Whatever the reason you are considering a management career, this article will help you decide whether or not management is for you.
The Upside of Being a ManagerThere are many positives to being a manager. Managers generally are paid more than others in the company. They appear to have more power. And the power and pay differences tend to give the position more status or prestige.
Pay Certainly the top manager in a company, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is paid more than anyone else in the company. Managers below the CEO are generally paid more than everyone in their group as well, but not always. I managed a group of scientists in which the very top scientists were paid more than I. Smart companies pay their people based on their value to the company, not on their title or position, and in that company, key scientists were more valuable than their manager.
Power Most people, including most managers, believe that managers have more power than the people in their groups. While it's true that managers commonly have certain functional authority delegated to them, like setting work schedules for the group, true power cannot be delegated to you from above. You are only as powerful as you are capable of making your group more successful. And while your ability to lead the group greatly influences it, your power comes from the willingness of the people in your group to grant it to you.
Status/Prestige In our society, people value titles. A title of Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing sounds much more impressive than Research Chemist. However, the marketing person may work for a 3-person company and make $30,000 per year while the chemist works for a major oil company, supervises 4 other chemists, and makes well over $100,000 per year.
Sense of Personal Accomplishment If your goal is to be CEO of General Motors, you probably should start now on a management career. If you want to be President of the United States, a management track isn't required. Several recent Presidents have managed nothing but their campaigns. If you want to brag to your mother-in-law about what a success you are, and power, prestige, and money are important to your definition of success, management may be they way to go. If you measure success by friendships and how soundly you sleep at night, a management career can give you that, but so can many others.
Continue to Page 2:The Downside of Being a Manager