I was promoted too quickly, eager to take the position as it was a step in the right direction for my career. I had a clear vision of where I wanted to go – leading a team of consultants, solving problems for clients, and liaising with CEOs. With my excellent communication skills and ability to think on my feet, I thought I knew what it took to get there.

However, the pace was relentless, and I felt like I was constantly chasing and being overworked. Despite having a mentor who believed in me and getting involved in mentoring others, the goal of being in charge seemed to slip further away. The demands of writing reports, juggling multiple clients, briefing executives, volunteering, and attending happy hours were overwhelming.

A few hiccups along the way, such as key employees leaving and invoicing issues, added to the pressure. Things came to a head when we lost a few crucial proposals, and I was informed that I would be transitioned to another program. The message was clear: I was no longer on track to lead a team and move up within the company.

It was a tough pill to swallow, but I decided to return to working directly with clients, where I was most comfortable and experienced. Facing my former colleagues and explaining the company’s decision was challenging, but it gave me a new perspective.

I realized that there had to be a better way to work. There was no instruction manual on how to manage the multitude of demands placed on people in management positions. I wanted to move up but didn’t yet have the skills to perform at that level. It’s easy to blame the company for not providing enough training or guidance, or to say that I could have worked harder. However, the reality was that I could have worked more effectively. It’s one of those things you have to figure out on your own.

Ultimately, this experience served as a valuable lesson in self-reflection and personal growth, teaching me that simply grinding away was not enough to succeed in a fast-paced environment.

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