Ask The Experts: Which Should I Care About–Promotions Or Job Satisfaction?

In a perfect world you wouldn’t have to choose, but many of us are faced with this dilemma: liking your work or moving up the ladder.

Ask The Experts: Which Should I Care About–Promotions Or Job Satisfaction?
[Photo: Flickr user Paul]

We’re raised with what can feel like conflicting goals: follow your dreams, but be as successful as possible. Ideally you can find a way to do both. But that’s not the reality for most people. So what to do? Follow your interests and hope the money follows or take the fast-track to promotion and hope you’ll get the chance to do something you love?


We turn to Leadership coach Lolly Daskal for answers.

Dear Fast Company,‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

I am currently in a supervisory position that is hailed to be a “stepping stone” to promotion. I have been there over a year now and can tolerate the work, but am not in love with it. I would like to do something that captures my interest a bit more.

I have been solicited for another position, which is much more interesting, but takes me off of the “fast track” to promotion grid.

I want to promotion eventually but I am not in a hurry. Am I delusional to think that I can skip around to less important positions and still get a promotion when I’m ready for it?

Part of me thinks that I have worked hard to get to where I am and I should strike while the iron is hot, maintaining my position. But the other part of me doesn’t want to pass up the more fun and interesting positions in the name of promotion.

How do I balance the work satisfaction with the drive to succeed?


Quality vs. Quantity

Dear Quality vs Quantity,

Your question reminded me of a quote from Jimmy Dean: “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”


I strongly believe we must do in life what makes us happy, not what we thought would make us happy. Sometimes life happens when plans change, and sometimes it’s the best thing that could happen.

So view your life as what you love and not what you thought you would love.

Some points to think about with planning and flexibility:


Plans are good, but sometimes it’s only when you abandon your own plans that you realize that maybe there’s a bigger plan at work.

Happiness rules. In life being happy overrules position and placement. Stay focused on what makes you happy, because joy makes this life worth living.

Take a risk. Many of us have our lives totally mapped out with a plan that we’ve had in place since we were kids. We don’t take the time to really question ourselves, because its been our plan for so long. But I urge you to take a risk and find out what you really want–not what you thought you wanted.


Find the path. Pave the way for a new direction–maybe this road will take you to something more exciting than what you have now. An essential in life is to find new paths to our dreams.

Two steps forward, one step back. We all face setbacks and revisions in in our plans, and sometimes it takes two steps forward and one step back to get us to our destination. Life is a perpetual dance of movement. We must learn to move with it.

Go with the flow. Change is good. Change is a part of life. We might like our routines, but there will always be something that comes along to disrupt them. Accept that, embrace it, live while you live, and go with the flow.


Our lives are always an act of revision. So do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do, because you never know where the next experience might lead you.

Best of luck taking the detours of your life,

Lolly Daskal


If you have a dilemma you’d like our experts to answer, send your questions to or tweet a question using #AskFC.


About the author

Lolly Daskal is a Leadership Development and CEO coach and consultant and founder of Lead From Within. Follow @LollyDaskal.


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