Longer Feedback Loops
I was chatting with a colleague recently. He is in the earlier stages of his career. We reflected on the nature of ambition and career progression over all.
In the beginning (during the hustle years), most of us are chasing the titles, notoriety and brand, and of course, 🤑🤑🤑. With time and experience, I’ve found that most of us lose interest in the rat race. Instead of working towards that next big promotion or raise, we arrive at a stage of complacency. That’s not to say that the ambition has fled or the passion has left us, but rather a change in feedback loops.
When you get to a senior level, it is no longer reasonable to expect constant milestones being reached. It simply doesn’t happen (unless you’re working for a small stage start-up with a whole lot of luck and drive). Instead, the time horizon has spanned to years, even decades at a time. Once a comfortable salary/title equilibrium has been met, most undergo a reflection of priorities. Is it time to build out the family life? Do I want to become a brand/thought leader in the industry? Many of these ambitions take time and lots of it.
Anything worth mastering should take time - otherwise, it would be trivial.
At least for now, I see myself expecting and learning to adapt to longer feedback loops. I have no idea if the seeds I sow today will bear fruit in a few months’, or even a few years’ time. Don’t fret and roll with the punches. A magnificent tree takes centuries to grow. I can only hope that one of my seeds will get there one day.
What are your experiences with middle-senior career trajectories?
Counter-point: is this the idea of a man who’s been so indoctrinated by corporate culture that he’s been boxed in? Case in point - Derek Sivers, There’s No Speed Limit.