I was lucky with my career. I was able to learn and grow and assume more responsibility without ever having to manage anyone but myself. In the hierarchical corporate chart, I was always my own leaf on my own twig. And as I gained experience and knowledge, what happened was that my leaf got bigger — and the twig was attached to progressively higher branches, i.e. I got to report to progressively more important people. And I was still a team player — because I supported several teams! But I always reported to just one person — and no one ever reported to me.
Alene has known the happiness of being her own leaf on her own twig — but that was a long time ago. For some reason, it’s a very hard situation to find. I think you end up there by happy accident.
There’s plenty of career advice out there for people who aspire to work their way up the corporate ladder — or for entrepreneurial types who want to start a business. But there are no mentors for those who just want to be their own leaf on their own twig.
We need to figure this out.