A while ago, I was leaving work with a coworker who had mentioned she was dreading her meeting with our HR Director the following day. She knew thr HR Director was going to offer her a promotion within the company, but with this promotion would come two things she didn’t want to deal with: (1) more paperwork and (2) not working with kids (she was a behavioral therapist and had been one for 8 years). She loved working with kids. She preferred it over any other role the company could offer her, because it meant she could continue to do what she loved.
At first, I was trying to build her up, because promotions don’t always come along. I know people who’ve been in the same role at the same company for 10 years doing the same damn thing. No joke. So to be presented with a promotion, and yes — more responsibility — isn’t frowned upon necessarily. But my coworker mentioned how she just wanted things to stay the same. They were fine the way they were. This got us talking about being creatures of habit and Spencer Johnson’s book, Who Moved My Cheese. The conversation progressed to the point we discovered that she really wasn’t afraid of the prospect of a promotion, she was simply content with where she was. Not too many people I know right now would pass up a promotion if it meant more money and a better title. But different strokes works for different folks.
Anyways, the question we left asking one another is do we prefer what’s easier or what’s better. And rarely are they ever the same thing. In her case, what’s better for her professionally isn’t easier and what’s easy for her isn’t professionally better.
But people do this everyday thinking they’re making trivial decisions. Taking the easy way because it’s easy or familiar. Or doing attempting something perceived as better because they think it’ll pay off.
Would you turn down a promotion because it requires more work? Would you accept a promotion because it offered more pay? Would you do what’s easier or what’s better?