In one piece in Fortune, "Don't let yourself get pushed into a job promotion", the message is that many people accept managerial positions for the money, but then they find that they do not like the new responsibilities and the politics, and eventually would prefer to go back to their previous jobs. One key issue is that people dislike their new positions because of the stress and the long hours associated with them. What is success then? Being promoted and being miserable or not getting a promotion but maintaining a good work-life balance?
In another piece, published a few days ago in the New York Times, Rising to Your Level of Misery at Work, Arthur Brooks writes:
Ambitious, hard-working, well-trained professionals are lifted by superiors to levels of increasing prestige and responsibility. This is fun and exciting — until it isn’t.I am very interested in the relationship between achievement and wellbeing, and Brooks indirectly addresses this. The two factors that seem to increase stress the most are (1) poverty, as it is stressful to lack resources; and (2) wealth, as it is stressful to manage the high pressures of work. There seems to be a blissful zone in the middle, but when people have achieved recognition and power, they do not resign from their positions to go back to their previous jobs, even if those jobs made them happier, because they see the regression as a failure.
People generally have a “bliss zone,” a window of creative work and responsibility to match their skills and passions. But then the problems start. Those who love being part of teams and creative processes are promoted to management. Happy engineers become stressed-out supervisors. Writers find themselves in charge of other writers and haranguing them over deadlines. In my years in academia, I saw happy professors become bitter deans, constantly reminiscing about the old days doing cutting-edge research and teaching the classes they loved.