Definition of success, and I don’t want to be a manager

Two articles grasped my interest:

  1. The Only Definition of Success That Matters. Key: Are you happy right now?
  2. What if you don’t want to be a manager? Key: being a leader or doing meaningful work does not necessarily have to be through an administrative position, especially if you are more of a hands on person versus an admin.

These articles are important to me because as I am graduating, I continue to reflect my values consistently.

For example, if you want to tackle big problems (i.e. global warming, economic development), these take a lot of work (and long hours, depending on the scale of the project you’re working on). I’m somebody who is consistently looking toward a good work-life balance.

A good work life balance to me is: my work should be meaningful, but the schedule is realistic enough that I have time to pursue other interests in my downtime.

Simultaneously, I find it very difficult for me to be a project manager; this does not necessarily mean I don’t want to be a leader or work in groups; in fact, I need to work in groups to get different feedback. However, I have a lot of autonomy and peace of mind when I am allowed to use my skills and knowledge set in an effective manner.

I’ve talked to a lot of people and have compared and contrasted their personalities, and I’ve discovered that:

  • I’m a huge specialist. When I see a team project, I’m more interested in the logistics, the day-to-day details, more than the actual vision because I am a believer that the day-to-day details make the vision work, and I’m much more comfortable with handling day-to-day details than having lots of meetings to deal with what a vision is. While I always have to remind myself with others the big picture, I believe in depth over breadth works well with my personality.
  • I’m comfortable going around knowing so many different general areas, but not necessarily running an organization managing these sets. For me, I like creative control over my work, and being a specialist helps me achieve this. For example, I enjoy the hands-on process of drawing, illustration, visualization process that attempts to push a message process. I do not mind working with a team of different specialists, but I would like to have a deep understanding of specific skill sets as it gives me some level of independence, ownership over my work that I can take pride and identity with. I see my contribution over a project and its vision as using what I own (my skillsets) effectively.

I think this is something I have to evaluate/reflect on as life goes on. Having a good work life balance means tackling projects of manageable, small scale, while using the skills you feel very strongly about. At the same time, that also means removing some of your own ambitions too.

However, these two articles really imply: it really doesn’t matter what you end up doing: the lifestyle you choose to life matters much more.


Speaking of articles, check out this article on Hong Kong’s long work hours, despite being a very popular destination for a lot of people:

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