Professionals who work in STEM fields almost inevitably reach a crossroads in their careers. They get better and better at the technical aspects of their job, get offered a management position, and then have to learn an entirely new set of skills to thrive as a leader and supervisor. Some enjoy the challenge and actually prefer working in management. But just as many flounder in their new role and wish they could focus on the technical features that drew them to the industry in the first place. If you’re unsure which path you belong on, ask yourself these questions:
What Do You Like to Do?
This question is less obvious than it seems. You may have enjoyed your technical career, but did you enjoy the camaraderie and shared purpose of the team, or the nitty-gritty of the specs and details? An easy way to determine where your true passions lie is to think back over the last six months of your career. What projects gave you the most personal and professional satisfaction during that time? Another way is to ask yourself which type of professional development you would rather take on – learning a new technology, or taking classes in business?
What Will Be the Outcome of Your Choice?
This is a question that many people fail to think through thoroughly. If you move to management, you will probably make more money, but you will have a lot more pressure put on your shoulders. If you stay technical, you may be pausing your career halfway up the ladder but doing something that gives you a lot of personal fulfillment. Decide what you really want from your career and pick the path best equipped to deliver it. Keep in mind, too, that your choice will have a major impact on a spouse, kids, or anyone else dependent on you.
Where Will You Be Most Secure?
Both of these paths have the potential to produce a ton of career stress. Technical professionals whose skills are in-demand today could find that those same skills are irrelevant in 10 years or less. Managers enjoy extra perks and prestige, but they also accept more pressure and responsibility, and can have a particularly hard time finding their next job. No matter which path you choose, realize that you are accepting certain specific risks.
No matter which path you elect to follow, JH Technical Services, one of the top Pittsburgh staffing agencies, can help your journey go further faster. Contact one of our career experts to have a frank discussion about your future.