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Essay: Stepping Down

We already know that not everyone can be the boss. But here’s the rest of the story. Not everyone wants to be the boss, including me. 

There’s an assumption that we should all be climbing up the employment ladder as high as we can go—toward more recognition, more pay, more power.

But some of us find we can do our best work at a lower level.

The goal of life, I believe, is to discover, cultivate and give our gifts. Wherever we find that place, that opportunity to give our gifts, is where we belong—which may or may not be at the top of the organization.

Years ago, I heard the director of the library where I worked read a moving letter about why he was stepping down.

He had discovered he didn’t want to be the director; he wanted to be a librarian again. Everyone applauded his courage and wisdom.

Once I filled in for my boss while she was on sabbatical—and I learned why I didn’t want to have her job, didn’t want to report to the president and direct a big staff.

Being a good leader is labor-intensive and I wanted to use my energy in different ways.

And that’s good to know, to admit, to embrace.