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Management Jobs Are Not for Everyone

Kate Traynor

The nationwide shortage of pharmacists may mean you can be a manager or supervisor within a couple years after graduation. But, what do you do if the offer of a promotion to a managerial position fills you with dread instead of joy?

Before you panic, consider the tradeoffs.

At many organizations, the only way to advance your career and salary is to work your way up to a management position. And, the offer of a managerial position is probably considered an honor and proof of the organization's faith in you.

But a management-level promotion can mean that you no longer perform the familiar, hands-on work you enjoy doing. For some people, the money that comes with a promotion to the management level does not outweigh the loss of familiar job tasks.

Even if you have no interest in becoming a manager, you should still contemplate your colleagues' and superiors' likely reactions to your decision to decline a management-track promotion. Will you be seen as lazy or lacking in motivation? If so, hold off on declining the promotion until you have shown your supervisor how important your current work skills are to the organization.

Let your supervisor know that you want to grow professionally, albeit in a less-than-customary direction. When new work projects are proposed, get involved. And consider supplementing your pharmacy-related continuing-education courses with class work in other areas that could help your organization.

Also, recognize that the work you love now may not be as satisfying in a few years, and that a management job may be a more appealing option later in your career. Try to find out whether, by saying you are not ready now for a management-level promotion, you eliminate yourself from being offered a managerial position later.

Finally, consider the personal skills—and personal sacrifices—required of a good manager. If you cannot envision yourself becoming comfortable in a supervisory role, it may be best for you to graciously and tactfully decline the offer of a promotion to manager.


For more information about nonmanagement careers, visit these Web sites:

"No Management for Me," by journalist Joe Murray, features interviews with people who opted not to manage, and are happy with their choice. 

Syndicated columnist Carol Kleiman talks about avoiding management jobs by "flying below the radar.

Corporate consultant Milan Moravec discusses how some information technology companies offer their technical staff a choice between pursuing a management track and opting for an equally prestigious technical career path

Kathy Simmons, assistant vice president of Canada Life Assurance Company in Atlanta, asks, "Do You Have What It Takes to Be the Boss?"