Thursday, January 18, 2007

For Lack of Ambition

Is it really that bad to lack ambition? By ambition, I probably mean "worldly ambition." "I want to change the world, I want to make lots of money, I want to be a CEO or a VP." Probably to the dismay of many around me, I totally lack that sort of ambition. Those sorts of things are just not important to me. Perhaps this is just laziness on my own part, but who knows. To become a CEO or VP in my company would take LOTS of work, seeing as I work for what is practically a supercorporation. All for what? More time spent AWAY from my family. Anecdote of an anecdote: One of my project's vice president told me that he was very excited to have won the bidding for this project or that. He called his wife and told her. She was happy about it too, but after hanging up, she went and cried for a couple of hours.

I don't want to change the world. If I did want to change the world, I'd want to change it to benefit me. However, one size hardly ever fits all; what works for me wouldn't work for everyone else. I fully acknowledge that while I might think I have the right view on everything at this moment in time (since I have lived so long, you know), that 20 years later, it might be different. I wouldn't want to be part of a world where everyone changes the world. I like routine sometimes. I also like using plastic spoons at work because then I don't have to go clean my real spoon in the bathroom. (for the uninformed, that last sentence is not related at all to anything in this post)

Anyways, these days it seems like it's not okay to not want to move anywhere and do anything to get ahead in life. Case in point that brought up this post: in my company we have a leadership development program. It's designed to put bright, young employees on the fast track to higher positions. Admission is highly competitive. However, it also requires that you be working towards a master's degree (if not already) and that you do a job rotation every year, so that you can get exposure to different kinds of jobs. While it's possible that one could stay right here in GA doing 3-4 different jobs, my company is spread out all over the U.S. and one could very possibly end up in Texas or California (Texas might be bad, but California...). So that means I'd have to pack up the wife, house contents, my mind, and quite possibly a baby or two, and move it all elsewhere. This is not something I want to do, no matter if it meant I was on a fast track to a higher paying job. We plan on staying in this house until there are children squishing out the windows (or do we? Ask Mrs. JunkFemale). I got my fair share of moving every year while I was in college, and I don't wish to go back.

Considering that I got a very rave performance review in December, and considering that some of my colleagues think I'd have a clear shot of getting into the program, you'd think it's a bit tempting. And it is. But I think I would rather focus my efforts on family life. Sure, it'd be quite possible to balance, but I'll summarize a U.S. Air Force philosophy: I want to have the most unfair advantage possible on the battlefield. In this case, the battlefield is this sinful earth on which we live. I want to have the cards stacked in favor of me having a great family life.

As for the job situation, if it's true that I really look that good to my bosses (as I've been told), I'll be able to work my way up to a good position in a comfortable and traditional manner. Leadership will develop on its own and some other ambitious young soul can have the spot that I might've occupied. I'll make it my ambition to lead a quiet life (verse 11) and mind my own business.

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  • Anonymous

    There's nothing wrong with taking the opportunities they offer you as long as they don't cross the lines you have set for your family. You can make those things known, and continue to increase your value to your company at the same time. That's what I did early in my career. I told them I didn't want to move because of my church responsibilities, and they honored that.