Rohit Malekar

May 14, 2021

Why Do Careers Get Stuck in Middle Management? - Part II

Continuing on the theme from the previous post, let's review common traps we face in seeking high-quality problems.

Trap 1: Expecting (and enforcing) a linear career progression

The academic experience conditions us for a linear annual progression. Real-world problems and solutions are hardly linear. The number of high-quality problems we need to crack increases for every incremental career progression we seek. When this doesn't happen organically (e.g. an expected promotion), we force it by chasing labels (title, brand, etc.)

Trap 2: Switching careers for a job instead of a tribe

After the first few years in our early career, our long-term progression has a lesser correlation to individual brilliance and depends on the collective impact of the tribe we work with - whom we seek mentorship from and whom we collaborate with. Finding that tribe is often more rewarding than hunting for a specific role.

Seeks clarity (1).png

Trap 3: Seeking purpose as a fact-finding mission

Think of a leader who inspires you. Anybody. No matter what they defined as their life's purpose, I bet they arrived at a point in their journey where they absolved their own identity, they removed the "me", "myself", and "I" from their search for a purpose, to give undivided attention to their calling.

Thus, our individual “purpose” often is not a fact-finding mission. It is simply a by-product of the experience — the experience of truly bonding with our habitat, be it family, work, or community, the experience of being ourselves without being judged, and the experience of contributing passionately without any fear of failure.

Once we find our habitat, we get unstuck.

Read the next and final part in this series here -
Part III: How can you expand your circle of influence?