Move up the ranks. Earn more money. Get a better job title. Bask in your success.
That’s what I’m supposed to be doing, I suppose, but as an editor and writer, I’m happy to keep doing just that: editing and writing. I don’t want to become an editorial director and spend my days delegating tasks and parsing budgets instead of wrangling semicolons and enlightening a new generation of authors on the function of the en dash. As an online writer, I don’t want to oversee a team of underling writers, scheduling their posts and sprucing up their headlines, I want to WRITE. (Besides, I’m terrible at budgets AND headlines.)
This doesn’t mean I don’t want “better” jobs (I use quotation marks because “better” can mean a variety of things here), and I certainly wouldn’t balk at getting paid more, or even being recognized for what I do well with a plaque at a fancy-dress dinner. And yet…I’m also mostly okay with how things are going (and have been going for years). The status quo is a.o.k. by me.
So then why do I feel like my lack of ambition is a bad thing? Why do I think there must be something wrong with my wiring that I don’t want to move up the career ladder and take on more responsibilities and seek greater rewards and recognition? Am I selling myself short? Am I just scared?
The answers here are Yes and Yes, but there are other factors at work too. I DO have ambition–it’s just more for homelife instead of worklife. And in order to reach those personal goals, I’m perfectly happy to let my professional goals slide. Being a success at work is lovely, but what makes me happy is being a success at home, as a wife and mother and friend. But I have goals, I do! They’re just more often things like Sew Pillows for the Couch instead of Win a Pulitzer for excellence in journalism.
Are you ambitious? Where does it show up more–at work or at home?