Friday, October 2, 2009

Is your future in the individual contributor or manager track?

I had always thought that I would start out in a developer role then eventually take on a management role, but never thought of taking on management position right away. However looking back on my experience so far, it makes me wonder what track I've already "chosen".

My first "real job" during university was an Assistant Manager role. At the age of 19, I was managing a team of four, all of whom were twice the age as I was. I took on the position with little experience and confidence in my abilities, but I had a very supportive manager who believed in me and took the time to train me. By the end of the summer I had accomplished all the objectives assigned to me and coordinated the production of an annual package to be sent out to customers across the nation.

Last summer I was faced with the same question again as I was applying for a summer internship. One of the job applications listed two options: management or development. I decided to apply for the latter, but was surprised to find out that my interview would be for a management role instead. I flew down for my interviews and was offered the position a few weeks later. Since then I've had the experience to take on both roles and I believe the management role might actually be a better "fit" for my personality.

We are told that we have the freedom to manage our careers yet it seems (as with many things in life), "it just kinda happens and falls into place". Interestingly enough the panelists today had also mentioned that they did not plan or strive to be in a management position but they just found themselves in their role.

Are our career tracks determined by our natural characteristics and personality? Or is it determined by our skills that we build along our career?

1 comment:

Brenda Liu said...

I have also blogged about this session at my blog!

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