to learn the answer to that question – or so I thought. I made the decision to leave consulting. Over a 5-year period, I worked for two different companies where I had my own office, one with a nice view of the city.
Deciding what the dues buy
There were aspects of both of these jobs that I really enjoyed. I worked with some terrific professionals at both places. But I missed the fast-paced environment of consulting, where there is always something to do that is usually much more interesting and challenging. I was doing work that kept the railroad running and I missed the projects that cleared the land, laid new track and built faster and better locomotives.
I found that the private office was a nice perk as well as a status symbol. I appreciated being able to close the door to have a private conversation. It was also convenient not having to find a conference room for meetings with only a few people.
But that was as far as it went. It didn’t compensate for being bored and unchallenged. And I knew I would have been disappointed in myself when I got to retirement age and realized that I suffered through a job that I didn’t enjoy for years, just so I could have an office.
I was fortunate to find another position in consulting. I’m now back in a war room with nine other team members managing projects for clients. I don’t have my own office with a view, but I’ve learned that the grass isn’t always greener, sometimes the grass is just different.
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As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.