About 12 years into my career, I felt my trajectory plateau. I was an E4 doing the job of an E5, and sometimes an E6. On one project, I held the same responsibilities as a Fellow and a department manager. Not only was I doing the job of higher salary grades, I felt I had an equivalent, if not greater, skillset in some aspects.
Taking on higher level responsibilities is how you prove you are ready to jump to the next level – a move that reasonably should take a couple of years. But as a couple of years stretched into three and four, I became unhappy and frustrated.
It was not an issue of salary. Nor was it about wanting an office instead of a cubicle. It wasn’t even about recognition. Instead, the crux of my restlessness was the aimless direction of my career.