Why a promotion won’t make you happy?

You will not find happiness in your next job

“My job is terrible, but I’m hoping to be promoted to superbossofwhatever“. I’m sure you’ve heard or said some variation of this sentence. It is pure aspiration. The person that says this already identifies more with his next position than with the current one. Then we realize that this position suddenly is not so great. After that promotion, we will chase another and another and another. It’s the hamster wheel.

In other words, at the end of the rainbow there is no pot of gold.

That promotion may not be what you think

The issue here is that everyone has concerns, every job has negative things (positive too!).

Team leaders/managers/VPs are concerned about keeping their team/region/division happy and with high performance while meeting the demands that come from above. A balance that is often delicate and that causes more than one headache: hiring, firing, motivating …

Well, this does not seem ideal. Maybe if I get higher than that?

CEOs/CFOs/C-whatevers usually have the tightest agenda of the entire company. And I don’t mean your office time only: conferences, dinners, events, etc. in which they just need to “show up”. They constantly depend on people around them and make decisions based on the analysis of others without having time to check them for themselves. Layoffs in this position are relatively common and at this level may be motivated by political issues that have nothing to do with performance.

If you make a mistake several hundred people may lose their jobs. And whatever you do, you’re never going to have the whole company happy. Furthermore, there may be groups that are exclusively dedicated to boycott you.

If the company is public, analysts will be a constant threat because your compensation depends largely on the stock prices.

It seems that you don’t have any boss, but the analysts, the Board of Directors and the investors really call the shots.

Doesn’t sound so good anymore, does it?

We could keep going forever. Bottom line is that there is no position that gives you instant happiness and many times we idealize those positions.

The problem is not to aspire to other jobs, is to idealize them

I think it’s good to think about your career and try to decide which job attracts you the most. We spend many hours of our life working and it is important to think about this topic. The problem is when we idealize it and we believe that getting there will make everything perfect.

When I catch myself being very optimistic with something, I ask myself “am I being realistic?”. The trick of realizing this and questioning my thinking has made me turn around several important decisions.

It is important to do the opposite when we are pessimistic. Maybe you are not seeing the positive part of your job, but I’m 100% sure there is one.

Some time ago a friend was visiting a factory and was surprised at the amount of manual work being done. He began to worry about how to motivate those workers who do exactly the same thing hour after hour. He asked an operator what he thought about his job:

This is the perfect job. You see, my daughters are the most important for me and this job allows me to go home soon and without worries in my head to spend quality time with them.

Every job I mentioned above has, of course, positive things. And maybe that position you’re hoping to get is the perfect job for you and will make you happier. Obviously, I encourage you to fight for it but do not forget to enjoy the journey and not just long for the destination.

The same I think of many other things. Among them, financial independence. Sometimes we think that when you get there, you retire and you are automatically happy but the reality is that it is just a tool. The question is, what are you going to do with your financial independence that will make you happier?

In London, many buildings have plaques of famous people who lived/stayed in them. As there are many old buildings that have stayed the same for years, there are many plates: Jimi Hendrix, Simón Bolivar, Mahatma Gandhi, etc. I recently saw the plaque of Constantine Cavafy and this poem about enjoying the journey came to my mind.

Pic: Mylius

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