Not that ambitious.

Posted on November 4, 2007. Filed under: The big bad corporate world |

Six months ago, I started a new job. I had been laid off at the end of March but within 5 weeks, had found another permanent job that matched my requirements: interesting content, short commute (30 minutes maximum), reasonable working hours, good salary and benefits.

Now last week, my boss and I had a small meeting during wich he told me that management was very happy about my work and truly believed I could do even more for the company. Which is why they would like me to go back to evening school and get a master degree – for which the company would be paying.
Everyboyd I’ve been talking to about this is soooo excited – except I am not. Not at all.

Five years ago I would have killed for such an apportunity, because I was then a youg executive assistant frustrated with the lack of responsibilities and dying to prove what she was worth. But then I got occasions to show what I was capable of, and now I think I am at the right level on the corporate ladder, and I don’t need to prove anything. What I want now, is my job to be done at 5PM so I can leave the office and start living my life.
Because, see, I consider my job primarily as a way for paying my bills. I enjoy that there is some intellectual challenge involved but honestly, if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t go to work anymore. For me real life starts after 5PM, when I have time for seeing my friends or family, for reading and writing, and for doing some copywriting gigs in the hope that I can be my own boss and make a living of my writing one day.
I don’t dream about my boss position, because that would mean working longer hours and travelling – which I don’t want to do at all. And my resume as it is now, is perfect for the kind of job that I have and want to keep.

So, while I am giving this master’s proposition a second and even a third thought, I can’t help but wandering: why should I give up all of my free time during one year to get a degree I don’t need, that would qualify me for positions I don’t want?
Plus, as there is always a counterpart, I’d have to sign an agreement about paying back for those very expensive studies if I leave the company within 2 years – and I hate to be tied by money.

And on the other hand, how am I going to explain this to my bosses?
Because I know where this all comes from: I am young, I am single and I am child-free: this has to mean I am ambitious and willing to dedicate myself to my career. As explained in today’s article on The Anti 9-to-5 Guide blog, this is the number one myth about single women at work: they have nothing else important in their lives, no important people, no important pursuits.

Maybe it is time for companies to realise that, single or not, man or woman, not all of us are ambitious about their careers, because – I swear – there are other important things in life.


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6 Responses to “Not that ambitious.”

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Hi Marie..Thats so interesting. I often think of going back to school, not necessarily because I might need the degree but I miss being a student, being able to feel like you’re learning all the time. Also, I agree, I’d hate to be defined by my job also. There’s so much I aspire to do besides being successful at work!

I think it’s absolutely fine to be “not that ambitious” when it comes to your job. It’s a JOB, after all — unless you really love it and want to be there forever, you don’t have to give it your all just because people in power expect you to. Do what YOU think is right!

@ Monish: missing the student life is one thing that I can understand, it is a feeling I had at some point a couple of years ago and I did get back to evening school! That is how I know that, despite the motivation, it is a hard thing to do when you’re working full time, and that I don’t want to do it agin. Indeed there’s so much to do/be outside of work!

@ Zandria: I’d love my bosses to think the same LOL. Actually I told them my decision last Wednesday, insisting on the fact that I wouldn’t be able to live on that thiht and intense time schedule and keep the good work going at the same time. They agreed but said that “we would need to find alternative possibilities” which mean they WANT me to get some kind of training anyway. This is quite upsetting to me because I know they have something in mind, it is MY life, and they just won’t tell why it is so important for them that I get some other degree while they are perfectly happy with what I am delivering now. They think about my future without talkin g with me and I don’t like that.

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I just found your blog through The Anti 9 to 5 Guide, and I couldn’t agree with you more.

Between my blogs, my web business, and my writing (fiction and screenwriting), I’m busier than my married friends!

I’m looking at a return to the corporate world to supplement my income, and I’m not looking forward to it for this very reason. Employees, especially single ones, are expected to behave as though all their desires in life are contained within the four walls of a cubicle.

The answer for me has been that I’ve sacrificed earning potential by taking undemanding jobs. Yes, that’s hurt my piggy bank, but at least my desire to leave on the dot at 5:00 is never questioned.

I’m curious as to how this situation has worked out for you, whether they’ve kept pushing the additional job training on you or not. I’d say that you should be honest with them and tell them that you’re happy where you are and don’t want to climb higher on the corporate ladder, but from what they said, I suspect that they don’t care what you want, just how you can fit into their game plan.


@ Elsie: welcome here and thanks for your post! So far everybody has been to busy as to remind me of that training thing, and I’ve kept it silent. Sometimes I feel like I should really play low-profile not to encourage them, but well I still have to do my job. I think the day I’ll have a steady side-business, the answer for me will be to take some ‘easy’ day-job just as you do, but now is too soon (on the other hand, being so busy with my current job does not leave me much time to build my business, that is a dilemma…)

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