I think this is a great post for people who realise that there might be something wrong with the hierarchy-by-default way we run organisations and society. It’s hard not to come away from it feeling a little liberated.
As someone who has spent the last few years in a co-op with consent-based decision-making and a flat structure, however, I don’t buy the ‘hierarchy is here to stay’ nihilism. Instead, although it’s not what we’ve been brought up to be used to, something like sociocratic circles can scale infinitely!
Being an adult means not measuring yourself entirely on other people’s definition of success. Personal growth might come in the guise of a big promotion, but it also might look like a new job, a different role, a swing to management or back, becoming well-known as a subject matter expert, mentoring others, running an affinity group, picking up new skill sets, starting a company, trying your hand at consulting, speaking at conferences, taking a sabbatical, having a family, working part time, etc. No one gets to define that but you.
Why do people climb the ladder? “Because it’s there.” And when they don’t have any other animating goals, the ladder fills a vacuum.
But if you never make the leap from externally-motivated to intrinsically-motivated, this will eventually becomes a serious risk factor for your career. Without an inner compass (and a renewable source of joy), you will struggle to locate and connect with the work that gives your life meaning. You will risk burnout, apathy and a serious lack of fucks given..